%% Image selected per Image Pickin' thread: http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/posts.php?discussion=1421220424057651400
%% Please do not replace or remove without starting a new thread.
[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/6f88251211b8fc3b33702a18d9507024.png]]]]

->'''Weaponsmith:''' I estimate a 25% increase in attack accuracy, with a corresponding enhancement to damage.\\
'''Roy:''' It's OK, you can just say "+5 sword" here. We do stuff like that all the time.
-->-- ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''

Initially, it looks like a standard RolePlayingGameVerse -- but then the characters explicitly start referring to spot checks, hit points in StatOVision, roleplaying, AlwaysChaoticEvil monsters, and other UsefulNotes/RolePlayingGameTerms. Is this an {{RPG}} in which the characters' players are weaving in and out of character and this is [[DeepImmersionGaming represented by the characters themselves speaking]], or perhaps a video game which breaks the FourthWall more often than usual?

Nope - or at least it is not shown. TheVerse this takes place in really does work exactly like a tabletop RPG.

Because of the FourthWall-breaking implications, this usually happens only in comedies. Frequently takes place in a PurelyAestheticEra, especially for Fantasy games.

Not to be confused with: DeepImmersionGaming, CampaignComic.


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]

* The anime ''Manga/BeetTheVandelBuster'' (started in 2002) which features experience levels printed on the characters' chest and [[MoneySpider money for killing monsters]].
** In classic ''DragonQuest'' tradition, keeping track of experience requires regularly visiting someone (an old crone in this case) who keeps track of your kills. Beet got tired of this, and so appeared horribly underleveled when he first reappeared after the prologue.
* The even older ''Anime/MahoujinGuruGuru'' features characters who [[KleptomaniacHero steal objects from random places in homes]] and badges on their chests which indicate their experience level.
* And even older than that is ''Dragon Pink'', an OAV series from 1994 based on a manga from 1990 implied to be set in an HGame fantasy RPG.
* TowerOfDruaga has elements of this depending that fluctuate from episode to episode.
* ''FortuneQuest'' (in the OAV at least) has levels which are visible to the characters (some of whom complain about not levelling).
* ''Webcomic/TheGamer'' has the main character develop the ability to treat life as an RPG.
* ''LogHorizon'', despite its numerous lighthearted elements, is very thorough and analytical in [[ConversedTrope analyzing the implications]] of having TheGameComeToLife. Players aren't normal folk: they possess ResurrectiveImmortality and the ability to summon a DiegeticInterface, causing the (now sentient) NPC characters to freak out and often distrust them. Stats, levels and mechanics become everyday language among everyone. Everyone has to [[HowDoIShotWeb learn how to use their class abilities from scratch]] (CallingYourAttacks is useful but not sufficient). Formerly meaningless FlavorText becomes LanguageOfTruth. Assorted NecessaryWeasel RPG tropes like InexplicableTreasureChests turn out to have an in-world explanation, and eventually players discover the ability to alter the rules of the world and create GameMods of sorts, as long as [[MagicAIsMagicA internal consistency is maintained]].
* ''HunterXHunter'' has a story arc in which the protagonists get transported into an [[http://hunterxhunter.wikia.com/wiki/Greed_Island in-universe video game]].
* ''LightNovel/IsItWrongToTryToPickUpGirlsInADungeon'' is based on an universe that looks like an RPG than anything else. For starters, the character's stats can be seen by their respective god/goddess when they update their status, which can then be recorded on a piece of paper for the adventurer to see, as their blessing is imprinted on his/her back. Yes, characters have their stats ''literally etched'' on them.
* ''[[{{LightNovel/OverLord2012}} Overlord’s]]'' story begins on the last day of a once popular virtual reality [[MassivelyMultiplayerOnlineRolePlayingGame MMORPG]]. One of the players decides to remain logged in until the servers are shut down. However, instead of being logged out at the scheduled time, he finds himself stuck in the body of his in-game avatar, a skeletal lich who serves as the Evil Overlord of a tomb of monsters.
* In ''SwordArtOnline'', the first full-immersion virtual reality game is revealed to be a trap when its first 10,000 players get stuck in it. According to the game’s creator, if the players want an exit they’ll have to go through the whole game (which is a 100-story tall gigantic tower) and beat the FinalBoss on the final level. If, however, a player's HP ever drops to zero, they get killed in real life as well.
* The setting of ''[[Manga/YuushaGojoKumiaiKouryuugataKeijiban Hero Union BBS]]'' contains several worlds that run on different RPG mechanics, many of which (such as level grinding, overpowered bosses, and obnoxious party members) are discussed by several heroes in the titular forum.
* The world of LightNovel/TheRisingOfTheShieldHero has character level, which the main character can see. When the weapon merchant upgrades his armor, he calls the upgrade +1.
* IsekaiDeKuroNoIyashiTeTteYobareteimasu lets the main character access many video game like screens, letting her see other people's levels and skills. She also has a radar to see friends and enemies around her.

