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Cluedrew
2017-04-24, 08:49 PM
As on tin.

What is a role-playing game? It is a simple question, but I doubt it has a simple answer. If you feel it is an important distinction you may focus in on table-top and/or pen & paper role-playing games. Or you can include computer RPGs (if you don't think that shared name is just a historical artifact). Take whatever perspective you think will best answer the question.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-24, 09:14 PM
For TTRPGs - I've found that a good method to explain for those who have no idea - "It's a storytelling game with the exciting bits played out like a tactical board game."

Slipperychicken
2017-04-24, 10:05 PM
A game in which players take on the roles of imaginary characters who engage in adventures, typically in a particular fantasy setting overseen by a referee.

First result on google, but I removed the word 'computerized'.

Tanarii
2017-04-24, 11:41 PM
Generally, I consider it a role playing game if it's one in which you play imaginationary characters in an imaginary world, and make in-character decisions for them within that world, typically with a set of rules used for resolution of uncertain outcomes and/or consequences to intended actions.

AmberVael
2017-04-25, 12:13 AM
Lately, I've been calling TTRPGs 'make believe with spreadsheets.'

It usually gets a laugh, but also gets the point across.

2D8HP
2017-04-25, 12:14 AM
It's games of "Let's pretend", but with rulebook's.
Cluedrew, you may recognize some of this

This book is dedicated to Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, who first opened Pandora's box,
and to Ken St. Andre who found it could be opened again.(Arneson & Gygax were the creators of D&D, Andre of T&T).


INTRODUCTION
WHAT IS A FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING GAME?
A role-playing game is a game of character
development, simulating the process of personal development commonly called "life". The player acts a role in a fantasy environment, just as he might act a role in s play. In fact, when played with just paper and pencil on the game board of the player's imagination, it has been called "improvisational radio theatre. " If played with metal and plastic figurines, it becomes improvisational puppet theatre. However it is played, the primary purpose is to have fun. OK that's from the game that mostly replaced (over my objections) D&D at the tables I played at years ago.The part I agree most with is of course "However it is played, the primary purpose is to have fun." Which I hope we don't lose sight of.

Frankly I'd be happy if the "R" was removed, and we called them something like "table top Adventure games (when I was young, I saw the acronym "FRP" more than "RPG").
I believe the first published of the term was by Flying Buffalo in a Tunnels and Trolls supplement that said it was "compatible with other Fantasy role-playing games", i.e Dungeons & Dragons (please someone check this).

I have mixed feelings about Runequest, while I found the rules more intuitive than D&D, and I absolutely preferred it to the other non D&D RPG's we played, it was never quite as fun for me as D&D, but I often think when some list what they don't like about D&D, that Runequest is what their looking for.


The first version of what became D&D was the rules system inside Dave Arneson's mind.

The rules are there because players want some idea of what the odds are first, and it's easier to choose from a catalog than write on a blank page.

When D&D started there was no mention of role-playing on the box!
http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_DSs2bX13hVc/SfSTvUzCu4I/AAAAAAAAA9A/9bUyti9YmUk/s320/box1st.jpg
While the 1977 Basic set did indeed say "FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING GAME"
http://i2.wp.com/shaneplays.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/dungeons_and_dragons_dd_basic_set_1stedition_origi nal_box_holmes_edition.jpg?zoom=4&resize=312%2C386
The phrase "role-playing" was not part of the 1974 rules.
http://i2.wp.com/shaneplays.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/original_dungeons_and_dragons_dd_men_and_magic_cov er.jpg?zoom=4&resize=312%2C494
Notice that the cover says "Rules for Fantastic Medieval Wargames", not role-playing!
As I said before, I believe the first use of the term "role-playing game" was in a Tunnels & Trolls supplement that was "compatible with other Fantasy role-playing games", but early D&D didn't seem any more or less combat focused than the later RPG's I've played, (in fact considering how fragile PC''s were avoiding combat was often the goal!) so I wouldn't say it was anymore of a "Wargame". I would however say it was more an exploration game, and was less character focused.

Frankly while role-playing is alright, it's the 'enjoying a "world" where the fantastic is fact' part that is much more interesting to me.


These rules are strictly fantasy. Those wargamers who lack imagination, those who don't care for Burroughs'
Martian adventures where John Carter is groping through black pits, who feel no thrill upon reading Howard's Conan saga, who do not enjoy the de Camp & Pratt fantasies or Fritz Leiber's Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser
pitting their swords against evil sorceries will not be likely to find Dungeons & Dragons to their taste. But those whose imaginations know no bounds will find that these rules are the answer to their prayers. With this last
bit of advice we invite you to read on and enjoy a "world" where the fantastic is fact and magic really works!
E. Gary Gygax
Tactical Studies Rules Editor
1 November 1973
Lake Geneva, Wisconsin


While I'm ever grateful to Holmes for his work translating the game rules into English, perhaps he (an academic psychologist) is to be blamed for mis-labelling D&D with the abominable slander of "role-playing" (a psychological treatment technique).
It's too late now to correct the misnomer, but D&D is, was, and should be a fantasy adventure game, not role-playing, a label no good has come from!


If I want to do that, he said, Ill join an amateur theater group. (see here (http://www.believermag.com/issues/200609/?read=article_lafarge)).
While Dave Arneson later had the innovation of having his players "roll up" characters, for his "homebrew" of Chainmail:
http://www.todayifoundout.com/index.php/2016/04/the-original-dungeon-masters/

At first the players played themselves in a Fantastic medievalish world:
http://swordsandstitchery.blogspot.com/2016/10/in-celebrate-of-dave-arnesons-birthday.html?m=1

So a wargame was made into a setting exploration game, and then was later labelled a "role-playing" game.
While it's still possible to play D&D as the wargame it once was, I'm glad that the game escaped the "wargame" appellation, which makes the game more attractive to those of us with 'less of an interest in tactics, however I argue (to beat a dead horse), that the labeling of D&D as a role-playing game is hurtful ("Your not role-playing, your roll-playing! etc.).
Just label D&D an adventure game, and people can be spared all the hand-wringing, and insults when acting and writing talents don't measure up to "role-playing" standards, and instead we can have fun exploring a fantastic world together.
Please?

Endarire
2017-04-25, 12:54 AM
In theory, a(n?) RPG can be a variety of things. In practice, RPGs Equal Combat (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RPGsEqualCombat).

See also:
-Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CombatDiplomacyStealth)

-RPG Elements (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RPGElements)

-Role-Playing Games (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RolePlayingGame)

-Tabletop RPG Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TabletopRPGTropes)

oxybe
2017-04-25, 05:02 AM
For the most part? A mediocre at best boardgame tacked on an excuse to allow for acting that would get you kicked out of 1st grader's play tryouts, with a side of spreadsheets for flavour.

Still stupid fun though.

Knaight
2017-04-25, 11:35 AM
In theory, a(n?) RPG can be a variety of things. In practice, RPGs Equal Combat (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RPGsEqualCombat).

With several noticeable exceptions (Fiasco, Microscope, Smallville), thus making this a pretty bad definition element.

GreatDane
2017-04-25, 04:38 PM
I often describe it as a "cooperative storytelling game." If we're talking about D&D, I'll sell it as a "cooperative fantasy storytelling game with a strong emphasis on tactical combat." If you're looking to define roleplaying, I must recommend this article (http://theangrygm.com/defining-your-game/) by the Angry DM (which states, in summary, that roleplaying is putting yourself in the shoes of another person and making decisions based on their traits/beliefs/goals).

Tanarii
2017-04-25, 09:06 PM
I often describe it as a "cooperative storytelling game." If we're talking about D&D, I'll sell it as a "cooperative fantasy storytelling game with a strong emphasis on tactical combat." If you're looking to define roleplaying, I must recommend this article (http://theangrygm.com/defining-your-game/) by the Angry DM (which states, in summary, that roleplaying is putting yourself in the shoes of another person and making decisions based on their traits/beliefs/goals).
Interestingly it is Angry's articles and views on roleplaying being in-character decision making that cemented my opinion that roleplaying is the exact opposite of storytelling. That's 'living' a fake life. One that may, after all is said and done, enable you to look back and tell interesting stories of the 'experiences', just as in real life. But just as in real life, making decisions isn't 'living' a story. It's the opposite of creating or revealing an underlying plot and narrative, it's making choices and outcomes and consequences happening as a result.

Thrudd
2017-04-25, 09:46 PM
TTRPGs and CRPGs probably shouldn't be in the same category. Very different mediums with different limitations and methods of player interaction.

A TTRPG is a game where players take on the role of fictional characters in a fictional world, with rules that help determine the results of the characters' interactions with the world and each other.

Anything more specific than that probably would not apply to all of the vast array of different sorts or TTRPGs - They are not all collaborative story telling games. They are not all adventure games. They don't all have a single referee or story teller. They don't all focus on tactical combat, or any combat.

Knaight
2017-04-25, 11:25 PM
A TTRPG is a game where players take on the role of fictional characters in a fictional world, with rules that help determine the results of the characters' interactions with the world and each other.

Anything more specific than that probably would not apply to all of the vast array of different sorts or TTRPGs - They are not all collaborative story telling games. They are not all adventure games. They don't all have a single referee or story teller. They don't all focus on tactical combat, or any combat.

That's still too specific - there are other rules sets that fundamentally don't work that way, and instead have rules for determining who gets to narrate what happens to said fictional characters in said fictional worlds.

Psikerlord
2017-04-26, 12:57 AM
I usually go with: it's kinda like an action movie where you play the main characters. Sometimes you just do stuff, other times you have to roll dice to find out what happens.

Tanarii
2017-04-26, 05:46 AM
That's still too specific - there are other rules sets that fundamentally don't work that way, and instead have rules for determining who gets to narrate what happens to said fictional characters in said fictional worlds.
Those aren't roleplaying games. They are storytelling games.

Misereor
2017-04-26, 06:15 AM
As on tin.
What is a role-playing game? It is a simple question, but I doubt it has a simple answer. If you feel it is an important distinction you may focus in on table-top and/or pen & paper role-playing games. Or you can include computer RPGs (if you don't think that shared name is just a historical artifact). Take whatever perspective you think will best answer the question.

Without gleaning from previous answers, I'd say "Interactive storytelling with rules" pretty much encmopasses it.

As for the game part, it's a form of play (role- to be specific) with rules, and having rules makes it a game.
What you have rules for depends on the system and what house rules you have, just like when you play Monopoly or Chess.
Dungeons and Dragons is about being monster-slaying heroes. Star Wars is about kicking Darkside butt. Shadowrun is about opposing greedy megacorporations. So they each have apropriate rulesets for that.

As regards storytelling, Humans are addicted to stories.
Thousands of years ago we would gather around campfires and tell stories of heroes, gods, and monsters.
Today we have books, TV shows, movies, computer games, etc. We spend loads of time on stories, even more than we do on games.
Roleplaying gamers are just people who are more addicted than most. :smallbiggrin:

Knaight
2017-04-26, 10:30 AM
Those aren't roleplaying games. They are storytelling games.

Said games still frequently involve playing a role, so no.

neonchameleon
2017-04-26, 10:37 AM
I see two basic starting points for modern RPGs:

Hacked tabletop wargames that start out like an MMO raid but where you can do anything including subvert the entire goal with things the designers couldn't have anticipated.
Interactive collaborative storytelling with rules for conflict resolution and that help inspire the stories.

The first one is literally what D&D started out as and its lineage is very clearly seen in most RPGs (4e just used a boardgame not a wargame basis). The second one is what the Storyteller system claimed to be and what a lot of modern post-Forge systems do well. But most games are a mix of the two approaches.

Tanarii
2017-04-26, 10:58 AM
Said games still frequently involve playing a role, so no.
If someone else is making choices for your character to fit a narrative, no, they're not. No more than if someone made choices for you in real life to fit an underlying narrative.

Edit:
However, I misread your original statement, in which you said 'who gets to narrate'. That's not the same thing as determining what happens with the narrative. It sounds more like 'who gets to adjudicate and determine the outcomes/results, then describe them'. In which case its the same thing but viewing it through the lens of (or rather, placing the focus on) describing the final outcome/results.

The Vanishing Hitchhiker
2017-04-26, 03:13 PM
Playing a role, relying on entities controlled by an outside force (other players, a GM, AI, dice or RNG, the writers of the game) to provide events for you to react to, which they react to in turn and so forth, thus driving some kind of sequence of events.

I think that definition accounts for "just storytelling", and covers noodling away at sidequests and minigames and raiding dungeons for loot as well. The role and story can be ill-defined, pre-defined, or anything in between. Sometimes your role involves controlling more than one character, but as long as there's a distinct viewpoint(s) you can safely call it a tactical RPG or what have you.

kyoryu
2017-04-26, 08:02 PM
Those aren't roleplaying games. They are storytelling games.

I find this type of gatekeeping pretty useless in any practical sense.

They're not the type of roleplaying games you like - that's cool.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-26, 08:23 PM
I find this type of gatekeeping pretty useless in any practical sense.

They're not the type of roleplaying games you like - that's cool.

Sorta true. But to play devil's advocate, if you define it too broadly, Overwatch becomes an RPG because the characters each have names. Heck - they even have backgrounds and chat. But I don't think that most would define it as an RPG.

Plus - I didn't think he said that storytelling games are bad.

You don't want to exclude people who play the games. But if you define it too broadly it loses all meaning.

Cluedrew
2017-04-26, 09:39 PM
Plus let us not forget that the two labels need not be exclusive. By some definitions, all role-playing games are storytelling games (but not the other way around).

BayardSPSR
2017-04-27, 01:15 AM
If we take it literally, any game with role-playing is a role-playing game.

It's true that the most widely-played games with role-playing also have a great emphasis on tactical combat, but that's not what distinguishes them; we don't need to come up with a synonym for "game with role-playing" just to wall off ones that don't emphasize combat. The whole sphere of indie story-focused RPGs does exist as a sub-genre, but still falls under the RPG umbrella.

As long as we're talking about tabletop, at least. At its broadest, in electronic gaming "RPG mechanics" means anything with levels and experience - concepts derived from tabletop RPGs.

That said, I'm not that much a fan of the term. I've started to prefer to think of tabletop RPGs as "improv games," which focuses more on the "you can try to do anything" element that separates them from both traditional tabletop games and any and all electronic games.

Martin Greywolf
2017-04-27, 01:55 AM
Well, this is not an easy question to answer. On one hand, you have an idea of what an RPG should be, but a lot of marketing for digital games uses the term RPG so freely it looses meaning - was Diablo really an RPG? I wouldn't say so, having class and levels does not an RPG make.

Then there is the little problem of RPGs having many faces. PC and TT kinds have been mentioned, but what about LARP? That's certainly a role playing game, even though it can have very, very simple rules (the one I frequent has "you can do what you can do" as its core, with some potion-based magic on top). Hell, reenactment is a role playing game while you're in character, and it has pretty much no rules most of the time, except for "don't be an ass".

Even things like improvised theatre can cross over into RPG territory at times.

The most important thing for me that defines an RPG is that the players have agency in story - that is, a player (not necessarily his PC, tho) has a major effect on how the story will play out. Maybe he doesn't have a lot of influence on the outcome in some cases, but he can and does pick what path to take.

This is why Diablo isn't really an RPG, IMO, your only path is "kill everything" - that doesn't make it a bad game, but it makes it not an RPG. It also means that a game with completely linear story (Far Cry 3 for example) isn't an RPG despite class and levels, even if it has two endings you can pick from - while that is, technically speaking, agency of the player, there's very little of it and it is only present in that one moment.

And this also means that some of my above examples can be split into yes RPG and no RPG categories. Reenactment can have very strict storyline to tell with no room for any agency, or it can have pretty free-form constrains. Even some TTRPGs can stop being RPGs with a DM that is railroading enough.

Frozen_Feet
2017-04-27, 03:16 AM
A roleplaying game is a game where you play a role. Playing a role works the same as in acting: you assume the personality of an imagined character and portray what they are doing, how and why in a given scenario. The game rules frame the scenario and provide a medium for your character to act in.

It is actually exceedingly simple. 7-year-old cub scout girls get the gist of it in less than five minutes.

Majority of people in the hobby are simply piss poor at actually explaining this because they're too caught up in idiosyncracies and superficial elements of existing games.

Alternatively, they place too much emphasis on what inspires roleplaying games, such as literature, while failing to realize or explain that actually playing a roleplaying game is completely different from f.ex. reading or writing.

I've seen people arguing over the distinction between storytelling versus roleplaying games. They're almost all looking at the wrong place. The difference is not that one is concerned with "creating a story" and the other isn't. Any game can be used to create a story. The difference is that a storytelling game that is not also a roleplaying game doesn't have the players assuming personalities of their characters. An example would be a card game where players are creating a fairy tale by dealing various characters and plot twists from their hand. They are clearly making a story and deciding what characters in the story do, and how, and why, but none of the players have defined roles as the characters and no acting is involved.

Majority of storygames that have risen from the tabletop RPG hobby are also roleplaying games. They represent a different tradition from the highly improvisational wargame offshoots that defined the mainstream of the hobby, but they're roleplaying games nonetheless.

Tanarii
2017-04-27, 09:49 AM
Sorta true. But to play devil's advocate, if you define it too broadly, Overwatch becomes an RPG because the characters each have names. Heck - they even have backgrounds and chat. But I don't think that most would define it as an RPG.

Plus - I didn't think he said that storytelling games are bad.No, I don't think storytelling games are bad. I *do* think it can potentially lead to poor RPG experiences to treat some non-storytelling games, that are designed mechanically to support non-storytelling, as storytelling (collaborative or otherwise) games.

Because those games are based on the idea that the players are playing by making in-character decisions and having those result in things. As opposed to making narrative/plot-related decisions, which then affect whatever is needed to be affected. Or worse, the GM focuses on narrative/plot-related resolution, instead of in-character decision making resolution. (Edit: to be clear, the latter is what typically is called 'railroading' in non-storytelling games.)

So it's an actually important distinction between roleplaying (in-character decision making + resolution) and storytelling (narrative/plot-related decision making).

This is complicated by the way some people view making a narrative/plot-related decision involving characters to still be making an in-character decision, even though it's actually focusing on something completely different.

CharonsHelper
2017-04-27, 09:57 AM
This is complicated by the way some people view making a narrative/plot-related decision involving characters to still be making an in-character decision, even though it's actually focusing on something completely different.

+1 to this.

There's nothing wrong with such games, but the play is rather detached from your character for my taste.

I prefer making choices based upon what the character thinks is best. (And yes - I do optimize. Those are the rules of the character's universe, and he doesn't want to die by being sub-par. No different that pro baseball players not using 1910's style baseball gloves anymore even if they think it'd be cool - because it'd be sub-par.)

PhoenixPhyre
2017-04-27, 10:20 AM
No, I don't think storytelling games are bad. I *do* think it can potentially lead to poor RPG experiences to treat some non-storytelling games, that are designed mechanically to support non-storytelling, as storytelling (collaborative or otherwise) games.

Because those games are based on the idea that the players are playing by making in-character decisions and having those result in things. As opposed to making narrative/plot-related decisions, which then affect whatever is needed to be affected. Or worse, the GM focuses on narrative/plot-related resolution, instead of in-character decision making resolution. (Edit: to be clear, the latter is what typically is called 'railroading' in non-storytelling games.)

So it's an actually important distinction between roleplaying (in-character decision making + resolution) and storytelling (narrative/plot-related decision making).

This is complicated by the way some people view making a narrative/plot-related decision involving characters to still be making an in-character decision, even though it's actually focusing on something completely different.

I mostly agree with you, but I do beg to differ on one point. Role-playing and story-telling is not a binary. It's a spectrum.

At one end, you have pure simulation. The character (or world) is treated as if it has all the bits and bobs that real worlds and characters have, and the player is simply attempting to "do what the character would do" with no thought for the overarching game/scenario/plot/etc. The story isn't even considered. Narrative control is non-existent--character actions shape everything directly.

At the other, you have pure narrative. Characters are simply stage-dressing--all the attention is on the overall story and characters are changed/discarded/etc as needed. No consideration is given to playing the role of a character. The players sit outside the story as meddling deities, deciding the fate of the story as a whole. The story is the entire thing. The rule system cares much more about narrative control than of simulating the outcomes of actions.

In the middle is where all the games I've ever seen actually happen. Players make decisions for their characters with an eye toward making the story fun for everybody. Decisions that, while in character, would be disruptive to group or table cohesion are discarded for other in-character actions that aren't disruptive. Players realize that the characters (and the world) aren't real and it's the players making the decisions, so they try to select from the available options those that help the story unfold the way they want it to. The story is an emergent property of the game is balanced against the other concerns.

Narrative control in the middle ground is achieved in a feedback loop among the table participants (including the DM if such a role exists) rather than explicitly through the rule system. This narrative control usually comes in the form of "wouldn't it be cool if X" or players assuming as if unmentioned items exist ("I pick up pebbles from the ground and toss them at the window", when no pebbles have been mentioned).

Quertus
2017-04-27, 10:29 AM
A roleplaying game is a game in which a player takes on the role of a character, and roleplays - makes decisions for the character, as the character.


And yes - I do optimize. Those are the rules of the character's universe, and he doesn't want to die by being sub-par. No different that pro baseball players not using 1910's style baseball gloves anymore even if they think it'd be cool - because it'd be sub-par.

