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Media complement one another: Movies, TV series, video games, etc. often convert into one another. As they do so, tropes in one genre often become tropes in another. One of these is the Role Playing Game or RPG, a popular form of video games. RPGs themselves are conversions from table-top paper gaming, which often involved acting. (Hence the "Role Playing" part of the name.) As this has increased, we see more and more RPG aspects in series, especially Anime. See also Role Playing Game Verse.

RPGs often emphasize numerical statistics. Common characteristics can include:

  • Stats: Your Strength score determines how much you can bench-press, your Intelligence score determines how well you can think, your Charisma score determines how successful you are with the ladies, et cetera. Some games have dozens of Stats for each character, while a few, such as D.U.D.E., have only one. Generally, each Stat is a numeric score on the same scale as every other Stat; if 10 Strength is how strong an average person is, then 10 Intelligence is how smart an average person is. In some game systems, gaining experience points (c.f. below) can increase your Stats. In most systems, Stats will be broken down into Attributes (innate measures of a character's aptitude) and Skills (reflecting training, learning, and study).
  • Dice: Usually signified by "dX", where X is the number of sides on the die you roll. A traditional die is a d6. Multiple dice are handled by YdX, Y being the number of dice rolled- 4d6 means you roll four traditional dice, or one traditional die four times, and add the results. Added to this is the occasional static number, or extra dice- this is usually written out as follows: 4d8 + 2d6 + 3, which means you roll four eight-sided dice, then two six-sided dice, and then add those all up and then add three. Even when there are no actual dice involved, a spell that does 2d12 damage will deal between 2 and 24 damage, tending toward 13.
    • White Wolf's Storyteller/Storytelling systems (used for Old World of Darkness, New World of Darkness, Exalted, and Scion) use a "Success" system, where attributes and skills determine how many dice you get to roll and each successful dice roll contributes a "success" to a particular die roll where generally a single success is enough to accomplish a basic task and additional successes allow for the task to be accomplished in a more effective fashion (possibly accomplishing the task faster or achieving more with the results). Sometimes additional successes are needed to cancel the successes of another character on an opposed roll (if you're sneaking up on the other character for example, you might roll your "Sneaking" skill versus their "Perception" skill to see if they notice you and you need to roll at least one more success on your sneaking than the other person rolls on their perception).
    • Other games that use dice pools include Hollow Earth Expeditions (evens or odds on any die, although the maker offers "Ubiquity Dice" that reproduce the probabilities for one, two, or three dice on a single color-coded d8), the "D6 Legend" system from West End Hercules and Xena RPGs (called "the D6 variant for the mathematically challenged"), and critically acclaimed Burning Wheel (the target varies from 5 or higher to 3 or higher on a d6)
    • Rolemaster uses two ten-sided dice as d100, with rolls representing the percentage of success. (Usually, modifiers like skill and difficulty are used.)
  • Character Classes: Your place in the Order of Things is strictly defined, usually in terms of Fighter, Thief, Magic User, Cleric, or Background Character. Along with these roles usually comes standard physical/mental types -- fighters are always huge and burly, and not always swift; magic users are always skinny, weak and clumsy while being geniuses; thieves are nimble and clever, and often smaller than other characters. Sometimes subvarieties like Paladin, Barbarian, Illusionist and Druid are available, and sometimes races like Elf and Dwarf will be treated as classes. Clerics will have divine magic (a dead giveaway for a Role Playing Game Verse). Changing classes is difficult if not impossible. Class systems are clearly visible in Record of Lodoss War and Rune Soldier Louie; in the latter much comedy comes from the fact that Louie is obviously supposed to be a fighter, but he's been raised as a mage.
  • Hit Points (aka Life Points or HP): How healthy are you? Physical damage can be boiled down to a simple number out of a maximum. Sometimes parts of the body no longer functioning may be included in the loss of HP (such as bones being broken or limbs severed) but often one just glows a bit and grimaces. Full HP or 1 HP is the same in terms of what you can do. Once you get to zero, though... Yu-Gi-Oh!! and Code Lyoko have life points.
    • A few games, such as Champions, use this number to represent how much physical injury you can sustain directly before being killed. However, most games (building on the concept as presented in D&D) use a kind of "abstracted hit points." These hit points represent not only your physical well-being, but also your ability to turn what would have otherwise been a grievous injury into "just a scratch" through combat experience, and a degree of luck and magical protection that also supposedly comes from experience. In these systems, it's not uncommon for very high level characters to be able to survive damage that would kill a triceratops.
      • And, as Murphys Rules pointed out, this can include a terminal-velocity fall from any height. A high-level fighter will not only survive such a fall but would still be able to fight a triceratops afterwards. Fixed, to an extent, after 1st Edition.
  • Magic Points (aka mana, furyoku, chi, Force strength, "power levels" etc. often abbreviated as MP in RPG games ): Spiritual strength can also be quantified. The spirit is like a container of liquid, with "magic" filling it up. The act of casting a spell or equivalent cleanly depletes a percentage of this total. What brings it back up again varies. Examples of this can be seen in Dragon Ball, Shaman King, and Naruto.
  • Experience: (aka EXP or XP) Curious phenomenon where killing things makes you stronger. It was probably originally supposed to mean that the "experience" of killing the monster (learning from your mistakes, when to duck, physical exertion, etc.) was symbolically represented, however it has evolved to an almost vampiric act. Killing something and absorbing the essence of the opponent builds up the body and mind far more than an equivalent exercise workout. The game-runner can also give out experience for roleplaying and non-combat actions, but as originally conceived...
  • Character Level: what you get for a specific number of experience points, this is a general impression of the relative power of the character. The higher the number, the better. Often comes with an increase in Hit Points and Mana Meter. In most systems, characters of equal level should be of relatively equal power, but due to player Min-Maxing or Linear Warriors, Quadratic Wizards, this is not always true.
  • Character Alignment: Law vs. Chaos. Good vs. Evil. Neutrality in the middle. Possibly a different system, though the Dungeons & Dragons scale referenced here is the one most role-playing gamers will be familiar with. Used as a guide to aid in role-playing specific character types, and sometimes as a straitjacket to prevent you from playing against your character type. Accordingly, some people find it a useful tool, while others find it a pain in the ass. Not present in all Role Playing Games -- often rendered as a Karma Meter for simplicity, though almost all D&D-based games will have straight-up alignments included.
  • Wandering Monsters: Walking through the countryside, one is likely to be attacked by a weird-looking beast. This creature is unlikely to be part of the natural ecosystem, and may not leave a body after its hit points are driven to 0. Seen in Berserk and Magic Knight Rayearth, which are both Role Playing Game Verse.
    • It also bears some similarity to New York City.
  • Race: Refers more to species than skin color (elves versus hobbits for example). Even subraces (dark elves versus wood elves for example) are distinguished by more than just skin color or nationality. These are popular for giving you another choice, another set of flavor and, most important, another set of bonuses to work with. Though statistical distinction between races is popular from a gaming standpoint, the Unfortunate Implications have occasionally been noted. It also gives the player a chance to play against type (Dwarf wizards and halfling barbarians for example).
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