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RPG-Mechanics Verse

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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.

Initially, it looks like a standard Role-Playing Game Verse — but then the characters explicitly start referring to spot checks, hit points in Stat-O-Vision, roleplaying, Always Chaotic Evil monsters, and other Role-Playing Game Terms. Is this an RPG in which the characters' players weave in and out of character and this is represented by the characters themselves speaking, or perhaps a video game which breaks the Fourth Wall more often than usual?

Nope — or at least it is not shown. The ’Verse this takes place in really does work exactly like a tabletop RPG.

Because of the Fourth Wall-breaking implications, this usually happens only in comedies. Frequently takes place in a Purely Aesthetic Era, especially for Fantasy games.

Not to be confused with: Sudden Game Interface, Deep-Immersion Gaming, Campaign Comic.


Especially in the last several years the genre has seen a spike in popularity, partially gaining interest from the same audience that was interested in series like Sword Art Online, Ready Player One, and The Legendary Moonlight Sculptor. Note that those series are not examples of this trope, as the "verse" in question is understood by the characters to be a game. Following these series, a new subgenre developed and became known as Lit RPG. Unlike full examples of this trope, a Lit RPG blends traditional narration with elements of a gaming experience, describing quests, achievements and other events typical of a video game. The narration in a Lit RPG work must abide by the rules of a game while filling it with conflict and drama. While human protagonists are aware of the game's nature (regardless of being able to log out), this trope is in effect for NPC characters controlled by AIs. Lit RPG works are set in fictional games, commonly featuring advanced VR technology or outright Brain Uploading. Their use of gaming mechanics and attributes sets them apart from traditional game novelizations. The success of the new genre sparked the creation of a new subgenre named RealRPG which is essentially this trope. A RealRPG work is defined by the protagonists finding themselves in a reality governed by RPG rules (with other genres possible). This is most often either the work of some higher entity moving people into such a world, or this entity just changing reality as the protagonists knew it, turning Earth into essentially a game server.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • The anime Beet the Vandel Buster (started in 2002) which features experience levels printed on the characters' chest and money for killing monsters. In classic Dragon Quest 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 under-leveled when he first reappeared after the prologue.
  • The even older Magical Circle Guru-Guru features characters who 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, a Hentai OAV series from 1994 based on a manga from 1990 implied to be set in an H-Game fantasy RPG.
  • The Tower of Druaga has elements of this depending that fluctuate from episode to episode.
  • Fortune Quest (in the OAV at least) has levels which are visible to the characters (some of whom complain about not levelling).
  • Largely averted in Delicious in Dungeon, despite being a series about dungeon crawling and the occasional mention of monster levels, nobody ever talks about stats or refers to the world as anything other than completely real.
    • It is elaborated upon that some of the RPG elements, such as resurrection, only apply within the confines of the dungeon itself and don't work in the world outside of it. One of the proposed theories in-universe being that death itself is not allowed inside the dungeons and that souls are chained to their bodies after death, eventually becoming zombies if not treated quickly enough.
  • Log Horizon, despite its numerous lighthearted elements, is very thorough and analytical in analyzing the implications of having The Game Come to Life. Players aren't normal folk: they possess Resurrective Immortality and the ability to summon a Diegetic Interface, 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 learn how to use their class abilities from scratch (Calling Your Attacks is useful but not sufficient). Formerly meaningless Flavor Text becomes Language of Truth. Assorted Necessary Weasel RPG tropes like Inexplicable Treasure Chests 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 internal consistency is maintained.
  • The Hero Is Overpowered But Overly Cautious: All characters, including the gods, have their own numerical stats and specific abilities. This is deconstructed when Seiya hits the level cap and finds that no matter how hard he trains, he'll never be able to stand a chance against Gaeabrande's Demon Lord in a straight fight.
  • Hunter × Hunter has a story arc in which the protagonists get transported into an in-universe video game.
  • Is It Wrong to Try to Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon? 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.
  • Isekai De Kuro No Iyashi Te Tte Yobareteimasu 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.
