RPG Wiki

DeReel's picture

I have a project for a TTRPG Wiki.
The idea took form on the Gauntlet, but their wiki is ugly and unpractical, and I don't feel comfortable with community management there. Also, between Todd, Paul_T and Silmemune there's a very strong scholar vibe here. Given that traffic didn't take off to inebriating heights here after the migration from StoryGames, I say let's embrace our difference and make it an asset. what do you think ?
Sites like Board Game Geek have an impressive database of mechanics and articles, but what is there for TTRPGs ? Not much.
What I have in mind is following the TTRPG wikipedia article as an Ariadne thread to cover the main concepts, and something like Cloud and Dice as a basic conceptual framework.
The intent is to trim and chisel the biggest chunks, letting fans and users of specific settings and systems doing all the linking they like. Templates for the articles. Under each article, examples from games in chronological order, à la TV Tropes.
I already have models for classifying setting, genres, and techniques, I just finished setting up MediaWiki on my localhost, and will be experimenting in the next weeks.
Now is the time to let me know if you have ideas and advice about the project. Like :
Would Webtech benefit from hosting such a Wiki ?
Does something like that already exist ?
Does it mean too much work to produce ?
Does it mean too much work to maintain ?
Are their known pitfalls in such a project ?

webtech's picture

I like the idea. I might fuse it with the "Glossary of Terms" Sandra and I talked about over on S-G. I think the main pitfall is upkeep, because creep is inevitable, and perhaps an occasional semantic battle over definitions - but that's not something we're unaccustomed to, eh?

DeReel's picture

OK, that's a good basis for a policy statement. A
Wiki is a glossary with weird shapes.
I'd like to throw in sensitive reading and a scholarly, ecumenical line. (Tinkering away)

Silmenume's picture

Hi DeReel,

I'm always for nailing down basic concepts to facilitate the communication of difficult ideas among regulars as well as newcomers. There was a poster on Story-Games that was big on the idea that in order to communicate effectively those participating must first set the foundations of the conversation or no effective conversation can take place. (My stooopid memory...I wish I could remember who that was. It was someone who had training in linguistics but I can't remember who. I am truly embarrassed and frustrated! Was it Jeph?)


Would Fictioneers benefit from such a wiki? Only if we want to try and have substantive discussions about role-play theory. For general posters I think it will be a lot of work for without real benefit. Such a wiki would be kinda geared to eggheads which I'm totally OK with. The question becomes does Tod, et. al, want to host those types of conversations here at Fictioneers in addition to all the other topics here.

Does something like that already exist ? - Not outside the very dated Forge Provisional Glossary that I'm aware of. But then, there are a lot of things that I'm not aware of!

Does it mean too much work to produce ? - I think it would take a great deal of work to produce. However, I think such a product is genuinely useful for fruitful conversations.

Are their known pitfalls in such a project ? - I think factionalism could be a problem, but that could be dealt with strong moderation.

On the whole, I think it's an idea that is long overdue.

"I'd like to throw in sensitive reading and a scholarly, ecumenical line. (Tinkering away)"

If I might point you to a post on the Forge from long ago called "On Charitable Reading" it might (or it might not) save you some effort on this particular topic. It is very well written.



DeReel's picture

I now think that moderation will be the main problem, indeed. My reasons for optimism are :
1° the perimeter of the topic is very small
2° the number of serious trusted contributors will be small too
3° acknowledging how certain terms can be polemical is an important information by itself

btw(On definitions, I'd be more nuanced : a local working definition is often practical, if only to agree on disagreeing on the definition (Cf "if by whiskey"), but sometimes you need a placeholder for an object that will be constituted later, and insisting a definition is necessary is a way of preventing this kind of research. Not everything in knowledge starts with axioms.

Silmenume's picture

Hi DeReel,

I believe we are on the same page with all that has been discussed so far.



DeReel's picture

It has no content yet, but I'm proud to announce it, given it was a hassle to setup. I now can say hello goodbye please and thank you in MariaDB/Mysql.

Licence : SA-BY-NC
Minimum security : open wiki, open upload of files and images
Maximum extensions : all parsers and options but Nuke
Vector skin (=vanilla)

DeReel's picture

I stole some time to write a first draft. I paste it here :

"What is a role playing game?"
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A roleplaying game or RPG is a type of simulation game in which players play fictional characters in a fictional setting, following a system of rules allowing the game to be wide open to their input. These pages focus on Tabletop RPG, where non-simultaneous telling and dialogues are the dominant form of interaction. This has lead designer Vincent Baker to define TTRPGs as "a conversation".

