Since I see "MC" often in the context of English games and so forth, I wanted to know if Italians had an equivalent word that they would use when talking about a character/protagonist of a story, especially if used by gamemakers themselves.


I have been a part of the Italian pen and paper role-playing community for over 20 years. In that context, when a player is referring to their own character, or any character controlled by another player, the acronym you are looking for is PG, which is an abbreviation of personaggio or personaggio giocante (here is one of many examples you can find in online forums). For characters controlled by the Game Master, i.e. non-player characters, the Italian community has had a hard time deciding whether to go for the globally understood NPC or the translated PNG - personaggio non giocante.

An example from the last link reads

[...] il compito del DM è quello di gestire tutto ciò che non sono i personaggi giocanti (PG): i personaggi non giocanti (PNG) e mostri che popolano il mondo, i luoghi, gli eventi, le conseguenze delle azioni [...]

What is interesting though is that I have never heard the use of "MC" in English settings, but only "PC" - player character.

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    In Catalonia, students must do what's called "treball de recerca" (research project) during the last years of upper secondary school. Last year, I had to mentor a research project about the narrative evolution of computer role playing games (performed by an excellent student, so the result was a high quality work). A huge number of anglicisms and English acronyms had to be used, among them PC and NPC. MC has been never used. The report was written in Catalan, but I guess the same thing happens in Italian. – Charo Mar 16 at 8:31
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    +1 but I suspect the devil might hide in the difference between pen and paper RPG and computer RPG... – Denis Nardin Mar 16 at 8:34
  • @DenisNardin You think so? I must admit that I have used them interchangeably in my gaming career. I will however specify that I has referring to P&P RPG, although the link to the NPC usage was for computer games. – Easymode44 Mar 16 at 8:38
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    @Easymode44 Simply, I cannot imagine MC to be used for a PnP RPG (since it is usually a collaborative game), while I can easily see the merit for a CRPG. I have to admit though that I haven't played either in many years now... – Denis Nardin Mar 16 at 8:39

I think that English people tend to use acronyms much more than what Italians do; moreover, nowadays, there are many specialized sectors, each one having their own acronyms. Being English the language used worldwide, it is exposed to such inflections way more than other languages.

That being said, I don't know much about game makers but I think that no, the MC would be called protagonista while another character (not the main one) would be called personaggio. Or, even if writing in Italian, a game maker could use MC, but only considering that its intended audience would understand it as a specific term used in that peculiar context.

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    Hey @linuxfan, could you please clarify what you mean with "there is a lot of specialized languages each having its own acronyms"? What do you mean by "specialized languages"? – Easymode44 Mar 16 at 7:26
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    @Easymode44 I mean that, in this site, you find "OP" and "SE" and maybe others. In another context, OP and SE would mean nothing, or something else. And MC and PG seem to be unique to the game field, and are not used on this site. And so on. – linuxfan says Reinstate Monica Mar 16 at 8:43
  • Ok, but then it's the context or setting that is specialized, not the language itself, right? You would not say "ci sono molte lingue specializzate, ognuna con i suoi acronimi"? – Easymode44 Mar 16 at 8:49
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    @Easymode44 I think 'specialized language' could be replaced by 'jargon' here. – Mast Mar 16 at 14:39
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    Just a simple example for a specialized "language". This page electronics.stackexchange.com/questions/486387/… contains header, board, SOM, part, PCB. Some are acronyms, some are normal English words having a special meaning in the electronics context. – linuxfan says Reinstate Monica Mar 17 at 9:57

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