  • Konosuba: Kazuma's new world runs on this principle, down to its denizens' abilities being gauged by certain parameters (such as Kazuma's ridiculously high Luck and Aqua's crippling deficiency thereof).
  • Overlord: A player of the fictional MMORPG Yggdrasil becomes trapped in the body of his Elder Lich avatar Momonga and transported to a new world, along with his guild's Elaborate Underground Base and its (now-sentient) NPC guardians. While Momonga and the guardians still follow Yggdrasil rules and speak of them frequently, things for the natives are a bit more loose: Their abilities can be broken down into Yggdrasil classes with sufficient examination, but they frequently exist in impossible combinations, and they have no awareness of game concepts like Character Level (at least not in a concrete sense). In addition, they are capable of learning "Martial Art" skills which exist outside the level progression, and which game characters like Momonga cannot learn regardless of effort. Momonga theorises that, while no one in the new world is as strong as a ''Yggdrasil'' character, they also do not possess a level cap. The magic system of the new world is the same as Yggdrasil's, but its inhabitants are capable of inventing new spells which players could not use. It's heavily implied that most of the similarities between the new world and Yggdrasil are the result of players who arrived in the new world centuries before Momonga and taught their magic to the locals, causing it to partially displace the world's native magic in the fabric of reality.
  • The world of The Rising of the Shield Hero has character level, which the main character can see. When the weapon merchant upgrades his armor, he calls the upgrade +1.
  • Sword Art Online: While earlier storylines are simply The Game Come to Life, the Underworld arc blurs the line with RPG-Mechanics Verse: Kirito is trapped in a virtual world used as an incubator for true AIs, where they live and die as humans. However, this world was based on the Virtual Reality MMORPG engine "The Seed", and uses many RPG conceits for the sake of making things easier to simulate (including things shattering when they reach 0 Life) which its inhabitants grow up thinking of as normal. The programmers of this world even state that the only reason they included magic was so that they could Hand Wave odd physics with A Wizard Did It.
  • The setting of 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.
  • So I’m A Spider, So What? is a Japanese Original Webnovel and Manga in which a girl gets transported into another universe and into a monster’s body. She then has to quickly get used to the experience / level up system and figure out how to quickly become stronger so that she’ll avoid becoming food to other monsters. The story has a Skill System that applies to humans, demons, and monsters alike. Skills are solely combat-focused or supplementary to combat; there are no skills for crafting, arts, etc. The system is so ubiquitous two separate religions have popped up around it. Later it's revealed that the system is a stop-gap magical matrix created by the Administrators after the world was nearly destroyed. It prevents additional loss of souls and energy while the world is being repaired. Experience is energy taken from souls of the defeated, spells are essentially programs that only work when interfacing with the system, and skills directly modify the souls of the user.
  • Downplayed in Superior. The setting apparently has HP and MP, the latter of which depletes at consistent rates according to what spells are cast, but HP depletes according to the strength of a hit, and there's never any mention of levels or other stats.
  • Skeleton Soldier Couldn't Protect the Dungeon: It's implied that everyone can level up, but the skeleton soldier is the only one with actual menu screens and system alerts.
  • The world of That Time I Got Reincarnated as a Slime has a skill system that wouldn't be out of place in an RPG. Skills work like programs that people can learn. The main character has an Exposition Fairy in their mind that acts like an AI. Monsters can evolve into higher level monsters by being given names and titles. However, there isn't any mention of things like stats.
  • Deconstructed somewhat in How NOT to Summon a Demon Lord where Diablo wonders why everyone is weaker in the fantasy world than they were in his favourite MMORPG back on Earth. He realizes that fighting monsters to level up isn't popular in a world where people only get one life.

    Comic Books 
  • Scott Pilgrim, 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. He acts as an Audience Surrogate, though, as he doesn't seem to know the most basic rules of his world such as SavePoints and OneUps. It's based on the mechanics from River City Ransom specifically. So if it isn't a full RPG-Mechanics Verse, it's at least an RPG Elements verse.

    Comic Strips 
  • Nodwick would occasionally dive into this in earlier joke-a-day strips, though the print comic arcs tended to be fairly straight-laced Role-Playing Game Verse.
    Nodwick: I guess the 'Lawful Good' in your ad was a typo, right?
    Yeagar: Our cleric placed the ad; she's a bit of an idealist.

