[generic] New Taxonomy for RPGS

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#1
Following my rant elsewhere.. Graham and I had a chat.

I'd like to propose a new structure for RPGs that fixes the structure we have inherited from novels. It is creatively blurry and fuzzy, so games may fall into various sets of the Venn diagrams. It has two dimensions, genre and style. Please critique more calmly than I did previously.

Genres: (more than one may apply to a game)

Folkloric Roleplaying, based in a shared past of folklore, myth, legend, adventures, fable, cautionary tales. Not confined to any culture or period, inauthentic and yet with a verisimilitude, the appearance of being true. Examples: D&D, Dragon Warriors, T&T, C&S, Oriental Adventures, Khi Khanga.

Historical Roleplaying, based on a shared history of a period or place over 100 years previously, with a strong emphasis on authenticity and adoption of the customs and gestalt of a period. Examples: Mythic Babylon, Flashing Blades, Many GURPS sourcebooks.

Futurist Roleplaying, based in the future, on the possibilities of scientific or social changes, inauthentic but possibilist. Examples: Traveller, Space Opera, Blue Planet, Heavy Gear, Myriad Songs, Star Wars rpg, Tachyon Squadron.

Occult Roleplaying, based on the revealing of secret or hidden knowledge, Examples: Call of Cthulhu, Kult, Delta Green, Rippers, Hunters of Alexadria.

Apocalyptic Roleplaying, based on the collapse of societies, the end of times, the active destruction of all that is known. Examples: All Flesh Must be Eaten, FFG's Apocalypse Series, help me out..

Contemporary Roleplaying, based on a shared understanding of a period or place under 100 years previously or 100 years in the future, with a strong emphasis on authenticity and adoption of the customs and gestalt of a period. Examples: Call of Cthulhu, Solid!, Spirit of '77, Many GURPS sourcebooks.

Types: (more than one may apply to a game) (I need to do some real work so feel free to suggest definitions for these or new types)

Horror
Terror
Mental Health Problems
Hard Science
Divinities
Meta-humanity
Nostalgia
Fantasy
 
#2
Spanning the border between Apocalyptic Roleplaying and Futurist Roleplaying, dropping into one for a spot of lunch, then nipping over to the other for afternoon tea, are post-apocalypse games where the old civilisation is never coming back, but no-one's quite got around to building a new society yet.

How those games fit into one or the other presumably depend on what the GM had in mind, plus play style at the table. In Twilight 2000, a party could murder-hobo its way across the radioactive landscape, keeping the genre firmly in all apocalypse, all the time, territory. Or the party could be base and/or empire building, as they try to rebuild civilisation.
 
#4
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Types: (more than one may apply to a game) (I need to do some real work so feel free to suggest definitions for these or new types)

Horror
Terror
Mental Health Problems
Hard Science
Divinities
Meta-humanity
Nostalgia
Fantasy
Really like your proposed "genres" list there. Wish an example fo less than 100 years in the future was provided. I am guessing the rebooted Cyberpunk called "Cyberpunk Red" may qualify (the computer game is Cyberpunk 2077)

With regards to the second quality ofer "type" I got confussed with"Mental Health Problems".
Is that a play type? Not sure I have any in my collection. Please help out with a list of those you have with that tag.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#7
Really like your proposed "genres" list there. Wish an example fo less than 100 years in the future was provided. I am guessing the rebooted Cyberpunk called "Cyberpunk Red" may qualify (the computer game is Cyberpunk 2077)

With regards to the second quality ofer "type" I got confussed with"Mental Health Problems".
Is that a play type? Not sure I have any in my collection. Please help out with a list of those you have with that tag.
We could go +/- 50 years
 
#11
I appreciate the attempt but my old brain is struggling to get is head around it. It's like the uncertainty principle - to me. There are just too many successful still in print role-playing games, let alone all the others.

Bless you for the attempt, though,

Simon Burley
Author of Contemporary - Methumanity games.
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#16
I am quite charmed by the potential to invent new games by judicious use of one or two genres and a type ( or is tag adequate? ).
Not sure what you mean by this. PCs as gods, like in Scion?
Or PCs as people studying at university for their Divinity degree? :)
Gods, not necessarily players but as protagonists, so Scion but potentially Lords of Amber..
 

Guvnor

The Guvnor
Staff member
#17
With regards to the second quality ofer "type" I got confussed with"Mental Health Problems".
Is that a play type? Not sure I have any in my collection. Please help out with a list of those you have with that tag.
It's not right is it?
However Call of Cthulhu, Delta Green, Unknown Armies, anything where mental health is threatened or a key theme.
As to Divinity, yes like Scion but any game where Gods are key protagonists, so Unknown Armies, Amber, Glorantha..
I wonder if picaresque is a type.
Maybe they aren't Types but Tags or Themes?
 
#18
It's not right is it?
However Call of Cthulhu, Delta Green, Unknown Armies, anything where mental health is threatened or a key theme.
As to Divinity, yes like Scion but any game where Gods are key protagonists, so Unknown Armies, Amber, Glorantha..
I wonder if picaresque is a type.
Maybe they aren't Types but Tags or Themes?
I think creatives are deliberately trying to break genres with the innovation called fusion, like what happens in the music industry. Other people prefer narrowly defined genres, because it helps them make choices when presented with so many new ones. Basiclaly, narrow classifications help those people who just want more of the same, which is a good thing too.

Sadly, all this brings back that ugly debate in literature over hard SF versus others, including SciFi, a phrase I beliee anooyed Arthur. C. Clark.

When even the literary world cannot agree:
Because lots of science fiction writers don't actually have any science in their SF, they call it “speculative fiction” instead. ... Unless the stories are sci-fi, which doesn't have science but is what most people think of as science fiction. Unless it's called SF, of course, which most people think means “San Francisco”.
https://damiengwalter.com/2018/08/07/science-fiction-vs-scifi-vs-sf-what-is-the-true-definition/
 
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