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What Gets Listed at RPG Geek?

The obvious answer? The game must be a Role-Playing Game. However, we've discovered this isn't all that easy to define. Here are the guidelines that we are using to determine if something is a Role-Playing game:

1. It must be a game with a defined set of rules.
2. It allows the player to take on the role of a character.
3. It allows the player free will to choose what that character does in the game.
4. The actions chosen by the player directly influence the story which unfolds during the game.

This is vague enough to include most things we think of as RPGs. However, there are some fringe areas with respect to boardgames. Games like Shadow Hunters or Lord of the Rings Boardgame allow players to choose (or be given) a character and there is certainly a measure of free will as they play out those characters. But for LotR Boardgame, the story is fairly rigid and is not really influenced by the player characters. With Shadow Hunters there is only player/character interaction - no real story. Both fail #4 above and are not listed on RPGG (but are listed on BGG). Could it be argued that these are RPGs? Sure... but we want to have some dividing line and those aforementioned games just feel better on the boardgame side. Some of this will obviously be judgment calls.

And here are the corner cases:

The Precursors

Chainmail, Little Wars and any codified set of rules for Cops & Robbers, Cowboys & Indians, etc. prior to 1974 are out. For the purposes of RPG Geek, we considering the first true RPG to be Gary Gygax's and Dave Arneson's original Dungeons & Dragons. If it's prior to 1974, don't even ask.

Books with Limited or No Actual Rules

Books which have no specific rules content but are obviously released as part of a line to support an RPG are allowed. These must follow our "no novels" rule. Examples would be world sourcebooks, ideabooks, artbooks, books of names and cultures, etc. that are released specifically and in direct support of a Role-Playing Game. Generic fantasy artbooks, generic books on histories and cultures (even fantasy ones) are not to be listed - it must be released in direct support of an RPG. Edge cases will be judged by a random group of monkeys from the San Diego Zoo and all decisions are final until whimsically changed. If unsure, please post on our forums in the "How To RPGG" section or contact one of the RPG Admins for assistance or you can add your rationale for why it should be included in the admin notes section when submitting the item.

After discussion with the publisher, Dark Osprey books are in; other Osprey Adventures books are out.

Books about RPGs, Artbooks, Novels and Movies

Books about RPGs (price value guides, books reviewing or cataloging RPGs, etc) are in.
Generic books on how to put together an RPG game group or run a session, etc. are also in.
Collections of comics about RPGs are also in - i.e. Order of the Stick, Dork Tower and Knights of the Dinner Table compilations are in but the DC published Advanced Dungeons & Dragons comic series is out (it's not about roleplaying or the hobby, it's a comic based in the D&D world).
comic clarification products supplied as crowd funding rewards are out

Novels that use a setting from an RPG (Forgotten Realms Novels, DragonLance Novels, etc) are out.
Artbooks released in direct support of an RPG are in, but generic artbooks are out. Books released to support both a novel line and an RPG (i.e. the DragonLance Art books) will be debated.
Coloring books are out.

Movies are out. Movies like the Dungeons & Dragons movie are not to be included.
Books about painting miniatures are out.

Play By Mail RPGs

PBM (and Play-By-Email and Play-By-Forum) are allowed so long as they meet the guidelines above. In addition, you must be able to play such a game at the table with other people without the aid of a computer (even if that is not the normal way of playing). That is: it could pass for a true tabletop RPG which happens to be used (potentially exclusively) for PBM.


Live-Action-Role-Playing games are allowed if they meet the guidelines above. Larps get a RPG entry and an item entry just like other role-playing games. See this discussion thread: How to enter freeform LARPs?
We are specifically excluding improv theater, simulations, historical recreations, athletic games (paintball, etc) and cosplay (Costume Play). If unsure - ask.

