Come Roleplay With Me – An Introduction To RP In Video Games

Come RP With Me - An Introduction to RP
Come RP With Me - An Introduction to RP

Sometimes it’s more fun picking your own targets.

Greetings fair traveller, and welcome to my humble weekly column about RP in gaming (don’t worry, I’ll stop talking like that now). If you don’t know what RP is, or you’re an RP veteran of many years, then read on. I plan to make this both informative and entertaining as I delve into this lesser known aspect of gaming.

This week, I’m mainly going to detail what exactly RP is and what you’re likely to see from this column in the future.

Firstly, let’s get the definition out-of-the-way – RP is an acronym of the term Role-Playing. However, this term isn’t just used in regards to RPGs like Pillars of Eternity, which I reviewed recently. When someone says RP, they’re referring to the act of taking any game and bringing a role-playing element into it. This could be done with anything, from an FPS to a puzzle platformer. The player is essentially role-playing a particular character within the game, and places limitations on themselves accordingly. Examples of this would be playing as a pacifist in a Fallout or Elder Scrolls game – the player must ensure they play the entire game without ever killing anyone. Many even take this to further extremes and attempt to play games like GTA as a regular citizen. This means walking everywhere, performing daily tasks (like resting and eating) and just generally being a boring old Johnny Regularman.

Come RP With Me - An Introduction to RP

The idea of playing this game with only one life is horrifying.

The concept of RP can also include greater challenges that people place upon themselves, including the likes of never loading and permadeath. Never loading is fairly self-explanatory – it involves living with the mistakes you make in-game and never loading back to a previous save (unless you die). Permadeath is when someone chooses to play a game but only gives themselves one life, if at any point they die they immediately delete the save. Several games already include features like this that can be chosen as a difficulty option (such as The Witcher 2), but many players impose these rules upon themselves in any type of game. To many, this may sound strange, but until you’ve tried it you don’t realise how much fun it can be (and at times painful, very painful).

RP’ing has also become fairly popular among YouTubers who create Let’s Play videos (for permadeath challenge, see OfficialNerdCubed’s permadeath playlist). It adds something else to the game that wasn’t originally intended to be there, which makes it all the more entertaining to watch. As most Let’s Play videos also include commentary, many youtubers will fully RP their dialogue responses (see Yogscast Will’s Fallout 3 playthrough). It was actually through youtube that I was introduced to the idea of RP. Watching people play Skyrim as regular citizens, playing Super Meat Boy with only one life, or even making up their own contracts in Hitman – it was something new and exciting, and I knew I wanted to try it.

Playing this game with only one life is horrifying.

Wait, is this not what regular citizens do?

I’ve only had brief expeditions into the world of RP myself – as I’m still fairly new to it – but I find it very interesting. I’m hoping for this weekly column to be as much of a learning experience for myself as it is for anyone else. My past experience with RP includes playing as a pacifist in The Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim. It was challenging but all the more fun for it. I’ve also dabbled (as I’m sure we all have) with playing as a law-abiding citizen in the GTA series. Although it never lasted very long…

Now that I’ve covered what RP is for the most part, I’m going to let you know what to expect from my column in the future. Every week I’m going to pick a game to RP, placing different restrictions on myself for each game.  I’ll also set myself an objective to complete with these restrictions. If I manage to do this without smashing my keyboard, or going completely insane, I’ll then detail the experiences I had with my playthrough.

I’m hoping I’ll manage to make this entertaining while, at the same time, giving you some insight into the world of RP, maybe even inspiring you to do some yourself. On that note, if any of you have your own RP stories or are inspired to RP from this article, then I’d love to hear about it in the comments.

Other than these challenges, I’m also going to explore the world of RP in more depth every week. This will involve researching the various ways others have been RPing, what are the most common games people RP, and also talking to different people to get their unique insights into this gaming niche. If any of you would like to have your say then just let me know in the comments. I’d love to hear from you.

Come RP With Me - An Introduction to RP

I’ll be the guy on the right.