    Fan Works 
  • The Games We Play is a The Gamer × RWBY crossover in which the protagonist discovers that his Semblance allows him to affect both himself and his environment as if he were a RPG character.
  • In the Alternate Universe of Harry Potter and the Munchkins, 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 Character Sheet - Potter Family Curse and a Mother's Love.
  • The main character in Harry Potter and the Natural 20 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.
  • The Tabula Avatar Universe kicks off with the Scoobies being uploaded to Baldur's Gate 2 when the Trio find the 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 Neverwinter Nights due to the edition change is Lampshaded by the characters.
  • Pony POV Series: In the Finale arc, Discord's endgame plan involves Rewriting Reality 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, 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 Naruto fanfics where Naruto discovers his life is an RPG video game (usually Groundhog Peggy Sue stories, to allow him to repeatedly die and restart or load his save), to the point that they're practically a subgenre unto themselves. Naruto: Game of the Year Edition is probably the most prominent. There is a significant overlap with the Sudden Game Interface trope. The key distinctions are abilities like save/load, checkpoints or outright contact with the GMs.
  • The Swarm of War contains a minor example, with the Zerg capable of absorbing the Life Energy of their kills to evolve into stronger forms. Later, the Overmind designs a device that can make an entire planet work according to StarCraft rules (conveniently placed resource points and spawn times in the seconds to minutes, that is)... very temporarily due to the steep cost.
  • Shinobi The RPG is a Naruto SI, which later turns also into a Fallout crossover of a kind.
  • Terror Infinity: After agreeing with a pop-up on their computer screens, some people get transported inside a movie with the objective to survive and complete various tasks. After successfully completing their first movie they receive a small resting period and get transported into the next one. Surviving in a single movie will give all members of the same team 1000pts each, while completing various plot quests and hidden quests inside those movies will often give much better rewards. Points and rewards can also be gained from killing members of others teams. The gathered points can be spent after each movie’s completion to acquire various self-enhancements, magical skills, mundane and magical items, etc. Those movies that have been successfully completed by a team can later be unlocked and re-entered by its members for gaining various additional benefits from that movie’s universe. Items that can be used by team members can be categorised in 3 tiers: mundane (e.g. a regular Desert Eagle), modified Mundane (e.g. a Desert Eagle with infinite ammo), and magical (e.g. a magical staff). Magical items trump mundane items, both in offensive and defensive categories. The protagonist’s first entered movie is Resident Evil 1.
  • Misadventures (Злоключения) is a Russian web original inspired by God and Devil World by Zi Chan Bao Zeng, with a few twists. Here, the zombie apocalypse happened and most of the survivors got game interfaces. The main protagonist, however, has been caught by the game interface during an involuntary Brain Uploading. Said upload was set to go into a character of some VR game. Thus the protagonist left his body and finds himself magically grafted into the now real body of a chainsaw-wielding magical girl. The new gamified reality is also connected to a few well-known game realities. Note that the work is strictly NSFW due to strong inspirations from art by supersatanson.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Not a true example, but the 1984 thriller Cloak & Dagger briefly flirts with this in its opening sequence. It begins with superspy Jack Flack infiltrating an embassy and dispatching a bunch of colorful 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 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, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World also runs on video game logic. 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.
  • Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle has the protagonists sucked into a video game. They have three Extra Lives each and all the people they meet can only say what's on their Dialogue Tree.

