Role-playing games go back a long way. It could be said that acting is a kind of role-playing game, making it the oldest form. In some cultures, shamans put on masks, taking on the identities of gods or spirits for short periods, enabling them to play a role in local rites and festivals.
RPGs as we think of them today really began in the 1970s with the advent of Dungeons & Dragons, also known as D&D. D&D was inspired by the massively popular "Lord of The Rings" book series and allowed players to immerse themselves in the roles of wizards, barbarians, bards and priests navigating a world of fantasy creatures like elves, orcs and goblins.
In time, other RPGs took shape. The 1980s saw the advent of a "Star Wars" RPG, which spawned a host of supporting books enumerating rules for the Dark Side of The Force, etc. The 1990s RPG scene was dominated by such hits as "Rifts," a sci-fi RPG, and of course, White Wolf Publishing's "World of Darkness" series, including "Vampire: The Masquerade," which was a way of playing in the worlds of Anne Rice and Bram Stoker, and the inspiration for the "Underworld" film series.
There are two primary types of characters in RPGs: NPC (non-player characters) and PCs (player characters). It's time to sharpen your pencil and use up all your freebie points because we're going to make an RPG character out of you, using a simple personality test as a basis. Then we can tell you what your number one skill would be if you were an RPG character!