In RPG Maker 2000 and its successors, the database stores information on things like actors, enemies, tilesets, terms used in the game, and more. Settings in the database can be changed by the developer of the game. This allows for easier design for traditional role-playing games.
In RPG Maker 95, the database does not exist, and its functions are separated into various tools such as "Character Editor", "Monster Editor", and "Item Editor".
Database elements may become invalid depending on the scripts or plugins used in the game. For example, a game that does not use battle mechanics will likely not have a need for modification of the enemy or troop data found in game. Pokémon Essentials does not use the database for battles as it has its own battle system that is drastically different from the basic RPG Maker XP battle system. Features added by scripts and plugins are usually not able to be modified by editing the database, and the scripts may need to be modified or the plugin parameters edited in order to customize features introduced by the plugin or script. Scripts or plugins may also add an interface in the game that can be used to modify features of the plugin or script.
The database is separated into many sections, and the selection of sections are different for each release of RPG Maker. Most sections are about items which have a fixed amount of kinds of that type of item. This fixed amount can be changed in the database. However, these amounts have an upper limit, which can reach 5000 in RPG Maker 2003, but are lower in other RPG Maker programs, such as 2000 for most types in RPG Maker MV, or 999 in RPG Maker VX Ace.
Actors can be changed in many ways by using the database. The sprites that are used by each actor, and the names of them of course, are the most common things to be changed in this way. Each actor's default class and initial and maximum level can also be changed, as well as initial equipment, and the traits that they have.
In RPG Maker 2003, the stats and skills learned of the class selected for the actor can be applied to the actor in this section. In RPG Maker MV, classes are the only way to modify an actor's default stats and the default skills that they learn as they level up.
In RPG Maker MV, a basic description of the actor can be written in the "Profile" text box.
Classes are configured using the database. The name of each class can be modified.
In RPG Maker MV, classes are the only way to modify an actor's default stats and the default skills that they learn as they level up.
Skills can be configured using the database. Details about the skill, such as name, effects, animations, and more can be changed using the database.
Each kind of item can be modified in this section of the database. Details about each item, such as name, effects, animations, cost, and more can be changed. The descriptions of each item is also configured here.
Both weapons and armor can be configured in the database. The stat increases that each kind of weapon and armor can be modified. The type of each kind of armor that they count as can be changed as well.
The database can be used to edit troops, the fixed sets of enemies that are encountered in battles.
States, conditions that enemies or actors can be affected by, can be changed in this tab.
Animations used in battle are created in this section of the database. Animations consist of multiple frames, each configured to have multiple images shown at once, and each frame may play a sound effect as well.
Tilesets are configured in this section. The names are chosen for each tileset here, so that they can be quickly recognized when choosing one for a map. The images used to construct a tileset are also chosen here. After the images are chosen, the tileset collision is configured for each tile in the tileset, so that expected collisions with the map prevent events and the player's actors from moving across terrain that shouldn't be able to be crossed (as determined by the game developer). Additional tags are also set, such as ladder physics, if the tile should not hide actors and events completely, if the tile should damage the player when walked on, and a terrain tag.
Common events, which are effectively event pages that can be called by any event at any time, are configured here. The default Event commands are used here.
Certain extra relevant stuff such as currency name, the starting party, starting actor positions, default music for modes in the game and sounds for actions in the game, and vehicle images are changed here.
Types for each item, such as element types, skill types, weapon types, armor types, and equipment types are changed here. Their names and the count is changed in the database in this section.
Terms used in the game are changed here. Text strings, such as save and load messages, level up messages, the name of HP and MP, and so on are changed here.