Dreifaltige Rollenspiel-Lektüre

Drei Falten mit einem Rollenspielerkopf dahinter, ergibt einen nachdenklichen, amüsanten und relativ bodenständigen Blick auf das was war, ist und möglicherweise in der Szene los sein wird.

Sonntag, März 04, 2007

Museum: It's escaped your world

Recently I tidied up my room and discovered some old notes on a report I wanted to give on my hobby (which I didn’t go through with, if my memory doesn’t fool me now). Looking closely at the notes I was a tad surprised: while there are some things I know better now and wouldn’t say in this context, you have to bear in mind that all of this was written in a time, where I didn’t have contact with any part of the gaming comunity, let alone those parts who delved deeply into GNS and other ideas of roleplaying theory (although I think they already existed in some form or another back in… I don’t know ’97…’98?- back then). Still, much of it is pretty spot-on.

Some of the notes:

- roleplaying vs. games

- the former: a very easy thing, that is very hard to explain (reference to job interviews in school etc.)

- roleplaying as part of a game has the primary function of entertainment

- some argue that it can be used for intellectual and moral development, but this is open to debate

- changes and developements of roleplaying throughout the years: roots: historical miniature games (reference: Little Wars by H.G.Wells)

- 1974: Dungeons & Dragons (single character instead of army; rules convey realism instead of being abstract like Clue)

- but: rules alone can’t cover every situation: role of the GM as narrator and impartial referee

- many players liked the “role” part of the game and made an effort to develop their character using the techniques actors use to get into a role (where does he come from?, why is he doing what he does? Etc.) taking the game one more step away from the abstract

- the first adventures took place in a setting derived from Tolkienesque fantasy stories and took place in a dungeon setting (easy to manage flowchart with limited options)

- over time less constraining adventures took shape, requiring more effort from the GM, but also giving the characters more options (as an additional result of this the background to the adventure settings became more detailed), allowing them to develop their character more thoroughly

- in the rules there is some debate as to which level of abstract is required to make the game most fun (rules heavy vs. rules light)

- completely rules heavy: DM not necessary, but often too convoluted to be enjoyed by anyone

- completely rules light: diceless roleplaying (pros/cons)

- most games are somewhere in between

Where my notes are getting really interesting, is where I begin to describe the different playing styles of RPGs:

- goal-oriented style: the players have to defeat or solve an obstacle or problem created by the GM

- story-oriented style: the game follows the rules of drama and the all the things the characters encounter are meaningful in the sense of the created story

- freeform/realistic style: the players play their characters personalities and the GM plays the world in which things happen that neither have a direct relation to the problem at hand, nor have a particular function in the drama.

The last words in the notes are “LARP” (with no further comments- as I hadn’t played in a LARP by then I doubt I would have had much to say about it anyway) and “bias against roleplaying”.

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