RPG Formats

by Hawke Robinson published 2019/01/08 14:42:00 GMT-7, last modified 2019-01-08T14:51:52-07:00
Terminology for Role-Playing Game Formats.

While some prefer the term form, we use the term format to define the different manifestations of role-playing games.

See the RPG Model for more information on all of the formats and their relationships. This page just provides a quick list of the most common terminology we use.

According to the RPG Model by Hawkes-Robinson (2004, 2018), there are 5 major RPG formats under the root of RPG.


Format vs. Form

Over the years since writing our first RPG Research essay in 1983, we have gone back and forth between "Form" and "Format" when referring to the different manifestations of role-playing games from tabletop, to live-action, to tabl




Role Playing versus Role-playing

We use the hyphenated term role-playing.


RPG = Role-Playing Game

Role-playing Game. The root term, also synonymous with tabletop role-playing games originally, but different cohort populations in later years conflate with live-action role-play (LARP) or various electronic role-playing games (ERPG), or computer-based role-playing games (CRPG). We use RPG either as the root all-inclusive term, or just tabletop, depending on the sentence context.

We list the 5 formats alphabetically when in a list: ERPG, HRPG, LARP, SABM, & TRPG.

Variants include:

RPGs = Role-playing games (noun)

RPGer = Role-playing gamer (noun)

RPGing = Role-playing gaming (verb)


ERPG = Electronic Role-Playing Game




HRPG = Hybrid Role-Playing Game




LARP = Live-action Role-Play (Game)




SABM = Solo Adventures Books or Modules






TRPG = Tabletop Role-playing game.

Tabletop is one word since about 1810, we do not use TTRPG.

We also often refer to just RPG as synonymous to TRPG (when used in correct context) since it is the original RPG format.


RPG Settings & Business Sectors














Writing, Designing, Creating, Publishing

















See the section on Genre here...











Document Actions

Add comment

You can add a comment by filling out the form below. Plain text formatting. Web and email addresses are transformed into clickable links. Comments are moderated.