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Roleplay - Ed's journal
Why do we do roleplay games?

I was trying to explain LARPing and tabletop to my sister the other day.
You know, how it works, why it's 'fun'.
Actually, in the process, I managed to get my mum interested in showing up to SINergy.
Which could be rather cool.

I think there's a certain amount of escapism. In SINergy or Amber or D&D or WHRFRP or Shadowrun I do things IC that will just never happen for real. Either because of a different universe, or because ... well storming a building with vulcan cannons is just not especially feasible. So it gives me a chance to try new things in what is essentially a consequence free environment - well, ok, it sucks to have a character die, but basically it's no real harm.

The other is that I can pass off a different persona. I can get to be an extraverted loudmouth, or quiet psycho.

But the real reason is this - it's an inspiration to creativity. The best roleplay games I've been in are the ones that everyone believes in their characters. I rather like a bit of hack and slash every now and then - it's sort of like playing doom to burn off tension, but co-operatively. But the really _inspiring_ games have been the ones where pretty much everyone stays IC all the time.

Because it's then becoming interactive storytelling - I'm never going to be a novelist. I find that my writing style isn't really up to it. My patience _certainly_ isn't. I've knocked off a few short stories, but they usually end up erudite, abstract, heavy handed or otherwise unsatisfactory - I can't properly visualise a conversation between two characters, and so they always end up mostly wooden.

When roleplaying though, that all disappears. I've had a sanctimonious paladin, with a rigid moral code, arguing the point with a demonologist who believes his way really is the only way - know your enemy. I've had a mercernary mercenary who's moral code is flexible. I've got characters that have grown, and learned, and interacted with the others.

There really is a lot of fun to be had by just plonking your party in a bar, and having a discussion. And ok, so the story might not ever be a good one - even if you were to chronical your roleplay sessions, it'd oscillate between frivolous in jokes to hammy overacting. The thing is though, it's a story. And it's your story. Shared between the group, you've created a work of fiction. You've each taken a character part, made it real, and between you you develop the story.

But you're still back to the same problem. How do you explain that to someone who just 'doesn't get it'. That can't understand that you do it because it's fun, for the voyage of exploration. Why do people socialise IC when they can OC?

I think it simply comes down to this:
The real value in a dream is not that it may come to pass, but that it exists.
3 comments or Leave a comment
huwjones From: huwjones Date: April 6th, 2004 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
Well said. Now if people can just bring this attitude to my Exalted game, it'll go swimmingly.
Even if a couple of players are unused to such activities, hopefully this might bludgeon their minds open to the concept. ^-^
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: April 6th, 2004 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
one of the reasons why i was interested at SINergy in finding out people's IQ is that i have a theory that people with high IQ's are more likely to Roleplay. (note i did say High IQ, this does not in anyway denote how sensible a person is just their potential for learning). I was asked why?.

I have this pet theory that people with high IQ's roleplay to keep their mind active (the escapism aspect), mundane life is just that mundane, so they have to "think outside the box"

there is also some degree of egotism involved as RP allows people to be the heroes or villans thay can't or won't be in real life..

I roleplay cos i find it fun, i get to talk to people i would never have spoken too in any real life situation and be on common ground. Its the same as the re-enactment (which in itself is a form of demostrative roleplay, just never say it out loud in a re-enacment event cos you'll there are many who believe it to be a totaly different thing..) at these events i can dress up in outlandish clothes, and still fit in. I can talk to the person behind me about the last "fight" i was in, or the latest skirmish.. its another way to become a social grouping. Possibly its another label that people want to wear. as it denotes them as beign different and beyond the "normal".
crashbarrier From: crashbarrier Date: April 6th, 2004 05:34 pm (UTC) (Link)
i just had this thought. How many of us have felt just that tiniest bit of pride, coolness, one-upman ship as we carried our "weapons" through a group of "normals" or when a group of "normals" stops to watch a LARp combat going on.. i know i do..
3 comments or Leave a comment