Theory of Roleplaying

Discuss Mongoose RPGs here, such as the OGL rulebooks, Jeremiah, Armageddon 2089 and Macho Women with Guns

What player type are you?

Mostly NAR
3
13%
Mostly GAM
5
22%
Mostly SIM
0
No votes
NAR and GAM
2
9%
NAR and SIM
8
35%
GAM and SIM
1
4%
Mostly balanced
4
17%
 
Total votes: 23
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Padre
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Postby Padre » Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:38 am

Mongoose Chris wrote:One of my favourite quotes from rpg.net:

"So... is RPG theory worth learning? Sure, why not? But if you have something better to do, do that first."
Yup. I find the whole idea of "RPG theory" pointless. Long confusing glossaries and essays don't make my games more fun. So why not play the game instead of discussing "player stances"?
The Gods told me to relax.
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Majestic7
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Postby Majestic7 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:09 am

I guess I would place myself somewhere between simulationist and narrativist, with a bit of gamist. I enjoy good stories, but I want the world to appear realistic. Not like just background for the adventure that exists only for the enjoyment of the players, but a working world on its own right, that would carry on even if the player characters did not exist. That is the feeling I try to create when I'm GM - the world is moving around the players on its own. Enemies and friends don't just sit idle waiting for the players to trigger certain part in the adventure, they are moving ahead according to their own motivations and resources. The players should as well have a feeling that they can influence the world around them...but that the world can influence them in return - that they are responsible for their actions, in good and bad.

A friend put my style of gaming in to words pretty well... the charactes are keyholes through which the players peek at the world. They shouldn't have more or less knowledge about things than their characters have. (The most scholarly character in my campaign is played by the guy who had read most Howard stories.)

I must admit that there is a bit of gamist in me as well, though. When I'm playing, I do enjoy seeing my characters grow in power and so forth, at least when it fits the genre played. However, if I had to choose from taking part in a game that is purely one of the three mentioned, I guess I'd go for simulationist. Purely narrative games often have an artificial feel about them, like the players were moving in a stage set of some play. Often they include railroading as well and I absolutely hate railroading. Purely gamist games on the other hand forget "role" from roleplaying and degrade in to rollplaying.

I think playing styles move on with age, though. When I started roleplaying as a teenager about twelve years ago, I guess our games were mostly gamist stuff, with lots of combat, looting and the like. The joys of more atmospheric playing with players really getting in to their characters became obvious together with moving towards maturity. Many of the guys who I played with as a kid later abandoned RPG's completely. The more gamist ones turned in to miniature games, CCG's and MMORPG's, while the casual players just ceased playing altogether. Somehow I don't see myself dropping this hobby before I'm too demented to remember where my character sheet is.
Padre wrote:
Mongoose Chris wrote:One of my favourite quotes from rpg.net:

"So... is RPG theory worth learning? Sure, why not? But if you have something better to do, do that first."
Yup. I find the whole idea of "RPG theory" pointless. Long confusing glossaries and essays don't make my games more fun. So why not play the game instead of discussing "player stances"?
Hmm. I both agree and disagree. I agree that the RPG theory as it is right now seems an awful lot like people who don't really GM, play or write RPG's themselves shouting from the back row how things should be done. At least that is the idea I've got following local discourse on the subject. I especially don't like most of the games coming from the Forge - those folks just switch from GM to a system, where the system itself is railroading the game to a certain direction while talking about sharing power between players.

In Finland, there is a "faction" of people who are hip in the media and are trying to turn roleplaying games, especially live playing, in to an accepted art form. Not just popular art, but the kind of stuff involving performances in the public and exploring limits of humanity by sitting alone in the closet for a week. Now, I think it is just fine to sit alone in the closet for a week. Anyone can enjoy their RPG's as they want. However, I totally despise and hate it when someone runs around screaming that there is only one appropriate way to roleplay, while all other styles are somehow worse in quality and content. That is why I really don't appreciate those "artsy" folks - I can't understand why RPG's couldn't just be honest entertainment. It doesn't stop them from having artistic qualities, just like an entertaining novel can still have plenty of such qualities.

Having said that, I think new kind of games are always good to have, even if I didn't like them myself. Serious academic research on roleplaying games is as well a good thing, since I think they are as legitimate and interesting part of popular culture as anything. Hell, I'll choose playing a RPG any day over going to movies, for example - it is much more interactive, intensive, creative and just plain fun.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae
Kyorou
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Postby Kyorou » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:39 am

Both me and my players are clearly narrativist. We're not playing a game (that's what video games are there for), we're co-telling a story.
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Trodax
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Postby Trodax » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:40 am

Majestic7 wrote:In Finland, there is a "faction" of people who are hip in the media and are trying to turn roleplaying games, especially live playing, in to an accepted art form. Not just popular art, but the kind of stuff involving performances in the public and exploring limits of humanity by sitting alone in the closet for a week.
Wow, we don't have that in Sweden (as far as I am aware). Maybe we should be guarding our borders, though. :wink:
Majestic7 wrote:Somehow I don't see myself dropping this hobby before I'm too demented to remember where my character sheet is.
Hey, me too! :D
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Majestic7
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Postby Majestic7 » Mon Jun 11, 2007 10:49 am

Trodax wrote:
Majestic7 wrote:In Finland, there is a "faction" of people who are hip in the media and are trying to turn roleplaying games, especially live playing, in to an accepted art form. Not just popular art, but the kind of stuff involving performances in the public and exploring limits of humanity by sitting alone in the closet for a week.
Wow, we don't have that in Sweden (as far as I am aware). Maybe we should be guarding our borders, though. :wink:
Actually, you do, that is where it came from to here... The art thing is just mainly concentrated around live games, so if you are mainly a pen and paper player, it is easy to ignore.
Trodax wrote:
Majestic7 wrote:Somehow I don't see myself dropping this hobby before I'm too demented to remember where my character sheet is.
Hey, me too! :D
Guess we should start planning a retirement home for elder gamers, then.
Campaign log & house rules at Obsidian Portal:
http://www.obsidianportal.com/campaign/conan-ae
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Trodax
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Postby Trodax » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:18 am

Majestic7 wrote: Actually, you do, that is where it came from to here... The art thing is just mainly concentrated around live games, so if you are mainly a pen and paper player, it is easy to ignore.
Ha, that's interesting. I wasn't aware of these closet-dwellers of which you speak. Guess I need to pay more attention to the media.
Majestic7 wrote:Guess we should start planning a retirement home for elder gamers, then.
I'm on it, bro.
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Greg Smith
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Postby Greg Smith » Mon Jun 11, 2007 11:24 am

Clovenhoof pretty much described how I like my games.

We had a discussion similar to this at the local club a week or two ago. One of the older members described how he preferred taking his character down a dungeon and bashing orcs and if his character died, so be it. While myself and another guy, said that that was entertaining but role-playing games had moved on somewhat.

Now is it just RPGs that have moved on, or is it the way we read/view fiction that has moved on and RPGs have followed?

For example, when I was a kid superheroes on TV were the Spider-man cartoon, or the Incredible Hulk. Now its Heroes. Compare the episodic nature of the original Battlestar Galactica to the ongoing plots, conspiracies and characterisations of the new series.

So these days, I think the hobby is largley less GAM than it used to be, myself included.
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