Those pro athletes are such munchkins!

EDIT:


In the middle is where all the games I've ever seen actually happen. Players make decisions for their characters with an eye toward making the story fun for everybody. Decisions that, while in character, would be disruptive to group or table cohesion are discarded for other in-character actions that aren't disruptive. Players realize that the characters (and the world) aren't real and it's the players making the decisions, so they try to select from the available options those that help the story unfold the way they want it to.

That's "metagaming". Much like Rule 0, a role-playing game is best when it contains the proper amount, used in the correct way. And, much to my chagrin on both counts, the proper amount, in both cases, isn't 0.

2D8HP
2017-04-27, 10:47 AM
For me in a traditional "role-playing game", non-GM players respond to the environment that the GM has invented:

GM: You find a box.

Player: I open it.

Whereas in a "storytelling game" multiple players also change the environment described:

Player 'A': A box is found.

Player 'B': Inside the box is a letter.

I'm sure there's blends, but that's the basic distinction I see.

While it may be fun to disparage one or the other ("Your fun is wronger than my fun!"), it's also absurd.

Because we all know that POKEMON IS THE ONE TRUE GAME!

:wink:

kyoryu
2017-04-27, 12:27 PM
I understand the distinction being made.

I just generally put them all under the RPG umbrella, as in all of those games you still play a character, even if you do other things. "You're not playing an RPG!" is just a point of contention that adds no real value to the conversation and makes actual discussion harder.

Tanarii
2017-04-27, 01:06 PM
Because we all know that POKEMON IS THE ONE TRUE GAME!Win!hahahaha victory is yours :smallbiggrin:


I understand the distinction being made.

I just generally put them all under the RPG umbrella, as in all of those games you still play a character, even if you do other things. "You're not playing an RPG!" is just a point of contention that adds no real value to the conversation and makes actual discussion harder.
But one is Roleplaying, playing a character. The other Storytelling, playing a narrative/plot. The names match what's being done.

If it's getting your back up, then we can call them narrative-oriented RPGs and character-oriented RPGs instead, and just leave it at RPGs can include both story-telling and character-'role'-playing, despite the name on the can.

kyoryu
2017-04-27, 02:10 PM
But one is Roleplaying, playing a character. The other Storytelling, playing a narrative/plot. The names match what's being done.

Most "storytelling" games involve a high degree of roleplaying as well.

Does Fate require some player-facing decisions? Yup. But the vast majority of the game is played in character.

Apocalypse World is almost more character-facing than that, even.

Both of these games get stuck with the "storytelling" tag, or the "not-an-rpg" tag.

And even many traditional games have very dubious mechanics from an in-character perspective - precise placement of spells, or exact pathing to avoid AoOs come to mind. Those decisions (and many like them) are made from a completely player/rules perspective.


If it's getting your back up, then we can call them narrative-oriented RPGs and character-oriented RPGs instead, and just leave it at RPGs can include both story-telling and character-'role'-playing, despite the name on the can.

This is what I advocate for, actually. At least partially because most games have a blend of the two, and because of the whole "you're not playing an RPG!" garbage.

Quertus
2017-04-27, 02:41 PM
If you're never assuming a role, never role-playing, you're not playing an RPG. Can we agree to that?

Then, these games that do have you assume a role, but also have you break immersion, and make choices from a different PoV, are still role-playing games, just... different.

One could argue that it's only a "pure" RPG if you're spending 100% of your time in character, but, as I mentioned earlier, the game is generally better with a dash of metagaming - to, say, not have your character summon spiders when one of the players is deathly afraid of spiders, even if it is the correct in-character thing to do.

Does anyone disagree with my assessment?

Segev
2017-04-27, 03:03 PM
Most TTRPGs are a collaborative storytelling effort, where the primary author (the GM) knows the majority of what's going on, but the most important characters are played by writers wholly devoted to those roles and who are also the primary audience of the story. It's like being in a very low-budget play where you as audience are actually allowed to step onto the stage and ad-lib any action you want, according to certain rules.

Some TTRPGs are more like tactical board games with very complex rules for very specific characters; others are more like loose group storytelling that gives everybody more control over the overall narrative. But ultimately, what defines an RPG is that the non-GM players are specifically pretending to be somebody who exists in the game.


cRPGs tend, on the other hand, to be more like choose-your-own-adventure games, or like novels or movies in which you level up, depending just how on rails and how many branching options there are.

MMORPGs tend to be a lot of cRPGs strung together with a LOT more flexibility on what your character's leveling-up minigame is.

They qualify as RPGs to the extent that you are expected to view yourself as playing the role of your character.

BayardSPSR
2017-04-27, 03:35 PM
But one is Roleplaying, playing a character. The other Storytelling, playing a narrative/plot. The names match what's being done.

If it's getting your back up, then we can call them narrative-oriented RPGs and character-oriented RPGs instead, and just leave it at RPGs can include both story-telling and character-'role'-playing, despite the name on the can.

I don't entirely follow. This seems like a theoretical distinction between Platonic ideals, rather than a description of the blend of in- and out-of-character decisionmaking present in every RPG, regardless of how they're "oriented."

I've played a few different RPGs from both "tactical combat" and "indie-storytelling" traditions, and I don't recall "playing a narrative" more or less in any of them. They just had different mechanical links between character actions and GM/world consequences. "You kill the goblin and find the treasure" is itself a narrative, after all.


Does anyone disagree with my assessment?

Your post, and Segev's immediately after it, both seem accurate to me.

kyoryu
2017-04-30, 11:18 PM
If you're never assuming a role, never role-playing, you're not playing an RPG. Can we agree to that?

Then, these games that do have you assume a role, but also have you break immersion, and make choices from a different PoV, are still role-playing games, just... different.

One could argue that it's only a "pure" RPG if you're spending 100% of your time in character, but, as I mentioned earlier, the game is generally better with a dash of metagaming - to, say, not have your character summon spiders when one of the players is deathly afraid of spiders, even if it is the correct in-character thing to do.

Does anyone disagree with my assessment?

Not one little bit.

Kane0
2017-04-30, 11:40 PM
It's a game (with rules) that you play (with others or alone) in which players act as or assume the role of someone (or something) within said game (usually not themselves).

This frequently necessitates imagination, communication, problem solving and other tasks from those involved. Also dice or some other form of randomizaton.

Anonymouswizard
2017-05-01, 05:35 AM
Okay, to me:

Roleplaying is, at it's core, a bunch of adults (or teenagers or children, I'm focusing on adults here) choosing to get together and play make believe of their own free will. That's it, it doesn't matter if it's in person or over the internet, it doesn't matter if it's at a table, in a field, or in a wood, it doesn't matter if it's structured or freeform, it doesn't matter if it's played with dice or if it's LARP, it doesn't matter if it's character focused or story focused.

I am specifically leaving out roleplaying for a medical reason, it's a thing and it happens (although I have no clue how common it is), but I have no experience from either side and consider it unrelated to what we're discussing.

With this in mind, a roleplaying game is simply a set of rules that exist in order to provide structure to roleplaying. It doesn't matter if the rules are published by a company or completely made up. It doesn't matter how developed they actually are, 'actions you're good at succeed on a 3+, all other actions need a 6' is more than enough.

Note that this is intentionally a broad definition, I'd then narrow it down. D&D might be a 'character focused fantasy exploration roleplaying game' (CFFERPG does roll off the tongue as well as DWWTUDBTSYOPNCs*, but that's not important), while Fate could be a 'generic story focused character driven roleplaying game'.

* Don't Whine When The Universe Doesn't Bend To Suit Your Own Petty Needs Characters, blame The Giant and On The Origin of PCs.

Tanarii
2017-05-01, 08:38 AM
If you're never assuming a role, never role-playing, you're not playing an RPG. Can we agree to that?

Then, these games that do have you assume a role, but also have you break immersion, and make choices from a different PoV, are still role-playing games, just... different.

One could argue that it's only a "pure" RPG if you're spending 100% of your time in character, but, as I mentioned earlier, the game is generally better with a dash of metagaming - to, say, not have your character summon spiders when one of the players is deathly afraid of spiders, even if it is the correct in-character thing to do.

Does anyone disagree with my assessment?
Yes. Playing the narrative has nothing to do with playing the character, either in or out of character. 'Metagaming' is a false concept. What matters is are you playing the character, or are you telling a story? They are mutually exclusive concepts.

Edit: I should be clear, you can do both. Switch-hit back and forth. You just can't do both at the same time. If you're making a decision in relation to one, it cannot simultaneously be a decision for the other.

Edit2: since 'Metagaming' is a false concept will probably draw some extra fire on top it the rest of this post, this is what I mean: http://theangrygm.com/dear-gms-metagaming-is-your-fault/

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-01, 09:24 AM
What matters is are you playing the character, or are you telling a story? They are mutually exclusive concepts.

Edit: I should be clear, you can do both. Switch-hit back and forth. You just can't do both at the same time. If you're making a decision in relation to one, it cannot simultaneously be a decision for the other.


I don't understand why they're mutually exclusive. At each decision point there are a range of possible actions. Some of these are "in character" and some would be "out of character." Thus, it is up to the player to decide which of the actions is taken. Since there are usually many actions that are equally in character, some other criterion must be used. "What my character would do" is insufficient to determine the outcome (at least for any reasonably complex character). Why can't one acceptable criterion be the story (or the fun of the group, or what seems cool to the player at the time, or ...)?

Edit: More simply, for me role-playing speaks to what a character does (and to any in-character motivations) while story-telling speaks to why the player (not the character) decided to choose that action out of all possible actions. In this sense, it is a meta-consideration. They're orthogonal, not oppositional, ideas.

I put those two phrases in quotes because the only one who can really say if something is in character is the author. Characters can have motivations and desires that have not been put out for the group. There is no "I'm playing this specific role" contract that enforces unchanging behaviors. Characters can learn and grow as well.

For that matter, real people are complicated and often do "out of character" things because we have many mutually-contradictory impulses, motivations, feelings, etc. Role-playing someone who only ever acts according to a limited, predetermined, closed-to-modification set of motives in a deterministic fashion is, in my opinion, bad roleplaying.

Tanarii
2017-05-01, 10:00 AM
Some of these are "in character" and some would be "out of character." This is actually besides the point, per my comments on metagaming that you removed. Maybe if I reframe it slightly. What matters: are you making decisions about your character, or the narrative? Those are mutually exclusive.

It's more obvious a difference when you talk about in-character vs narrative, but it's really character-oriented vs narrative/plot-oriented decision making that is mutually exclusive.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-01, 10:12 AM
This is actually besides the point, per my comments on metagaming that you removed. Maybe if I reframe it slightly. What matters: are you making decisions about your character, or the narrative? Those are mutually exclusive.

It's more obvious a difference when you talk about in-character vs narrative, but it's really character-oriented vs narrative/plot-oriented decision making that is mutually exclusive.

Again you state that as a conclusion without any reasoning. That's what I'm missing. I find myself (as a DM) making decisions for characters to advance a narrative (even if the narrative extends no further than the current scene). When Lady Polanai looks at her husband with that "really dear, did you have to make that joke" look, she's doing it to set a stage. To frame a scene. To encourage the players to react in certain ways so the story unfolds in ways I find fun. She's also doing it because she and her husband have a relationship based on humor and mutual utility. In that case, I'm thinking both of the narrative and the character.

Again, I'd like an explanation as to why they're mutually exclusive. Not a flat statement, but an explanation. I just don't see it. Maybe at the extremes (where players don't control characters at all or in extreme method acting) there's a zone without both simultaneously, but in most games I see players acting with both character-focus and narrative-focus (at least as I understand those terms) simultaneously. Maybe I'm not understanding how you're using the term "narrative"?

Tanarii
2017-05-01, 01:01 PM
Again you state that as a conclusion without any reasoning.
&
Again, I'd like an explanation as to why they're mutually exclusive. Not a flat statement, but an explanation.It's a flat statement because it's tautologically true.
Making a narrative decision precludes making a character decision, because it removes the decision from being character-oriented. It's like something being a non-free-will decision, then trying to claim that there is free-will involved as well.

Your example is flawed for two reasons. First, that's not a narrative decision you made for the NPC, unless the narrative is 'the two NPCs are destroying their relationship, and the players must find a way to stop them or X will happen'. And if that IS the narrative decision you made, you've just removed it from being a decision about those characters. Which continues until & unless you stop making decisions for the NPC behavior based on that narrative, and resume making it for them as individual characters.

However, so far I've mostly been talking about player's decision making & gaming style, not DMs. I agree that DMs very often make narrative-level decisions for their NPCs & Monsters, not character-oriented ones. It's when they try to make narrative-level decisions for the world and/or try to resolve player actions with an eye to narrative, while the players are making character-oriented decisions for what they are trying to accomplish, that trouble usually starts.

kyoryu
2017-05-01, 01:37 PM
Most of the time, they're not mutually exclusive.

Like, you ask "what would my character do?" and there might be five or six things you could see them doing. Some of them might be more entertaining than others, but many of them can serve both purposes quite well.

Sometimes, though, you do have to choose. Like, the most likely "in character" thing might not be the most interesting, but the most interesting might be the third most "in character" thing. So, you're not violating any principle (you're choosing something both in character, and interesting), but you're definitely giving one precedence over the other. (Which is mostly how I feel about optimization).

And sometimes you have to make decisions as a player that involve things your character doesn't know - whether it's the use of various fate/hero/bennie points, or even (IMHO) some of the overly-precise positioning rules, to me those are all kind of out-of-character decisions.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-01, 02:08 PM
In theory, a(n?) RPG can be a variety of things. In practice, RPGs Equal Combat (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RPGsEqualCombat).

See also:
-Combat, Diplomacy, Stealth (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/CombatDiplomacyStealth)

-RPG Elements (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RPGElements)

-Role-Playing Games (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/RolePlayingGame)

-Tabletop RPG Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TabletopRPGTropes)


With several noticeable exceptions (Fiasco, Microscope, Smallville), thus making this a pretty bad definition element.


Almost any RPG can have entire sessions without combat.

Knaight
2017-05-01, 02:17 PM
Almost any RPG can have entire sessions without combat.

Sure. Those three just highlight two games which don't have and don't need combat systems, a game that makes it extremely decentralized, and one where no combat showing up at all is expected. They make the point a bit more thoroughly.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-01, 02:23 PM
Sure. Those three just highlight two games which don't have and don't need combat systems, a game that makes it extremely decentralized, and one where no combat showing up at all is expected. They make the point a bit more thoroughly.

Let's put it this way -- I was rejecting the assertion that "RPGs = combat" in total, whether we're talking about a game that doesn't even feature actual combat rules, or a game that has very explicit combat rules.

oWoD games were at one point considered "not RPGs" by some crusty grognards because you might go a whole session without a combat. :smallwink:

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-01, 02:23 PM
Most of the time, they're not mutually exclusive.

Like, you ask "what would my character do?" and there might be five or six things you could see them doing. Some of them might be more entertaining than others, but many of them can serve both purposes quite well.

Sometimes, though, you do have to choose. Like, the most likely "in character" thing might not be the most interesting, but the most interesting might be the third most "in character" thing. So, you're not violating any principle (you're choosing something both in character, and interesting), but you're definitely giving one precedence over the other. (Which is mostly how I feel about optimization).

And sometimes you have to make decisions as a player that involve things your character doesn't know - whether it's the use of various fate/hero/bennie points, or even (IMHO) some of the overly-precise positioning rules, to me those are all kind of out-of-character decisions.

I wrote a big long response to @Tanarii, but...Swordsaged. I agree with you here completely. Hence my confusion.

CharonsHelper
2017-05-01, 02:27 PM
oWoD games were at one point considered "not RPGs" by some crusty grognards because you might go a whole session without a combat. :smallwink:

Lol - there are a few Pathfinder Society adventures in which you can totally avoid combat if you do it right - but I don't think anyone would say that combat isn't the system's focus. And it's a D&D off-shoot, so no one could reasonably say that it's not an RPG (since D&D is the default).

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-01, 02:30 PM
If you're never assuming a role, never role-playing, you're not playing an RPG. Can we agree to that?

Then, these games that do have you assume a role, but also have you break immersion, and make choices from a different PoV, are still role-playing games, just... different.

One could argue that it's only a "pure" RPG if you're spending 100% of your time in character, but, as I mentioned earlier, the game is generally better with a dash of metagaming - to, say, not have your character summon spiders when one of the players is deathly afraid of spiders, even if it is the correct in-character thing to do.

Does anyone disagree with my assessment?


I pretty much agree with it -- but getting too far away from "I'm in character".

I'd say that "this thing is an RPG" is a bit like being on a hill. Anything that's "on the hill" is an RPG; go too far in ANY direction, and it's not on the hill, and it's not an RPG. ANY extreme pushes the "thing" too far and makes it not an RPG.

If "not enough player agency" makes a thing "not an RPG" -- then so does "too much player agency".

If "not enough structure/rules" makes a thing "not an RPG" -- then so does "too much structure/rules".

If "not enough in-character" makes a thing "not an RPG" -- then so does "too much in character". *


The problem is in getting people to agree on where exactly the hill ends...


* "too much in character" is IMO is when a player won't even stop to roll the dice or answer someone's request for a clarification OOC because they'd be "dropping character". :smalltongue:





Most of the time, they're not mutually exclusive.

Like, you ask "what would my character do?" and there might be five or six things you could see them doing. Some of them might be more entertaining than others, but many of them can serve both purposes quite well.

Sometimes, though, you do have to choose. Like, the most likely "in character" thing might not be the most interesting, but the most interesting might be the third most "in character" thing. So, you're not violating any principle (you're choosing something both in character, and interesting), but you're definitely giving one precedence over the other. (Which is mostly how I feel about optimization).

And sometimes you have to make decisions as a player that involve things your character doesn't know - whether it's the use of various fate/hero/bennie points, or even (IMHO) some of the overly-precise positioning rules, to me those are all kind of out-of-character decisions.


If forced to choose narrative or character, I'm going to chose character 10 out of 10 times.

You are, however, correct in that is usually a compromise, a way to pick a path that's both in-character and not a story-killer. "Character or narrative, pick one and only one" is a false dichotomy.

CharonsHelper
2017-05-01, 04:18 PM
If forced to choose narrative or character, I'm going to chose character 10 out of 10 times.

You are, however, correct in that is usually a compromise, a way to pick a path that's both in-character and not a story-killer. "Character or narrative, pick one and only one" is a false dichotomy.

+1

When I create my character I'm going to make sure that he's not disrupting, or a jerk etc. No - "it's what my character would do" excuses for being a jerk. But I'm not a fan of mechanics which are totally "detached", where you create the story from a meta perspective.

There's nothing "badwrongfun" about them, they're just not my speed.

kyoryu
2017-05-01, 04:42 PM
When I create my character I'm going to make sure that he's not disrupting, or a jerk etc. No - "it's what my character would do" excuses for being a jerk. But I'm not a fan of mechanics which are totally "detached", where you create the story from a meta perspective.

Kinda funny, because my experience even with games that use such mechanics is that they're usually a very minor bit, but it seems with some people like they've been in games that are more like a writer's room than a game.


There's nothing "badwrongfun" about them, they're just not my speed.

Best attitude is best.

Cluedrew
2017-05-01, 05:20 PM
Making a narrative decision precludes making a character decision, because it removes the decision from being character-oriented.As I see it most characters, and situations, are not so well defined that there is exactly one thing they might do in this situation. There are probably a hole range of things that they might do, it is character based to determine those in this way. However the player (rather than considering/inventing the minor details of the character's mind to figure it out) might go with the most narratively interesting option.

Quertus
2017-05-04, 10:23 AM
Regarding character decisions...

I... honestly can't believe I'm having to explain this, so I'm having trouble coming up with the words. It's such a basic, base-level concept, it's been hard-wired by decades of play, that I have a hard time evaluating it any more.

IMO, when you're truly "in character", you should generally see exactly one option for your character at any given time. That's "what your character would do".

Yes, if you're a cheating metagamer, and poke your head out of the zone, you could easily see that there are several options that could have been equally in character, equally consistent with the personality you've portrayed thus far. Maybe rather than summoning spiders that the player to your left is deathly afraid of IRL, you could have cast a Wall of Fire, or ran away. But, when looking at it from your character's PoV, that's not what you saw at the moment, in the heat of battle, so you'd be a cheating metagamer to pick a different in-character option for such metagaming reasons.

Thinking in terms of the narrative should even more obviously be something one cannot do while staying inside the character's headspace. So, of course they are mutually exclusive, as one cannot do both at the exact same time. At least, that's my experience with humanity, and players who complain about "losing/breaking immersion", and actors who want to get/stay in character.

As I've said before, possibly in this thread, I was trained to believe that metagaming was evil, and I'm a **** who will (almost) say, "**** you and your irrational fear of spiders, it's what my character would do". Because your fear of spiders is a metagame concern, something that my character has no concept of, and so using that player knowledge is bad role-playing. Yeah*. I'm working on learning to metagaming more, but it's tough to overcome decades of conditioning.

Just like swimming works best when you periodically surface for breath, an RPG runs best when you occasionally take a moment to lose immersion, and look at the game from a different PoV. RPGs work best with just a dash of metagaming.

