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    What does TPB mean?

    TPB stands for “the player behind,” meaning: the player behind a character in a roleplaying game (RPG). It’s a term commonly used in text-based RPGs to distinguish between the comments and those of their character.

    TPB is often seen in parentheses or as part of a signature in messages and posts within the roleplaying community. The usage of TPB (or similar marker, such as OOC) is important in maintaining clear boundaries between the character and the player.

    The concept of TPB emerged as online and text-based roleplaying games became popular, where distinguishing between in-character (IC) and out-of-character (OOC) communication was necessary.

    This distinction helps prevent metagaming, where players use knowledge that their characters should not know. TPB has become a standard notation in forums, chat rooms, and game platforms where roleplaying elements are heavily involved.

    TPB FAQs

    How do I use TPB in a game setting?

    When participating in a text-based roleplaying game, you can use TPB by appending it to comments or notes that are intended to reflect your personal views or information rather than those of your character.

    For example, writing “(TPB: I need to log off soon)” lets others know that the statement is from you, the player, and not your character.

    Can TPB be used in any type of roleplaying game?

    While TPB is most relevant in text-based roleplaying games, its utility can extend to any roleplaying format that involves distinct player and character roles. This includes live-action roleplay (LARP) and tabletop roleplaying games, where similar distinctions are often made through different means.

    What are the benefits of using TPB?

    Using TPB improves communication clarity and helps maintain roleplaying etiquette by clearly delineating player commentary from character dialogue. This practice aids in preventing confusion and keeps the narrative immersive and engaging.

    Are there any alternatives to using TPB?

    Alternatives to using TPB include using other acronyms like OOC (out of character) or simply stating “player’s note” or “meta” before making a comment that should not be attributed to the character. These methods serve the same purpose but might be preferred in different gaming communities.

    What is the difference between TPB and OOC?

    TPB specifically refers to the player behind the character, emphasizing the source of a comment, while OOC (out of character) is used more broadly to indicate any statement or action not made by the character. OOC can include discussions of game mechanics, player availability, or other non-character-related topics.

    Myths about TPB

    TPB is only necessary in online games. While TPB is indeed prevalent in online roleplaying games, its usefulness is recognized in any roleplaying format where the distinction between player and character perspectives enhances the gameplay experience.

    Using TPB is overly formal or unnecessary. Some players might feel that TPB formalizes casual game settings, but its use is essential for maintaining narrative integrity and clear player-character boundaries. It’s often simply tacked onto notes as “- TPB (Character Name)”, which makes it quite casual and informal.

    TPB complicates the game. On the contrary, TPB simplifies communication by clearly separating player and character contributions, thereby reducing potential confusion and enhancing the overall game experience.

    TPB examples

    • In a forum post: “(TPB: Just a heads up, I’ll be on vacation next week so won’t be responding during that time.)”
    • In a chat during a game: “Lorelai looks suspicious. (TPB: That was a great move, Mike!)”
    • In game notes: “The party decides to camp for the night. (TPB: I have to leave the session early today, sorry guys.)”
    • In a character diary shared with the group: “Entry 42: We encountered a band of orcs. (TPB: I’m using the lore from the new expansion as a reference here.)”
    • Signature in a game-related email: “- TPB Annabelle” (where Annabelle is the character’s name or handle).

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."