Addictive Aspects of a Role Playing Game

This dissertation focuses on addictive gameplay mechanics for a role playing game. The primary motivation for the content and structure of this dissertation are based on my personal experiences from playing role playing games and research and analysis I have conducted.

In this dissertation we shall discuss various aspects of mechanics in role playing game; we shall also discuss the sub mechanics related to it. What are also worth discussing are the various kinds of role playing games which have existed in the past and how they have developed and evolved RPG genre in modern times. This dissertation shall also discuss the various drawbacks and failures of current gen RPG mechanic and answers to correct those drawbacks


To identify various game mechanics in various Role playing games which lead that game to become addictive in nature.


  • The following are the objectives of the dissertation
  • To identify various role playing games
  • To explain the evolution of role playing games
  • To identify and explain various theorems on role playing game
  • To create new mechanics based on research


Explanation of role playing as a genre in games

Explanation of different platforms which use role playing game

Explanation of game mechanics and game play

Differentiation between turn based, text based, board based and real time based role playing game with respect to game mechanics

Explanation of LARPS, GNS, chaos RPG and many more theorems

Analysis and creation for new game mechanics and its subsystems

Summary of chapters

First chapter titled ‘Introduction’ introduces Role playing game along with a brief history. Here readers will understand what role playing games are and how they are different from other genres.

The second chapter titled’ Different kinds of Platforms’ will make readers understand how RPG games are seen through different platforms, how platforms greatly affect the scale of role playing games.

The third chapter titled ‘Game Mechanics and Gameplay’ introduces to reader what game mechanics actually means and how it is different from gameplay.

The fourth chapter titled ‘ Game mechanics for RPG’ will describe readers various game mechanic rules used by RPG, will also explain popular game theorems and its working principle. This chapter will then further break down to discuss the popular RPGs and what game mechanics made their game addictive.

Fifth chapter will discuss in-depth all the addictive game plays and mechanics from the previous chapter.

Sixth chapter will show reader of new game mechanic and gameplay created by us and how and where these mechanics can be implemented.


Video games for many years have been considered a way of storytelling. To be put short they are called interactive storytelling. Interactive storytelling means that a person is actively taking part in the continuation of a story by enacting the central character virtually. Now it is not justified to say that all video games are interactive storytellers but there are a lot of genres which hold true to this. Even arcade games like street fighter where the player had only fighting to do have a story to tell. The genre which gave the true meaning to Interactive storytelling has to be Role Playing Game. Role playing games revolve around the one central character which you play and his interaction to the world around him, it is through your decisions and choices that the story progress and the progress is almost never linear. In role playing games or any genre which used its basic mechanics never had a single ending, the game could be finished or story could be ended with different conclusions by the choices you made.

This dissertation will give a brief description on how this genre became the best tool for delivering interactive storytelling, and hence will discuss in depth the core mechanic and function which made it work and made it addictive.

What is role playing game

A role-playing game (RPG) is a type of game in 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 system of rules and guidelines. Within the rules, they may improvise freely; their choices shape the direction and outcome of the games.

Role playing games are broadly categorized into 3 forms based on the platform they serve. They are board games, console games and PC games.

History of board based RPG

Birth of RPG could be dated to 16th century Europe where traveling teams of players performed a form of improvisational theatre known as the Commedia dell’arte. These theatre artist carried with them stock situations, stock characters and improvised dialogue.

Helwig, Master of pages and even Duke of Brunswick which all be created as battle emulation games in late 1780 drew great inspiration for Chess.

Max Boot author of the book War Made New had stated in his book that the period between 1803 to 1809 saw the Prussian Army developing War games, this war game which was same as chess had additional rules like Dice rolls for random chance of attacks and a neutral referee the score the results.

Wargames eventually shifted from professional training to more of a hobby for the general public, this led to the creation of a game called Little Wars from H.G. Wells in 1913.