* this type of example, where a character'a actions are severely hampering a players enjoyment of the game, is the only reason I'm not still a 100% immersion, metagaming-is-evil roleplayer. This type of thing was my wake-up call to question what I believed about role-playing.

kyoryu
2017-05-04, 10:33 AM
Really? Because as a person, there's lots of times where I go, "hrm, I could do this, or do that. Which should I do?"

If I don't personally always have only one avenue that I'd immediately choose, why would my characters?

Segev
2017-05-04, 11:05 AM
IMO, when you're truly "in character", you should generally see exactly one option for your character at any given time. That's "what your character would do".That's rarely, if ever, the case, because I am not my character. I am not living what he's living. I am not hungry, as he is. I am not as tired as he is. I am not the one who has to endure the searing pain of a choice. I'm not even the one who has to endure the bad stench of the sewers.

I do share his desire for the benefits of enduring those things, however.

So if I just go with the primary option, the optimal thing to get what I want would be what my characters would always do.


Yes, if you're a cheating metagamer, and poke your head out of the zone, you could easily see that there are several options that could have been equally in character, equally consistent with the personality you've portrayed thus far.I don't see how this is cheating. Unless you're suggesting that being unable to completely imagine the precise levels of discomfort and desire my character has is "cheating." In which case, I am incapable of NOT "cheating" by your definition of the word.


Maybe rather than summoning spiders that the player to your left is deathly afraid of IRL, you could have cast a Wall of Fire, or ran away. But, when looking at it from your character's PoV, that's not what you saw at the moment, in the heat of battle, so you'd be a cheating metagamer to pick a different in-character option for such metagaming reasons....so in order not to cheat, I have to go with options that hurt my fellow players IRL as well as IC? Really?

No, no, I know you mean that is only if it's "totally in character" and "what I felt in the moment." But I don't. I can't. I'm not there. I am aware of my friend's discomfort. I am aware of the consequences. I can try to ignore that, but just doing the WORST choice to "avoid metagaming" is, itself, metagaming. It's just metagaming to make myself WORSE rather than BETTER. It doesn't actually add to verisimilitude.

Sorry, I just get a little offended when told that my inability to be a perfect method RPer means I'm "cheating." :smallyuk:

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-04, 11:06 AM
Regarding character decisions...

I... honestly can't believe I'm having to explain this, so I'm having trouble coming up with the words. It's such a basic, base-level concept, it's been hard-wired by decades of play, that I have a hard time evaluating it any more.

IMO, when you're truly "in character", you should generally see exactly one option for your character at any given time. That's "what your character would do".


Why should a character be different from an actual person in this regard -- why would a fictional character never deliberate between two or more options, never hesitate, never wonder if they're about to do the right thing, etc?

For both real people and for fictional characters, there's almost never ONE choice that's totally in-character, with ALL other choices totally out of character. The problems only arise when someone has a character do something completely outside their character or in contradiction of character, driven by convenience, narrative, game, etc considerations.




Yes, if you're a cheating metagamer, and poke your head out of the zone, you could easily see that there are several options that could have been equally in character, equally consistent with the personality you've portrayed thus far. Maybe rather than summoning spiders that the player to your left is deathly afraid of IRL, you could have cast a Wall of Fire, or ran away. But, when looking at it from your character's PoV, that's not what you saw at the moment, in the heat of battle, so you'd be a cheating metagamer to pick a different in-character option for such metagaming reasons.


So deciding to have some courtesy to the player next to you is "cheating"?

I guess I'll keep cheating then.

Or rather, I'll take my fellow players and their enjoyment of the game and the fact that they're my friends (I don't play with random people I don't know) into account, and not play characters that would "require" me to be a jerkarse to other people under the fig leaf of "but that's what my character would do!" Excuses like "but my character is a Kender!" when it turns out the character took a wand that the wizard needed and party members end up dead, just don't fly -- unless the player of said Kender is willing to accept another player telling them "my character is from a culture where thieves face summary justice, what's your AC?"

Jay R
2017-05-04, 11:15 AM
Role-playing is a general phrase for a great many different styles of game. The only aspects that are consistent to all of them are making decisions about the actions of fictional characters in fictional worlds, and trying to re-define role-playing to exclude forms which the speaker dislikes.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-04, 11:51 AM
IMO, when you're truly "in character", you should generally see exactly one option for your character at any given time. That's "what your character would do".

Yes, if you're a cheating metagamer, and poke your head out of the zone, you could easily see that there are several options that could have been equally in character, equally consistent with the personality you've portrayed thus far. Maybe rather than summoning spiders that the player to your left is deathly afraid of IRL, you could have cast a Wall of Fire, or ran away. But, when looking at it from your character's PoV, that's not what you saw at the moment, in the heat of battle, so you'd be a cheating metagamer to pick a different in-character option for such metagaming reasons.


You've never hesitated between options? I can think of only a few cases where there's only one thing I would do, and those are core ethical values. Even then, outside the moment, I question things.

This may have been how you were taught, but frankly that's a crappy way to play. It's bad roleplaying that results in narrow, shallow characters. Real people have options. Ranges of behavior. Internal struggles between multiple attractive options. Competing values and priorities.

If meta-gaming to assist in other people's fun is wrong, I don't want to be right. First and foremost this is a game. A pastime where we try to have fun. Causing people psychological harm (or even significant discomfort, at least if it's intentional) is not on the agenda for me.

Quertus
2017-05-04, 11:55 AM
Note: most of my previous post shouldn't exactly be treated as blue text, exactly, but close. It's largely a description of the mindset in which I was taught to play the game.

The fact that this mindset can be actively detrimental to the enjoyment of my fellow players - something I care about a great deal - is what awakened me to the fact that what I learned was, if not wrong, at the very, very least a gross oversimplification of role-playing, that needs to be "rule 0'd". But probably just wrong.

So, to address a few specific points:


Really? Because as a person, there's lots of times where I go, "hrm, I could do this, or do that. Which should I do?"

If I don't personally always have only one avenue that I'd immediately choose, why would my characters?

I guess I'd better explain, then: thinking about the choice can be the one thing that is in character to do at that moment, too!


...so in order not to cheat, I have to go with options that hurt my fellow players IRL as well as IC? Really?

No, no, I know you mean that is only if it's "totally in character" and "what I felt in the moment." But I don't. I can't. I'm not there. I am aware of my friend's discomfort. I am aware of the consequences. I can try to ignore that, but just doing the WORST choice to "avoid metagaming" is, itself, metagaming. It's just metagaming to make myself WORSE rather than BETTER. It doesn't actually add to verisimilitude.

Sorry, I just get a little offended when told that my inability to be a perfect method RPer means I'm "cheating." :smallyuk:

Good for you. Feeling offended is the correct response.

As I said above, this was the natural consequence of following the paradigm I learned to its logical conclusion, and the reason I've realized the methodology I learned was wrong-minded.

That having been said, said mindset has some good points, and one should not, as they say, throw out the baby with the bathwater. It helps explain why one cannot, as was being questioned in this thread, maintain immersion and make choices in the interest of, say, the narrative, or even other players, at the same time.

Which is why, IMO, one must mix role-playing with just a dash of metagaming.


Why should a character be different from an actual person in this regard -- why would a fictional character never deliberate between two or more options, never hesitate, never wonder if they're about to do the right thing, etc?

For both real people and for fictional characters, there's almost never ONE choice that's totally in-character, with ALL other choices totally out of character. The problems only arise when someone has a character do something completely outside their character or in contradiction of character, driven by convenience, narrative, game, etc considerations.

So deciding to have some courtesy to the player next to you is "cheating"?

I guess I'll keep cheating then.

Or rather, I'll take my fellow players and their enjoyment of the game and the fact that they're my friends into account,

Covered above, hope my position makes more sense now. Deliberating and hesitating can absolutely be the one correct in-character thing to do under the paradigm I first learned. And, by all means, keep on cheating!


Role-playing is a general phrase for a great many different styles of game. The only aspects that are consistent to all of them are making decisions about the actions of fictional characters in fictional worlds, and trying to re-define role-playing to exclude forms which the speaker dislikes.

I can't disagree that the method I learned was very much about excluding other things. I also can't help but point out that the method I learned was wrong... which is itself another form of excluding things I dislike. The only thing I can't stand is prejudice... wait...

EDIT:

You've never hesitated between options? I can think of only a few cases where there's only one thing I would do, and those are core ethical values. Even then, outside the moment, I question things.

This may have been how you were taught, but frankly that's a crappy way to play. It's bad roleplaying that results in narrow, shallow characters. Real people have options. Ranges of behavior. Internal struggles between multiple attractive options. Competing values and priorities.

If meta-gaming to assist in other people's fun is wrong, I don't want to be right. First and foremost this is a game. A pastime where we try to have fun. Causing people psychological harm (or even significant discomfort, at least if it's intentional) is not on the agenda for me.

Can you guess the theme? Yeah, I agree. Thinking and hesitating are absolutely possible to be the "one correct thing" to do. And, yes, metagame. Be wrong. :smallwink:

Segev
2017-05-04, 01:01 PM
Yeah, I got about halfway through replying to more of your post when I realized you were perhaps criticizing that mindset. I left what you quoted, though, as I felt it was important to say regarding what WAS written there.

Glad to hear that isn't how you actually think people should play. It doesn't sound like much fun!

Quertus
2017-05-04, 01:24 PM
Yeah, I got about halfway through replying to more of your post when I realized you were perhaps criticizing that mindset. I left what you quoted, though, as I felt it was important to say regarding what WAS written there.

Glad to hear that isn't how you actually think people should play. It doesn't sound like much fun!

It was great fun, as long as you didn't run into a conflict. The party of the paladin, the assassin, the undead hunter, his dear childhood friend, the undead master, and my character could have been prevented with a better "session 0", for example.

Railroading DMs are widely considered a problem anyway, so why should concerns about "the DM's plot" possibly matter? If an adventure requires certain types of characters, by Gump, bloody tell us that ahead of time! Communication is the key to a successful game, and all that.

So it wasn't until I ran into conflict between "in character" and serious OOC concerns that I had any cause whatsoever to question the righteousness of my beliefs.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-04, 01:58 PM
Role-playing is a general phrase for a great many different styles of game. The only aspects that are consistent to all of them are making decisions about the actions of fictional characters in fictional worlds, and trying to re-define role-playing to exclude forms which the speaker dislikes.


I do think it's possible for some things that some people would call RPGs, to be so far off in one direction or another, that they fall outside the bounded space of what an RPG is. There comes a point where a term can be so broad as to lose utility.

As noted upthread, IMO it's possible for a game to be (for example) so mechanistic that it plays the characters for you and is more like a complex board game that you're just rolling dice for, or so light on mechanics that it's more of "cooperative story time" or "cooperative improv home theater".

That is, consider the answer to "what is an RPG?" to be the overlapping part of a Venn diagram. Get too far off into one of the other sets, and you're not really in that overlapping area anymore

Sadly, what too often happens, is that someone will consider this or that attribute scalar, and don't see how too much of something can push a game out of the overlapping area just as easily as too little. So if someone says "that takes away too much player agency and pushes outside of what I'd consider an RPG", the nearly-inevitable response will be "well if you think player agency is so important why don't go go play one of these GM-less shared-story games? Huh?"

kyoryu
2017-05-05, 10:21 AM
Note: most of my previous post shouldn't exactly be treated as blue text, exactly, but close. It's largely a description of the mindset in which I was taught to play the game.

Ah, thanks for the clarification.


That having been said, said mindset has some good points, and one should not, as they say, throw out the baby with the bathwater.

Absolutely.


I can't disagree that the method I learned was very much about excluding other things. I also can't help but point out that the method I learned was wrong... which is itself another form of excluding things I dislike. The only thing I can't stand is prejudice... wait...

If people wanna play that way, more power to them. I have little interest in it, as I find games go much more smoothly if you allow at least a modicum of out-of-character thinking.

There's no one truth, and I see little value in telling people they're doing it "wrong". I do see value in knowing that there are differences in play, trying ways to play that are unfamiliar with me, and ultimately knowing what I do and do not like.


I do think it's possible for some things that some people would call RPGs, to be so far off in one direction or another, that they fall outside the bounded space of what an RPG is. There comes a point where a term can be so broad as to lose utility.

Absolutely. But if someone thinks they're playing an RPG, I find it not-very-useful to say "no, you're not!" It just creates defensiveness and an argument.

Talking about those traits, and what makes it different from the type of RPG I enjoy playing I find to be quite useful.

"I don't like this in an RPG" is useful. "I don't like this in an RPG, and therefore it's not an RPG" ain't.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-05, 11:23 AM
Absolutely. But if someone thinks they're playing an RPG, I find it not-very-useful to say "no, you're not!" It just creates defensiveness and an argument.

Talking about those traits, and what makes it different from the type of RPG I enjoy playing I find to be quite useful.

"I don't like this in an RPG" is useful. "I don't like this in an RPG, and therefore it's not an RPG" ain't.


Yeah, it's one of those "even if you're right, so what?" situations where the argument doesn't do really accomplish much.

And yet sometimes it sneaks up on me and suddenly I'm engaged in it.

2D8HP
2017-05-05, 04:31 PM
...."I don't like this in an RPG" is useful. "I don't like this in an RPG, and therefore it's not an RPG" ain't.


I quite liked calling what I liked an "Adventure game", and what I didn't like "a mere role-playing game", but unfortunately I enjoy "amateur acting" too much to be very convincing.

I'm also too "Gamist" to yell, don't "role-play, don't just roll-play"more role-play less game!" as well.

Dagnabbit, I want to have the fun of criticizing different games and play-styles, but I keep seeing the value in them which ruins it!

I hate learning tolerance and maturity, it messes with my ranting!

:annoyed:

Cluedrew
2017-05-05, 07:44 PM
On Quertus's Post: You know that might just be the "pure" role playing game... but it doesn't sound very fun. I'd say that most of the role-playing games I have enjoyed have also been storytelling games as well, and a bit of that seems to help. I am not so big on watering it down by mixing in strategy and tactics. I'll take a tactics skill over a 45 minute combat in role-playing games. Now in a strategy game, 2 hour combat is fine but that is a different context.

So I'm not sure exactly how much role-playing has to be in a role-playing game, but mixing it up can both make the game better or worse depending on how much and what exactly you are mixing in.

Quertus
2017-05-05, 08:08 PM
On Quertus's Post: You know that might just be the "pure" role playing game... but it doesn't sound very fun. I'd say that most of the role-playing games I have enjoyed have also been storytelling games as well, and a bit of that seems to help. I am not so big on watering it down by mixing in strategy and tactics. I'll take a tactics skill over a 45 minute combat in role-playing games. Now in a strategy game, 2 hour combat is fine but that is a different context.

So I'm not sure exactly how much role-playing has to be in a role-playing game, but mixing it up can both make the game better or worse depending on how much and what exactly you are mixing in.

You know, you're the second person to say that doesn't sound fun (Segev was the first). Um, what? I'm confused. Are y'all really saying that role-playing doesn't sound fun? :smallconfused:

Now, as to the other side of things, I'm a war gamer. I'm fine with the idea that some people may not enjoy war games, and that some people may not enjoy having a lot of tactical combat in their RPG. But, personally, I enjoy gaming with as diverse a group as possible, and I find that combat is the one place where every player can contribute. Unlike, say, hacking, driving, "talky-time", puzzles, riddles, politics, intrigue, mysteries, etc, combat is a universal, "all are welcome here" zone, where you can think, talk, act, strategize, and/or roll some dice - whatever makes you happy.

Cluedrew
2017-05-06, 08:01 AM
You know, you're the second person to say that doesn't sound fun (Segev was the first). Um, what? I'm confused. Are y'all really saying that role-playing doesn't sound fun? :smallconfused:Too much of a good thing I guess. If you are role-playing to the exclusion of considering what the people around the table find fun (the actual people around the table, not the fictional constructs) that's bad. And I am willing to say that without an "I think", there is no doubt in my mind about that. Not actively working on it is one thing, and if you don't want to use a story-telling mindset to help guide your character that's fine (of course I think you have to at least during character creation, unless you use pre-gens), but if "that is what my character would do" ever comes before "that would be fun" that is My Guy Syndrome and that is a problem.

Almost by definition, if anything is coming before fun, then the game will be less fun.


Now, as to the other side of things, I'm a war gamer. I'm fine with the idea that some people may not enjoy war games, and that some people may not enjoy having a lot of tactical combat in their RPG. But, personally, I enjoy gaming with as diverse a group as possible, and I find that combat is the one place where every player can contribute. Unlike, say, hacking, driving, "talky-time", puzzles, riddles, politics, intrigue, mysteries, etc, combat is a universal, "all are welcome here" zone, where you can think, talk, act, strategize, and/or roll some dice - whatever makes you happy.That is actually one of the things that bugs me, I even just went and made a post about it.

"You can play any character combatant you want."

Look, I get that combat rules come easily, but why does everyone have to be some kind of warrior? You aren't a wizard, you're a battle mage. You aren't a priest, you're a crusader. You aren't a doctor, you're a combat medic. And it goes on. For particular types of adventures (dungeon diving for instance) that makes sense, but in a lot of other cases it... starts to feel weird. My "iconic" D&D character has no combat in their concept, but they can beat people up like crazy because they are a D&D character. And when it I do play a combat focused character, it is nice when that choice means something, because it is actually a choice.And I am also a war gamer, I just don't think that combining these interests is a good idea. Honestly, I don't think that combat is half as universal as say "talk-time". Every character is a character and should have something to say, even if you have to say it by sending texts because you are playing an AI with no body. And pacing, detailing tactical combat slows the game down.

That being said, I will stand on the first argument, on this one if mixing in a bit of war game works for you and your group: OK. A role-playing game can have tactical combat in it and still be a role-playing game. Maybe just not one I will like as much.

Quertus
2017-05-06, 09:20 AM
Too much of a good thing I guess. If you are role-playing to the exclusion of considering what the people around the table find fun (the actual people around the table, not the fictional constructs) that's bad. And I am willing to say that without an "I think", there is no doubt in my mind about that. Not actively working on it is one thing, and if you don't want to use a story-telling mindset to help guide your character that's fine (of course I think you have to at least during character creation, unless you use pre-gens), but if "that is what my character would do" ever comes before "that would be fun" that is My Guy Syndrome and that is a problem.

Almost by definition, if anything is coming before fun, then the game will be less fun.

To explain that mindset... Hmmm... During the session, you roleplay. Your goal is to not break immersion. Like method acting?

Caring about other things is what you do between sessions. That's what "session 0" is for, right? How many problems do people mention on this board where the response is to bring up or all about session 0, or the social contract?

The "pure RP" mindset is the biggest fan of both session 0 and the social contract. Because any problem with playing your character is clearly a failure of one of those two. There is no being "that guy", without breaking the social contract. So build a character within the parameters of the social contract, get into character, and roleplay accordingly. Easiest thing in the world. Most fun thing in an RPG, too, when you get the social contract right, and everyone understands it.

... Until something unexpected comes up mid-game, that pushes someone's buttons. But, until then, it's the optimal way to play.


That is actually one of the things that bugs me, I even just went and made a post about it.
And I am also a war gamer, I just don't think that combining these interests is a good idea. Honestly, I don't think that combat is half as universal as say "talk-time". Every character is a character and should have something to say, even if you have to say it by sending texts because you are playing an AI with no body. And pacing, detailing tactical combat slows the game down.

That being said, I will stand on the first argument, on this one if mixing in a bit of war game works for you and your group: OK. A role-playing game can have tactical combat in it and still be a role-playing game. Maybe just not one I will like as much.

Ah, let me try again.

In an RPG, I got to play myself. In combat. On a team with giants, superheroes, and tier 1 spellcasters. Never mind IRL, next to them, I was no combatant! I ran, I hid, I prayed, and I surrendered. It was great fun!

Combat was a great place to roleplay myself. Not superhero me. Not war mage me. Me. Completely in over his head. It. Was. Awesome.

Ok, so, packed full of legitimate metagaming knowledge, because I knew I was in a game, I was technically the most powerful character there, but that is so not the point. The point is, you don't have to be a combatant in combat! You can enjoy combat for the role-playing, or for the tactics, or for the power trip of being the uber, or for the grand speeches or one liners your character delivers, or for whatever reason. That makes combat unique in my experience with RPGs as the one place where everyone can have fun.

I've seen far too many players who seem to prefer to leave "talky-time" to the party face. And far too many faces who hate bumbling idiots making their job harder and/or scene-stealing jerks edging in on their territory - both in a legitimate hate that I shared, and in a "doesn't play well with others" way.

So... That's a whole 'nother can of worms. I'll stick with combat.

EDIT: oh, I missed the humor! My account is named after my signature character, Quertus, the tactically inept academia mage, who loves to explain to people that he is not a combat mage / war wizard. And he feels completely different to play than most mages. So appropriate to your post. :smallwink:

Tanarii
2017-05-06, 11:11 AM
That is actually one of the things that bugs me, I even just went and made a post about it.
Because D&D is a game about exploring dangerous dungeons and wilderness, including (if you can't avoid it) combat situations.