  • The Intercontinental Union of Disgusting Characters (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.
  • Ulillillia's book The Legend of the 10 Elemental Masters pretty much pushes this trope to its limit.
  • Not quite an RPG, but two of the universes from Riddle of the Seven Realms by Lyndon Hardy operate by rules reminiscent of geometry-related board games like Go or Checkers.
  • The Fate/Zero Light Novel, being a prequel to Fate/stay night, also makes use of the stat sheets found in the Visual Novel. Several of the passive skills and stats listed there also come into play in the plot.
  • Mogworld is a novel told from the perspective of an NPC in an MMORPG, who has developed sapience.
  • 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: Saga O Katanie, a Polish fantasy saga-in-progress, is based on its author's tabletop RPG Kryształy Czasu. Aside from its other So Bad, It's Good 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.
  • The Critical Failures series deals with this, where some annoying players are sent into an RPG game world via magic dice and a pissed Game Master. Inside the Caverns & Creatures game world, they are bound by the game mechanics. Examples include getting special once-a-day class abilities back at midnight, consciously making skill checks and having hit points. In one story, one character falls from a height onto his head and realizes that he should have broken his neck — but the game mechanics have no rules for that style of damage.
  • The webfiction Everybody Loves Large Chests universe features stat-windows, levels, jobs, classes, and other game-like features in proper Lit RPG fashion.
  • Playing to Live by D. Rus. VR technology in this setting comes with the "take-off" phenomenon, which causes irreversible Brain Uploading to players who stay in too immersive VR games for too long. Some people use it benevolently, e.g. giving terminal patients a chance to live a healthy life. Some "take off" to flee from the law. And the game stops being just a game when for the first time a person dies during the "take off", the NPCs go off their scripts, and governments' black-ops troops start duking it out with fantasy demons. The "take-off" carries more than mere data, moving the immortal souls into the games. Thus, the games become independent worlds of this trope, and the Spark of Creation of the human souls means that the demons looking to march across the boundary and to Earth are now very real.
  • God and Devil World (occasionally translated as System of Gods and Demons) is a Chinese original (also occasionally declared a ranobe) series of 8 books written by Zi Chan Bao Zeng. The premise of the series is that a zombie apocalypse happens, but with a twist — all those not turned into a zombie receive game interfaces, turning the world into a massively multiplayer RPG reality.
  • Small Group Tactics by A. Zaytzev. A pretty large group of random people find themselves transported into another reality, given game interfaces, divided into factions and pitted against each other in more or less a blood sport. This is one of the earliest and of the most recommended works of the genre.
  • Buffer by M. Dulepa. Something happened and now some people have powers straight from RPG games. The protagonist finds himself wielding the abilities of a support class from a game in a rapidly changing world.
  • To the Flip Side by S. Davydov. The world didn't end, it just began to behave like a MMORPG. The protagonist refers to his chaotic life as a "trip down the rabbit's hole".
  • World of Karika. The First Player by A. Yemel'yanov. The gods began a game by grabbing some of the not so decent people from our world and dropping them into another, where reality obeys RPG laws. With a major difference - this "server" has permadeath.
  • Gears of the Apocalypse (More Timber Required!) by Y. Georgievich. Several groups of humans find themselves - and several other species — in a likely artificial world. The world behaves close to the WarCraft series of games (i.e. RTS with RPG components).
  • Dark Paladin. Beginning by V. Makhanenko. Commonly to the Real RPG genre, our world has just suddenly switched gears and is now running like a MMORPG. The protagonist finds himself with a mortal enemy, a class which ignores you and a conga of "from the frying pan into the fire" situations.
  • The Very First by M. Svetlyy. "Congratulations, you have joined the game!" was the message every living human received, and this is about to completely change the world. Notable as the protagonists' declared objective is to find out who is responsible for the gamification of reality.
  • Dirty Games by M. Bulyukh. While "Dirt" started out as just a next-generation VR MMORPG, it has apparently become something more. As Hell and Heaven suddenly find out, when players die while connected to "Dirt", their immortal souls can not leave the game, essentially creating a new dimension. While both Powers-that-Be are inherently interested in claiming those souls, the AI running the game has decided that it would be much better off by going insurgent and taking its own shot at divinity.
  • The Threadbare trilogy follows a teddy bear golem in a world that suddenly started working that way a few decades ago. Figuring out exploits is a major part of the universe because there's Rubberband AI difficulty, but no way to avoid the Level Cap at least until events in the third book.
  • Kill the Farm Boy mostly sticks to skewering fantasy genre tropes from other mediums, but there are a few nods to tabletop gaming. For one, Fia complains after dodging a crossbow bolt that it's not fair to start an encounter without waiting her turn, what with initiative. Likewise, the powers that she assumes Argabella, a bard, has are essentially their class abilities from Dungeons & Dragons. (Unfortunately, she didn't quite finish her training at bardic college.)
  • Felix's power in Super Sales on Super Heroes lets him see an object's stats and then spend points to modify said object. It's heavily implied in book 3 that the series takes place in the Otherlife verse, given that Felix's benefactor's name is Runner Norwood.
  • The Phantom Server trilogy. Apparently, every character in the game is controlled by a person, so there are no NPCs. It's just that they have spent so long in the game that they no longer see themselves as anything but that character, so they have, essentially, become NPCs.
  • The universe of I've Been Killing Slimes for 300 Years and Maxed Out My Level is this, power being measured in numerical values, "levels" and "stats." As the name implies, our protagonist Azusa is the highest possible in all respects.