* ''Comicbook/ScottPilgrim'', kind of. For the most part it's the real world, if surreal and videogame-like, but Scott occasionally talks about his allocated skill proficiencies, gains experience points and levels up.
** It's based on the mechanics from ''Videogame/RiverCityRansom'' specifically. So if it isn't a full RPGMechanicsVerse, it's at least an RPGElements verse.
** In [[Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld the movie]], Scott earns points for defeating people or for solving things in his life (for instance, patching things up with Kim). It also seems that people in that universe have coins for blood, since Gideon coughs up a coin when injured and people burst into coins when defeated.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* The main character in ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheNatural20'' comes from one of these, and still works on Dungeons and Dragons rules logic while in the Harry Potter verse, causing confusion and occasional terror for everyone involved. He's also a {{Munchkin}}.
* In the AlternateUniverse of ''Fanfic/HarryPotterAndTheMunchkins'', all wizards are players and the schoolbooks are detailed enough that they can be used as RPG core books. As discussions of maximizing feats and stats are everywhere, Harry takes a correspondence course in Personal Optimization to get the most out of his growth. He also spends some semesters having teachers analyze the odd merits appearing on his CharacterSheet - Potter Family Curse and a Mother's Love.
* ''FanFic/TheTabulaAvatarUniverse'' kicks off with the [[Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer Scoobies]] being uploaded to ''[[VideoGame/BaldursGate Baldur's Gate 2]]'' when the Trio find the ''[[ForWantOfANail unbroken]]'' memory crystal from 'Tabula Rasa'.
** Xander's aware of how Dungeons & Dragons' magical weapons scale with pluses and minuses. When he proves it as a working model, it's named after him.
** That certain enchantments work differently between the first story and VideoGame/NeverwinterNights due to the edition change is [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] by the characters.
* ''Fanfic/PonyPOVSeries'': In the Finale arc, Discord's endgame plan involves RewritingReality so that all stories and rumors printed on the Foal Free Press come true. It's more horrible than it sounds, since most of what was printed was horror stories. Fortunately, [[spoiler:Havoc saw this coming and had Button Mash spread RPG rules]]. As a result, the world now runs on RPG rules as well as horror story rules, allowing the protagonists a chance to defeat the monsters spawned.
* There are ''God knows how many Manga/{{Naruto}}'' fanfics where Naruto discovers his life is an RPG video game (usually GroundhogPeggySue stories, to allow him to [[DeathIsCheap repeatedly die and restart or load his save]]), to the point that they're practically a subgenre unto themselves. ''FanFic/NarutoGameOfTheYearEdition'' is probably the most prominent.

* Not a true example, but the 1984 thriller ''Film/CloakAndDagger'' briefly flirted with this in its opening sequence. It begins with superspy Jack Flack infiltrating an embassy and dispatching a bunch of colourful ethnic archetypes with an arsenal of James Bond gadgets, then escapes down the street when a gate closes in front of him. Suddenly, a pair of giant [[http://www.synthtopia.com/content/wp-content/uploads/2008/05/d12-dungeons-and-dragons-die.jpg numbered dodecahedrons]] roll towards him. Cut to two kids playing a board game, the boy yelling triumphantly, "Jack Flack escapes!"
* Being an adaptation of the graphic novel, ''Film/ScottPilgrimVsTheWorld'' also runs on video game logic.

* TheIntercontinentalUnionOfDisgustingCharacters (IUDC) is an entire novel (with two sequels) set in this type of world. The RPG in question is 1st and (later) 2nd Edition AD&D.
* [[http://www.ulillillia.us// Ulillillia's]] book ''Literature/TheLegendOfThe10ElementalMasters'' [[UpToEleven pretty much pushes this trope to its limit]].
* Not quite an [=RPG=], but two of the universes from ''Riddle of the Seven Realms'' by Creator/LyndonHardy operate by rules reminiscent of geometry-related board games like Go or Checkers.
* The ''Literature/FateZero'' LightNovel, being a prequel to ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight'', also makes use of the stat sheets found in the VisualNovel. Several of the passive skills and stats listed there also come into play in the plot.
* ''Literature/{{Mogworld}}'' is a novel told from the perspective of an {{NPC}} in an {{MMORPG}}, who has developed sapience.
* ''Literature/{{Gamearth}}'' Trilogy is told from the point of view of tabletop RPG characters. The world _is_ a hexmap, with visible black borders between the hexes and laws of physics which prevent them from crossing more than so many hex-borders each day.
* ''Kryształy Czasu: Literature/SagaOKatanie'', a Polish fantasy saga-in-progress, is based on its author's tabletop RPG ''Kryształy Czasu''. Aside from its other SoBadItsGood qualities, it also refers to the game's mechanics, such as spell ranks and effects. Supposedly, the author wanted to show how the game mechanics ''actually played out in action'', but the end result is completely inverted.