Electronic and Computer Role-Playing Games

Any electronic version of RPG material published is fine for inclusion. This must either be new RPG material or a direct port of existing RPG material and distributed legally. This includes legal PDFs, web published entries, mobile apps which provide RPG material, chargen, etc. If the electronic version attempts to turn the RPG material into a playable game of any kind, we would consider it a video game and it should be listed on Video Game Geek instead, not on RPG Geek. So, for example, if a "Lone-Wolf" style adventure was published online in PDF, HTML or DOC format (among others), we would consider it fair game to be listed here at the RPG Geek. However, if this were simply a playable form of a Choose Your Own Adventure game we would consider it a video game and should not be included.
Since the border between video games and tabletop game with digital enhancements isn't always clear-cut, we might have to judge case by case.


Magazines with RPG content (reviews, scenarios, discussion, etc) are included. For magazines which had only occasional RPG content, only list those issues.


we do not list Blogs, Recurring web articles or other websites like

Beta Products, Homebrews, Prototypes, Previews

Beta Products that are released in a tangible form (PDF, Book, Download of some kind) are okay to list.
Homebrews have their own special [rpg] bin called RPG Sandbox. Please make use of it for games you've developed but do not plan to publish or major derivations of existing systems that have been developed (including unofficial releases like "Advanced Dungeons & Dragons (3rd Edition)": Players Handbook (2009). It's a bit of a sandbox really.

Prototypes have their own special [rpg] bin called Unpublished Prototypes. Please make use of it for games that are in development (though major games that have a definite scheduled release and are in the final stages are considered under the "Upcoming Releases" below).

As soon as a game become published (self-published is fine) and has enough polish to be considered complete and playable, it should move out of Beta/Homebrews/Prototypes and be given its own [rpg] entry.

Preview PDFs do not get listed at the geek. We consider a Preview PDF to be excerpts from the book (whether it be a page or a couple of chapters). If the PDF is actually the quick-start or "lite" rules (which are actually playable), then it can be included.

Homemade Adventures/Scenarios/Modules

Homebrew modules/adventures/scenarios that you have created for an existing RPG are allowed and encouraged. We prefer such adventures to be uploaded by the author otherwise please get clear written permission from the author. We prefer to see these homebrew adventures for an existing RPG to be uploaded as a file (PDF, DOC or ZIP file if you have more than one file for the adventure) under the parent RPG for which the adventure was created. If the adventure is extensive enough and has seen some quality development and playtesting, you are free to enter it as a new [item] under the RPG (just as we would for any (web) published adventure). Please use good judgment here. If your adventure uses any charts/tables or images from other released books for the RPG, please obtain permission to use them before posting.

Unlicensed and Unofficial Items

Unlicensed and unofficial items are generally allowed - though this is a touchy subject. When it comes to copyright violations we want to do the right thing by the IP holders. However, we are primarily a database of information - and we cannot simply ignore everything that doesn't have an official licence. What that means is that we will generally allow listings for homebrew RPGs or scenarios using a trademarked license (Star Wars, Star Trek, etc). In addition, we will allow noteworthy item entries for RPG items which were sold without direct permission (e.g. late era RPG eBooks from Last Unicorn Games which no longer held the Star Trek license, etc). We use the word noteworthy to distinguish between a bootleg copy of (hypothetical example) AD&D called "Advanced Dungeons & Wyverns" sold in Brazil with new cover art to 10,000 people back in the early 80s from a collection of pirated PDFs distributed on bittorrent. The former hypothetical AD&W might well deserve a listing on RPGG for collecting purposes - but the later would definitely NOT be accepted. There will be judgment calls made by the moderators of RPG Geek. For all material which is of questionable origin or legality, only a database listing will be allowed. No links nor files will be accepted for such items in our database and the More Info field will be used to mark such items questionable legal status clearly. No trades nor selling of these items will be allowed on the RPG Geek marketplace. All of these items will be covered in a special series designed to group them together: (Apocryphal Editions)

Fringe Products Used by Roleplayers

Items that are related to roleplaying but not specifically designed for roleplaying are generally allowed... up to a point. That is, we would allow listings for specialty dice (Spindown dice, Fudge dice, etc), software mapping products (Campaign Cartographer, etc), character generators (Hero Lab, D&D Character Generator, etc), tile sets (Dungeon Tiles, Dwarven Forge Terrain), map sets and the like. Generally these sorts of fringe products would be listed with "Generic/Universal" as the parent [rpg] unless they were designed specifically an rpg. We draw the line at more common-use things like Ticonderoga Pencils, Whiteboards and Projectors - none of these would be included in the database.