I mean, you don't have to use it for that if you don't want to. But that's what the game was designed to do. If you want to make an 'iconic' D&D character concept that doesn't include basic combat capability (which isn't an iconic D&D character) then you either have to make very specific choices (wizard with no combat spells), start house ruling, find an edition that has rules for commoners, find an edition that has some kind of special pacifist sub-class/kit/prestige class, or play an RPG that is designed to support that from the ground up.

Lazymancer
2017-05-06, 02:01 PM
What is a role-playing game?
It's a game where you play a role. "Play" as in "playing game", not theatre play. I.e. it's about making decisions, not acting in character. If this was about acting in character, we would not have had all those "alignment is not a straitjacket", would we?

And I'd like to clarify that there is a difference between cooperative storytelling "game". Those two usually get mixed up for some reason, but it should be obvious: storytelling is not a game, nor is it about role-playing. It's a form of art.


Story is storytelling is supposed to be told, while story in role-playing game just happens (as a by-product of players making their characters pursue some goals).

Storytelling rules define abilities of players, while roleplaying rules define abilities of characters.

Purpose of describing events (scenes) in storytelling is to give players opportunity to perform, while purpose of describing events (encounters) in roleplaying is to determine uncertain outcome.

Even "cooperative" bit in roleplaying is not particularly necessary. In-game conflicts are a thing and roleplaying game does not stop being roleplaying because PvP happens. It's just bad manners (especially when you have overcomplicated chargen).

P.s. no, combat is not mandatory for roleplaying game. Conflict is. See Traveller as an example: you can have whole campaigns without combat, but that doesn't mean that there is no tension (no win/lose condition). Roleplaying game is a game, after all.

Lazymancer
2017-05-06, 02:07 PM
Plus let us not forget that the two labels need not be exclusive. By some definitions, all role-playing games are storytelling games (but not the other way around).
Let's not go post-modernist.

By "some definition" (the one I just invented) all games are jacuzzi bars. Except it has no purpose to define them as such. It will simply confuse people, if you start using the same word for jacuzzi bars and RPGs.

Similarly enough, it serves no purpose to lump together storytelling and roleplaying. Those two things are different, and people have different expectations about both and they do not like when other people are not sharing those expectations. This why we end up with this drama about "real" role-players (who can't even read rulebook) and "roll-playing" munchkins. That's like people wanting jacuzzi bar, but ending up with Rolemaster rulebooks instead. There will be some hurt feeling involved.

The only reason people keep conflating them is because RPG companies have vested interest in this: it's easier (cheaper) to develop module for storytelling to be sold as a role-playing game paraphernalia. That's how we end up with "authority figures" saying dumb things.


Now, since people seem to have problems with non-binary thought processes (hello, chances of becoming immortal in FR), I'd like to also clarify that within one game (either gaming session or RPG system) you can have elements of both roleplaying and storytelling. But just like adding sugar to coffee does not mean that coffee beans are sweet, it does not mean that storytelling is a subtype of roleplaying.

And to rephrase my point in sugar/coffee terms: even if you like coffee with sugar and don't care about those that don't want sugar in their coffee, if you stop differentiating between sugar and coffee, you'll be unable to tell how much exactly sugar you want in your coffee.

This is why any efforts to fully conflate roleplaying and storytelling are not only harmful to everyone, but also meaningless: people will keep trying to define roleplaying again (via "crunch", "player agency", or whatever). Except those terms aren't particularly good (for example, LotFP is hardly "crunchy" but it is no storytelling game; while AW has a lot of "player agency", it is mostly storytelling) and we already have the proper and recognized term: roleplaying.

Lazymancer
2017-05-06, 02:08 PM
Role-playing and story-telling is not a binary. It's a spectrum.
Just because you can mix sugar and coffee in different proportions, does not mean that it is one and the same thing. If you can have sugar without coffee and coffee without sugar - it means that those things are different and any "spectrum" between them is nothing but a mixture of two elements.

This "pure simulation" you are talking about is pure role-playing game. Just like it was defined and used initially (and is still used; see all those sandbox campaigns). On the other hand, "pure narrative" without players even having their own characters clearly has nothing common with the "pure simulation" and is not a game in any sense.

Consequently, we have two different things here. And since only one of them qualifies as "roleplaying", the other (narrativism) clearly is not roleplaying - even if it can be mixed with roleplaying.



Players make decisions for their characters with an eye toward making the story fun for everybody.
I disagree. While I did (as, probably, everyone) observe people making metagame decisions, I do not think it was all about story.

Not being a jerk towards other players (not even their characters) does not mean that you are trying to further story. Primary concern with derailing campaign is not that you somehow violate sanctity of the story, but you make work of GM obsolete and put him under undue stress by forcing him to improvise.


A thought experiment to prove my point: a situation when party has a boring trek across the icy wasteland, but one player suddenly declares that his character accidentally destroyed supplies that make this trek safe. Now the spectre of starvation looms over everyone.

Let's say this improved story tremendously. But will this be recognized as something good? I think not. That's how people end up with slashed tires.

Lazymancer
2017-05-06, 02:10 PM
IMO, when you're truly "in character", you should generally see exactly one option for your character at any given time. That's "what your character would do".
No. As I said above: roleplaying is about making decisions. And it is through those decisions that you roleplay (i.e. define the character you play). You can't make decisions if there is only one set of actions you can follow. We call it railroading, btw.


Also, I'm assuming your post supposed to be "ironic" or something. In future, please, assume everyone on the internet is an autist who can't process non-verbal information. For some unknown reason it is problematic to convey non-verbal information via text.

Quertus
2017-05-06, 03:25 PM
No. As I said above: roleplaying is about making decisions. And it is through those decisions that you roleplay (i.e. define the character you play). You can't make decisions if there is only one set of actions you can follow. We call it railroading, btw.


Also, I'm assuming your post supposed to be "ironic" or something. In future, please, assume everyone on the internet is an autist who can't process non-verbal information. For some unknown reason it is problematic to convey non-verbal information via text.

Yeah, I've already had to explain that post. It's not satire, sadly, it's the way I was taught to play. (EDIT: which, obviously, has its good points and bad points. I tried to make the bad points obvious enough that people wouldn't think I was encouraging that style of play as the one right way or anything, but it was a useful PoV to use to explain my stance on whatever the current topic of conversation was at the time. Clearly, I didn't spend enough time directly explaining the "don't try this at home" disclaimer.)

And, as I've said, the "one right thing" for the character to do can absolutely be to think about the decision.

Think of any movie you've seen where you felt that the actor(s) did a good job portraying the character(s). Now substitute "acting" with "role-playing", and movie with RPG, and you've got the goal of the style I originally learned.

Knaight
2017-05-07, 11:36 AM
Let's not go post-modernist.

By "some definition" (the one I just invented) all games are jacuzzi bars. Except it has no purpose to define them as such. It will simply confuse people, if you start using the same word for jacuzzi bars and RPGs.

Of course, the other definition acknowledges that the standard term for these games you're so insistent aren't roleplaying games, is "roleplaying games". There's a legitimate case to be made that the etymology and the definition don't line up well, but that's a ubiquitous trait in English, so it's hardly an argument. Meanwhile, while that does technically mean there are two definitions for the same word the fact that things described by the word are almost always a mixture of the two definitions is telling. There's a point where it's easier to just merge them into one definition that specifies some mixture of two things.

Cluedrew
2017-05-07, 03:37 PM
This post is both more broken up and much later than I originally intended.


To explain that mindset... Hmmm... During the session, you roleplay. Your goal is to not break immersion. Like method acting?Is being so immersed into a game that they become unaware of the fact of they are sitting down with their friends around a table (or no table, LARPing included)? Is that a thing that happens? Because I have never seen it and it sounds more like insanity than game immersion.

I mean yes, work out issues and guidelines before play in the social contract. Its a good idea. But I don't see how that is supposed to make thinking in character more fun or easier compared to the dozens of other ways one might approach it.

Personally, I almost never use a pure role-play mindset. Instead I use a hybrid of role-playing "what would the character do" and a storytelling "what helps the story" and a lot of people play with seem to use something similar. I could give examples, from people switching characters to conveniently checking the place another PC is waiting on party formation, but that is just they way we seem to work. I don't see that out-of-character decisions ever being full sublimated into in-character ones.


I've seen far too many players who seem to prefer to leave "talky-time" to the party face.Oh sorry, I thought we were referring to more general character interaction, not just negotiation. Then that falls into the same group as combat, which is to say universality greatly varies with system. Still I think characters being characters is probably the most universal area in any system I have seen. It also seems to be kind of the point in a role-playing game, the type of character might change, but who they are is never moot.


EDIT: oh, I missed the humor! My account is named after my signature character, Quertus, the tactically inept academia mage, who loves to explain to people that he is not a combat mage / war wizard.That was unintentional. Although Quertus is a good example of many things. Including the universality of being a character over a combatant. And people doing things that I'm pretty sure D&D was never meant to handle, I'm still impressed you made that work.


Because D&D is a game about exploring dangerous dungeons and wilderness, including (if you can't avoid it) combat situations.Agreed, D&D is specialized in that particular way. That doesn't mean I have to like it. Actually I'm not that against it, but there is a lot more to life than getting into a fight and I find myself drifting towards systems that show that more.


And I'd like to clarify that there is a difference between cooperative storytelling "game". Those two usually get mixed up for some reason, but it should be obvious: storytelling is not a game, nor is it about role-playing. It's a form of art.Yes, but you can still have a game that is about storytelling. Not that it will necessarily be a role-playing game, but a game can be both. A lot of the more narrative role-playing definitely are and one could argue all/most role-playing games are as well.

In other words: I would say they are different but not exclusive.

Quertus
2017-05-07, 05:08 PM
Is being so immersed into a game that they become unaware of the fact of they are sitting down with their friends around a table (or no table, LARPing included)? Is that a thing that happens? Because I have never seen it and it sounds more like insanity than game immersion.

I mean yes, work out issues and guidelines before play in the social contract. Its a good idea. But I don't see how that is supposed to make thinking in character more fun or easier compared to the dozens of other ways one might approach it.

Personally, I almost never use a pure role-play mindset. Instead I use a hybrid of role-playing "what would the character do" and a storytelling "what helps the story" and a lot of people play with seem to use something similar. I could give examples, from people switching characters to conveniently checking the place another PC is waiting on party formation, but that is just they way we seem to work. I don't see that out-of-character decisions ever being full sublimated into in-character ones.

Oh sorry, I thought we were referring to more general character interaction, not just negotiation. Then that falls into the same group as combat, which is to say universality greatly varies with system. Still I think characters being characters is probably the most universal area in any system I have seen. It also seems to be kind of the point in a role-playing game, the type of character might change, but who they are is never moot.

That was unintentional. Although Quertus is a good example of many things. Including the universality of being a character over a combatant. And people doing things that I'm pretty sure D&D was never meant to handle, I'm still impressed you made that work.

I certainly can't take all the credit for Quertus' success - the DMs and fellow players certainly deserve a shout-out, too. As much as it's usually a better and more a-pro-po (sp?) story to tell about how horrible so many of my GMs have been, those who have helped make the path to high epic levels with Quertus such an enjoyable ride certainly deserve some acknowledgement.

As you were the one using the phrase "talk-time", it's your definition that determines what we were talking about. Having spent an entire season once just having characters chatting while sitting around the campfire, I certainly agree that having a personality is almost a universal thing. But when there are stakes on the line, a lot of people revert back to the, "leave it to the face" mentality (even before 4e skill challenges made it super obvious that was the optimal course. I suppose that's one way to implement niche protection.).

As to the method I used to use... I think you're making it too complicated. Or I am. I'm struggling to describe an elephant, because it's... an elephant. It should be obvious, right?

It's not that method acting universally makes acting easier, or that season 0 leads to method acting. It's that method acting leads to session 0, and, arguably, does so more obviously and more naturally than any other technique. Because if metagaming is evil, and you don't want anything to break your immersion / take you out of the zone, you are much more invested in removing obstacles in session 0.

Much like sleeping lightly enough to make sure that the baby's still breathing didn't lead to as restful sleep as a good, deep slumber, so, too, does staying aware of the metagame produce no where near as satisfying of a role-playing experience as maintaining immersion does. Given all the people who complain - IRL and on these forums - about how a rules debate breaks their immersion, I'm honestly surprised I'd need to say anything regarding "immersion good".

Is a method actor unaware that they are an actor in a movie/play? Take whatever answer you give, and apply it to a roleplayer in an RPG. Does it still seem incomprehensibly strange?

Let me know if I need to try to describe this elephant further, and I'll struggle through attempting more metaphors.

wumpus
2017-05-07, 05:22 PM
I quite liked calling what I liked an "Adventure game", and what I didn't like "a mere role-playing game", but unfortunately I enjoy "amateur acting" too much to be very convincing.

I'm also too "Gamist" to yell, don't "role-play, don't just roll-play"more role-play less game!" as well.

Dagnabbit, I want to have the fun of criticizing different games and play-styles, but I keep seeing the value in them which ruins it!

I hate learning tolerance and maturity, it messes with my ranting!

:annoyed:

Going back to the Dave Arneson flashback (http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0644.html), the critical invention of D&D was using wargaming rules such that "one piece" equals "one warrior" (or orc, wizard, whatnot) and then having each player play one piece in (more or less) cooperation.

This was clearly an "adventuring game" as "role playing" hadn't been added to the process (mostly). Eventually D&D was sold as a "roleplaying game" and every other way to play it was considered "badfun". Even then, expect to find bits and pieces of out-of-character action for players (solving riddles, finding traps, possibly including "allowed" metagaming).

I'd expect role-playing to include actual taking a role. But since many current players are likely to have encountered computer/console RPGs first, the concept of actually assuming the role is back where it was in the first adventure->role playing transition (don't ask how primitive computer 'role-playing' games were in that era. Suffice it to say that actual role playing was nearly impossible).

You read the rules and you play the game. Hopefully you have fun. Fortunately the rules are vastly more easy to understand than the 1e booklets and even AD&D books (thank you Basic D&D boxes).

Koo Rehtorb
2017-05-07, 05:36 PM
Personally I find immersion basically worthless as a concept. It does nothing for me when playing an RPG.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-07, 06:14 PM
Personally I find immersion basically worthless as a concept. It does nothing for me when playing an RPG.

I'm with you there. Never understood it, really. Same with the problem with (limited) metagaming. I guess I'm just for a happy balance.

Quertus
2017-05-07, 06:24 PM
Personally I find immersion basically worthless as a concept. It does nothing for me when playing an RPG.


I'm with you there. Never understood it, really. Same with the problem with (limited) metagaming. I guess I'm just for a happy balance.

Just to make sure, y'all're not saying, "I find looking at things from my character's point of view worthless when looking at things from my character's point of view", right?

Don't get me wrong, 2 days ago, I would have derided immersion as of no value to me, but I've hit upon a different way of looking at it (demonstrated in my question above) whereby I view my old style of play as immersion-heavy.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-07, 06:34 PM
Just to make sure, y'all're not saying, "I find looking at things from my character's point of view worthless when looking at things from my character's point of view", right?

Don't get me wrong, 2 days ago, I would have derided immersion as of no value to me, but I've hit upon a different way of looking at it (demonstrated in my question above) whereby I view my old style of play as immersion-heavy.

Sort of. I'm interested in people having fun and doing cool things. I primarily DM, and it's easier if the characters have consistent modus operandi and thought processes. I don't find people talking "in character" or otherwise acting to be helpful at all. I prefer if people do things out of character if the other side would cause friction with the real people. In short, I care much more about the players than the characters. The characters are disposable if needed. The rules are breakable if it suits things better. The game (having fun) is the biggest and pretty much only thing for me.

Cluedrew
2017-05-07, 06:58 PM
While I was typing this some people said in short a lot of what I was trying to say. I get a bit meander-y.

To Quertus: This may be an odd thing to say at this point, but what does it matter? Immersion is just "to be immersed", in what? The experience? Your character? The game? Water?

For me, it would be the game. Or that is as close as I can describe it. I play the game and the game itself is fun. What makes it fun? I'm a reflective person and I have spent a lot of time pulling apart that issue, but when I'm playing it doesn't matter. It doesn't matter if it is some high ideal or just a thing, a happy coincidence. Hence why I don't think more role-playing necessarily makes for a better role-playing game. Sure role-playing should be a major part of the game for it to be called a role-playing game, but it doesn't have to be more than a major part of the game. The most popular role-playing game is as much of (or at least in large part) a tactical war game as it is a role-playing game.

OK, that kind of flowed away from immersion on me. But immersion isn't worth pursuing on its own either. Its just a word people use to describe something. And by something I actually mean something, I've seen it used so many different ways, covering things like the level of special effects (immersion of the senses I guess) to how focused someone was (could call it immersion of attention) to pacing issues (not sure). Are any of things valuable on their own? Maybe.

But if they don't leave them behind. I'll jump out of game, alter my character or even just do something out of character for them if it makes the game more fun. Sure that in and of itself might be bad, but it can be worth it. And I don't think any amount of social contract, outside of a script, that will make you ready for the entire campaign. People have new ideas, realize old ones are bad. And rather than just following the tracks of "its what my character would do" we adapt.

Its a small difference "What would X do?" to "What should X do?". But significant. Does it push against role-playing (as the platonic ideal)? A little. How about immersion? Maybe, depends on what part you look at. Does it make the game more fun? In my experience, I think so.

On Talky-Time: Did I introduce it? I forgot my earlier use of it then. I think the clarification has been made though.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-05-07, 07:20 PM
Just to make sure, y'all're not saying, "I find looking at things from my character's point of view worthless when looking at things from my character's point of view", right?

Don't get me wrong, 2 days ago, I would have derided immersion as of no value to me, but I've hit upon a different way of looking at it (demonstrated in my question above) whereby I view my old style of play as immersion-heavy.

I'm defining immersion as the idea where one imagines a fully realized person, puts themself inside that fully realized person's head, feels what they feel, thinks what they think, and makes decisions for that person based on what they think they would do.

I tend to make decisions for my characters based on what I think would be interesting to me. I make characters with maybe two or three key personality traits and let everything else about them arise through play. Much like you get the story of a campaign by looking back over the decisions of the players during it, I get the personality for my characters based on a history of my decisions on what I think would be fun at the time.

Mordaedil
2017-05-08, 03:42 AM
Role-playing as a concept is something I enjoyed from childhood before I even knew about D&D, unscripted acting where you assume the role of something you are not, such as an old grandma and you play out a scenario where you tell your grandchild to beware of wolves in the forest. I feel this is a pivotal aspect to the aspect, even when it assumes game format. If it doesn't remain true with this, then you might as well play a board game or Warhammer. I feel it is what sets it apart from other hobbies.

RPG's are not tied to combat however, much like video games themselves, it seems to be the easiest form for entry. Board games are actually more varied than video games now-a-days and I think it says something about the maturing of a medium. Likewise, TTRPGs are still in a youngish state, albeit their form is threatened by other hobbies and its relatively late bloom. (Looking at it historically, roleplaying games should have had an equally long history comparable to board games, yet it took much longer for them to emerge)

cRPG's however are actually mere pale imitations of what one admires of the genre. The only game that succeeded was Neverwinter Nights (possibly some other that I have not played, like certain sandbox MMO's) where unscripted role-play could meet with the digital world. It has its limits, but it was a wonderful insight into what could have been possible.

Buuut the sequel didn't do as well so now we'll never see another. *sigh*

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-08, 12:16 PM
Personally I find immersion basically worthless as a concept. It does nothing for me when playing an RPG.



I'm defining immersion as the idea where one imagines a fully realized person, puts themself inside that fully realized person's head, feels what they feel, thinks what they think, and makes decisions for that person based on what they think they would do.


This sounds perhaps a bit like asserting an impossible standard, then asserting that a thing is impossible or worthless because it can't meet that standard...




I tend to make decisions for my characters based on what I think would be interesting to me. I make characters with maybe two or three key personality traits and let everything else about them arise through play. Much like you get the story of a campaign by looking back over the decisions of the players during it, I get the personality for my characters based on a history of my decisions on what I think would be fun at the time.


I need a better idea of who a character is (and why -- thus character history, etc) before starting -- I find that the character ends up all over the place and contradictory and confusing if I go in thinking I'll figure it out on the fly.

Lazymancer
2017-05-08, 12:40 PM
Of course, the other definition acknowledges that the standard term for these games you're so insistent aren't roleplaying games, is "roleplaying games". There's a legitimate case to be made that the etymology and the definition don't line up well, but that's a ubiquitous trait in English, so it's hardly an argument.
Oh? If something being undesirable is no argument, just because it happened somewhere, then I'd like to inform you that it is a common occurence to have your money stolen. And since theft is a ubiquitous trait of our everyday life, you should not have any arguments against transferring all your possessions to me.


Meanwhile, while that does technically mean there are two definitions for the same word the fact that things described by the word are almost always a mixture of the two definitions is telling. There's a point where it's easier to just merge them into one definition that specifies some mixture of two things.
Yeah. It doesn't matter how much there is sugar in your coffee, because of all the people I know who drink coffee with sugar. In fact, even pure sugar should be referred to as "coffee", because it's easier to define water with sugar as coffee.


https://i.ytimg.com/vi/we6cwmzhbBE/maxresdefault.jpg

Segev
2017-05-08, 12:41 PM
You know, you're the second person to say that doesn't sound fun (Segev was the first). Um, what? I'm confused. Are y'all really saying that role-playing doesn't sound fun? :smallconfused:

I don't think it's so much a matter of RP not being fun, but rather that RP done in a slavish knee-jerk impulse reaction doesn't sound like real RP, to me. It sounds like "playing yourself impulsively." The "not fun" part stems from how often refusing to even consider in-character actions that are less disruptive to other players' fun is going to lead to not-fun conflicts OOC, in my experience.