* ''[[http://www.drunkenwyvern.com/songs.html Dragon Road]]'' song apparently describes such an OOC-verse:
--> They all jumped upon us ''because we were lawful good.''
* The lyrics to the ''Morlocks'' song "Hardcore" contains the line "What's bad for you is good for me, I've got less than five in Humanity", a reference to ''Vampire: The Masquerade''.

[[folder:Real Life]]
* A university professor came up with a revolutionary new method for grading his students: [[http://www.itnews.com.au/News/169862,employers-look-to-gaming-to-motivate-staff.aspx couch grades in gaming terms]], and he goes on to suggest that business managers do the same.
** This strategy is called Gamification and it can be used to motivate and teach all sorts of things such as learning instruments. See [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1dLK9MW-9sY here]] for more information.

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''Franchise/{{Disgaea}}'' characters are fully aware that they're in a turn based-strategy RPG, and thus will occasionally make comments about character levels, critical hits, save points, and whether or not the final boss has an [[OneWingedAngel additional form]] that grants him stat bonuses.
-->'''[[VideoGame/{{Disgaea 4 A Promise Unforgotten}} Valvatorez:]]''' That wasn't his full power! We can expect at least three levels of transformations, with additional power multipliers every time!
* ''VideoGame/{{Fallout 2}}'' invokes this from time to time, which is no surprise, given how flimsy the FourthWall is. Some party members even comment, "Hm. I feel that I've reach an arbitrary experience threshold and gained some new abilities," upon leveling up.
* Subverted for laughs in ''Videogame/{{Touhou}} 11: Subterranean Animism''. If you play as Marisa with Alice's assist, they spend the entire storyline sassing each other and discussing the quest in terms of RPG tropes. They're also ''[[WrongGenreSavvy hilariously wrong]]'', since SA is a BulletHell-style ShootEmUp like most ''Touhou'' games.
* The Fargarthians of ''VideoGame/SunsetOverdrive'' believe they live in an RPG due to trauma caused by the mutant outbreak occuring during a LARP session. As such, they'll send you on quests (although quests were already a normal part of the game), talk about gaining levels (which act as social standing), and yell "I'm losing HP!" when they get hurt.

[[folder:Visual Novels]]
* Actually played completely serious in ''VisualNovel/FateStayNight''. All Heroes get a viewable CharacterSheet that explains their skills, stats and abilities, all in RPGMechanicsVerse, even how many turns an area spell lasts for,
** In-game as well, more than once the characters quantify mana, and then spend the rest of the scene treating it literally like MP.
** It should be noted, however, that Servants' abilities is something that every master views differently because their minds interpret the information given to them in different terms. The whole 'RPG CharacterSheet' method is simply [[TheHero Shirou's]] mind's way of quantifying the information. [[OneOfUs Now, what does that tell us about Shirou?]]
*** It's shown to be in full effect in the prequel, however, where everybody uses the same terms that Shirou does. That, or all the Masters there are OneOfUs.
*** Actually it's revealed that magic the Nasuverse as a whole is measure and quantify this way. So it's less of everyone uses the same terms that Shirou does and more that Shirou is using the terms that everyone else in the Nasuverse uses.

* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', which operates more or less according to the ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' rules. As a matter of fact, the very first strip takes place when the ''D&D'' rules change from 3rd to 3.5th Edition.
** Besides the page quote, it's also lampshaded in [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0606.html a dream/hallucination]] Belkar has about Lord Shojo telling him he needs to play "The Game" (basically that he needs to at least pretend to go along with people's rules) and Belkar briefly thought he meant the whole webcomic is a DeepImmersionGaming of some players' campaign.
** They also sometimes measure time in [[MediumAwareness "strips"]], and make direct references to "this comic". That's right -- they're not just [[MediumAwareness aware they're in an RPG]], they're aware they're in a comic strip that's ''set'' in an RPG.
** And neither last nor least, it is Medium Aware enough to permit one character (the thief) to steal the diamond off her cast page entry when they needed some cash.
* ''Webcomic/{{Goblins}}'' plays with this, with a "player character" cleric worshiping "the dungeon master" as a god. One character didn't die from an injury until they realized that Mage Armor didn't grant damage reduction. WordOfGod is that their world runs according to a heavily [[HouseRules houseruled]] D&D ruleset, and that all combat results are legitimate under these altered rules.
** It's a {{Deconstruction}} of life as RPG fodder characters, so it (partially) breaks the rule about comedies.
* ''Webcomic/{{Erfworld}}'' has a main character recruited from the real world to become a general inside a world that looks like a fantasy-themed TurnBasedStrategy game. Many of the various mechanical simplifications of a turn based strategy game are literally true in Erfworld (for instance, the two sides of the war take turns, and each side's units instantly recover hit points and movement when their turn begins). One of the few places where it is not played for laughs. Well, okay, where it's only sometimes [[http://www.erfworld.com/book-1-archive/?px=%2F115.jpg played for laughs]].
* ''Webcomic/EightBitTheater'' does this, although it's generally only Red Mage who thinks this way. For example he was once able to survive an otherwise fatal fall by "forgetting" to record the damage. However, it appears Red Mage is only right [[RuleOfFunny when it makes for a better joke]]. He also accesses his items by speaking the menu options out loud.
** A one off joke horrifically subverts part of this concept. All Red Mages believed the world ran on RPG rules. Because they considered themselves scientists this had to be tested empirically. Sadly they began by trying to determine hit points and ended up slaughtering each other ForScience.
** At first, even Black Mage seemed to minorly operate on this (well, more VideoGame mechanics than anything else, really), and had him reading a game guide to ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyI'' (the game upon which the comic is based). He got over this relatively fast, though, leaving RM as the only "metagamer" in the series.
*** Though he apparently still has the thing on him.
*** Thief likewise displayed such MediumAwareness early on, as seen by the line "Your GP or your HP."
** One example of the thing obeying the laws of the game it's based on is when they notice it only became night and then morning when one of them [[TraumaInn stayed at an inn]].
** Red Mage has fun with it, telling Thief how interrogation is just emptying "pockets" of information from a victim's mind, and you can just remove a lock from a "pocket" in a door.
* Played for laughs in the late, lamented ''{{RPG World}}'' webcomic, which runs on console RPG rules. Cherry was the only character who consistently seemed bewildered by the characters not wondering why numbers appeared over their heads when they were injured in battle, etc.
* ''Webcomic/{{Adventurers}}'' takes place in a console RPG with characters that are well aware of the game mechanics, and one [[OnlySaneMan repeatedly complains about how ridiculous they are]].
* ''Webcomic/WillSaveWorldForGold'' is set in 4th Edition ''D&D'', and makes fun of many different RPG Tropes.
* ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation'' uses the rules and setting for {{Exalted}} Second Edition, with some house rules thrown in, in a similar manner to Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick.
** The author specifically states that ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'' inspired the creation of ''Webcomic/KeychainOfCreation''. There is at least a unique art style and a significant difference in main characters to its credit.
* Now defunct webcomic ''Ledgermain'' also took place in one of these.
* ''Webcomic/GoldCoinComics'' does this all the time. The most notable of which might possibly be when Lance first encountered an actual save point within his own universe.
* ''Webcomic/CaptainSNES'' has a few of these, due to the fact that said universes [[TrappedInTVLand are actual video games.]]
** It even goes further: items like the [[AppliedPhlebotinum Reality Stabilization Belt]] allow characters to carry over ''their'' RPG mechanics to other worlds. When [[VideoGame/ChronoTrigger Crono]], who has a really fast ATB gauge and is used to fighting on the overworld instead of after a FightWoosh, came to the world of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIV'', [[GameBreaker he became essentially a killing god.]]
* ''Webcomic/{{Yamara}}'' has [[TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons AD&D]] mechanics (not surprising, as it was published in ''DragonMagazine''):
