What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#1
So I thought of this after posting some recommendations. OP wanted 'LitRPG' stories, and after posting a few that seemed right to me, I realized I had very little idea what the term even means to other people.

Are status screens enough?

Are stories without status screens ever alright?

Do there have to be VRMMO elements?

What if there's a VRMMO without status screens?

Thoughts? How do you use the term? What are some stories you'd say definitely are or definitely aren't LitRPG?

An RPG VRMMO, like legendary moonlight sculptor definitely is, for me. I guess I'd also call anything with 'gamelike level-up' elements a litRPG, too; say, Threadbare. No VRMMO, but there's strong game elements. Something that has strong game elements without much RPG stuff, like Accel World, is a bit trickier. No game elements + level up type things might not be, but I'm not sure I've really seen anything like that outside wuxia, which is a whole different kettle of tropes.

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#2
Literary Role Playing Game - to me, this does not require that it be based on an MMO, but rather incorporate game mechanics in some way.

Critical Failures (Caverns & Creatures) would fit as it includes the gameplay mechanics of the players being sucked in and trapped inside their D&D campaign's game world by a jerk of a Dungeon Master. Their character sheets became scrolls they have in their pockets that they can reference, and the game mechanics still apply despite it otherwise reading like a "transported to another world" novel.

For me, it doesn't have to have status screens, it just has to incorporate gameplay mechanics traditional to the RPG environment in a meaningful way. Leveling up, skills of some kind, etc - but it doesn't have to have all of them.

Sector Eight (Perimeter Defense Series) meanwhile starts like it's going to be a traditional sci-fi MMO style LitRPG, but the only real gameplay mechanics is a Relationship based system with other players and NPCs - and yet the system is integral to the story, and is indeed a gameplay mechanic. So it fits LitRPG for me, as well.

The genre is so young that ultimately, it comes down to personal taste at this point. The Gamers: Dorkness Rising movie really only targeted people already in our culture. The recent Jumanji reached more people, and next month's Ready Player One movie will hopefully help bring the genre a little more attention. It's amazing how many novels have been published since I first stumbled upon the English-translated Russian LitRPGs that eventually led me here.

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#3
2/18/2018 4:32:52 AMDrew Walker Wrote: [ -> ]Literary Role Playing Game - to me, this does not require that it be based on an MMO, but rather incorporate game mechanics in some way.

That's about how I feel, I think. Your mention of Ready Player One is interesting, though, because trope-wise, it's really different from a lot of litRPG that I see around here; there's much less focus on 'powering up', IIRC. And it's been a while since I read the book, but I don't remember it having status screens, or really much in the way of level-ups. I think there's one that's important at the beginning...? I would call it litRPG, but it feels pretty borderline.

You know, I've mostly considered litRPG as it deals with computer games. Thinking back, though, I've read R.A. Salvatore's DnD novels, and another series called 'Guardians of the Flame' that had to do with DnD players transmigrating to their game world. In the Drizzt books, they even use skills and stuff, although I don't think they ever name them - some of their abilities seem to be based on the game, especially the magic, though others probably aren't. Well, DnD is more flexible than a computer game. I can't remember for Guardians, but I don't think they did anything more explicit.

But maybe litRPG goes back a bit further than I thought.

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#4
I think litRpg must either be
- inside a game, even if it is completely without any stat and info screens,
- outside of a game with game elements.

For "outside of a game with game elements", I'd like to put some examples here:
- Adventures of a Scribe, Michael Deyhim (Amazon)
- Godly Model Creator, Yorasu (http://gravitytales.com/novel/godly-model-creator)
- Earth Tactics Advance, Scottf14 (http://royalroadl.com/fiction/4801)

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#5
2/18/2018 3:52:27 AMNot_A_Hat Wrote: [ -> ]Are status screens enough?

Are stories without status screens ever alright?

Do there have to be VRMMO elements?

What if there's a VRMMO without status screens?

Thoughts? How do you use the term? What are some stories you'd say definitely are or definitely aren't LitRPG?

I'm tackling that same question as I write my novel. I'm about 80K words in and haven't included a stat screen yet. There's stats, they mention stats, the MC's monkey informs him when he levels and such, but I keep thinking I should throw in a few stat boxes just to please the fans of the genre. I'd rather fill my pages with the actual story, though. I enjoy novels with stat boxes and such, but I think mine is LitRPG even without them.

LitRPG is two aspects to me - Lit, which it is, because it's a book, and Role Playing Game - the characters in the book are playing a role in a game. If it has those two things I would say it qualifies.

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#7
I personally define LitRPG as stories that use a level/ranking system where increasing in level/rank is integral to the narrative, whether it is facilitated by an omnipresent System or by an in-universe organization. Whether or not they also use the individual stats, exp, hitpoints, damage numbers, or skill/item descriptions also doesn’t much matter to me. The more I‘ve read the more I realize that once they've been established I care more about the plot than the little details about the exact stats outside the gratification I get as a gamer seeing numbers increase. 

For example I consider the Divine Dungeon series to be LitRPG and it is one of my favorites despite it's simple and unobtrusive progression system.

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#8
LitRPG to me is any book were the MC role plays as someone else. It can be in a game, it can be out of a game, it can have prompts, and it could not have them. 

As long as the MC is either in a new body, or has some new powers, or is in a new world, etc.

It is LitRPG, not Lit-CanOnlyBeInAGameWithInterfacePromptsOrProgession. The name leaves room for plenty.

RE: What makes a story 'litRPG' for you?

#9
5/9/2018 8:22:55 PMBigMartyrs Wrote: [ -> ]LitRPG to me is any book were the MC role plays as someone else. It can be in a game, it can be out of a game, it can have prompts, and it could not have them. 

As long as the MC is either in a new body, or has some new powers, or is in a new world, etc.

It is LitRPG, not Lit-CanOnlyBeInAGameWithInterfacePromptsOrProgession. The name leaves room for plenty.
If that is the case, then how is it different from fantasy? It’s just another person acting out his own role in his world.