Does that make more sense?

kyoryu
2017-05-08, 12:51 PM
Yeah. It doesn't matter how much there is sugar in your coffee, because of all the people I know who drink coffee with sugar. In fact, even pure sugar should be referred to as "coffee", because it's easier to define water with sugar as coffee.

That's a bit disingenuous.

Nobody is arguing that poker should be called an RPG, or even something like Dead of Winter.

The analogy in this case would be that black coffee, coffee with sugar, coffee with milk, cofee with milk *and* sugar, lattes, espresso, and even iced coffee are all "coffee," and that someone trying to claim that only one of those is "true coffee" and the others are "not coffee" is being unnecessarily exclusionary and making intelligent conversation about the topic more difficult because it leads to contentious arguments rather than actual conversation.

Segev
2017-05-08, 01:04 PM
The analogy in this case would be that black coffee, coffee with sugar, coffee with milk, cofee with milk *and* sugar, lattes, espresso, and even iced coffee are all "coffee," and that someone trying to claim that only one of those is "true coffee" and the others are "not coffee" is being unnecessarily exclusionary and making intelligent conversation about the topic more difficult because it leads to contentious arguments rather than actual conversation.

Now, now, I'm happy to agree that all of those so-called beverages are disgusting. Isn't that good enough? :smalltongue:

Tanarii
2017-05-08, 01:41 PM
That's a bit disingenuous.

Nobody is arguing that poker should be called an RPG, or even something like Dead of Winter.

The analogy in this case would be that black coffee, coffee with sugar, coffee with milk, cofee with milk *and* sugar, lattes, espresso, and even iced coffee are all "coffee," and that someone trying to claim that only one of those is "true coffee" and the others are "not coffee" is being unnecessarily exclusionary and making intelligent conversation about the topic more difficult because it leads to contentious arguments rather than actual conversation.Anyone that claims it's the added things that make coffee into coffee, instead of acknowledging that those things are actually separate things that may or may not be added to coffee to produce a beverage of their liking, which is then sold under the label of coffee because that's the primary ingredient, is the one being disingenuous.

Roleplaying and Storytelling are two mutually exclusive ways to make decisions about the game. Many games as run contain both, just not at any given moment, since no individual decision can be made via both methods at the same time. And the rule sets for games that strongly encourage using one or the other, or mixing and matching, or even don't really care which you use, are often sold under the umbrella of 'Roleplaying game'. But it's still meaningful to recognize that they are mutually exclusive ways to make decisions to make decisions about the game.

But ya, it's a problem when someone comes along who has strong opinions about one or the other being the proper way to do it, and lets that influence their views on the topic in an exclusionary or contentious manner.
/cough my bad.

Lazymancer
2017-05-08, 03:02 PM
That's a bit disingenuous.

Nobody is arguing that poker should be called an RPG, or even something like Dead of Winter.

The analogy in this case would be that black coffee, coffee with sugar, coffee with milk, cofee with milk *and* sugar, lattes, espresso, and even iced coffee are all "coffee," and that someone trying to claim that only one of those is "true coffee" and the others are "not coffee" is being unnecessarily exclusionary and making intelligent conversation about the topic more difficult because it leads to contentious arguments rather than actual conversation.
But we have "true coffee" - a quality that defines coffee: coffee beans.

While we can refer to coffee with sugar or milk as just "coffee", we all understand that it's not sugar, nor milk that make coffee a "coffee". It's the presence of coffee beans that defines coffee.

You can argue that you can make tasty beverage without coffee beans, and you will be right. But it will not be in the least bit disingenuous to say that it isn't coffee and that no amount of sugar or milk can replace said coffee beans - even if mixture that includes both is often called "coffee".


What we are arguing about is if RPG could be defined as cooperative storytelling. Saying that actual games sometimes (even often) include bits and pieces of storytelling is not enough. Since we can have a satisfying RPG without any storytelling whatsoever, it clearly means that it is not storytelling that makes RPG an RPG. Additional fact that cooperative storytelling can exist outside of RPG is an additional proof that storytelling is not the defining feature of RPG.

What is so hard to understand here?

kyoryu
2017-05-08, 04:09 PM
What is so hard to understand here?

I don't think anybody is arguing that games where you aren't playing a role are RPGs.

Unless you're trying to expand that to "without any consideration of anything else, whatsoever, at any time."

Cluedrew
2017-05-08, 05:29 PM
Roleplaying and Storytelling are two mutually exclusive ways to make decisions about the game. Many games as run contain both, just not at any given moment, since no individual decision can be made via both methods at the same time.What level of decision? Because I will agree with you at a fine grained level but at a more practical level of "What does Bob the fighter do next?" I think they can mix. Let me explain with an example thought process:

What does Bob the fighter do next?
Considering Bob and what he knows about the situation, four things are reasonable. (Role-playing)
One of them would just be a waste of time to play out, so skip that. (Story Telling)
Another would make another player at the table uncomfortable, skip that too. (Neither: A third concern)
Of the remaining two I consider which of the two fits Bob better. (Role-playing)

So there is a decision made with role-playing, story-telling and a concern for fellow players which I don't think has a special name beyond being nice. Now if you want to be pedantic a typical Giant in the Playgrounds user than we can say that it was a series of small decisions and so you are correct. But at the same time mutually exclusive might be a bit too strong, they can fit together a lot more closely than that suggests.


But we have "true coffee" - a quality that defines coffee: coffee beans.Its never that simple though. Scattering coffee beans across the top of the pizza doesn't make it a coffee. I'm not sure what kind of pizza that makes, but still not coffee. There are a lot of details in there that are not covered by coffee beans alone.

Dropping metaphor for a moment, are there amounts of role-playing that are required? How do we measure the amount? Time spent on it, the amount of rules that cover it, how much the rules encourage it even indirectly? That's why I started this thread, because if it was that easy, I would be done.

Knaight
2017-05-08, 08:09 PM
What we are arguing about is if RPG could be defined as cooperative storytelling. Saying that actual games sometimes (even often) include bits and pieces of storytelling is not enough. Since we can have a satisfying RPG without any storytelling whatsoever, it clearly means that it is not storytelling that makes RPG an RPG. Additional fact that cooperative storytelling can exist outside of RPG is an additional proof that storytelling is not the defining feature of RPG.

What is so hard to understand here?

We understand your position just fine, I'd just consider it inaccurate. There's a class of things referred to as RPGs, that class of things includes a set of games that don't necessitate roleplaying, and the definition should be built to accomodate the way the word is actually used.


Oh? If something being undesirable is no argument, just because it happened somewhere, then I'd like to inform you that it is a common occurence to have your money stolen. And since theft is a ubiquitous trait of our everyday life, you should not have any arguments against transferring all your possessions to me.
Alternately, we could look at the actual argument made, which is an acknowledgement that a criteria that demonstrably doesn't exist in a language shouldn't be used as a prescriptive demand for a word in that language.

Jay R
2017-05-08, 09:08 PM
We are so used to dictionaries that we have come to believe that words have clear, unambiguous definitions. It just isn't true. The Oxford English Dictionary gives over thirty definitions and sub-definitions for "the".

I couldn't even give a straightforward definition of "dog" that clearly and unambiguously includes Pekingese, great Danes, and feral dogs, but not tame wolves or coyotes (separate from using the Linnaean term "canis familiaris", which only pushes the question one step back).

If people play it and call it role-playing, and it seems kinda like the other things other people play and call role-playing, then it's role-playing.

I don't care is somebody else thinks it's not fun. The fact that some people are playing it shows that it's fun for them.

I don't care is somebody else thinks it's not "really" role-playing. The fact that some people are playing it as role-playing shows that it's role-playing for them.

There is no justification for claiming that it's only role-playing if it's the form of role-playing I enjoy, or do, or think is "real" role-playing. This has never been a precision term, and this thread will not make it one.

Quertus
2017-05-15, 08:35 PM
I don't think it's so much a matter of RP not being fun, but rather that RP done in a slavish knee-jerk impulse reaction doesn't sound like real RP, to me. It sounds like "playing yourself impulsively." The "not fun" part stems from how often refusing to even consider in-character actions that are less disruptive to other players' fun is going to lead to not-fun conflicts OOC, in my experience.

Does that make more sense?

Well, it probably helps explain the disconnect, at least. Let's use the coffee metaphor and acting to attempt to explain again.

I learned a very "black coffee" style of role-playing.

Some actors memorize the script. When someone drops a line, they have to decide what to do. Other actors get to know the character, and act in character. When someone drops a line, they might not even notice, and just keep responding how their character would respond.

Since there is no script in an RPG (outside the worst railroad ever), role-playing more closely maps to that second type of ad-lib acting.

In the style I learned, you get in your character's head, and you stay there. From this PoV, these other things aren't method acting, they aren't role-playing, they're the equivalent of reading from a script or picking from a drop-down list. Saying that it doesn't sound like real role-playing, when it's the only form of role-playing that had any legs to stand on to make the claim of being the only "real" role-playing is... odd. It is, as I said, the black coffee of role-playing.

As to not considering other players, to continue from this PoV, well of course you don't - that would break immersion / take you out of character / be a violation of role-playing. This is what the time between games / session 0 / the social contract are for. Set the right ground rules, build the right characters, and you don't have to break character.

I can only imagine the pain some feel at reading that is similar to the pain I feel when people talk about wanting to table rules issues to "between sessions" to "not break immersion" or "keep the game going". But he'll have already jumped to the moon by then! The damage is done! Suspension of disbelief is already lost! No! How can you not see that as bad? Yet there are still GMs who blindly believe it proper to run the game that way. How can it be less believable that some, like myself, might blindly believe that the correct way to play a role-playing game is to, you know, roleplay?

So it wasn't until I ran into a player who was unaware of having an issue with certain kinds of content until it came up in a game, that I realized and accepted that there were unresolvable issues with the black coffee of role-playing. There were some things that can't be solved with session 0, can't be solved with the social contract, and must be dealt with mid game.

So, now, I advocate a little cream & sugar with the coffee. Or, to use a swimming metaphor, to periodically come up for breath, so that you don't drown in pure swimming.


What level of decision? Because I will agree with you at a fine grained level but at a more practical level of "What does Bob the fighter do next?" I think they can mix. Let me explain with an example thought process:

What does Bob the fighter do next?
Considering Bob and what he knows about the situation, four things are reasonable. (Role-playing)
One of them would just be a waste of time to play out, so skip that. (Story Telling)
Another would make another player at the table uncomfortable, skip that too. (Neither: A third concern)
Of the remaining two I consider which of the two fits Bob better. (Role-playing)

So there is a decision made with role-playing, story-telling and a concern for fellow players which I don't think has a special name beyond being nice. Now if you want to be pedantic a typical Giant in the Playgrounds user than we can say that it was a series of small decisions and so you are correct. But at the same time mutually exclusive might be a bit too strong, they can fit together a lot more closely than that suggests.

Its never that simple though. Scattering coffee beans across the top of the pizza doesn't make it a coffee. I'm not sure what kind of pizza that makes, but still not coffee. There are a lot of details in there that are not covered by coffee beans alone.

Dropping metaphor for a moment, are there amounts of role-playing that are required? How do we measure the amount? Time spent on it, the amount of rules that cover it, how much the rules encourage it even indirectly? That's why I started this thread, because if it was that easy, I would be done.

Eh, no. There was no role-playing in that example. You were metagaming even in the "there are 4 things Bob could reasonably do at this point" - at least, from a "Pure RP" PoV.

From a "Pure RP" PoV, playing as Bob, you see Option 1. Done.

From a slightly more sane PoV, you see Option 1, then take a step back. Taking a step back, you either a) see that Option 1 has no issues, done; or b) see that Option 1 has potential issues (waste time, make player uncomfortable, whatever), and look for additional options. At that point, you see that there are 4 options that are technically "in character" for Bob, and work to evaluate them as you detailed above.

Or, sure, playing as Bob, you may see more than one option, and weigh them, as the "correct role-playing" of Bob, but then that's still only seeing one thing (weighing your options) as the "correct" thing to do. And, from a sane / impure role-playing PoV, you may well spend the same / consecutive time evaluating the options both IC and for OOC ramifications.


There is no justification for claiming that it's only role-playing if it's the form of role-playing I enjoy, or do, or think is "real" role-playing. This has never been a precision term, and this thread will not make it one.

I can only hope that the community does have the power to influence the industry, and that another 4th edition isn't an inevitability, when WotC rolls another natural 1 on their "craft games" skill check. :smalltongue:

And I also hope that people can learn from the horror story of my "Pure RP" experience (or other, much more horrible experiences people have shared on these boards), without having to live through such things themselves.

Cluedrew
2017-05-15, 09:19 PM
Well, it probably helps explain the disconnect, at least. Let's use the coffee metaphor and acting to attempt to explain again.I think I understand what you are saying, because it does sound like "pure role-playing". It just doesn't sound fun. You kind of touch on why but for me I have two ways I could describe it.

The first is simple, if role-playing (or any other aspect of the game) is given the highest priority than having fun gets knocked out of that place and the game will naturally be less fun.

Second I am still trying to put to words, the best I have is that even extraordinary people don't have extraordinary lives without a lot of special circumstances, and that requires stepping out of the character for a moment to create some serendipity. With good planning and handing things off to the GM you might pull it off, but it is still hard. So even if it is only there as an emergency measure narrative views have their place.

Plus some very personal reasons that I don't think generalize very well. The first to should though.


Eh, no. There was no role-playing in that example. You were metagaming even in the "there are 4 things Bob could reasonably do at this point" - at least, from a "Pure RP" PoV.

From a "Pure RP" PoV, playing as Bob, you see Option 1. Done.A lot of the time yes, but you are also assuming "perfect role-playing". Which is different from "impure role-playing" (you talked about that and I agree, consider this an addition). I am not a perfect role player, I don't know exactly what my character is thinking or feeling at every given moment. Which creates places where I can't actually answer "what does Bob do next". When I first start playing a character for instance, or right after a time skip.

"You travel two days and reach town what do you do?" Well does Bob do to the tavern for a meal? How hungry is he? How long ago was the last meal on the trip? How filling was it? How hard was the last leg of the journey? I could stop and figure all these out to get the exact answers, but then I still might get it wrong. How hungry would you be if you were a former legionary turned mercenary who had a helping and a half about two hours ago before walking down a road that was well worn but mildly hilly?

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-15, 09:42 PM
Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good... and don't let the impossible be the enemy of the achievable.

I'm doubtful about the possibility of achieving this sort of "oneness with the character", this platonic ideal of immersion.

And as much as I say "character always comes first", that doesn't mean that fun, story, etc, should never be considered at all.

Quertus
2017-05-15, 10:54 PM
I think I understand what you are saying, because it does sound like "pure role-playing". It just doesn't sound fun. You kind of touch on why but for me I have two ways I could describe it.

The first is simple, if role-playing (or any other aspect of the game) is given the highest priority than having fun gets knocked out of that place and the game will naturally be less fun.

Um... "if we make flour the primary ingredient, cakes and cookies can't possibly be sweet". I know that isn't what you are saying, and I agree that nearly pure sugar candies are probably sweeter than cake or cookies, but... You don't start a recipe with "make delicious" any more than you start a game with "make fun". And role-playing - immersion - is bloody fun! Fun that most games, apparently, simply don't have. So... Which games aren't as fun now? The ones that have all the fun flavors, or the ones that are missing some?


Second I am still trying to put to words, the best I have is that even extraordinary people don't have extraordinary lives without a lot of special circumstances, and that requires stepping out of the character for a moment to create some serendipity. With good planning and handing things off to the GM you might pull it off, but it is still hard. So even if it is only there as an emergency measure narrative views have their place.

Plus some very personal reasons that I don't think generalize very well. The first to should though.

... "Our characters lives will be boring, unless we metagame"? "And we need to hand off 'make fun' to the GM"?

It's hard for me to comment here, too, as I'm an extreme edge case of an extreme edge case (or something). See, I've had a lot of really bad GMs. Some good ones, too, but I've learned not to trust my fun to the whims of the GM. I've enjoyed things like a session of nothing but the characters on watch, chatting. 0 GM involvement, pure role-playing, fun.

I've also had GMs who worked hard to arrange The Best Possible Story, where, halfway through the first session, I could accurately predict the campaign, down to how many and exactly which characters would still be standing at the end of the final showdown with the BBEG. Because that's what would make The Best Story. :smallyuk:

So I have very little interest in trying to metagame and plan out a "good" story, or make the characters lives "interesting", because their story is much better when it isn't planned, and their life is much more interesting when it's real.


A lot of the time yes, but you are also assuming "perfect role-playing". Which is different from "impure role-playing" (you talked about that and I agree, consider this an addition). I am not a perfect role player, I don't know exactly what my character is thinking or feeling at every given moment. Which creates places where I can't actually answer "what does Bob do next". When I first start playing a character for instance, or right after a time skip.

That's player skills. Method actors doubtless have tricks they use to get "in character" in similar situations. I'm not seeing the big deal there.

Now, as for perfection... Heck, as I've said many times on these very boards, I don't even roleplay myself as a character 100% correctly. I don't. Perfection is the unachievable goal, but not the reality. So, no, characterizing my stance (or, rather, the style in which I first learned to play) as assuming perfect role-playing would be disingenuous.

On the other hand, this style very much likes to cling to the fiction that the player can do no wrong. What you come up with, in the moment, is correct. It's the (mostly true) little white lie the style has to tell itself in order not to second guess every decision (and, thus, metagame, and break immersion).

I can only assume method acting works similarly.


"You travel two days and reach town what do you do?" Well does Bob do to the tavern for a meal? How hungry is he? How long ago was the last meal on the trip? How filling was it? How hard was the last leg of the journey? I could stop and figure all these out to get the exact answers, but then I still might get it wrong. How hungry would you be if you were a former legionary turned mercenary who had a helping and a half about two hours ago before walking down a road that was well worn but mildly hilly?

This is a place where I might differ from most of those who share my old style. For me, I do not lose immersion here. Because what I'm immersed in is trying to understand Bob's PoV. I don't lose immersion by asking, "what's my motivation?" - that helps me achieve and maintain immersion.

Same thing with understanding Bob's world - which includes rules debates.


Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good... and don't let the impossible be the enemy of the achievable.

I'm doubtful about the possibility of achieving this sort of "oneness with the character", this platonic ideal of immersion.

And as much as I say "character always comes first", that doesn't mean that fun, story, etc, should never be considered at all.

Pretty much this. Except... You aren't attempting to disbelieve method acting, are you? Because, in the end, that's pretty much what I'm saying role-playing and immersion are.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-16, 07:08 AM
Reading the descriptions of "method acting", it seems like one would be applying an acting technique to RP as one way of RPing a character. But is also seems to have very little in common with my experience of RPing or being in character. Maybe there's something hidden behind all that self-referential terminology.

Quertus
2017-05-16, 07:41 AM
Reading the descriptions of "method acting", it seems like one would be applying an acting technique to RP as one way of RPing a character. But is also seems to have very little in common with my experience of RPing or being in character. Maybe there's something hidden behind all that self-referential terminology.

I like hidden - that sounds like a chance to learn something.

Self-referential terminology? Are you referring to my writing style in the above text, or something else? If the former, it's intended to avoid the confusion of earlier, believing I'm advocating the style in which I learned to roleplay as the One True Way vs. using it as an example to facilitate the discussion.

On the idea of using "an acting technique"... If I were supposed to roleplay Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address, well, my script is already written, so I imagine most any acting technique would work. But, IME, most RPGs don't run off a script, so I don't see how applicable most acting techniques would be to deciding what to say - the role-playing part of the game. Deciding how to say it, perhaps, and delivering something more entertaining than a monotone "my character jumps up and down with joy", definitely.

So, perhaps the questions I should be asking are, what are your experiences with role-playing like? What is it like for you to be in character?

Cluedrew
2017-05-16, 08:45 AM
And as much as I say "character always comes first", that doesn't mean that fun, story, etc, should never be considered at all.I think this is an organizational difference, when I say "fun comes first" I mean it has an override over other factors, not that it is the first thing I consider. It is hard to apply "what is fun" directly.


Um... "if we make flour the primary ingredient, cakes and cookies can't possibly be sweet".No, but we aren't going to get that far with nothing but flower either. Eggs, milk and sugar are all needed, even if they aren't the primary ingredient. Or, to borrow your image, a coffee with cream and sugar. I think our disagreement here is a matter of phrasing and maybe a drift a bit further away from the platonic ideal.
"Our characters lives will be boring, unless we metagame"If metagame means anything that is not in-character decision making, pretty much. I did say it would be harder, not impossible, as well so it might still be doable but I can't see it working. Of course I might just be a more narrative/storyteller person than say a pure-role-player, I am not without my biases. But the difference between "If I was X, what would I do?" and "What would X do in this situation?" is mostly one of wording.
"And we need to hand off 'make fun' to the GM"?Just the opposite, I would discourage that and instead purpose blurring the roles a bit, which requires stepping out of character a bit. Or at least it has in my experience.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-16, 08:55 AM
I like hidden - that sounds like a chance to learn something.