--> '''Blag''': Cause ya see, girlie, nobody cares if ya got an 18 Intelligence. Nobody'd care if you were one o' th' lucky broads with a 18 '''Wisdom!''' All that counts is a nice, round 18--
--> ([[http://www.yamara.com/yamaraclassic/index.php?date=2005-06-02 see the right answer]])
* The world of ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'', while otherwise being the Text-Based Adventure Game's equivalent to this trope, has a [[CallAHitPointASmeerp strife]] system that appears to be based on turn-based RPG combat. The GameWithinAGame, Sburb, also features an "echeladder" that seems to parody an RPG's level system-- and since the lines between Sburb and reality are so blurry as to be nearly non-existent, this could be said to apply to the story's "real world" as well.
** Its predecessor, ''Webcomic/ProblemSleuth'' is probably a straighter example with both Adventure games and [=RPG's=]. Most of the first part is dedicated to {{Lampshading}} Adventure game mainstays (''especially'' SolveTheSoupCans puzzles and YouCantGetYeFlask), but the fight with [[BigBad DMK]] borrows a lot more from RPG tropes like TurnsRed, OneWingedAngel, StatOVision, EleventhHourSuperpower, {{Super Move Portrait Attack}}s, etc, etc.
** Homestuck also has the Class and Aspect system, which parodies classes in [=RPGs=]. Every player has an Aspect - a fundamental aspect of reality - and a Class - how they make changes with or to their Aspect. Some get very useful powers, like Roxy's ability to conjure items from nonexistence, Terezi's ability to see [[SelfDefeatingProphecy the consequences of actions]] or Eridan channeling his hope in the form of deadly BlackMagic. Other powers, however, have not proved as useful, which is where the parody comes into play, with some powers being so useless they ''harm'' their users. Then again, it's also implied that the job of this system is to invoke CharacterDevelopment in its players, with both the Aspect and Class "choosing" its users instead of the other way around, so no ability is truly useless.
* ''[[http://www.hellsoft.net/hmp/index.htm Hael me Plz!!11]]'' happens inside a "non-official" ''VideoGame/RagnarokOnline'' server, and all the cast are [[GenreSavvy very aware of it]], even if one of the characters managed to bring with him a Flame spell from ''{{VideoGame/Lineage 2}}''.
* ''[[http://www.onyxsparrow.com/prepare_to_die Prepare to Die]]'' is entirely built around a D&D-esque world, complete with character sheets, [=NPCs=], skill checks, and die rolls.
* ''Webcomic/RumorsOfWar'' uses an RPGMechanicsVerse according to RuleOfDrama, of all things.
* ''Webcomic/ABeginnersGuideToTheEndOfTheUniverse'', though the protagonist is the only person aware of this.
** Alternatively, it could be argued that the RPG mechanics only apply to him: when he is hurt he loses hit points, but when other people are hurt they begin bleeding like normal people.
* ''Webcomic/TurnSignalsOnALandRaider'' has elements of this, only with tabletop wargaming instead of tabletop RPG.
* ''Webcomic/RustyAndCo'' features three MonsterAdventurers (who saw who had the better deal in the D&D world) working through levels. In the first level (story), Mimic tells Rusty to go ahead and eat the sword stuck in him -- there being no rules about tetanus. Plus, of course, having Roxy consult the ''Monster Manual'' while Cube is working his way through the bears.
* ''Webcomic/SidequestStory'' uses elements of this trope, with characters having health bars, and damage and healing being shown with -/+ numbers, respectively.
* In ''Webcomic/ByTheBook'' the main characters became adventurers simply by reading a copy of the "Adventurer's Handbook, v.3.5" and filling out character sheets.
* ''TheGamer'' has an interesting example in that the setting as a whole apparently isn't RPGMechanicsVerse; it's more that the main character's superpower is to interact with the world as if it were one.
* ''Webcomic/CorgiQuest'' uses ''TabletopGame/{{Pathfinder}}'' rules for everything, and the author keeps up-to-date character sheets for the main party available.
* ''Webcomic/UberQuest'' appears to work like an MMORPG.

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''WebVideo/CollegeSaga'' is specifically a ''Franchise/FinalFantasy''-mechanics verse, and to a certain degree runs on ''Final Fantasy'' logic as well, played completely for laughs.
* ''WebAnimation/TheAdventuresOfLedoAndIx'' seems to take place inside an old-school RPG, with the titular pair being aware of things like their inventory, the existence of points, the difference between "people" and {{NPC}}s, and their extremely truncated and half-assed backstories. Given that the series' objective is to use "the visual vocabulary of retro video games to explore the human fear of both the unknown and the known," it may count as a {{Deconstruction}} of how creepy it would be to live in such a place.
* ''WebVideo/RPGParade'' is set in world with RPG style battles and leveling up, even if it is shot in a life lie world.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CodeMonkeys'' has life bars and things like that, though they don't mean anything.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' has occasional jokes along these lines, most specifically in "Ignition Point", where Finn and Flame King explicitly refer to the ''Franchise/DungeonsAndDragons'' alignment system and experience mechanic when discussing the possibility of Finn bringing Flame Princess over to Good.