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Weaponsmith: I.. uh.. estimate a 25% increase in attack accuracy, with a corresponding enhancement to damage.

Roy: It's okay, you can just say +5 sword here. We do stuff like that all the time.

Initially, it looks like a standard Role Playing Game Verse — but then the characters explicitly start referring to spot checks, hit points in Stat-O-Vision, roleplaying, Always Chaotic Evil monsters, and other Role Playing Game Terms. Is this an RPG in which the characters' players are weaving in and out of character and this is represented by the characters themselves speaking, or perhaps a video game which breaks the Fourth Wall more often than usual?

Nope - or at least it is not shown. The Verse this takes place in really does work exactly like a tabletop RPG.

Because of the Fourth Wall-breaking implications, this usually happens only in comedies.

Examples of RPG Mechanics Verse include:

Anime and Manga


  • Scott Pilgrim, kind of. For the most part it's the real world, if surreal and videogame-like, but Scott occasionally talks about his allocated skill proficiencies, gains experience points and levels up.
    • It's based on the mechanics from River City Ransom specifically. So if it isn't a full RPG Mechanics Verse, it's at least an RPG Elements verse.
    • In the movie, Scott earns points for defeating people or for solving things in his life (for instance, patching things up with Kim). It also seems that people in that universe have coins for blood, since Gideon coughs up a coin when injured and people burst into coins when defeated.


  • Not a true example, but the 1984 thriller Cloak and Dagger briefly flirted with this in its opening sequence. It begins with superspy Jack Flack infiltrating an embassy and dispatching a bunch of colourful ethnic archetypes with an arsenal of James Bond gadgets, then escapes down the street when a gate closes in front of him. Suddenly, a pair of giant numbered dodecahedrons roll towards him. Cut to two kids playing a board game, the boy yelling triumphantly, "Jack Flack escapes!"
  • Being an adaptation of the graphic novel, Scott Pilgrim vs. the World also runs on video game logic.



  • Dragon Road song apparently describes such an OOC-verse:

  They all jumped upon us because we were lawful good.

  • The lyrics to the Morlocks song "Hardcore" contains the line "What's bad for you is good for me, I've got less than five in Humanity", a reference to Vampire: The Masquerade.

Real Life

  • A university professor came up with a revolutionary new method for grading his students: couch grades in gaming terms, and he goes on to suggest that business managers do the same.

Video Games

  • Disgaea characters are fully aware that they're in a turn based-strategy RPG, and thus will occasionally make comments about character levels, critical hits, save points, and whether or not the final boss has an additional form that grants him stat bonuses.

 Valvatorez: That wasn't his full power! We can expect at least three levels of transformations, with additional power multipliers every time!

  • Subverted for laughs in Touhou 11: Subterranean Animism. If you play as Marisa with Alice's assist, they spend the entire storyline sassing each other and discussing the quest in terms of RPG tropes. They're also hilariously wrong, since SA is a Bullet Hell-style Shoot'Em Up like most Touhou games.

Visual Novels

  • Actually played completely serious in Fate/stay night. All Heroes get a viewable Character Sheet that explains their skills, stats and abilities, all in RPG Mechanics Verse, even how many turns an area spell lasts for,
    • In-game as well, more than once the characters quantify mana, and then spend the rest of the scene treating it literally like MP.
    • It should be noted, however, that Servants' abilities is something that every master views differently because their minds interpret the information given to them in different terms. The whole 'RPG Character Sheet' method is simply Shirou's mind's way of quantifying the information. Now, what does that tell us about Shirou?

Web Comics

  • The most well-known example is, of course, The Order of the Stick, which operates more or less according to the Dungeons and Dragons rules. As a matter of fact, the very first strip takes place when the D&D rules change from 3rd to 3.5th Edition.
    • Besides the page quote, it's also lampshaded in a dream/hallucination Belkar has about Lord Shojo telling him he needs to play "The Game" (basically that he needs to at least pretend to go along with people's rules) and Belkar briefly thought he meant the whole webcomic is a Deep-Immersion Gaming of some players' campaign.
  • Goblins plays with this, with a "player character" cleric worshiping "the dungeon master" as a god. One character didn't die from an injury until they realized that Mage Armor didn't grant damage reduction. Word of God is that their world runs according to a heavily houseruled D&D ruleset, and that all combat results are legitimate under these altered rules.
    • It's a Deconstruction of life as RPG fodder characters, so it (partially) breaks the rule about comedies.
  • Erfworld has a main character recruited from the real world to become a general inside a world that looks like a fantasy themed Turn-Based Strategy game. Many of the various mechanical simplifications of a turn based strategy game are literally true in Erfworld (for instance, the two sides of the war take turns, and each side's units instantly recover hit points and movement when their turn begins). One of the few places where it is not played for laughs. Well, okay, where it's only sometimes played for laughs.
  • Eight Bit Theater does this, although it's generally only Red Mage who thinks this way. For example he was once able to survive an otherwise fatal fall by "forgetting" to record the damage. However, it appears Red Mage is only right when it makes for a better joke.
    • A one off joke horrifically subverts part of this concept. All Red Mages believed the world ran on RPG rules. Because they considered themselves scientists this had to be tested empirically. Sadly they began by trying to determine hit points and ended up slaughtering each other For Science!.
    • At first, even Black Mage seemed to minorly operate on this (well, more Video Game mechanics than anything else, really), and had him reading a game guide to Final Fantasy I (the game upon which the comic is based). He got over this relatively fast, though, leaving RM as the only "metagamer" in the series.
      • Though he apparently still has the thing on him.
      • Thief likewise displayed such Medium Awareness early on, as seen by the line "Your GP or your HP."
    • One example of the thing obeying the laws of the game it's based on is when they notice it only became night and then morning when one of them stayed at an inn.
    • Red Mage has fun with it, telling Thief how interrogation is just emptying "pockets" of information from a victim's mind, and you can just remove a lock from a "pocket" in a door.
  • Played for laughs in the late, lamented RPG World webcomic, which runs on console RPG rules. Cherry was the only character who consistently seemed bewildered by the characters not wondering why numbers appeared over their heads when they were injured in battle, etc.
  • Adventurers is another webcomic that, like RPG World, takes place in a console RPG with characters that are well aware of the game mechanics, and one repeatedly complains about how ridiculous they are.
  • Will Save World For Gold is set in 4th Edition D&D, and makes fun of many different RPG Tropes.
  • Keychain of Creation uses the rules and setting for Exalted Second Edition, with some house rules thrown in, in a similar manner to The Order of the Stick.
  • Now defunct webcomic Ledgermain also took place in one of these.
  • Gold Coin Comics does this all the time. The most notable of which might possibly be when Lance first encountered an actual save point within his own universe.
  • Captain SNES has a few of these, due to the fact that said universes are actual video games.
  • Yamara has AD&D mechanics (not surprising, as it was published in Dragon (magazine)):

 Blag: Cause ya see, girlie, nobody cares if ya got an 18 Intelligence. Nobody'd care if you were one o' th' lucky broads with a 18 Wisdom! All that counts is a nice, round 18--

(see the right answer)


Western Animation

Web Original