Descriptive gameplay, sometimes called player-versus-player-roleplay (PVPRP) or real-game-combat-roleplay (RGCRP), is a hybridized style of roleplaying that is often confused with themeplay but is a distinctly different niche. This is also the oldest documented style of roleplay in the community. It's popularity has declined through the years and has fallen by the wayside to textplay, but it still exists and is used plenty. As is potentially be implied by the name - descriptive gameplayers are descriptive as they play the game. Specifically, it combines actual gameplay of Runescape with textplay which traditionally has a bare bones minimum of gameplay. It could be likened to a hybrid/middleground/combination of textplay and themeplay. However, it must be noted that it is not either themeplay or textplay; it is a style of it's own that shares some practices with each different style.
The term "descriptive gameplay" is a term that was coined on the 10th of February, 2014 in an effort to solidify definitions and create proper documentation of the various major styles of RuneScape roleplaying. Descriptive gameplay practices date much further back in RuneScape roleplaying history, but until the aforementioned date, it had no specific terminology. The oldest officially documentated group of this style in RuneScape is That Saradomin Group (TSG), a clan that has been roleplaying with this style since 2003. However, over time, said group has come to lean more to themeplay.
Playing the actual game of RuneScape is, for some, as important and valuable as the act of roleplaying. With this in mind, descriptive gameplayers often type out roleplayed descriptions which go along with the actions they perform through game mechanics. Usually, though, they make exceptions during combat because in-game fighting requires full player concentration and keyboard use. For example, a skilled lumberjack character might stand chopping an elder tree while the player describes how his character's forehead begins to perspire or a careless fisherman's hand is mauled between the teeth of a shark he failed to properly harpoon.
In general, anything that can be portrayed via game mechanics is fair game for descriptive gameplayers to use for their roleplay. That includes but is not limited to killing enemies and prey, chugging a beer keg whole, emotes, and so on.
It should be noted that conflict can arise between lore and game mechanics while RGCRP'ers play. Should this happen, the general consensus is to favor lore. For example, a character is not the The Adventurer, and ergo cannot obtain one-of-a-kind equipment The Adventurer would have. Likewise, your character has not been the hero of any of the game quests. Much like with textplay, descriptive gameplayers can say something as simple as, "Oh, this two-hander looks like a Zamorakian Godsword, but it's just a red and blade sword." Likewise, barrows armor is generic looking, which means that it could be passed as any kind of stylish custom armor.
There is slight deviation between individuals in this style of roleplay, just as how there is slight deviation in every style. However, rather than being substyles, these variations often just come down to individual player preferences.
The most notable point of variation in descriptive gameplay is how conflicts between players are executed. The two choices are to fight with game mechanics or to fight with written action descriptions. Neither option is recognized as more correct than the other and an experienced descriptive gameplayer can adapt to both situations. However, each individual typically prefers one method over the other.
A second key point of variation is the default mode of interaction among descriptive gameplayers. Some endeavor to always remain in-character while they play the game, leaving most or all out-of-character chatter to non-local chats like private messages, friend chats, or third party messengers. Others prefer to have distinct seperation between being in-character and out-of-character; much like textplayers, these gameplayers are presumed to be in the latter state unless explicitly stated otherwise. For those who endeavor to remain in-character when possible, they often craft their game characters to fit the role and theme of the roleplaying character and strive for maximum authenticity, much in the way that themeplayers do.
Characters made for descriptive roleplay by people who are in-character by default are recognized by many as the most fluid and style-flexible roleplaying characters. A descriptive gameplayer of this ilk has ability, resources, and knowledge that enable him to play with strict textplayers and themeplayers alike.
The summarized key points of descriptive roleplay are as follows;
- Actively engages with textplay
- Actively engages with gameplay
- Playing RuneScape is equally important as roleplaying in Gielinor.
- Account levels dictate character abilities (but may or may not be used fully for different characters)
- Default mode of interaction varies between individuals
- Some prefer textplay player fighting, and some prefer gameplay player fighting
- Lore is given priority over game mechanic if they are in conflict
- Can adapt to the moulds of either strict textplay or themeplay
Particularly around February 2014, there was a great deal of confusion surrounding the distinctions between descriptive roleplay (textplay), descriptive gameplay (RGCRP), and themeplay. The then-undifferentiated descriptive gameplay is often confused for themeplay because they are both small non-textplay niches that take advantage of game mechanics. Themeplay, however, is a style that puts a great deal more emphasis on game mechanics, avatar development, and character immersion than descriptive gameplay does.