Specialty Dice Packs

We would prefer to see most specialty dice or custom dice listed under the one Dice RPG Item so as to not proliferate the millions of specialty dice out there. However, we are allowing specific first-party branded dice sets to be listed with the core product they are in support of. Examples: D&D branded "Premium Dice" sold for use with D&D can be listed as an item for the version of D&D it was sold for. Same for the specialty Shadowrun Dice set.

Collectible Cards for an RPG

Collectible cards for an RPG (such as The Shadow Over Nentir Vale Fortune Cards (set of 80 plus promos) for D&D 4e) would go in as a separate RPG Item for the set (plus promotional cards) for that set). When each new set comes out it will get its own RPG Item entry. They will all be tied up to the parent D&D 4e RPG. Special Promo Cards released during a set's run will count with that set and can be described in the more info field - don't use the [version] field to try and add every card. Also, we just need a sample of the exterior of the booster pack (should be the representative image) and a scan of the card back - do not upload scans of the card fronts (not even as a sample).


At this time we have decided not to include Miniatures into the database as the complexities and nuances of these did not fit the existing RPG database model properly.

CDs, DVDs, Software

CDs and DVDs can be included provided they contain official content for the game. This means that it must have some game-related content (e.g. the Dungeons & Dragons movie is out). Soundtracks for RPGs that were officially produced by the company that are made specifically for atmosphere within the game are also allowed (e.g. the Dungeons & Dragons soundtrack for the game is included, but the Dungeons and Dragons soundtrack for the movie is not). Generic non-RPG-branded music CDs composed for use with tabletop roleplaying are judged on a case by case basis. The CD/DVD must be sold separately (i.e. if a CD-ROM is included as part of a book purchase, it just gets listed in the description/more info for that book).

Software for character creation, maps, etc. that are designed specifically for a given game can be included.

Choose Your Own Adventure Type Books

This includes gamebooks such as the TSR Endless Quest books as well as the Steve Jackson Fighting Fantasy books. We have decided to generally allow these books on a case-by-case basis.

Broadly speaking, the main criterion is whether the book in question is a gamebook. Books that are more works of literature than games to be played are not suitable for inclusion in the database.

Examples of books that are out:
  • Life's Lottery by Kim Newman
  • If by Nicholas Bourbaki

For examples of series that are included in the database, see: Gamebooks.

If you're unsure, ask in the RPGGeek Help and How-To forum.

Dungeon Tiles and Models

Same as with the CYOA books, we have decided to draw a rather arbitrary line to include some types of these on the site, but not others.

Ziterdes Hardfoam Models are out;
Generic foam walls are out;
E-Z Dungeons are in;
Dungeon Tiles are in.

Something similar? Please ask.

Foreign Language Books

The database is hosted in the US and as such the native langauge for the RPG Geek system is English. However, we welcome foreign language RPGs and products that have been translated into other languages! If the game only exists in another language, you are free to create a new [rpg] along with any associated items for the game - do your best to give English descriptions (along with the native language if you choose). If the game already exists in English, we ask that foreign language editions of the books be added as a [version] of the English entry. See the [version] field above for more details.

Also, to help the Admins out who might not know the language: If the title should be alphabetically sorted on the second word, please write an admin note explaining that. Example game: "La Fille du Regiment" (sort on Fille).

Miscellaneous Products and Memorabilia

No hats, no clothing, no cups or other RPG-branded accessories that aren't used at the table.

Images for such product can be submitted to Memorabilia, Programs, Catalogs and Other Sundry RPG Related Material.

The Rule Above All Rules

Since not all rules can be covered adequately, we reserve the right to judge any item, image or other database entry which is not in the best interest of the RPG Geek and decline or remove it. This would be a very rare situation and we hope it never happens - the system is designed to be inclusive and we are striving to be as complete as possible.

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