Influences & hybridization with other practices

Pretend play, historical re-enactment and therapeutic role playing share elements with RPGs but also differ in that the first lacks fixed rules and the last two are not games. They may have had an influence on the hobby, and certainly fulfill some similar aspirations.

Overall, cultural and technological evolutions heavily affect RPGs.

Narrative forms (storytelling, theater, comics, cinema, etc.) provide RPGs with language-models and a reservoir of themes and dramatic structures.
Narrative genres inform RPGs providing expectations and material for improvisation. While you can find RPGs all over the fictional genres palette, their openness and dominance of verbal material make RPGs a good medium for fantasy genres (medieval fantasy, sci-fi, fantastic, etc.) On the other hand, RPGs inherit a tradition of ontological realism from their wargame origins : "treating fantasy as if it were real" seems to be an important part of the activity.

Immersive arts (gardens, stained glass, phantasmagoria, cinema, art installations, videogames, Virtual worlds, Virtual Reality) never ceased to evolve throughout the history of technologies, affecting RPGs as well.

DIY hands-on approach in the 60' lead to the development of Participatory arts (theater, performances) and technological evolution allowed the apparition of Interactive arts in the 70's (interactive cinema, interactive fiction, adventure video games, choose your own adventure books, tabletop RPGs, escape games).


Rather than an homogeneous concept, RPGs are the results of the history of the hobby. Starting with D&D, followed by a few other alternatives, gameplay spread not only through written rules, but also by oral tradition. The many play culture islets became aware of each other with the generalization of internet access.

RPGs categories

Within the activity, distinctions can be made by narrative medium, whether players use telling, dialogues, acting out, real life props and scenery, any kind of symbolic proxy (pictures, miniatures, electronic avatars, etc.)

Information technologies greatly affects the number of players that can interact simultaneously (Tabletop, Play by Post, Multi User Dungeon, Massively Multiplayer Online RPGs). Most LARP events and some TTRPG events also allow simultaneous interaction. This, in turn affects structure and gameplay.

The intent here is not to reinvent the wheel or be exhaustive, but to build a strong knowledge base. As all knowledge, it requires a perspective, subjective by nature. But it tries to be more informative than opinionated. You can find all sort of information on this topic on the internet but I suggest reading : Tabletop RPG on TV Tropes What is a roleplaying game by E. Ravachol Roleplaying games on wikipedia

I'll gladly take all kind of feedback. This will hopefully lead to a better definition of the project, its intent, scale, audience, etc.

DeReel's picture

The thing is slowly growing. There is one drawback with the open, ecumenical line : it lacks actual gameplay bones to attach gaming terms to.
@webtech Tell me when it's a good time to discuss how to transfer files to you.

Paul T.'s picture

Quite a project, and a laudable goal!

You might also take a look at the “big model wiki”, for inspiration or links or whatever. (It’s hardly up to date, of course.)

DeReel's picture

Thank you for your support. I hit one knowledge pool after another, each a different chrono-social bubble ambered in Web.

The big model wiki I found long ago. I am linking to 3fold/ 4fold/ Big model, etc. I don't want to favour theories, though. But rather, starting from "fundamental" observations, link to practical resources. And these resources are theory articles in many instances, because RPG systems are complex and abstract and linguistic so it's easy to slip from one thing to another, and designers and players know it and play with it (as if it wasn't enough ;) .

My storygame bias is already strong. I am setting up the thing to a major representation bias. After all, the "D&D is RPGs" articles all over the Web are true in many ways.

I am presently working on the medium, which is more about Pretense, LARP, PbP and what is called RPGs (=videogames)

DeReel's picture

Hello, Thank you for your interest.
The wiki is stored on my computer. I carry on gathering knowledge about the various theories that went on, mostly as "electronic history of dead communities". During holydays, I advance the wiki with articles.

I haven't written articles proper since... november (solstice festivites are taxing and I am more into making games right now).

I am not content shy but I want to have a minimum structure, to clearly convey the angle I have in mind, before making the wiki public.