Within the 400 years that Commedia Dell’arte took place in Italy, the 16th century is when this style of improvisational theatre, one of the earliest forms of role-playing, really flourished.
This style of performance comprised of stock characters that performed pre-determined scenes, making it extra challenging for actors to keep the audience in fits of laughter.
Development of War Gaming
It was the Prussian General Staff who originally developed war gaming – trust that fun bunch. This type of RPG used dice to introduce random chance and involved moving wooden playing pieces around a game table representing friends and foes.
It was not until the 19th century that realistic variations of wargames were utilised as a part of military training; think fewer firearms and more tact.
Assassin-style gaming has signs of emerging in New York, with the simplest example of this type of role-playing game going something like this: Player 1 whispers ‘you’re dead’ in player 2’s ear.
Player 2 is now assassinated. Player 1 wins. Sounds like a scene from a nightmare to us but hey, each to their own.
Today, we call it “Murder in the Dark”, and most of us have probably played it as children.