  • 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.
  • Vocaloid: "Party X Party" features Miku, Rin & Len, Kaito, Meiko, and Luka as RPG characters, and the lyrics make reference to stats, classes, and even Level Grinding.

    Video Games 
  • 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 additional form that grants him stat bonuses.
    Valvatorez: That wasn't his full power! We can expect at least three levels of transformations, with additional power multipliers every time!
  • Fallout 2 invokes this from time to time, which is no surprise, given how flimsy the Fourth Wall 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 Touhou Chireiden ~ 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 hilariously wrong, since SA is a Bullet Hell-style Shoot 'em Up like most Touhou games.
  • The Fargarthians of Sunset Overdrive 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.
  • Undertale is both a parody and a rather chilling example of this. The game starts out pretending to be a rather normal RPG, but very quickly you find out that the completely normal ability to save your game is nothing less than the superpower to mess around with time and rewrite time lines. And that's only the tip of the iceberg; not only can certain characters either remember these time resets, or have learned to recognize them in people's behaviour, but it even turns out there has been in-universe scientific research into the power that allows you to do that.
    • Besides that, the game parodies and plays around with all RPG game mechanics. Apparently, in the Underground, it's perfectly normal to turn into a floating heart to fend off attacks.
    • The game also plays around with its user interface, both to diversify boss fights (one boss destroys the Mercy button to make a Pacifist Run solution less obvious) and simply for comedic effect. One very notable parody example is the date with Papyrus, in which the game tells the player to "Press the (C) key on your keyboard to open the dating HUD", which summons a completely nonsensical set of meters, statistics, minimaps and random items.
  • Brief example in Persona 4. Occasionally characters will explicitly state that they've leveled up after gaining enough experience.

    Visual Novels 
  • Actually played completely serious in Fate/stay night. All Heroes get a viewable Character Sheet that explains their skills, stats and abilities, all in RPG-Mechanics Verse, 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 Character Sheet' method is simply Shirou's mind's way of quantifying the information. 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 One of Us.
      • 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.

    Web Animation 
  • The Adventures Of Ledo And Ix 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 NPCs, 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.