Dungeons and Dragons was the first commercially sold Role Playing game Published by TSR. Dungeons and Dragons sold around 50,000 copies upon its release which led to establishment of a cult following for BRPG (Board role playing games).

Its success also led to the birth of several cottage industries and merchandises. In a period of 2 years other fantasy games appeared which copied almost the entire look and feel of the original DND. Some of the successful clones where Space Opera, Rune Quest and Dragon Rune.

In the year 1977 TSR released an advanced Game Rules for its game aptly named Advanced Dungeons and Dragons(AD&D), which was later improved and made into a second Edition in 1989. this project led to creation of rule book which cover every detail from finding specific weapon in loot to getting information form NPC(non player controlled character)


Ars Magica released in 1988 was the first game which solely emphasized on characterization and storytelling and had a loose game mechanics and combat system.

This game was later bought and led to highly influenced Vampire Masquerade, which led to being a huge success.

In the year 1993 Mr. Perter Adkison and Mr. Richard Garfield who were Students of University of Pennsylvania released competitive card collecting game. The theme was based on fantasy role playing and was named Magic the Gathering.


The beginning of the year 2000 saw a massive down turn in sales of Game supplements and core books required to play the BRPG.

Solution to this problem came through enactment of Open Gaming License by DND owner TSR. They spread the policy of letting other company publish DND compatible games which spread the cost of production and led to higher sales of core book. This new system named D20 system and still enjoys great success.

It was during this period which led to birth of Indie Role Playing Game Developers in the internet. This birth was possible mainly due to the fact the existence of print on demand and PDF publishing.

History related to Console Role Playing Game

Dragonstomper was the first RPG game released on Atari 2600 in 1982.

Dragon Quest was also released in this year but was only published for Japanese public,

In 1989 the game was released as Dragon Warrior in America and Europe.

With the release of Zelda II in 1987 the genre came to its own. Zelda which was released for Famicom Disk System was the earliest action-role playing game.

Megami Tensei released for NES was the first to explore the RPG setting Beyond Medial Fantasy Theme. This game also developed the Demon–summoning system (DSS) which allowed players to recruit enemies. The development of DSS led to creation of games specific to its core game mechanics like Phantasy star and more popular Pokémon.

In the year 1990 Square developed Final Fantasy for NES which developed the Experimental Character creation system that allowed a player to choose his own party and give his characters Job calls. It also created to concept of transportation and weapon upgrade.

The console genre of RPG grew leaps and bound in early 1990’s. it is in this period that Dragon Quest introduced a new way of storytelling, the divided the campaign into chapter in which each chapter concentrated in telling the back-story of a single character of your party.

This is also the period when birth of fifth generation of console took place. The median was playing games was no longer cartridges but optical disks, this led to RPG having longer and more involved quest. It also led to having better audio and cinematics.

In year 2000 Final Fantasy X introduced voice-acting. Final Fantasy XII features full 3D background.


Birth of role playing games took place in computers much before it took place in consoles, the first RPG game developed in the year 1975 by a university which was text based in nature and used game mechanics inspired from DND. Popular example of a text based RPG in that period was MUD (multi-user dungeons).

In the year 1980 text based RPG named Rouge which featured ASCII graphics and deep system of gameplay popularized RPG for Computer users.

The older editions of Ultima and Wizardry which were released in 1983 acted as role models for more popular console RPG. A large amount of its gameplay innovations are still considered standard for current gen RPG’s.

Mid 1980 also was the period of emergence for Action Role Playing games in computers.

Dragon slayer Xanadu released in 1985 the first Action Role Playing game.

Evolution of Multi -Player Role Playing Game

Initially computer role playing game offered its users only single player experience, the popularity and emergence of multiplayer mode came in the year 1996 with the title name Diablo. Diablo contained both RPG and Action game elements and featured Internet multiplayer mode.

A player would party together with 3 more players and enter the same world or dungeon and fight enemies, the game also allowed players to fight each other and test their skill.

Diablo acted as the founding stone for many developers to create what today is the most popular the highest


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