Self-referential terminology? Are you referring to my writing style in the above text, or something else? If the former, it's intended to avoid the confusion of earlier, believing I'm advocating the style in which I learned to roleplay as the One True Way vs. using it as an example to facilitate the discussion.

On the idea of using "an acting technique"... If I were supposed to roleplay Lincoln giving the Gettysburg address, well, my script is already written, so I imagine most any acting technique would work. But, IME, most RPGs don't run off a script, so I don't see how applicable most acting techniques would be to deciding what to say - the role-playing part of the game. Deciding how to say it, perhaps, and delivering something more entertaining than a monotone "my character jumps up and down with joy", definitely.

So, perhaps the questions I should be asking are, what are your experiences with role-playing like? What is it like for you to be in character?


What I meant was that anything I can find about "method acting" online tends to go around in circles using terms of art and ludicrously complex language, resulting in (deliberate or not) obscurantism.

What I don't think is possible, is being so "into character" that one forgets that they're at a table (or wherever), with a group of other players, playing a game that's to some degree a group experience, with an element of "needs to be fun" and an element of "a story will come out of this".

All the sites on method acting seem to have buried under all the word salad an implication that the actor needs to "become the character", and I think they're chasing a pipe dream no matter what they tell themselves.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-16, 09:33 AM
What I meant was that anything I can find about "method acting" online tends to go around in circles using terms of art and ludicrously complex language, resulting in (deliberate or not) obscurantism.

What I don't think is possible, is being so "into character" that one forgets that they're at a table (or wherever), with a group of other players, playing a game that's to some degree a group experience, with an element of "needs to be fun" and an element of "a story will come out of this".

All the sites on method acting seem to have buried under all the word salad an implication that the actor needs to "become the character", and I think they're chasing a pipe dream no matter what they tell themselves.

I agree. I think that the "method acting" school of role-playing works for a very few people and groups and causes needless friction and pain for most others. Specifically, the identification of "immersion" as the key indicator of player skill makes people like me (who don't immerse in things generally, let alone fictional characters) out to be "bad role-players." I question the idea of there actually being a "character" to get into--nothing exists about the character until it is in play after all. Everything you do is in character, because you're creating the character as you go (for the vast majority of cases). This isn't a scripted thing--there's no outside character to reference. There's only the player. Also--people act in "out of character" ways all the time. That's what makes us real. Only fictional characters even really have an "in-character" vs and "out-of-character" distinction. For real people you become who you act as (except in the case of intentional subterfuge, and even then there are many cases of spies going native and becoming the mask (warning: TV Tropes) (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BecomingTheMask)).

On this topic, I think that the 5e D&D PHB has some wise words for the common variety of players:



Roleplaying is, literally, the act of playing out a role. In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

Roleplaying is a part of every aspect of the game and it comes to the fore during social interactions. Your character's quirks, mannerisms, and personality influence how interactions resolve.

There are two styles you can use when roleplaying your character: the descriptive approach ant the active approach. Most players us a combination of the two styles. Use whichever mix of the two works best for you.

Descriptive Approach to Roleplaying
With this approach, you describe your character's words and actions to the DM and the other players. Drawing on your mental image of your character, you tell everyone what your character does and how he or she does it....


Active Approach to Roleplaying
...When you use active roleplaying, you speak with your character's voice, like an actor taking on a role. You might even echo your character's movements and body language. This approach is more immersive than descriptive roleplaying, though you still need to describe things that can't be reasonably acted out...


Most players (and DMs) that I've seen bounce back and forth between styles depending on the situation. One is not better than the other, they're just different. I'd even suggest that the idea of "immersion roleplaying" being the One True Way is a relatively recent development (1990s? Maybe?). It certainly wasn't the largest factor in the original tables (from what I've gathered--I'll leave it to our grognards to fill in the historical details here).

kyoryu
2017-05-16, 10:22 AM
My general view on immersion is that it's what happens when focus on the imagined world meets a flow state. A requirement for that is that rules are internalized enough, and in line with expectations enough, that they do not require "conscious" attention.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-16, 11:35 AM
I agree. I think that the "method acting" school of role-playing works for a very few people and groups and causes needless friction and pain for most others. Specifically, the identification of "immersion" as the key indicator of player skill makes people like me (who don't immerse in things generally, let alone fictional characters) out to be "bad role-players." I question the idea of there actually being a "character" to get into--nothing exists about the character until it is in play after all. Everything you do is in character, because you're creating the character as you go (for the vast majority of cases). This isn't a scripted thing--there's no outside character to reference. There's only the player. Also--people act in "out of character" ways all the time. That's what makes us real. Only fictional characters even really have an "in-character" vs and "out-of-character" distinction. For real people you become who you act as (except in the case of intentional subterfuge, and even then there are many cases of spies going native and becoming the mask (warning: TV Tropes) (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BecomingTheMask)).

On this topic, I think that the 5e D&D PHB has some wise words for the common variety of players:


Roleplaying is, literally, the act of playing out a role. In this case, it's you as a player determining how your character thinks, acts, and talks.

Roleplaying is a part of every aspect of the game and it comes to the fore during social interactions. Your character's quirks, mannerisms, and personality influence how interactions resolve.

There are two styles you can use when roleplaying your character: the descriptive approach ant the active approach. Most players us a combination of the two styles. Use whichever mix of the two works best for you.

Descriptive Approach to Roleplaying
With this approach, you describe your character's words and actions to the DM and the other players. Drawing on your mental image of your character, you tell everyone what your character does and how he or she does it....


Active Approach to Roleplaying
...When you use active roleplaying, you speak with your character's voice, like an actor taking on a role. You might even echo your character's movements and body language. This approach is more immersive than descriptive roleplaying, though you still need to describe things that can't be reasonably acted out...


Most players (and DMs) that I've seen bounce back and forth between styles depending on the situation. One is not better than the other, they're just different. I'd even suggest that the idea of "immersion roleplaying" being the One True Way is a relatively recent development (1990s? Maybe?). It certainly wasn't the largest factor in the original tables (from what I've gathered--I'll leave it to our grognards to fill in the historical details here).

I'd also say that the "active approach" is not a fully-overlapping space with "method acting". One can do "in character" with first-person delivery, mannerisms and affectations, etc, without the "method acting" approach.

There's nothing wrong with going back and forth between first-person and third-person, what matters is that the decisions made and actions taken arise from "inside" the character.




My general view on immersion is that it's what happens when focus on the imagined world meets a flow state. A requirement for that is that rules are internalized enough, and in line with expectations enough, that they do not require "conscious" attention.


I don't consider immersion "magical" (not that you seem to be saying that, either). It's just about being earnestly engaged with the setting and characters and getting just a little lost in it all. It's about viewing the characters and places and conflicts as at least a little bit real, and not as contrivances, game pieces, or interchangeable story elements.

2D8HP
2017-05-16, 12:44 PM
....I'd even suggest that the idea of "immersion roleplaying" being the One True Way is a relatively recent development (1990s? Maybe?). It certainly wasn't the largest factor in the original tables (from what I've gathered--I'll leave it to our grognards to fill in the historical details here).

I'll be 49 years old next month, and I first played D&D in the very late 1970's (and I saw Star Wars the most times of anyone in Fourth grade, don't believe Ben, he doesn't have the ticket stubs!), so maybe I qualify as a "Grognard".

"Immersion roleplaying", was already noticed as a "style" of "Adventure" gaming in the late 1970's, but it was not the only one. (http://www.darkshire.net/jhkim/rpg/theory/models/blacow.html)

IIRC in the 1980's "Powergaming", "Wargaming", and "Storyteller" were more common.

But we also listened to Devo and Venom and consumed alcohol while playing as well.

Frankly I remember playing D&D, Traveller, and other "role-playing" games in much the same way as we played Car Wars, OGRE and other "war games", but I also remember that we sometimes would "play" for hours without touching the dice, and we were basically just "yarn-spinning".

One thing that's different now is the presence of women, which mirrors Punk Rock.

In the 1970's having a "female" bass player, was a regular occurrence, which became rare with mid-'80's "Hardcore Punk", but by the late 1980's "girls" came back.

It was similar with RPG's, I remember my Dad's girlfriend and her friend telling me about their D&D games, and I saw women at the first DunDraCon I went to, but I saw none in the mid 1980's, similar to how when the Dead Kennedy's played at Ruthies Inn in 1985, the audience was all male, but by 1989 "girls" came back, which was also true of gaming.

Riddle me that (maybe just a weird coincidence?).

kyoryu
2017-05-16, 01:18 PM
I don't consider immersion "magical" (not that you seem to be saying that, either). It's just about being earnestly engaged with the setting and characters and getting just a little lost in it all. It's about viewing the characters and places and conflicts as at least a little bit real, and not as contrivances, game pieces, or interchangeable story elements.

That's part of it. But much like you can be immersed in another type of activity (flow state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) ), I think that immersion in RPG is a combination of that flow state with a focus on the game world, vs. the mechanics as mechanics.

Quertus
2017-05-16, 07:25 PM
That's part of it. But much like you can be immersed in another type of activity (flow state: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flow_(psychology) ), I think that immersion in RPG is a combination of that flow state with a focus on the game world, vs. the mechanics as mechanics.

Yes, this! Flow, being "in the zone" is probably a much more approachable explanation than "method acting" or "immersion".

And, given that I always did it "wrong", and my immersion was in understanding the character, not strictly 1st person method acting, this makes the discussion even easier.


What I meant was that anything I can find about "method acting" online tends to go around in circles using terms of art and ludicrously complex language, resulting in (deliberate or not) obscurantism.

What I don't think is possible, is being so "into character" that one forgets that they're at a table (or wherever), with a group of other players, playing a game that's to some degree a group experience, with an element of "needs to be fun" and an element of "a story will come out of this".

All the sites on method acting seem to have buried under all the word salad an implication that the actor needs to "become the character", and I think they're chasing a pipe dream no matter what they tell themselves.

Eh, I forget who and where I am all the time, so it's no biggie for me :smallwink: :smalleek:

I don't know that a less senile practitioner of the art is expected to completely lose themselves. But method actors have gotten PTSD from feeling their roles, so I think a very high level of connection to what the character is feeling is completely reasonable.


I agree. I think that the "method acting" school of role-playing works for a very few people and groups and causes needless friction and pain for most others. Specifically, the identification of "immersion" as the key indicator of player skill makes people like me (who don't immerse in things generally, let alone fictional characters) out to be "bad role-players." I question the idea of there actually being a "character" to get into--nothing exists about the character until it is in play after all. Everything you do is in character, because you're creating the character as you go (for the vast majority of cases). This isn't a scripted thing--there's no outside character to reference. There's only the player. Also--people act in "out of character" ways all the time. That's what makes us real. Only fictional characters even really have an "in-character" vs and "out-of-character" distinction. For real people you become who you act as (except in the case of intentional subterfuge, and even then there are many cases of spies going native and becoming the mask (warning: TV Tropes) (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BecomingTheMask)).

On this topic, I think that the 5e D&D PHB has some wise words for the common variety of players:

Most players (and DMs) that I've seen bounce back and forth between styles depending on the situation. One is not better than the other, they're just different. I'd even suggest that the idea of "immersion roleplaying" being the One True Way is a relatively recent development (1990s? Maybe?). It certainly wasn't the largest factor in the original tables (from what I've gathered--I'll leave it to our grognards to fill in the historical details here).

... Huh. I scarcely know where to begin.

Most every child understands make believe, pretending to be someone else. I therefore find it unlikely that the majority of people would have difficulty with the immersion / method acting / role-playing end of things. Some, sure. But not the majority.

Now, given that almost no-one I have recently gamed with can be bothered to have a proper discussion / session 0 / whatever, I can certainly imagine that the kids these days and their newfangled videogame-induced lack of attention span might have trouble actually defining the acceptable parameters of a fun game, but, back in my day, we knew what we liked, and we liked it!

So, while it may be true now, it certainly wasn't generally true in my early experiences that people had trouble with the "method acting" school of role-playing, and merely speaks to the inferiority of modern culture. Player skills, me generation, blah blah blah. /rant

I am curious how you define role-playing that doesn't involve immersion. As I started in that style, it is difficult for me to imagine successful non-immersive role-playing.

I very much agree with the 5e description of role-playing, btw. Because, unlike many practitioners of immersive role-playing, I can totally be "in the zone" while talking about my character in the third person.

Now as to your comment where you "question the idea of there actually being a "character" to get into -nothing exists about the character until it is in play after all." ... Um... Method actors do it all the time? That's what backstory is for? I'm not sure where the disconnect is here. Although perhaps this is why I can't stand the idea of, "creating the character as you go"... And yet another reason why I prefer to play existing characters over creating new ones.

And I certainly started learning immersive role-playing long, long before the 90's.

PhoenixPhyre
2017-05-16, 08:07 PM
[SNIP]

... Huh. I scarcely know where to begin.

Most every child understands make believe, pretending to be someone else. I therefore find it unlikely that the majority of people would have difficulty with the immersion / method acting / role-playing end of things. Some, sure. But not the majority.

I am curious how you define role-playing that doesn't involve immersion. As I started in that style, it is difficult for me to imagine successful non-immersive role-playing.

I very much agree with the 5e description of role-playing, btw. Because, unlike many practitioners of immersive role-playing, I can totally be "in the zone" while talking about my character in the third person.

Now as to your comment where you "question the idea of there actually being a "character" to get into -nothing exists about the character until it is in play after all." ... Um... Method actors do it all the time? That's what backstory is for? I'm not sure where the disconnect is here. Although perhaps this is why I can't stand the idea of, "creating the character as you go"... And yet another reason why I prefer to play existing characters over creating new ones.

And I certainly started learning immersive role-playing long, long before the 90's.

Forgive the lousy formatting, but posting from mobile is... Suboptimal.

Role playing for me is nothing more than and nothing less than making decisions for a character within the bounds of context, setting, and rules. This does not require immersion, although in many cases immersion (willing suspension of disbelief) helps to maintain fun.

Analogies to acting techniques fall short for me because an actor is generally working with prepared material. Method acting improv would be difficult at best. An actor has a set of lines (or a scene to play) and chooses how to portray the (externally defined, to some degree) character within those lines or scene. Outside observers (the director or audience) can judge fidelity to the spirit of the source material.

Table top games are not like that. No matter what backstory you wrote, no matter what character concept you have, you (the player) are the only judge of that character. The character is whoever you say it is, and that can change from moment to moment (within the rules of course). You're also not acting in"real time"-- you have the luxury to decide what to mention and what not to, the freedom to consider options.

As for reusing an existing character in another table--that would be very weird for me. Characters only make sense to me within their context. Ripping then out and planting them somewhere else destroys any fragile immersion I might have with a setting. Chalk it up to play style differences I guess.

As for my personal immersion--I'm a weird case. There are too many choices and words floating in my brain to be immersed in any single character. I can only get "in the flow" when writing code requiring my whole attention with music on. While gaming I'm listening and focusing on the stories, meta stories, and scenes that are emerging from the play. Focusing on a single character is both unnatural and not fun for me. That's why I prefer to DM usually. I can bounce from character to character to inanimate object as needed, and the NPCs can be shallower than good player characters (as they're on stage much less).

I'll admit, this is all my opinion. I don't mind others doing it differently, as long as they don't try to force their way in me or belittle me and mine as "poor roleplayers" or whatever. For me, fun is the only consideration. Role-playing takes a distant second seat.

Quertus
2017-05-17, 10:42 AM
Forgive the lousy formatting, but posting from mobile is... Suboptimal.

Role playing for me is nothing more than and nothing less than making decisions for a character within the bounds of context, setting, and rules. This does not require immersion, although in many cases immersion (willing suspension of disbelief) helps to maintain fun.

Analogies to acting techniques fall short for me because an actor is generally working with prepared material. Method acting improv would be difficult at best. An actor has a set of lines (or a scene to play) and chooses how to portray the (externally defined, to some degree) character within those lines or scene. Outside observers (the director or audience) can judge fidelity to the spirit of the source material.

Table top games are not like that. No matter what backstory you wrote, no matter what character concept you have, you (the player) are the only judge of that character. The character is whoever you say it is, and that can change from moment to moment (within the rules of course). You're also not acting in"real time"-- you have the luxury to decide what to mention and what not to, the freedom to consider options.

As for reusing an existing character in another table--that would be very weird for me. Characters only make sense to me within their context. Ripping then out and planting them somewhere else destroys any fragile immersion I might have with a setting. Chalk it up to play style differences I guess.

As for my personal immersion--I'm a weird case. There are too many choices and words floating in my brain to be immersed in any single character. I can only get "in the flow" when writing code requiring my whole attention with music on. While gaming I'm listening and focusing on the stories, meta stories, and scenes that are emerging from the play. Focusing on a single character is both unnatural and not fun for me. That's why I prefer to DM usually. I can bounce from character to character to inanimate object as needed, and the NPCs can be shallower than good player characters (as they're on stage much less).

I'll admit, this is all my opinion. I don't mind others doing it differently, as long as they don't try to force their way in me or belittle me and mine as "poor roleplayers" or whatever. For me, fun is the only consideration. Role-playing takes a distant second seat.

I'm almost always posting from mobile - I understand. :smallwink:

I'm doubtless going to sound like I'm contradicting myself, as I'm trying to find words to express a concept. "Immersion" is something I always thought was pointless; now that I identify it with things like "flow", I consider it either critical, or simply a sign of success. That is, if you're successfully doing most anything, wouldn't you be "in the zone"?

To break to a metaphor, I sleep best when I'm "in the zone". When there are children in the house, I sleep much more lightly, constantly on alert, listening for signs of trouble. I find similar issues with role-playing. When I'm constantly metagaming, paying attention to others' fun and other metagame concerns, my role-playing experience suffers.

Of course, I still advocate that method, but I understand why "pure role-playing" is/was good and popular, because, when it works, nothing can match it.

Now, as I am personally much less about method acting "pure role-playing", and much more about role-playing as making decisions for the character, and often roleplay in the third person and/or not in real time, I completely agree with you there. So, it sounds like my disconnect is that I'm having a hard time grasping successfully performing the task not resulting in the player being in the zone, and the zone merely making the experience more fun.

As to transplanting a character... I'm a grognard who learned role-playing in the drop-in game era. More than that, the thing I find most fun in a game is Exploration. I don't want to be immersed in a setting - I want to explore it! Add to that how grating a poor reenactment of my characters' friends and family can be, and I have every reason to prefer playing a character who is "not from around here", even before considering the advantages that having an established personality gives to the role-playing experience.

Tanarii
2017-05-17, 11:40 AM
On this topic, I think that the 5e D&D PHB has some wise words for the common variety of players:

Most players (and DMs) that I've seen bounce back and forth between styles depending on the situation. One is not better than the other, they're just different. I'd even suggest that the idea of "immersion roleplaying" being the One True Way is a relatively recent development (1990s? Maybe?). It certainly wasn't the largest factor in the original tables (from what I've gathered--I'll leave it to our grognards to fill in the historical details here).
The problem is the latter, Active Roleplaying, has almost nothing to do with method acting.

As a example of the absolutely most common way I see RPGs played via roleplaying:
Player chooses some number of personality traits that are specific to the character, but are not their own.
Player then makes decisions as if they were personally encountering an in-game situation themselves, keeping in mind those few places where the character personality differs from themselves.
(Edit: Note that 'personally encountering an in-game situation' in no way excludes making, for example, tactical decisions based on rules knowledge, nor playing the tactical battle mat in a combat, etc etc.)

This is immersive, it's definitely roleplaying, it's active roleplaying, and it's in-character decision making. Even though the majority of the 'character' being played, and the majority of the 'character' from which the in-character decisions are being made, is the player's own natural personality. What it isn't particularly is Method Acting.


To contrast this to the most common way I see RPGs being played via storytelling:
Most commonly DM, or sometimes Player, decides what they want to happen in the game (ie some narrative or plot).
DM (or occasionally player) makes decisions about what will happen to make said narrative / plot come about, barring actions by others.

Now, that's a somewhat fuzzy line. Because doing something because you want a specific outcome & consequence is assumedly the goal of someone deciding what to do. But what really differentiates them is how someone things about them: Something they want to make try and accomplish themselves vs something they think should be a narrative consequence in the universe of certain events. And just like in real life, many people conflate the two things in RPG games.

ImNotTrevor
2017-05-17, 12:08 PM
I sit in a weird place here, probably because I like the idea of roleplaying, and I do it quite a lot despite being a GM and needing to juggle a lot of things at once.

At the same time, I really enjoy when my games produce a good story after all is said and done, and sometimes as a GM this influences me, but I utterly DESPISE the notion of cowtowing to The Story.

Luckily, I have found the verbiage to explain what it is I like. So maybe others will be able to tell if they align more with me or elsewhere. So here we go:

I'm not a fan of Story.

