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Type of site
|Owner||Skotos Tech, Inc.|
|Alexa rank||45,029 (April 2014)|
|Registration||Optional (required for contributing content and posting on the message boards)|
|Launched||September 1, 1996|
RPGnet was founded in 1996 by Emma and Sandy Antunes, Shawn Althouse (etrigan) and Brian David Phillips, as a way to unify a number of transient game sites. In 2001 it was purchased by Skotos Tech, but maintains creative and editorial autonomy. Currently it is being run by Shannon Appelcline of Skotos, and Allan Sugarbaker, who maintain oversight over editorial content, with Skotos managing the site's columns and programming, and Sugarbaker managing the reviews and operations. A number of forum moderators and administrators also help maintain the site.[relevant? ]
The forums have grown over time. Tabletop Roleplaying Open, the general game discussion forum, has the most posts per day. There are also computer and board game forums, an "other media" forum that covers television, comic books, movies and books. The site also hosts small forums for photography, parenting, and other specific interests.
Like most large forums, RPGnet has developed numerous in-jokes, taglines, and recurring flame wars. Moderation was at one time very loose, but now follows fairly strict guidelines (see link below). Many game writers, artists, and designers post.
A wide range of tastes are present on the forums. Smaller "fringe" or indie role-playing game are particularly well represented and the latest releases often generate a great deal of discussion. Threads on Dungeons & Dragons, World of Darkness, GURPS and other popular systems are fairly common. Exalted is known for generating a particularly large number of discussion threads.
Other websites will excerpt or reference forum posts that (much as with the Fark PhotoShop contests) have lasting value, such as ZenDesign excerpting WoW-erizing movie quotes and From the Shop Floor borrowing from the Demotivators thread.
Reviews have been an important part of RPGnet since its inception . Today, RPGnet has an active archive of approximately 7,500 reviews. Most reviews are of roleplaying games or supplements. In the last few years, users have contributed numerous reviews of board and card games. RPGnet also publishes reviews of movies, books, music albums and comics, though less frequently.
The review system was overhauled in early 2003 and since then reviews have appeared with numerous cross-references in an effort to improve navigation of the large review archive.
Currently, reviews appear on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. RPG reviews are published on Mondays and Fridays, while reviews of other products are published on Wednesdays.
RPGnet currently has approximately 20 regular columns. Columns are posted on a four-week, Monday-Friday schedule (with 3 to 4 columns posted during a typical week, as per columnist cooperation), with any "extra weeks" in the schedule filled in with additional columns, as they become available. Most columns cover gamemasters offering advice on running roleplaying games to other gamemasters, but there is some variety. This site has become noted as a source for player theory on role-playing games, and these are often written by authors with an academic background.
Notable columns have included: 52 Pickup which promised to offer a new game every week for a year (it got to about a dozen before the initial author gave up, then another dozen before the second one did); Behind the Counter which continues to detail the runnings of a gaming retail store; and Freelancing is Not Free which describes how to freelance in the gaming industry. Noteworthy columnists have included game industry veterans such as Ross Winn, Chad Underkoffler and Matt Drake. Sandy Antunes' monthly column has run without interruption since inception.
The forums include threads describing actual play of role-playing games in concrete terms. These threads include descriptions of how players have overcome specific challenges, and they allow observers to view how a role-playing game is performed without having to actually participate.
Prior to 2008, Columns Editing was handled by C.W. Richeson (2008), Shannon Appelcline (2006-2007), Michael Fiegel (2001-2005) and Sandy Antunes (inception - 2001). As of January 2008, it is handled by Shannon Appelcline.
The RPGnet wiki was added in early 2005. Its original purpose was to offer a place for people to jointly design roleplaying supplements and game systems; there has been some work on this, but others have begun to use it as a place to assemble an encyclopedia of roleplaying terms.
2005 also saw a facelift of the News & Press section of RPGnet. RPGnet now aggregates RSS feeds, with over two dozen feeds in six different gaming categories available.
In 2006, RPGnet added a Gaming Index, a catalog of RPGs added by users. This new system is intended to hold every English RPG product, and is searchable through a variety of means, notable hyperlinks to other products by the publisher, authors or game line and links to RPGnet's reviews of the product. Users can also rank the products and comment on them. As of March 14, 2011 the site has 15786 games, 2473 additional editions, and 2014 magazines, accounting for 1049 unique game systems.
The Gaming Index is not searchable on RPG.net itself, as RPG.net does not maintain a working "search" function.
RPGnet formerly featured a RPG store, which is a RPGnet-branded version of RPGShop. The site also offers a membership program which gives subscribers early access to reviews, a few forum privileges, and online access to some Days of Wonder games.