Classifying Role-Playing Style
There has been many efforts at classifying role-playing styles into
particular categories. The end goal of these is to try to establish a
coherent model, by which players could understand and compare their
approaches to roleplaying. This would aid roleplayers to know whether
a group is the type which they would like to join, and to analyze
disagreements or disatisfaction within a group.
However, there is no clear agreement on what this model should be.
There are at least some established models, which I will outline
Kick-in-the-Door vs Deep-Immersion Storytelling
- This is an excerpt from the D&D Dungeon Master's Guide,
which eloquently expresses a very common view of the
split of styles. Essentially, it is between "action" and
"talk" -- or between "game" and "role-playing".
Glen Blacow's Player Types
- This is a six-way division of player types: "Power-Gamer",
"Butt-Kicker", "Tactician", "Specialist", "Method Actor",
and "Storyteller". Most of categories originate from the
late Glen Blacow, but this formulation comes from Robin
The Threefold Model
- This is a classification which came about on the Usenet
newsgroup rec.games.frp.advocacy, and has since
been adopted and modified by many others -- notably by
Ron Edwards as the "GNS" model.
- This is a tongue-in-cheek set of categories that spawned
fairly endless lists of cliches. Like many cliches, though,
I think it is worth examining since there is an underlying
John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Tue Apr 8 10:37:33 2003