I'm a big fan of Emergent Narrative.
What the hell is Emergent Narrative? One of the places you will see it is in Civilization games, Dwarf Fortress, Minecraft, and other games without any preset story. I'll draw from these because it illustrates the phenomena very clearly and without muddling, so that the central concept is understood before being applied to a more relevant context. (Basically, inb4 someone complains about mentioning non-rpgs)

I suggest googling "dwarf fortress story" sometime. These stories are often hilarious, often heroic, and often great fun to read. Stories of triumph and downfall. The fact of the matter is, Dwarf Fortress has no story. It does not present one. What it DOES do is throw random events at you that you and your fledgeling dwarf colony need to deal with. That's as much "story" as you get. And yet, you will get these wonderful stories of what happened in people's individual games!
Those stories are Emergent Narrative.

Let's apply this idea to TRPGs.
While GMing, I try to roleplay as much as I can, but sometimes if things are getting dull, I will ask myself "What is the coolest/craziest/wildest thing I can justify happening right now?" And then that thing will happen because 1. We needed a kick in the pants and 2. It makes for a good "remember when..." moment. I will also do this as a player. If I have two perfectly valid courses of action for my character to take, I'll often ask "Which one will end up with me having a cool story of what I did this session?" And I do that one, because I wanna see what happens.

I like Emergent Narrative because it is "playing to find out what happens."
That's why I play these games. Emergent Narrative is the great superpower these games have over CRPGs. There aren't any CRPGs with enough freedom to have emergent narrative. They're all simulation games. And what you'll notice is that all the best stories have some element of someone saying "screw it" and then doing something incredibly risky.

So yeah.

I love Emergent Narrative.
I am not a fan of Story.

Two different things.

Quertus
2017-05-17, 12:11 PM
The problem is the latter, Active Roleplaying, has almost nothing to do with method acting.

Sigh. People keep having issue with this. I guess I may have to drop (or at least downplay) "method acting" as a way of explaining role-playing...


As a example of the absolutely most common way I see RPGs played via roleplaying:
Player chooses some number of personality traits that are specific to the character, but are not their own.
Player then makes decisions as if they were personally encountering an in-game situation themselves, keeping in mind those few places where the character personality differs from themselves.
(Edit: Note that 'personally encountering an in-game situation' in no way excludes making, for example, tactical decisions based on rules knowledge, nor playing the tactical battle mat in a combat, etc etc.)

This is immersive, it's definitely roleplaying, it's active roleplaying, and it's in-character decision making. Even though the majority of the 'character' being played, and the majority of the 'character' from which the in-character decisions are being made, is the player's own natural personality. What it isn't particularly is Method Acting.


To contrast this to the most common way I see RPGs being played via storytelling:
Most commonly DM, or sometimes Player, decides what they want to happen in the game (ie some narrative or plot).
DM (or occasionally player) makes decisions about what will happen to make said narrative / plot come about, barring actions by others.

Now, that's a somewhat fuzzy line. Because doing something because you want a specific outcome & consequence is assumedly the goal of someone deciding what to do. But what really differentiates them is how someone things about them: Something they want to make try and accomplish themselves vs something they think should be a narrative consequence in the universe of certain events. And just like in real life, many people conflate the two things in RPG games.

I'm having a difficult time formulating my response - thank you for making me think.

Maybe if I start with a little rant, it will make the rest of my thoughts fall in line. See, reading your description of role-playing, it sounds like one of my pet peeves. I'm fine playing with war gamers who have no interest in role-playing whatsoever. But it really irritates me when every single character someone makes is just themselves with a tissue-paper mask. The rare times I encounter it, I'd much rather play with someone who either roleplays a full character, or who just doesn't roleplay at all, than someone who only roleplays themselves.

It feels to me, that this behavior barely qualifies as role-playing. Heck, actually role-playing as myself involved more role-playing - more making decisions based on what would make sense for the character - than I usually see out of these players.

So, I guess my questions are, is that really what you meant to use as an example of role-playing? Is it, unlike in my experience, what you have really seen as most common? Or have I misunderstood your example?

-----

For the rest, I suppose my most burning question is, do you believe that people conflating the two is a major hindrance to discussions about role-playing in this and other threads?

Tanarii
2017-05-17, 01:53 PM
I love Emergent Narrative.
I am not a fan of Story.

Two different things.Retelling events as a story after the fact, and editing them to create a 'narrative' of your choice, is a time honored tradition of storytelling.


Maybe if I start with a little rant, it will make the rest of my thoughts fall in line. See, reading your description of role-playing, it sounds like one of my pet peeves. I'm fine playing with war gamers who have no interest in role-playing whatsoever. But it really irritates me when every single character someone makes is just themselves with a tissue-paper mask. The rare times I encounter it, I'd much rather play with someone who either roleplays a full character, or who just doesn't roleplay at all, than someone who only roleplays themselves.As you made it clear in your previous posts, you were raised in the 80s idea of 'Roleplaying', the elitist Method Acting type of play. This is different from the original 70s concept, which was merely that you were playing Role of some character in the Game. Not that the character could not be primarily an extension of the player themselves into that role. For example, in a truly old-school game, I could be Iiranat the Fighting Man, who was for most intents and purposes Tanarii the player with Fighting Man skills, who delves into dungeons.

So it's hardly surprising that having being exposed to a specific idea of what Roleplaying is, you'd find have developed a pet peeve against it. Just as I have a pet peeve against the post-70s idea that roleplaying has anything to do with storytelling.


So, I guess my questions are, is that really what you meant to use as an example of role-playing? Is it, unlike in my experience, what you have really seen as most common? Or have I misunderstood your example?Absolutely yes. I intentionally chose it as the example of roleplaying because decision making with the players personality + some number of personality traits specific to the character that isn't the player IS by far the most common way to make in-character decisions, aka roleplaying, that I've encountered. (Edit: In fact, Method Acting is a form of this with a very large number of personality traits specific to the character. It's impossible to completely remove the actor/player from the equation.) I also intentionally added the edit because 'in-game' means different things to different people, but it's by no means exclusively 'imagine yourself in a simulated world represented by the game rules'.


For the rest, I suppose my most burning question is, do you believe that people conflating the two is a major hindrance to discussions about role-playing in this and other threads?Other than having a pet peeve against the labeling? :smallbiggrin:

I primarily think that it's a hindrance in mistaking one thing for the other. The actual label doesn't really matter.

2D8HP
2017-05-17, 04:39 PM
.


.


Well I (just barely) played D&D in the 1970's (also Villains & Vigilantes, maybe even Traveller before 1980, dagnabbit I wish I had notes!), but most of my table time was in the 1980's.

While a remember some "FRP" (later "RPG", only briefly "Adventure games") philosophy in some articles of The Dragon, and more in Different Worlds (I don't remember any in the Space Gamer), I never heard anything close to "you're doing it wrong", until the early 1990's (which is when I dropped out of the hobby, so I only have guesses of what happened next)..

One thing I read "back in the day" was:


This book is dedicated to Dave Arneson and Gary Gygax, who first opened Pandora's box,
and to Ken St. Andre who found it could be opened again.(Arneson & Gygax were the creators of D&D, Andre of T&T).


INTRODUCTION
WHAT IS A FANTASY ROLE-PLAYING GAME?
A role-playing game is a game of character
development, simulating the process of personal development commonly called "life". The player acts a role in a fantasy environment, just as he might act a role in s play. In fact, when played with just paper and pencil on the game board of the player's imagination, it has been called "improvisational radio theatre. " If played with metal and plastic figurines, it becomes improvisational puppet theatre. However it is played, the primary purpose is to have fun. OK that's from the game that mostly replaced (over my objections) D&D at the tables I played at years ago.The part I agree most with is of course "However it is played, the primary purpose is to have fun." which I hope we don't lose sight of, anyway I don't actually remember anyone much playing "personal development improvisational radio theatre". Mostly it was closer to table top wargaming, with big interruptions of Monty Python and the Holy Grail based jokes, which doesn't look much different than how I see games played today (thank goodness).

The biggest change I see now is that more seem to worry if they're "doing it right", or are bothered by "doing it wrong".

While there was some handwringing before, it seems to me that the "Storytelling" game of Vampire in 1991 marks when things changed, and people started worrying more about "role-playing properly".

I don't remember the book that well, but I recall that Vampire stuck a bunch of short stories, along with rants about keeping a serious"proper mood" in with the rules.

While they were Comic book modern day setting games before (Villains & Vigilantes, and Champions) Vampire with it's admonishments to stay "serious", and relatively mundane setting turned the focus from imaginary environment exploration (and looting!) into imaginary character exploration (navel gazing, and method acting).

I didn't like it but it was (marginally) better than playing Cyberpunk, which was the usual alternative to play (in my area).

Dark times..

*shudder*

And then..
.
I don't know trading cards and computer games I guess (MMO's?) got popular, but my FLGS now has a Star Wars RPG on Tuesdays, D&D on Wednesdays, Pathfinder on Thursdays, and a lot more shelf space is devoted to board games (Settlers of Catan, etc), and you have self-described "indie" games (which existed in the 1970's as well, they just weren't called that).

The "Old School Revival" thing is weird to me, in that it just seems a bit off somehow, but at least now I can play "Labyrinth Lord", which is nearly identical to old D&D, but the "OSR" rants about "how it was" don't match what I dimly remember.

Oh well my sciatica is acting up, time for a nap dagnabbit!

Quertus
2017-05-17, 04:58 PM
Well, "I used to believe I was a perfectionist, until I realized that wasn't quite right". It comes as no surprise to me, then, that my early play groups were "ahead of their time" in believing in badwrongfun long before that was a "thing". :smallwink:

Tanarii
2017-05-17, 05:27 PM
RP" (later "RPG", only briefly "Adventure games") philosophy in some articles of The Dragon, and more in Different Worlds (I don't remember any in the Space Gamer), I never heard anything close to "you're doing it wrong", until the early 1990's (which is when I dropped out of the hobby, so I only have guesses of what happened next)..I remember long rants about rollplaying monty haul munchkin mix-maxing powergamers from elitist "real" role-players throughout my first decade. So late 80s / early 90s. Later on when the internet really spun up (late 90s to early 00s) there was plenty of pushback against that: Coining of the Stormwind fallacy, rebranding certain negative terms in positive terms (like optimization), proper definition of what the core of role playing actually involves, in-character decision making, no matter how weakly or strongly 'in-character' differs from the player's character. As opposed to flowery descriptions or talky-time.

(As a side note I'm not particularly a fan of heavy optimization but I agree with the idea of rebranding it in a positive light to counter slanderous negative terminology. Likewise the Stormwind fallacy was something that needed to be coined, for the same reason.)

None of which matters to my points previously made in this thread. I have a pet peeve about using the term 'storytelling' to ... uh, summarize ... what a role playing game is, because it's a different way of making decisions about the game from playing a role : in-character decision making. That said, I admit that is a pedantic way of looking at things. Even if in-character decision making were completely replaced by narrative decision making, it's not particularly important if said game were billed as a 'Roleplaying Game'.

kyoryu
2017-05-17, 05:38 PM
The "Old School Revival" thing is weird to me, in that it just seems a bit off somehow, but at least now I can play "Labyrinth Lord", which is nearly identical to old D&D, but the "OSR" rants about "how it was" don't match what I dimly remember.

Of course they don't.

With no way of communicating rapidly and disseminating information, and the fact that the D&D rules (among others) didn't tell you really how to structure an actual session or campaign, people were left to figure out a lot on their own, and so they came up with very different ideas.

As a result, "how it was" was different for virtually every group.

ImNotTrevor
2017-05-17, 09:34 PM
Retelling events as a story after the fact, and editing them to create a 'narrative' of your choice, is a time honored tradition of storytelling.



I apologize, but I don't understand the point of thos statement other than to attempt to say that Emergent Narrative and a crafted story are the same thing. In which case I would refer you to the difference between History and Literature.

History contains the Emergent Narratives of all humankind. Nobody worked to ensure the stories played out that way overall, but plenty of people decided to make the risky decision. (Often with the intention of bolstering their own personal legend.)

Literature is a person or group of people trying to create a story that exists in and of itself.

I'm not sure how else to better illustrate the difference.

Tanarii
2017-05-17, 09:50 PM
History contains the Emergent Narratives of all humankind. Nobody worked to ensure the stories played out that way overall, but plenty of people decided to make the risky decision. (Often with the intention of bolstering their own personal legend.) My point was that Emergent Narrative, as in a story based on history, is still selected by the storyteller. The narrative in such a story isn't an actual thing, it's merely chosen by the teller. They highlight the parts of the historical record that's tells the narrative they want to tell. This holds for creating a narrative based on the events of gameplay as well.

There is a difference, in that fitting past events to a narrative is only possible insofar as the events happened as recounted, or at least as they happened close enough to the events recounted. Contrast that to playing the game narratively (storytelling the game events), where events and their results are decided to happen based on what will fit the desired narrative.

ImNotTrevor
2017-05-17, 09:55 PM
My point was that Emergent Narrative, as in a story based on history, is still selected by the storyteller. The narrative in such a story isn't an actual thing, it's merely chosen by the teller. They highlight the parts of the historical record that's tells the narrative they want to tell. This holds for creating a narrative based on the events of gameplay as well.

There is a difference, in that fitting past events to a narrative is only possible insofar as the events happened as recounted, or at least as they happened close enough to the events recounted. Contrast that to playing the game narratively (storytelling the game events), where events and their results are decided to happen based on what will fit the desired narrative.

Yes, but one is active and the other is retroactive. (Storycraft and Emergent Narrative, respectively)

So I'm still not understanding the point of pointing this out. >.> Be nice to me, I've had a long day at work.

Knaight
2017-05-17, 10:02 PM
Of course they don't.

With no way of communicating rapidly and disseminating information, and the fact that the D&D rules (among others) didn't tell you really how to structure an actual session or campaign, people were left to figure out a lot on their own, and so they came up with very different ideas.

As a result, "how it was" was different for virtually every group.

There's also the matter of how the OSR movement has a lot of people very dedicated to the belief that the old way was just better, that they're better players than newer ones, and that everything outside of D&D can be ignored. It leads to a certain level of spin and selective omission for "how it was", along with routinely claiming that modern gaming doesn't include stuff it definitely includes.

Tanarii
2017-05-17, 11:04 PM
Yes, but one is active and the other is retroactive. (Storycraft and Emergent Narrative, respectively)

So I'm still not understanding the point of pointing this out. >.> Be nice to me, I've had a long day at work.
Me too. It's possible I didn't have a coherent point. :smallsmile:

Uh, seriously though, looking back, my original point was agreement, in that storytelling after the fact based on events that have happened is lots of fun! It's one reason people often call roleplaying games 'cooperative storytelling'. What they often (but not always) it's a shared experience of cool stuff that happened, and that's the beginning of a story right there.

I mean, I go rock climbing every Sunday morning with a specific group of buddies. Some people would call that creating stories together. I don't, any more than I call my afternoon D&D sessions cooperative storytelling. But I do understand where the thinking comes from.

But (per my second response), I agree that's absolutely different thing from actually playing the game narratively.

ImNotTrevor
2017-05-18, 02:11 AM
Me too. It's possible I didn't have a coherent point. :smallsmile:

Uh, seriously though, looking back, my original point was agreement, in that storytelling after the fact based on events that have happened is lots of fun! It's one reason people often call roleplaying games 'cooperative storytelling'. What they often (but not always) it's a shared experience of cool stuff that happened, and that's the beginning of a story right there.

I mean, I go rock climbing every Sunday morning with a specific group of buddies. Some people would call that creating stories together. I don't, any more than I call my afternoon D&D sessions cooperative storytelling. But I do understand where the thinking comes from.

But (per my second response), I agree that's absolutely different thing from actually playing the game narratively.

Mhm. I guess the easiest and most Jargon-free wording of this would be that I prefer playing to find out what happens.

The only problem I occassionally run into is when people mistake Narrative-focused to mean Storytelling game. I'm pretty sure that when people describe a system as Narrative or Fiction Oriented they mean the Fiction layer of the game. (Ie, the game cares that Ragnar swung his axe. It just cares more about HOW and WHY than other systems do.)

I also dislike that Storytelling Game has become a sort of instant write-off for systems that people don't really understand. That bugs me, but it's a fairly small issue most of the time.

2D8HP
2017-05-18, 12:51 PM
There's also the matter of how the OSR movement has a lot of people very dedicated to the belief that the old way was just better, that they're better players than newer ones, and that everything outside of D&D can be ignored. It leads to a certain level of spin and selective omission for "how it was", along with routinely claiming that modern gaming doesn't include stuff it definitely includes.


Well I'm pretty fond of and defensive about old D&D (mostly when people make claims about "old D&D that just doesn't ring true to me, but I'm learning that what others call "old", I call "new"), but holding the exact rules sacrosanct seems wrong-headed and contrary to how I remember the game actually being played.

A skim of the early rules should make it obvious that they were ad hoc and slapdash.
While @Yora makes a good case that things like Encumbrance, XP for treasure, and random encounters (http://spriggans-den.com/2017/01/31/xp-for-magic-items/) work together well in old D&D, insisting that something like Descending AC (http://blog.retroroleplaying.com/2013/03/ascending-ac-is-old-school-rant.html?m=1) is better because "old school" is absurd.

IIRC tinkering with and mix-and-macthing rules was common.

Head scratching discussions about deciphering the rules happened, but rules lawyering?

It was DM fiat or go home.

No rule was sacred, and any attempt to "preserve in amber", how the game was played is doomed to fail because IIRC play was too fluid to catch.

While I was very exited about it at the time, I think the creation of Advanced D&D (as opposed to D&D) and its attempt to regulize play was a mistake.

(Some history of the division here (http://dmdavid.com/tag/basic-and-advanced-the-time-dungeons-dragons-split-into-two-games/)).




...I also dislike that Storytelling Game has become a sort of instant write-off for systems that people don't really understand. That bugs me, but it's a fairly small issue most of the time.


To flog a(n) (un)dead horse, I think that some of the confusion came about because Vampire called itself a "storytelling game", and what most RPG's call the "Gamemaster" Vampire called the "Storyteller".

To me a "storytelling game" is something more like:

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen
(https://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/2470/extraordinary-adventures-baron-munchausen)



While this Forum was down I read a bunch of blogs, some of which have some fodder for thought for this thread, such as:

What is a Roleplaying Game? (http://johnwickpresents.com/games/houses-of-the-blooded/houses-of-the-blooded-what-is-a-roleplaying-game/)

For example: it is argued that "The first four editions of D&D are not roleplaying games. (http://johnwickpresents.com/games/game-designs/chess-is-not-an-rpg-the-illusion-of-game-balance/) but Call of Cthullu is?

Yet in Rulings, Not Rules (http://johnwickpresents.com/games/rulings-not-rules/)

How I helped to pull the rope that tolled the bell for OD&D (http://kaskoid.blogspot.com/2016/02/how-i-helped-to-pull-rope-that-tolled.html) is praised?

Quertus
2017-05-18, 01:37 PM
While I was very exited about it at the time, I think the creation of Advanced D&D (as opposed to D&D) and its attempt to regulize play was a mistake.

Clearly, you didn't have the same horrible DMs I did.


What is a Roleplaying Game? (http://johnwickpresents.com/games/houses-of-the-blooded/houses-of-the-blooded-what-is-a-roleplaying-game/)

That's an interesting take.

Personally, I prefer ars pro artis, and find rewarded role-playing to be impure, undesirable detritus by comparison, but I can see the logic. Can you call an activity where you have the option to perform physical actions, but there are no rules to govern these purely optional physical actions, a sport? I don't think so, but I feel confident it'll never be added to the Olympics.

Tanarii
2017-05-18, 02:13 PM
Well I'm pretty fond of and defensive about old D&D (mostly when people make claims about "old D&D that just doesn't ring true to me, but I'm learning that what others call "old", I call "new"), but holding the exact rules sacrosanct seems wrong-headed and contrary to how I remember the game actually being played. That jives with everything I know about pre-AD&D then vs 'Classic D&D' now. That it was all about making it up as you went, whereas now the old game is carefully labeled and distinguished.

Hell, when I started in 1985 we played BE and AD&D adventures with whatever characters we wanted from BE (and later CMI) rules, AD&D rules (including OA or UA), and Dragon rules we could get our hands on. It was just one huge mishmash of whatever was fun. It wasn't until 2e release in '93 that I saw anything like a single set of (somewhat) concise rules used for just one game. And even that changed as the 'Complete' books were released.


While this Forum was down I read a bunch of blogs, some of which have some fodder for thought for this thread, such as:

What is a Roleplaying Game? (http://johnwickpresents.com/games/houses-of-the-blooded/houses-of-the-blooded-what-is-a-roleplaying-game/)
I prefer http://angrydm.com/2011/08/defining-your-game/

kyoryu
2017-05-18, 02:23 PM
I've said it before, probably on this site, and possibly on this thread.

I've seen three basic interaction types in RPGs.

Type 1:

GM: "This is the situation"
Player: "Okay, I do this thing."
GM: "This is the new situation."

Type 2:

Player 1: "I move my character in accordance with the rules"
Player 2: "I move my character in accordance with the rules"
Player 3: "I move my character in accordance with the rules"

Type 3:

Player 1: "This happens"
Player 2: "Then this happens"
Player 3: "And then this happens"

Few games are strictly one type, and many switch types based on what's going on at a given time.

