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 below:

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 D. Laws.
The Threefold Model
This is a classification which came about on the Usenet newsgroup, and has since been adopted and modified by many others -- notably by Ron Edwards as the "GNS" model.
Real Men/Munchkins/Roleplayers/Loonies
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 truth.

John H. Kim <jhkim-at-darkshire-dot-net>
Last modified: Tue Apr 8 10:37:33 2003