The Roleplayer

The Roleplayer is the Tabletop RPG player who plays mainly to create a character and tell a story. Most of them aren't too concerned with Min-Maxing - their abilities are based more on whether they fit their conception of the character than pure combat effectiveness.

These players tend to be most interested in the storyline of the game, which means they frequently interact with the NPCs and try to find solutions to in-game conflicts without resorting to combat. They may even insert their own story into the games, providing a wealth of background information which the Game Master can tap for plot hooks (not all GMs will do this, though).

The roleplayer is generally considered the golden goose of the Tabletop RPG for the depth that he adds to the gaming environment. Not to mention the fact that he's not as laconic or stereotypical as The Real Man, or as potentially annoying as The Loonie, and the Munchkin. However, in some cases extreme roleplayers can be problematic:

  • Drama Queen (a.k.a. Thespian): A negative roleplayer who seems a little too attached to his character. From the description he hands in, you'd get the impression that the character would be a Mary Sue if the Game Master wasn't firmly in control of the story (and if they are the Game Master, they'll be a GMPC of the worst kind). These types may have a tendency to hog the spotlight, to the point where the other players stop having fun. And God forbid you kill his character...
  • Anti-Munchkin: The type opposed to optimization of any kind. He'll frequently hand in characters which are wildly incompatible with the style of the game (such as an underwater basket weaver in a dungeon crawl), or the rest of the party (like a Paladin in a group where everyone else is evil, though sometimes this is just a Munchkin looking for an excuse to kill the party). Any objections will be met with a rant about character conceptualization, implying that the other players at the table are nothing but power-gaming Munchkins who are there only to kill monsters and steal their stuff.

Those above types are frequent punching bags of The Loonie and Griefers for being somewhat high-strung and humorless, especially in the MMORPG (of all places) where they occasionally show up. Some games, such as World of Warcraft, even have RP-oriented servers where this style of play is theoretically encouraged (whether a given RP server succeeds is open to interpretation). World of Warcraft in technical terms is a largely static environment, and is far more heavily designed to cater to Munchkin/MinMaxer players, however; so while it is possible for players of this type to do what makes them happy, Wo W will generally require that they work much harder at it, than they might need to in other games.

A Player Archetypes subtrope, along with The Real Man, The Loonie and the Munchkin.


Anime and Manga
  • Zelgadis from Slayers is a tongue-in-cheek nod to the angst-filled backgrounds many role-players come up with.
  • Akatsuki of Log Horizon keeps roleplaying as a Ninja even after the Apocalypse.

  • Joanna in The Gamers: Dorkness Rising. Somewhat subverted, in that she only comes off this way because of the crowd of (shockingly ineffective) munchkins she games with.

