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 very new term that was coined on the 10th of February, 2014 - in attempts to solidify definitions and create proper documentation amid confusions around that time. Descriptive gameplay practices go MUCH further back, but until the aforementioned date, it had no specific classification, or was incorrectly mistaked as themeplay. The oldest officially documentated group of this style is That Saradomin Group (TSG) - This group has been roleplaying with this style since 2003. Until February 2014, no one cared to uniquely differentate the styles from one another, as it had not been needed up until that point.
Amid confusions involving various forms of roleplay roughly around February 2014, the then undifferentiated descriptive gameplay was being erroneously confused for themeplay. To clarify and properly document the specific styles in the roleplaying community, this page and a dedicated page for themeplay was created.
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, etc.
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 the other styles. It could not be classified as subsets, more like preferences.
The most notable variance of preference in descriptive gameplay is how conflicts between players should happen. The two choices are to fight with game mechanics, or fight with typed out actions. No preference is right over the other, and an experienced descriptive gameplayer can adapt to both situations, but an individual typically prefers one method over the other.
The default mode of interaction in descriptive gameplay is another matter of preference as well. Some endeavor to always remain in character while they play the game, and leave the out of character chatter in non-local chats like private messages or friend chats. Others prefer to have distinct seperation between being in character and out of character and are presumed to be in the later state unless told otherwise. For those who endeavor to remain in character when possible, they often meticulously craft their character and really fit the role and theme of the character and strive for maximum authenticity. This is a shared concept between descriptive gameplay and themeplay, but once again, descriptive gameplay is not themeplay.
Lastly, characters made for descriptive roleplay by people who are defaultly in character is perhaps the most fluid way to roleplay. A descriptive gameplayer has the ability and know how to play with strict textplayers and can already more or less fit the bare bones criteria for themeplaying to engage with roleplayers of that type.
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