They are all, I think, roleplaying, at least so long as each player nominally has control of a (or even a few, think Ars Magica) primary characters.

Quertus
2017-05-18, 03:17 PM
I prefer http://angrydm.com/2011/08/defining-your-game/

I completely agree with and wholeheartedly endorse this definition and explanation of role-playing.

2D8HP
2017-05-18, 03:31 PM
...I prefer http://angrydm.com/2011/08/defining-your-game/

"Grind my gears"

:amused:

"Im an American, so I support your right to proudly cling to being wrong like a dog proudly rolling in its own mess."*

:biggrin:

A gentleman of wit and taste.




I've said it before, probably on this site, and possibly on this thread.

I've seen three basic interaction types in RPGs...


I've said it before, probably on this site, and possibly on this thread, that I really like @kyoryu's typology.

I'm pretty sure that I previously wrote (two months ago?) that "I'm strongly Type one, and I don't like "mixing chocolate with my peanut butter", but I'm finding that I enjoy Type two more than I thought.

I'd really like to see a thread that polls what mix of "kyoryu"s types" people find fun, but I fear that kyoryu is too anti-rancor to start one.

I've also come to realize that despite what I previously advocated:


[....maybe I'm not reading carefully enough, but as far as I can tell I'm the only poster trying to "win" (people over to calling them "Adventure games", rather than "role-playing" games).
Besides, the goal of role-playing adventure games is to continue, not to "win" (threads too).
BTW I did indeed buy issues of Tim Kask's Adventure Gaming (http://www.advanceddungeonsandparenting.com/2013/04/tim-kask-tale-of-two-magazines.html?m=1) magazine in the early 1980's

that I enjoy "method acting" too much to drop the "R" from RPG, which begs the question (perhaps in another thread?), just how important is "role-playing" in a RPG?

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-18, 04:42 PM
I've said it before, probably on this site, and possibly on this thread, that I really like @kyoryu's typology.

I'm pretty sure that I previously wrote (two months ago?) that "I'm strongly Type one, and I don't like "mixing chocolate with my peanut butter", but I'm finding that I enjoy Type two more than I thought.

I'd really like to see a thread that polls what mix of "kyoryu"s types" people find fun, but I fear that kyoryu is too anti-rancor to start one.


Realistically, I don't think most players are purely of one type. The rules/structure of #2 can be useful for those whose core preference is #1 or #3, for example.




I've also come to realize that despite what I previously advocated:



that I enjoy "method acting" too much to drop the "R" from RPG, which begs the question (perhaps in another thread?), just how important is "role-playing" in a RPG?


In my opinion, if it doesn't feature any roleplaying, it's not a roleplaying game. First-person or third-person, some sort of character-driven decision and action element is required. An RPG can blend in elements of storytelling, and/or elements of "wargame", and/or other elements, that RPGs have often shared with other sorts of activities... but if it goes off too far in any direction and leaves that character-centric element out, then it's no longer an RPG. It's a cooperative storytelling game, or a board game, or something else. I'd say there's even room for honest disagreement as to how far is too far.

2D8HP
2017-05-18, 05:14 PM
....In my opinion, if it doesn't feature any roleplaying, it's not a roleplaying game....


I don't doubt that, what I meant (and maybe this should be for a different thread) wasn't how much role-playing is needed to stay a Roleplaying game, instead I wonder how much to be fun?

I've enjoyed playing Car Wars which we stretched to be a Role-playing game (I imagine Arneson did something similiar when he stretched Chainmail to be "Blackmoor/The Fantasy Game", but he had less of a model), but I also like Chess and Risk without any role-playing (I've heard that you should never play Diplomacy with anyone you wish to remain friends with).

And I'm sure most everyone has traded stories.

How much role-playing is needed in a game to "scratch the itch"?

kyoryu
2017-05-18, 08:43 PM
Realistically, I don't think most players are purely of one type. The rules/structure of #2 can be useful for those whose core preference is #1 or #3, for example.

Few games are purely a given type. Old school D&D is mostly type 1, with a little type 2. D&D 3 is type 2 in combat (mostly), and a mix between the two out of combat. Fate straddles the middle pretty much all over the place.

If a given game isn't purely one type, then most players won't be purely one type, as a player likely plays more than one game anyway.

So yeah, I agree with you totally. I can't think of a single pure example of any of these types, but rather games that incorporate them to various degrees.


In my opinion, if it doesn't feature any roleplaying, it's not a roleplaying game. First-person or third-person, some sort of character-driven decision and action element is required. An RPG can blend in elements of storytelling, and/or elements of "wargame", and/or other elements, that RPGs have often shared with other sorts of activities... but if it goes off too far in any direction and leaves that character-centric element out, then it's no longer an RPG. It's a cooperative storytelling game, or a board game, or something else. I'd say there's even room for honest disagreement as to how far is too far.

Agreed. Even very strongly type 2 games can veer away from this - I don't know many people that consider Descent to be a roleplaying game. But I would consider Fiasco (strongly type 3, with a touch of type 2) a roleplaying game.

Lazymancer
2017-05-20, 08:12 AM
I sit in a weird place here, ...
You don't. It's simply regular role-playing.

If not for the story-telling circus of narrativists, there wouldn't even be any other position. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and we have to deal with clowns like John Wick and other vocal members of narrativist cargo cult.




Heck, actually role-playing as myself involved more role-playing - more making decisions based on what would make sense for the character - than I usually see out of these players.
That's because that's what role-playing is - decision-making.


That's an interesting take.

Personally, I prefer ars pro artis, and find rewarded role-playing to be impure, undesirable detritus by comparison, but I can see the logic. Can you call an activity where you have the option to perform physical actions, but there are no rules to govern these purely optional physical actions, a sport? I don't think so, but I feel confident it'll never be added to the Olympics.
Are you serious? Or is this another attempt at being sarcastic? Because it's not an interesting take. It's a horrible mess of excuses, distortions, and blatant lies.

The core of the problem is that John Wick didn't design system that rewards PCs for following their motivations, nor does he want to. And so he makes excuses that it is somehow wrong for players to follow motivations of their characters as they are presented by the system.

And since John Wick cannot be bothered to make a real system about characters falling in love, it's the duty of GM to make the whole system from scratch, on the spot, in the middle of the session. And if this somehow doesn't happen - it's the fault of GM and players!

When Ford made their Fiery Pintos, nobody tried to push blame on the drivers and claim that it was their fault that they burned alive after gas tank exploded (at least, Ford's lawyers couldn't make it stick). But John Wick somehow gets a free pass, eh?

Lazymancer
2017-05-20, 08:29 AM
I've said it before, probably on this site, and possibly on this thread.

I've seen three basic interaction types in RPGs.

...

Few games are strictly one type, and many switch types based on what's going on at a given time.

They are all, I think, roleplaying, at least so long as each player nominally has control of a (or even a few, think Ars Magica) primary characters.Those are not game types.


First and foremost, let's make a thought experiment: can you have chemically clean types (as with story-telling and role-playing)? I don't see this.

For example, in every role-playing game there is a GM (sometimes "collective GM") that adjudicates the process. You need some final authority to confirm events in the virtuality of RPG campaign if there is a disagreement. You may have to rely on GM a lot ("mother, may I"), or not ("crunchy" system or old group that developed shared understanding), but it's always there. Consequently, every RPG is a type 1 game. No exceptions.


Those are, as you said it, interaction types. Types that define short exchanges of information.
1) [Player]: We do not have an understanding here, I require GM to resolve situation.
2) [Player]: Since we already have an understanding, I will don't require intervention.

Imo, number 3 is not a separate type, but a compound of #1 and #2, since Players seem to have collective authority of GM.

Koo Rehtorb
2017-05-20, 09:01 AM
For example, in every role-playing game there is a GM (sometimes "collective GM") that adjudicates the process. You need some final authority to confirm events in the virtuality of RPG campaign if there is a disagreement. You may have to rely on GM a lot ("mother, may I"), or not ("crunchy" system or old group that developed shared understanding), but it's always there. Consequently, every RPG is a type 1 game. No exceptions.

Edit - it's late and I missed the "collective" bit. Never mind.

Knaight
2017-05-20, 11:30 AM
For example, in every role-playing game there is a GM (sometimes "collective GM") that adjudicates the process. You need some final authority to confirm events in the virtuality of RPG campaign if there is a disagreement. You may have to rely on GM a lot ("mother, may I"), or not ("crunchy" system or old group that developed shared understanding), but it's always there. Consequently, every RPG is a type 1 game. No exceptions.

Microscope (http://www.lamemage.com/microscope/). Fiasco (http://bullypulpitgames.com/games/fiasco/). The bulk of this list (https://doubleninja.wordpress.com/2011/08/18/the-ultimate-big-list-of-gm-less-rpggames/).

For every role playing game having a GM there sure seem to be a lot of GMless games.

2D8HP
2017-05-20, 03:50 PM
...since John Wick cannot be bothered to make a real system about characters falling in love, it's the duty of GM to make the whole system from scratch, on the spot, in the middle of the session....


I did say it was "Fodder for thought", I didn't say, "This is the whole truth!" (My having played both, the logic of "Call of Cthullu is a role-playing game, but pre-5e D&D is not" eludes me).

Anyway, I admire 7th Sea for its setting, but (full disclosure), reading the rules "crunch", puts me to sleep, so I don't really know them.

Some rules "crunch" that I really studied and admired were 1985's Pendragon, which I have oft praised in this Forum, which does have "crunch" for Romance.

The Pendragon "Traits and Passions (http://www.adnd3egame.com/documents/gk-pendragon-howto.pdf)" (PDF) system does take some control of the PC's out of the hands of (so you can play out "Gawaine and the Green Knight" types of temptation scenarios).

Does that make Pendragon more or less of a "role-playing" game?

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-20, 04:19 PM
You don't. It's simply regular role-playing.

If not for the story-telling circus of narrativists, there wouldn't even be any other position. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and we have to deal with clowns like John Wick and other vocal members of narrativist cargo cult.




That's because that's what role-playing is - decision-making.


Are you serious? Or is this another attempt at being sarcastic? Because it's not an interesting take. It's a horrible mess of excuses, distortions, and blatant lies.

The core of the problem is that John Wick didn't design system that rewards PCs for following their motivations, nor does he want to. And so he makes excuses that it is somehow wrong for players to follow motivations of their characters as they are presented by the system.

And since John Wick cannot be bothered to make a real system about characters falling in love, it's the duty of GM to make the whole system from scratch, on the spot, in the middle of the session. And if this somehow doesn't happen - it's the fault of GM and players!

When Ford made their Fiery Pintos, nobody tried to push blame on the drivers and claim that it was their fault that they burned alive after gas tank exploded (at least, Ford's lawyers couldn't make it stick). But John Wick somehow gets a free pass, eh?


Could you provide some context for this commentary on Mr Wick? What system is this, or where the comments are that you're responding to, or...?

I don't think there's any need at all for system/mechanics for characters falling in love, but if the game designer is going to insist that they're necessary, then it's the game designer's responsibility to provide them in the game.

Cluedrew
2017-05-20, 04:22 PM
I also dislike that Storytelling Game has become a sort of instant write-off for systems that people don't really understand. That bugs me, but it's a fairly small issue most of the time.Which ignores the fact that most role-playing games are story-telling games. They may approach creating a story from an in-character or out-of-character way, they might have various amounts of pre-planning, but I don't know any role-playing games which aren't also about telling a story. Which seems like the definition of story telling game, so I think they qualify. Actually I have seen arguments that role-playing games are a subgenre of story-telling games where the primary means of shaping the story is by controlling the actions of particular characters (PCs). Which makes some sense, I'm not sure if I would write it a dictionary though.


You don't. It's simply regular role-playing.

If not for the story-telling circus of narrativists, there wouldn't even be any other position. Unfortunately, that is not the case, and we have to deal with clowns like John Wick and other vocal members of narrativist cargo cult.As I understand the argument, it was about story as the things that will happen, or as the things that have happened. I argue for the latter, I think ImNotTrevor was as well as do most of the narrativists I know. How much pre-planning is used in the story is semi-independent of how narrative the system is, although given players narrative control tends to work against that so the semi- part is negative. Or has been in my experience.

Tanarii
2017-05-20, 04:38 PM
Which ignores the fact that most role-playing games are story-telling games. They may approach creating a story from an in-character or out-of-character way, they might have various amounts of pre-planning, but I don't know any role-playing games which aren't also about telling a story. Which seems like the definition of story telling game, so I think they qualify. Actually I have seen arguments that role-playing games are a subgenre of story-telling games where the primary means of shaping the story is by controlling the actions of particular characters (PCs). Which makes some sense, I'm not sure if I would write it a dictionary though.That's like saying the point of living your life is to create the story of living your life. It ignores both the actual purpose (to live life) and the actual result (having lived a portion of your life) in furtherance of something that has nothing to do with either (creating a story from the things you experienced while living life).

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-20, 05:06 PM
That's like saying the point of living your life is to create the story of living your life. It ignores both the actual purpose (to live life) and the actual result (having lived a portion of your life) in furtherance of something that has nothing to do with either (creating a story from the things you experienced while living life).


Yeah, I don't think that a game where story isn't the intent, but rather just a byproduct, is really a "Storytelling Game".

Cluedrew
2017-05-20, 07:03 PM
To Tanarii: I'm sure you could create some good motional sayings out of that, that wasn't what I was going for. I wasn't saying that any game that creates a story is a story telling game, nor is any game where you talk a role* a role-playing game (*for a broad definition of the word). I played a board game recently where we referring to each other by character names, but it wasn't a role-playing game, we weren't actually in character or anything like that.

No, what I am saying is that most role-playing games are also about telling stories. Perhaps that is merely a coincidence.

That is also separate from the definition of role-playing games as a type of story-telling game that uses character action as the player's tool. It has some merit but it feels just a bit too restrictive for the definition of role-playing games, if such a definition exists.

Lazymancer
2017-05-21, 07:29 AM
I did say it was "Fodder for thought", I didn't say, "This is the whole truth!"
And I said that there isn't anything worthwhile. It's not a fodder for thought, it's not a viable position, it doesn't contain any interesting arguments, it's not useful in any way - other than proof of author's personal qualities (which is not relevant to the discussion).

To rephrase: attempts to frame me as being needlessly contrarian due to misunderstanding something and being blind to some middle ground will not work. My opinion is that John Wick's article is unambiguously bad and there is no compromise to be had about it. I agree with neither "that's absolute truth" and "there are interesting points being made". It's a noise.



Could you provide some context for this commentary on Mr Wick? What system is this, or where the comments are that you're responding to, or...?
There are links embedded in each comment. Little arrows near the name.



Which ignores the fact that most role-playing games are story-telling games.
There is no such fact.


I don't know any role-playing games which aren't also about telling a story.
Frankly, I don't even know why I post this. We've been over this already more than once.

Every single roleplaying game is not about telling stories. Stories are an emergent quality. As I had already written several times (and in much more detail): role-playing games are about making decisions in the pre-digital virtual reality run by our brain cells. Something commonly known as "immersion".

Telling stories is not role-playing. Stories are told about role-playing. Later.

Substituting role-playing with telling stories is like substituting skydiving with telling stories about skydiving.

You may have fun watching youtube videos of someone playing game, but it's not playing the game itself.

Just because you can tell a story about some character, you don't actually role-play as the character.

Am I getting through? Or is this completely impenetrable barrier of "don't make me leave my comfort zone where everyone is equally right and wrong"?

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-21, 08:28 AM
There are links embedded in each comment. Little arrows near the name.


No, your comments about John Wick -- where does Mr Wick say the things that you've posted about him saying? What game product, article, interview, or whatever, contains him saying it's bad when players follow their character's motivations? Or saying that it's the GM's responsibility to come up with systems on the fly for things the he (Mr Wick) thinks are important to the game?

You were the first one to mention Mr Wick in the thread, at least according to the search function, so the context for your comments cannot be found in the little arrows leading back to quoted posts... which everyone already knows about.

Cluedrew
2017-05-21, 10:17 AM
Frankly, I don't even know why I post this. We've been over this already more than once.Ever been a teacher? I have taught before and let me tell you, you might have to explain it many more times than that. Of course simply repeating the same explanation over and over again tends to do very little. Explaining things well actually takes a lot of effort and practice.

And I don't understand your explanation. Story telling games are not about the actual telling of the story, you would need a separate audience for that. You often hear "in role-playing games, the players are both the presenters and the audience", so the creating of the story comes just with the telling and they mix together to create the emergent story.

Now some people play role-playing games like CRPGs. We play a tactical game while you tell us a story. I'm not sure you are truly role-playing at that point, might even depend on the group, but it is the same role-playing game system. Also, what I mentioned about narrative systems, most of the systems that have that passive mode of play have been in my experience more tactical and less narrative and so as a trend narrative games have less of that.

Returning to when people to tell a story: All stories have a kind of emergent narrative to them, the sequence of events that the players go through. What I use to separate that from story telling games is if the focus on the in-world or game perspective. Most games use an element of in-world justification, but it often it has holes in it. For instance, what does playing a land card represent in Magic: The Gathering? There might be a justification of claiming territory or something, but I don't actually care. Because the in world events provide some context, but it isn't actually about that.

Story-telling games on the other hand are about that, they put events in the middle and put the mechanics around it. Role-playing games do something similar. In fact if we stop here they are the same but I think it is too early to stop. We haven't even touched the character focus of role-playing games for one, which is not an insignificant point. But still that overlap seems significant as well.

As for role-playing, most games have to have something you have to work towards. But role-playing is not an end, any more than clever tactical maneuvers can be the objective in a strategy game. So what is the goal for role-playing? Accuracy of portal or how interesting the characters are nice goals, but as it turns out that focusing on a single character's portal can end up making the game less fun (see my guy syndrome), so a lot of systems zoom out and say: Tell a good story.

And that is where I see the overlap between role-playing and story-telling games.

Max_Killjoy
2017-05-21, 10:52 AM
I'd say that intent matters.

If you're setting out to do something else, and a story happens to emerge as a by-product, then it's really not a story-telling game.

Quertus
2017-05-21, 06:31 PM
@Lazymancer: I was going to ask if we were reading the same article, but it sounds like you are commenting on the author in general, rather than the content of that one particular article.

For that article, I wasn't being sarcastic. I didn't agree with the author's conclusion, but at least I could follow their reasoning.

And I pretty much agree with your notion of stories being an emergent property of role-playing, and telling stories about skydiving not being the same thing as skydiving. I'm just not sure that your example maps to role-playing quite the way you think it does.

@Cluedrew: I'd have to say that the act of role-playing and accuracy of portrayal really are among my end goals in an RPG. To the point where "old me" would have told you that "my guy syndrome" is a good thing*. I now believe in tempering that with a dash of metagaming, because, while everyone's fun has always been the goal, I no longer believe that sufficiently skilled players can fix everything with the social contract + session 0. So, new me still cares about the joy of the act of role-playing, and the satisfaction of an accurate portrayal, but tempered by keeping an eye to, well, fun.

Exploring the human psyche, exploring how these particular characters with these particular capabilities and personalities respond to these particular scenarios, and exploring cool new worlds are also among my goals. Shock and surprise, if it ever came up, I'd advocate a dash of metagaming here, too, as necessary, to ensure an overall fun experience.

Having stories to tell about the game afterward is just a nice (side?) effect of an enjoyable experience.

On the other hand, it explicitly is my goal to create stories - create fun (or embarrassing or frustrating or otherwise memorable) experiences - when hanging out with friends and loved ones.

So, while I can see "creating a story" as a goal, it absolutely is not among my goals when playing an RPG.

* good behavior on the player's part, because proper role-playing is what you're supposed to do, but a bad thing, as it's a sign of a failure to properly define the game in session 0, is a better way of describing what "old me" would have told you.

Knaight
2017-05-21, 07:23 PM
Every single roleplaying game is not about telling stories. Stories are an emergent quality. As I had already written several times (and in much more detail): role-playing games are about making decisions in the pre-digital virtual reality run by our brain cells. Something commonly known as "immersion".

There's plenty of stuff in the standard GM role that doesn't fit this, and that's without getting into several games where this fundamentally isn't true (Microscope, Baron Munchausen). We have a given set of games, and any definition that fits needs to encompass all of them while excluding stuff that isn't in the category, and this definition fails that.

Frozen_Feet
2017-05-21, 07:39 PM
... why is this tangent of the discussion still going on?

A storytelling game is a game where you tell a story.

A roleplaying game is a game where you play a role.

For any given game, one, both or neither might apply, to whatever degree. You might be playing a game where you tell a story through playing a role. Or where you play a role as part of a story. Or where you play a role and this coincidentally creates a story.

"Emergent narrative" is useless as distinquishing feature. You can get an emergent narrative from any game, or any series of events.

EDIT:

@Knaight: and why should Microscope or Baron Munchausen be included by the definition of roleplaying games?

Because you might've just given an arbitrary set which don't actually have any justification to belong to the same set other than "this is the set we gave you".

Likewise, that the position of GM has parts that "don't fit" seems irrelevant to me, for two reasons: 1) the GM is not the only kind of player at the table and is recognized as special; hence, the GM's position can't be held as game-defining and 2) the thing Lazymancer defined is still included in the GM's position. The GM may do other things, but why should we hold those other things as measurements for what makes a game into an RPG?