    Web Comics 
  • The Order of the Stick, which operates more or less according to the Dungeons & Dragons 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 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 Deep-Immersion Gaming of some players' campaign.
    • They also sometimes measure time in "strips", and make direct references to "this comic". That's right — they're not just aware they're in an RPG, they're aware they're in a comic strip that's set in an RPG. One character (the thief) even stole the diamond off her cast page entry when they needed it to fuel a resurrection spell.
  • In Dragon Mango, the universe frequently functions similarly to a video game with references to stats, Hit Points, item drops, Character Levels, Save Points, and an Arbitrary Headcount Limit, though they are treated more like gags than consistent rules.
  • 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. Word of God is that their world runs according to a heavily 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.
  • Erfworld has a main character recruited from the real world to become a general inside a world that looks like a fantasy-themed Turn-Based Strategy 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 played for laughs. It also reacts a little oddly to certain unexpected loopholes; when all the cities are "awakened" and their main towers gain sentience, the ensuing Genius Locii refuse all orders (while still complying with polite requests), because only units can be commanded, not structures. That and towers apparently have no stats whatsoever. Although it isn't known if it is true or not, some characters think that what afterlife you get when you croak is determine by an invisible stat called a score. Some other weird things is that many buildings in cities are completely empty of workers but still do their function and somehow do their function better when they are visited by a warlord. And because units pop into existence as adults they have no concept of childhood and very little concept of family. Even things like the laws of probability and statistics don't work the same way as they do in our world. Random events are determined by abstract dice which can be manipulated through Luckamancy, however, there is a limited supply of good dice rolls, so blessing someone with good luck steals good dice roles from somebody else.
  • 8-Bit Theater 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 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 For Science!
    • At first, even Black Mage seemed to minorly operate on this (well, more Video Game mechanics than anything else, really), and had him reading a game guide to Final Fantasy I (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 Medium Awareness 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 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.
  • Adventurers! takes place in a console RPG with characters that are well aware of the game mechanics, and one repeatedly complains about how ridiculous they are.
  • Will Save World For Gold is set in 4th Edition D&D, and makes fun of many different RPG Tropes.
  • Keychain of Creation uses the rules and setting for Exalted Second Edition, with some house rules thrown in, in a similar manner to The Order of the Stick.
  • Now defunct webcomic Ledgermain also took place in one of these.
  • Gold Coin Comics 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.
  • Captain SNES: The Game Masta has a few of these, due to the fact that said universes are actual video games.
  • Yamara has AD&D mechanics (not surprising, as it was published in Dragon Magazine):
    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—
  • The world of Homestuck, while otherwise being the Text-Based Adventure Game's equivalent to this trope, has a strife system that appears to be based on turn-based RPG combat. The Game Within a Game, 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.
  • Hael me Plz!!11 happens inside a "non-official" Ragnarok Online server, and all the cast are very aware of it, even if one of the characters managed to bring with him a Flame spell from Lineage 2.
  • Prepare to Die is entirely built around a D&D-esque world, complete with character sheets, NPCs, skill checks, and die rolls.
  • Rumors of War uses an RPG-Mechanics Verse according to Rule of Drama, of all things.
  • A Beginner's Guide to the End of the Universe, 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.
  • Turn Signals on a Land Raider has elements of this, only with tabletop wargaming instead of tabletop RPG.
  • Rusty and Co. features three Monster Adventurers (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.
  • Sidequest Story uses elements of this trope, with characters having health bars, and damage and healing being shown with -/+ numbers, respectively.
  • In By the Book the main characters became adventurers simply by reading a copy of the "Adventurer's Handbook, v.3.5" and filling out character sheets.
  • The Gamer has an interesting example in that the setting as a whole apparently isn't RPG-Mechanics Verse; it's more that the main character's superpower is to interact with the world as if it were one. Interestingly enough, the protagonist's ability is contagious.
  • Corgi Quest uses Pathfinder rules for everything, and the author keeps up-to-date character sheets for the main party available.
  • Uber Quest appears to work like an MMORPG.
  • Awful Hospital: The Inert Vessel turns out to be this, especially after Ms. Green teams up with Celia. Seems Ms. Green has gotten used to it, as even when she returns to the hospital she approaches combat this way.
  • 4 Cut Hero: As part of the setting's general parody of fantasy RPG settings. Damage numbers will appear for some attacks, and occasionally characters will have levels and stats shown to give a sense of the situation.
  • The Witch's Throne: Everyone in the world has a level-up system, life points and stats for fighting.

