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Tabletop Role Playing Game Design

Updated on September 1, 2007


Tabletop Role Playing Games date back to 1974 with the publication of Dungeons & Dragons, designed by Gary Gygax and Dave Arneson. Dungeons & Dragons, in turn, owes its genesis to fantasy miniatures gaming. Since then hundreds of tabletop role playing games, or RPGs, have been published. The first rpgs were published in print, from stapled xeroxes, to glossy hardbacks, and later via electronic means, primarily on the web. In fact, the hobby is embracing the PDF format, allowing more indie & small press games to be published, games that wouldn't have been feasible to produce in the early days of the "industry".

RPGs remain a popular hobby, though Computer RPGs, on gaming consoles, and MMORPGs on the PC have supplanted it in the marketplace. Games which, it should be noted, are direct descendants of MUDs, which in turn are derived from early tabletop RPGs, primarily D&D.

Despite the advent of CRPGs, however tabletop RPGs remain a vital, if niche, hobby. This is due to the fact that the format is unique in the rewards and entertainment it offers its players. Rewards and entertainment which go far beyond the monster killing, l00ting, level grinding, and canned linear plot-lines of CRPGs. The last 5 years have seen a major emphasis on defining what those rewards are, understanding how RPG's are played, and designing RPGs that best provide the unique entertainment that is at the heart of tabletop RPGs. This hub is your guide to taking part in this "design renaissance".

Tabletop RPG Guides, History and theory books


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