Web Comics
  • Ben playing Kenobi in Darths & Droids. Annie playing Shmi and Anakin even more so.
    • Pete's nephew Corey is picking this up while playing "Adam Lars." Even going so far as to continue to try and follow his character's NPC parents demand to destroy R2-D2 and C3PO
      "My team is my family. I'm no rebel. Am I supposed to roleplay or not?"
    • Jim playing Han Solo as of the Episode V storyline. He has been playing up his character as The Ditz, such as making him call tauntauns "won-tons". Of course, the others have trouble distinguishing between Jim roleplaying a ditz, and Jim just being himself (his previous character thought Jedi was a type of cheese). Until Jim reveals he's actually playing Han as an amoral traitor, who's been selling the Rebellion out.
  • Gimli in DM of the Rings: "Who let the roleplayer into the group?". He later eased up and became more of The Smart Guy, though he's still the only guy who pays attention to the story.
    • Also a good joker.
      Gimli: Let me see if I follow this: I am either alive or dead, based on the state of a die which we cannot observe without altering. Do I now exist in both states at once? Am I both living and dead? Have I become some sort of Uncertainty Lich?
      DM: Uh, that really won't be necessary. If I get behind my desk I can see the orc rolled a five. He missed.
      Gimli: Do not mock me, mortal! I am the master of life and death!
      DM: Just take your turn, rock-jockey.
    • From the same writer, one of the players in Chainmail Bikini (whose character wore the titular garment) was a very exaggerated version (later, while playing a bard, sang at the top of his lungs during a battle). Notably, while the other characters were based on the writer's own RPG experiences, the roleplayer was entirely made up.
  • Gabe from Penny Arcade is a borderline Anti-Munchkin:
  • Sara of Knights of the Dinner Table.
  • Arguably, Elan from The Order of the Stick.
    • Also arguably, Roy. Note the incident with the Orcs in "The Origin of PC's".
      • Somewhat different in that Roy, while definitely a role player, is actually fairly optimized for his role, stats-wise - it's just that he's optimized as meat-shield and tactically talented party leader at the same time. It helps that he rolled really well on his stats when he was born- he's got all the physical stats necessary to be an effective fighter, plus a combination of mental stats that make his brain Tastier than V's (V being the party Wizard, a class that requires high mental stats).
      • This explains his father's disappointment with his career choices.
  • Tavros from Homestuck is an example of this. He picks a class that is rather ineffective in combat just because it matches his personality and interests. It turns out badly for him. VERY badly
  • Vilbert von Vampire from 8-Bit Theater.
  • One Piece: Grand Line 3.5 has Natalie, who tends to go a little overboard in describing Nami's every move and thought. Gracefully.
    • Luke fits to a lesser extent; while not very good at making Luffy introspective, he has a special d20 he breaks out every time he has to make a social skills role. It has nothing but 1s on it. It's also noted that Cory helped him design his character, but didn't help with his equipment, resulting in Luke spending most of his starting cash on the Straw Hat simply because 'it looked cool'.
  • Friendship is Dragons: Rarity's player is highly invested in her 'social rogue's' Character Development. Fluttershy's player is also more interested in her character and the setting than the actual combat aspects of the game.
  • In Larp Trek, Troi (naturally) and Data (a bit more surprisingly) fall into this category.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Sarah is interested in creating a narrative with her Magickal Cards deck, rather than just using the most powerful cards (although when she gets a really powerful card, she's torn until she comes up with a narrative that lets her use it). She goes on to play Sam, who shares her attitude enough to use it against her.
  • In Knights of Buena Vista most of the players have aspects of this due to the generous roleplaying XP in the FantasiaLand system, but Bill is the most dedicated. He will refuse bonuses if the situation wouldn't call for it, and when he puts on background music to get his friends in the right mood, it has to be appropriate. He refuses to use "Danger Zone" until they are actually fighting in planes.

Web Original
  • Arthéon from Noob, showing it mostly via interest in the game's background and refusal to de-activate the "taking distance between avatars into account" option on the microphones unless it's essential to the success of the quest. Heimdäl and Ystos show elements of it also in the novel and later seasons of the webseries. In the movie, Battos insists on getting important news via someone else handing him paper messages in-game, depite the existence of the in-game forums.
  • Godfree from Sword Art Online Abridged, who plays up his knight persona and speaks in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.

Examples of roleplaying games that cater to this kind of player:

  • Essentially, since this kind of gamer tends not to care about the particulars of the rules, systems that are rules-light, rules-free or diceless are said to be favored by these gamers, or to encourage this kind of gameplay. Of course, this is easily misinterpreted as "people using other systems can't roleplay", leading to a common discussion on RPG message board.
  • Examples of such rules-light systems include Amber DRPG, Over the Edge, Nobilis, and several others.
  • Or pretty much any system where a highly experienced character can be killed in one round by a basic weapon, in other words, not D20.
  • GM-less storytelling RPG's tend to be this—like Forsooth!, Microscope, and Fiasco.
  • Space 1889 the game´s intended audience is people who like to play an adventure type story while playing a Victorian character. The very simple rules do not leave much room for min-maxing or munchkining. A munchkin player with a repeating rifle and a good marksmanship skill could kill the technologically inferior enemies easily, but once the enemy is in range there is very little that will protect him from enemy musketballs and arrows (no dodge skill, no camouflage, no bullet stopping armor unless we are talking about close combat). On the other hand, the detailed background put much emphasis on understanding Victorian society and mindset.
  • Neverwinter Nights is one of the few games with completely dedicated roleplaying servers, mostly due to the easy custom map design and chat systems. A good way to tell how hardcore a roleplay server is would be by looking at the character builds. More relaxed servers have players who are just as good at creating extremely optimized and complex builds as they are at roleplaying. Other servers impose restrictions on multi-classing to keep things more realistic.