Role-playing is the act of taking on a fictional role in a fictional plot, often on a forum specially designed for this activity, though, role-playing may also be done over instant message clients, chat rooms, e-mail, "pen and paper", and live play. Role-plays that involve multiple users and textual methods can be compared to collaborative, interactive books, while role-plays involving live-play can be compared to stage acting. Role-playing is considered a form of entertainment.


Post-by-post is a term used to describe a role-play that uses such a system. A post-by-post role-play is a role-play that progresses little by little via individual text-based posts made by different people. People interact this way by adding snippets of story and dialogue to the role-play, each person making their own contribution and moving the role-play along using their own characters and non-playable characters. This kind of role-play ends when the host or the group decides that it should, or when no one continues to role-play.

Forums and Chat Rooms[]

Role-plays done via forums and chat rooms are usually group role-plays with more than two participants. These can range from a few people to a gross amount. When role-plays get very large, there is often confusion as to how the plot is progressing and who is interacting with who, which is a problem that can be easily solved with quoting functions and out-of-character comments that clearly state who the person is interacting with in the post.

Instant Message Clients and E-mail[]

Role-plays done via instant message clients and e-mail are usually one-on-one role-plays, where only two people interact together instead of a group. These can be fairly simple or even more elaborate than some group role-plays. Role-plays of this nature are often assumed to be sexual due to the privacy involved, though, they often lack any sort of sexual content.

Pen and Paper[]

When people think of "pen and paper" role-plays, Dungeons and Dragons is usually what comes to mind, however, there are many other kinds of table-top role-playing games. These role-plays can have very simple to very complex rules, and can have little to huge amounts of pre-construction for the setting and characters. Some table-top role-plays use figurines or cut-outs to aid in visualization, though, many people often ignore these extras.


Role-playing in a live setting is a various field. It can consist of as little as one person to many people. Often times when people think of live-play, they either envision pretend medieval warriors duking it out or a married couple locked in the bedroom while donning leather outfits.