What's the Difference?

RPG, which stands for Role-Playing Game, can be compared to RPG, which stands for Rocket Propelled Grenade, in terms of their respective contexts and purposes. While RPG as a gaming genre involves players assuming the roles of fictional characters and engaging in immersive storytelling and character development, RPG as a weapon refers to a handheld anti-tank weapon that uses rocket propulsion to launch a grenade. Despite the stark contrast in their nature, both RPGs share the commonality of being tools for entertainment or combat, albeit in vastly different realms.


DefinitionRole-Playing GameRocket-Propelled Grenade
Primary UseEntertainmentMilitary
GameplayInteractive storytellingExplosive projectile weapon
Player ControlVirtual characterPhysical weapon
Character DevelopmentLeveling up, acquiring skillsN/A
SettingFantasy, sci-fi, historical, etc.N/A
MultiplayerCooperative or competitiveN/A
StorylineVaries, often with quests and missionsN/A
EquipmentWeapons, armor, itemsExplosive projectile
PopularityWidely played by gamersUsed in military conflicts

Further Detail


Role-playing games (RPGs) have been a popular genre in the gaming industry for decades, captivating players with immersive worlds, engaging storylines, and character development. Within the RPG genre, there are different subcategories, including tabletop RPGs (TRPGs) and video game RPGs (VG-RPGs). In this article, we will explore the attributes of both TRPGs and VG-RPGs, highlighting their similarities and differences.

Gameplay Mechanics

Both TRPGs and VG-RPGs share the fundamental gameplay mechanic of allowing players to assume the roles of fictional characters and make decisions on their behalf. However, the execution of this mechanic differs between the two formats.

In TRPGs, players gather around a table, usually with pen and paper, and a game master guides the narrative. Players describe their character's actions, and the game master resolves the outcomes based on dice rolls and predetermined rules. TRPGs emphasize imagination, social interaction, and collaborative storytelling.

On the other hand, VG-RPGs utilize computer software to simulate the game world and automate many aspects of gameplay. Players control their characters through a graphical user interface, interacting with the environment and engaging in combat through menus, buttons, or real-time action. VG-RPGs often provide a more visually immersive experience, with detailed graphics, sound effects, and music.

While TRPGs rely heavily on player creativity and improvisation, VG-RPGs offer a more structured and streamlined experience, with the computer handling calculations and resolving actions instantly.

World Building and Exploration

One of the key attractions of RPGs is the opportunity to explore vast and intricate game worlds. Both TRPGs and VG-RPGs excel in this aspect, albeit in different ways.

In TRPGs, world building is a collaborative effort between the game master and the players. The game master describes the setting, non-player characters (NPCs), and various locations, while players contribute to the world's lore through their character's actions and decisions. TRPGs often provide a high degree of freedom, allowing players to explore the game world in any direction they choose.

VG-RPGs, on the other hand, present pre-designed game worlds that players can explore at their own pace. These worlds are meticulously crafted, with detailed landscapes, towns, dungeons, and hidden secrets. VG-RPGs often feature expansive maps, filled with side quests, collectibles, and interactive elements that encourage exploration. While players have less influence on the world's creation, they can still immerse themselves in richly developed environments.

Character Development and Progression

Character development is a crucial aspect of RPGs, allowing players to shape their characters' abilities, skills, and personalities. Both TRPGs and VG-RPGs offer various systems for character progression.

In TRPGs, character development is often driven by experience points (XP) gained through successful actions and achievements. Players allocate these points to improve their character's attributes, learn new abilities, or acquire equipment. TRPGs frequently emphasize character growth through role-playing, encouraging players to make decisions that align with their character's motivations and values.

VG-RPGs, on the other hand, typically employ experience-based leveling systems. Players earn experience points by defeating enemies or completing quests, which gradually increase their character's level. With each level gained, players can allocate skill points, unlock new abilities, and equip more powerful gear. VG-RPGs often provide a wide range of character customization options, allowing players to specialize in specific playstyles or roles.

While TRPGs focus on character development through narrative and player-driven choices, VG-RPGs offer a more structured progression system, rewarding players for their in-game accomplishments.

Combat and Gameplay Challenges

Combat encounters and gameplay challenges are integral parts of RPGs, testing the skills and strategies of players. TRPGs and VG-RPGs approach combat and gameplay challenges differently.

In TRPGs, combat is often resolved through turn-based systems, where players take sequential actions based on their character's abilities and the game master's instructions. Players describe their actions, roll dice to determine success or failure, and the game master narrates the outcomes. TRPG combat emphasizes tactical decision-making, teamwork, and improvisation, as players must adapt to dynamic situations.

VG-RPGs, on the other hand, offer a variety of combat systems, including turn-based, real-time with pause, or action-based mechanics. Combat encounters in VG-RPGs are typically more visually dynamic, with flashy animations, special effects, and strategic elements. Players control their characters directly, utilizing a combination of attacks, spells, and abilities to defeat enemies. VG-RPG combat often requires quick reflexes, precise timing, and strategic thinking.

While TRPG combat focuses on collaborative decision-making and imagination, VG-RPG combat provides a more visually engaging and action-oriented experience.


Both TRPGs and VG-RPGs offer unique and compelling experiences within the RPG genre. TRPGs excel in fostering creativity, social interaction, and collaborative storytelling, while VG-RPGs provide visually immersive worlds, structured gameplay mechanics, and a more streamlined experience. Whether you prefer the intimate tabletop setting or the digital realm of video games, RPG enthusiasts can find enjoyment in both formats, each offering its own set of attributes and gameplay possibilities.

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