What is roleplaying? Here are some possible answers.
Basically? A group of friends, sitting around a table, pretending they're different people in a different world. One person moderates the game, arbitrating the rules and providing the backdrop; the rest each play a "character", and deal with the adventures that the moderator presents. A set of rules provides a logical structure.
"let's pretend" for grownups. The key element is imagination.
a great way to have fun, ranging from casual good time to an incredibly involving and exciting experience.
an inexpensive, extremely flexible, and fully interactive way to be social and have a lot of fun.
...a great way to play the part of a hero or villian in a world of imagination.
...many things; there are as many different kinds of roleplaying games and campaigns as there are people. Every one is different.
There are all sorts of games; serious ones, silly ones, games set in the world of a favorite author, TV show, or movie, original games that are unique to the imagination of the creator, games that focus on drama, games that focus on puzzle-solving and cleverness, games that focus on hacking and slashing monsters...literally any kind of game can exist, because if you can't find the kind of game you want, you can easily make one.
Roleplaying is not devil worship, Satanism, immoral, or anything of that sort. It's a game, and is no more harmful than a book or magazine. When people talk about spells or monsters in a game, it's no more real than talk about warp drive or aliens in Star Trek.
Roleplaying Game = RPG
Fantasy Roleplaying = FRP
Gamemaster = GM (different games used different titles for the same role, including Dungeon Master (DM), Keeper, etc.)
Player Character = PC. A group of PCs make up a gaming party
Non-Player Character (i.e. an "extra" controlled by the GM)= NPC
Scenario = An adventure which is run for a game group. Often takes anywhere from one to dozens of sessions to complete. Some scenarios are commercially published, others are created by the GM.
Campaign = Many scenarios using the same PCs. For example, a single episode of Star Trek would be a scenario, while the whole series is like a campaign.
Looking for more answers? Here are some other articles about roleplaying:
Role-Playing game (Wikipedia)
Foxfire and Afira's Handbook to Roleplaying
There are many thousands of pages online about roleplaying games. Surf around and find some answers you like. Have fun!
If you have any questions about roleplaying, or would like to make suggestions about this or any other part of my site, please write me!
[email protected] Copyright 2000 by Peter Maranci. Revised: June 25, 2008. v.1.1