    Web Original 
  • Arena: Korean web-novel with elements similar to Terror Infinity (see in Fan Works section).
  • One of the gags in ASDF Movie is a guy leveling up after punching another guy in the face.
  • College Saga is specifically a Final Fantasy-mechanics verse, and to a certain degree runs on Final Fantasy logic as well, played completely for laughs.
  • Dungeon Hunter: A Dungeon Master demon gets transported back in time in order to prevent Earth and human civilisation from being destroyed, to kill the other 70 Dungeon Masters, and to become the Demon King. All creatures and monsters in this story have their stat points spread out between Strength, Intelligence, Agility, Stamina, and Magic Power. The total number of base points can not surpass a certain amount, which is different for each creature and is referred to as their maximal potential. For demons, for instance, it’s generally 500, so a demon with 100 base stat points in each category would be at peak of their potential. Aside from the base points, the strength of a creature is also determined by their Titles, Skills, and artefacts. All of these are graded in tiers (Normal→Rare→Unique→Epic) and can grant additional bonus points to the creature’s attributes. These bonus points can help the creature surpass the limitations of its basic potential and greatly improve in power, because after the 90–100pts each single point can make a big difference in power and capabilities. Dungeon Masters can also collect Spending Points in various ways (e.g. by killing “Awakened” humans, killing creatures created in Dungeons of other Masters, killing other Dungeon Masters, completing Achievements, etc) and use these points to obtain monsters or items either through the Dungeon’s interface or during Auctions, which are being organised once a year by dark spirits. Demons don’t die with the destruction of their Dungeon, and Dungeons can be conquered after their previous owner’s elimination. Dimensions featured in the story include Earth, Demon World, Heaven, and “Middle World”.
  • Evolution Theory of the Hunteris a Korean Novel in which 50 years ago the protagonist’s world suddenly turned into a dungeon crawler, with areas of monsters of various levels of strength, loot drop from monsters, upgradable skills, and deterioration of human rights due to power imbalance between regular people and people who were rich or lucky enough to make themselves stronger using the new system.
  • the novel adaptation of Kumo Desu Ga, Nani Ka? (I’m A Spider, So What?): (see the main entry in the Anime/Manga section).
  • Reincarnator: The entire human population gets gradually transported into another dimension by an unknown Scope IX entity. People there have to fight and survive first against each other, then also against other species. Becoming stronger is achieved by consuming runes and acquiring items that appear when creatures and monsters get killed. The dimensions that humans can travel through are arranged into the following chain: Tutorial Zone (Colorless Zone) → Red Zone → Orange Zone → Yellow Zone → ...etc... → Abyss. Factors that distinguish more powerful creatures from the less powerful ones include Stats, Skills, equipped artefacts, and Traits. Runes (which increase stats) and items of each subsequent zone completely trump runes and items of lower zones. A human has the following stats: Strength, Stamina, Agility, Perception, Mana, Magic, Physical Resistance, Magical Resistance. These can be increased from 0%–100% in each Zone’s tier (e.g. Red 0% to Red 100%, followed by Orange 0% to Orange 100%, etc). The story starts at the point when only 4 humans are left in the world, and the protagonist uses a mental time travel artefact belonging to another species in order to reach 50 years back in time and try to save the human race. Subjects touched in the story include game theory, human greed and selfishness, dilemmas of the lesser evil, etc. In the later chapters of the story the gaming and RPG elements get significantly reduced and out of focus. The Wiki Rule applies.
  • RPG Parade is set in world with RPG style battles and leveling up, even if it is shot in a life lie world.
  • Jeffrey C. Wells's "The Proving Grounds", is set in a D&D world. One of the main characters is an intellect devourer who was summoned into existence when he got rolled up on the Wandering Monster Table, and didn't exist prior to this, and at one point it's mentioned that Kelli Thunderhold's great uncle responded to a particularly nasty encounter by tracking down the module's writer. By the same author, "Video Game People Do Not Act Like Normal People" (parts one, two and three) is set in a world that operates by RPG video game rules, although the player character is the only person who realises this, and her companions are continually baffled both by her actions and the fact they work.
  • In PATHCO Barry, the ghost haunting Apollyon's shoes, speaks this way when asked for advice. None of the other characters have any clue what he's on about.
  • TierZoo humorously applies this trope to Real Life animals by describing animals as if they were character classes in an MMORPG called Outside and giving viewers advice on how to optimize their builds.
  • In The Adventure Zone, due to character/actor bleed and constant joking around, it's often hard to tell the difference between the players referring to RPG mechanics and the characters doing so. The continual inconsistency of Travis and Clint's in-character accents doesn't help, either - more than once Travis has accidentally described Magnus doing something, but in Magnus's voice, leading to jokes about Magnus narrating his own actions in third-person. For the most part, however, Griffin seems to reject this trope, insisting on the [NPCs] not referencing game mechanics. A notable exception comes with Jenkins, however, when Taako makes fun of him for manually moving suitcases rather than just using magic, leading Jenkins to defend himself by saying that he's saving spell slots, which only causes further mockery from the players.

    Western Animation 
  • Code Monkeys has life bars and things like that, though they don't mean anything.
  • Adventure Time has occasional jokes along these lines, most specifically in "Ignition Point", where Finn and Flame King explicitly refer to the Dungeons & Dragons alignment system and experience mechanic when discussing the possibility of Finn bringing Flame Princess over to Good.

    Real Life 
  • A university professor came up with a revolutionary new method for grading his students: 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 here for more information.


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