In roleplaying, participants adopt and act out the
roleof characters, or parts, that may have personalities, motivations, and backgrounds different from their own. Roleplaying, also known as "RP" to some, is like being in an improvisational drama or free-form theater, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts, and the audience.
People use the phrase "role-playing" in at least three distinct ways:
*To refer to the playing of roles generally such as in a theater, or educational setting;
*To refer to a wide range of games including
computer role-playing games, play-by-mail games and more;
*To refer specifically to
role-playing games. [Andrew Rilstone, "Role-Playing Games: An Overview" 1994, Inter*Action #1 at http://www.rpg.net/oracle/essays/rpgoverview.html ]
Role-playing in the form of
historical re-enactmenthas been practiced by adults for millennia as well. The ancient Romans, Han Chinese, and medieval Europeans all enjoyed occasionally organizing events in which everyone pretended to be from an earlier age, and entertainment appears to have been the primary purpose of these activities. Within the 20th century historical reenactment has often been pursued as a hobby.
Another role-playing tradition is the
improvisational theatretradition. This goes back in some sense to the Commedia dell'Artetradition of 16th century. Modern improvisational theatre began in the classroom with the "theatre games" of Viola Spolinand Keith Johnstonein the 1950's. Viola Spolin, who was one of the founder the famous comedy troupe Second City, insisted that her exercises were games, and that they involved role-playing as early as 1946, but thought of them as training actors and comics rather than as being primarily aimed at being fun in their own right.
A role-playing game is a
gamein which the participants assume the roles of characters and collaboratively create stories. Participants determine the actions of their characters based on their characterization, and the actions succeed or fail according to a formal system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.
There are many different types of role-playing games (RPGs). Many, and particularly those that came first, are centered around characters being created in fantasy universes. Of particular note is the advent of such games as Dungeons and Dragons in the 1970's, invented and propagated originally by Gary Gygax and David Arneson. Many different versions of this game were developed, and other types of games were spun-off from this original template, causing what was first developed as a hobby to become a multi-million dollar business venture.
A form of roleplaying in which partners take parts in a drama that provides sexual gratification; these might include a teacher and pupil, or employer and maid. Sexual roleplaying is common in
BDSM, and is integral to most pseudonymous or anonymous forms of cybersex.
exual roleplaying in online games
Sexual roleplaying also occurs, on various forms of
online games. This is a generally less accepted type of roleplaying in an online community, though opinions about it vary. Social acceptance and attitudes to sexual roleplaying differ within various communities, often dependent on the community's genre or purpose (e.g., adult BDSMand fetish communities not only accept this behaviour but promulgate it as the main activity around which the online community functions).It is also not uncommon for players to form personal attachments or friendships with the player that they roleplay with.
The above mentioned example is generally better accepted in an
onlineenvironment than roleplaying a character that involves sexual-related content in public or in abovementioned adult-themed roleplaying games.
* [http://random-role-play.wetpaint.com/ Free Online Roleplaying website]
* [http://rm-sanctum.com/forum/forum-rpg%27s/ Examples of People Roleplaying]
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