For next weeks challenge, I’m going to attempt to reach level 10 as a cowardly character with no combat skills (not unlike myself) in Fallout: New Vegas, while playing in hardcore mode. I’ll only fight if I get cornered and absolutely have to. In every other instance I’ll be running away from danger and trying to avoid anything scary. I’m also going to play permadeath and never load, just to make things more fun (or excruciating, depending on your outlook), so I’ll only have one go at completing this challenge… wish me luck!

So, until next Monday, try to do a little RPing yourself and feel free to share your stories or suggestions for me in the comments. Also, please spare a thought and a prayer for me as I suffer through permadeath Fallout.

Come RP with me again next week.

Chris Corbett

Chris Corbett

Junior Editor
Chris loves gaming, ginger beer and facial hair. Probably an unhealthy amount. He plays loads of different games (with ginger beer in hand) and loves writing about his experiences.
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  • Mike G

    Eve Online was on of the deeperst Role Playing experiences I’ve ever had. I helped that I was in a Corp (aka – guild) that was strickty RP, so there was no out of character banter. It got so bad the my rl friends were calling me by the name of my avatar… I know right!!!

    Then there was Oblivion and Skyrim I got lost in those worlds for months RPing different characters,with very specific and perculiar likes and hatreds. Imagine having a character that hated Orcs and would attack any Orc in sught regardless of… anythign really. That kind of RPing makes for really fun emergent experiences and gives the game so much more unpredictability. Good times.

    Interesting thought though, unlike most gamers, I prefer RPing non-silent story based characters – Commander Shepherd, Adam Jensen, The Inquisitor, etc etc (and soon – Geralt of Rivia). I like having the strong storied character framework, but thats just me 🙂

    • Chris Corbett

      Thanks very much for the input Mike G, I’ll definitely be including something about Eve Online in one of the next weekly articles. And actually being called by your avatar name in real life is something I’ve never heard before (I hope it was something cool).

      I loved RPing in Skyrim too, although you can only get so far when you refuse to kill anyone or anything. I tried slaying the dragons with kindness, turns out they don’t like it.

      That’s really interesting that you prefer to roleplay a non-silent story character though, I would have thought most people would prefer the strong silent type. Lets them put their own voice on their character. On a slightly related note, I just pre-ordered my copy of the Witcher 3, so I may have to try out some roleplaying in it myself.

      Would you mind if I include some of the things you’ve told me in my subsequent weekly articles?

      • Mike G

        The voicing of a character is a BIG issues for me when it comes to identifying with the charcter. I know most people hold a different view – but take Dragon Age Origins for example. I loved it, but I just couldn’t identify with my character because he had no voice. Then there was Dragon Age Inquisition which blended character customisation with character voicing perfectly. I was able to RP the charatcer much better, especially as her voicing reflected her moods, attittdes, likes and dislikes (Mass Effect also does this combination of character customisation and voicing brilliantly).

        It was the one thing I wished they had added in Skyrim, they gave everyone else a voice except me… that is, except the player character! If we are given dialogue options, why not give a voice to that dialoge? I don’t think it takes away from still being able to heavily RP a character, and it certainly doesn’t change the choices that are available to the player. I think it adds depth to the character. Imagine if Commander Shepherd, or Geralt of Rivia were silent protagonists – I think it would really reduce the strenght of the characterisation.

        For The Witcher 3, I’m going to RP that game from the start, but it will be a continuation of my Geralt build from The Witcher 2. So for example, he turned down Triss, and is only focused on Yennifer (so no sex with any other ladies :), he also hates the Scoia’teal and so if they turn up in Witcher 3, he would be hostile towards them and any related mission. He also let Letho live… but to be honest he’s still haunted by that decision 😀

        BTW I don’t mind at all if you open this all up and explore it in a new article…

        • Chris Corbett

          Thanks very much for all your input Mike, you’ve been a great help. I’ll definitely be using things you’ve told me in one of my next articles.