See our Knowledgebase for a much more extensive list of questions, answers, and archives.

What is an RPG?

RPG is an abbreviation for Role-Playing Game. Role-playing games are cooperative, interactive storytelling recreational activity, with structured rules, in a shared imaginary setting. They also provide rules that govern the activity of role-playing gaming.

Despite many misconceptions by media and the general public, the activity Role-Playing Gaming, has been show through decades of research to be able to provide many benefits to participants beyond just entertainment, including educational and therapeutic benefits.

At a practical level, it is important to understand which activities are role-playing games, and which are not role-playing games. These are fuzzy boundaries really, but there are some extremes that we can establish consensus about what is and is not an RPG at the far ends of the spectrum.

We start with the extremes of what everyone can agree is an RPG (quintessential RPG is:  the original Dungeons & Dragons, now retronymed "OD&D"  On the other end of the spectrum, games that are not RPGs include things like Tetris, Candyland boardgames, Poker cardgames, etc.

Through years of research, RPG Research has distilled the host of role playing games into four key formats:

  1. Tabletop (TRPG)
  2. Live-action (LRPG)
  3. Electronic (eRPG)
  4. Hybrid (HRPG)

Why Volunteer at RPG Research?

A number of people ask why anyone would volunteer without pay in general, or why they would volunteer at RPG Research. This section provides a list of common reasons given by our volunteers across 6 continents.

Working for free is typical for non-profit volunteer-run 501(c)3 charities like RPG Research.

We have nearly 100 volunteer across 4 continents, some for many years now, happy to do so.

Many people volunteer for a variety of reasons including:

  1. Experienced professionals that believe in what we are doing as a 501(c)3 non-profit, and want to help us by providing their established skills during their free time.
  2. Students and others wishing to develop their experience, skills, and resume as they work toward professional goals
  3. People who wish to become RPG Professionals and are trying to meet the training and experience requirements required for paid employment by RPG Therapeutics LLC and other organizations (reportedly paying between $15 to $250 per hour (averages around $25-75)).
  4. Retirees and others who want to help do good for others.
  5. Various researchers, professors and others who are excited about the research we are doing and wish be a part of the research projects furthering the body of knowledge for the industry and betterment of humankind.
  6. They are passionate about what we do and are glad to join with fellow enthusiasts and happy to have the privilege to participate in such a great community doing what they love.

These are just a few of the more typical reasons our volunteers provide."

Are role-playing games used in schools and educational settings?

Do role-playing games help in educational settings?

Research and many programs over the decades strongly support the advantages of programs using role-playing games to help people learn and retain educational information.

List of research studies about the efficacy and consideration for role-playing game programs in educational settings:

Old Archive:

New Archive:

Example educational programs:

The Role-play Workshop, Oakland California -

Østerskov Efterskole, Denmark -

How Can I Get Training?

Question: "I'm located in ________________. How much would it be for me to be certified to join your organization? Would I have to go on tour with the group? Am I allowed to put together homebrewed content if it will be a beneficial experience for the game groups? Do I have to fill out an application?

Answer: RPG Research is a 501(c)3 non-profit research and human services charitable organization. We are 100% volunteer run. We provide training for free to volunteers (donations still very much appreciated (needed!)). To join as a volunteer, simply fill out the application on for the primary positions you are interested in. You are interested in multiple roles, during the 2nd step of the application, you will be able to select as many roles are you are interested in gaining training in.

We are over #60 in our list of volunteers. About half are in the greater Spokane, WA area, but the other half are scattered across 5 continents! You can learn remotely, and then we can coach you through putting together programs in your region.

We use often homebrewed content too, but there is a lengthy evaluation process we highly recommend, which you would learn as part of your training. We do recommend sticking with publicly available, in-print game systems, so that if your players get excited and want to run the game with their own group, they can easily do so. But having a homebrew system is not as much of a problem as a homebrew system.

If you want professional training, online or directly, at a billable rate, or training bundles, you need to contact RPG Therapeutics LLC. They offer paid consulting, mentoring, training, and other professional services. RPG Research is focused on research and community programs, not professional services.

However, RPG Research does offer  training diplomas. If you want to be certified, you need to talk to RPG Therapeutics LLC. If you want to make a living as an RPG Professional, you will want to talk to RPG Therapeutics LLC when you meet their stringent qualifications as per their job descriptions. Completing our training and earning a diploma are applicable toward qualifying.

What Populations Does RPG Research Serve?

Over the years, RPG Research  has worked with a great number of populations, including people with the following needs and challenges.

Accessibility considerationsEducational: preschool, K-12, college, senior adult learning, etc.Panic disorders
Alternative schoolsGifted & TalentedPervasive Developmental Disorders (PDD)
Anxiety disordersDeaf, Hard of Hearing (HoH), and other hearing impairmentsSenior adults
AphantasiaDevelopmental delays and impairments (DD / DI)Social skills development
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)General populations (entertainment and recreational settings without special needs).Substance dependency rehabilitation
At-risk populationsMuscular Dystrophy (MD)Social & agoraphobia
Autism Spectrum (ASD)Incarcerated adultsToddlers (2+ years old)
Brain injuries (stroke, aneurysm, traumatic injury (TBI), etc.)Incarcerated youthVisually impaired, blindness, and others
Cerebral Palsy (CP)In-patient adults, youth, and childrenYoung Adults
Cognitive decline associated with agingIn-patient and out-patient transition


No comments yet. Start a new discussion.

Add Comment