Role-Playing Games! Not the computer kind, I speak of the kind with sheets of paper and dice and what the hell is the appeal? I have spent and continue to spend far too much time in Game Mastering – running these imaginary scenarios so groups of players can pretend to be cool heroes and do interesting stuff.
It is the very pinnacle of escapism and such a big part of my life, I must write about it from time to time on my bloge. All of these posts will be tagged “Gaming.” I’m starting with a series about ways players can screw up. In fairness, I should eventually get to an article or two about my failures as a GM.
There’s different interfaces for RP in this modern age. Luddites can use books and papers, chill in someone’s basement with the wood spiders. If you’re using the internet, you can recreate the Luddite experience through services like Skype. A more common way to do things, I think, is PbP (Play by Post) or using a chat interface.
That’s what I use. It has an awesome advantage: The text record cuts down on the need for GM notes. About ten years ago I got into RPing regularly after a long time without. I found that I needed a record of game events, and it quickly became a total mess. With a text record, I can Ctrl-F a relevant term and find out about any past events I please.
The other thing about text-based RP that is interesting: it becomes more like writing prose. “Live Action” RP, or LARP, is basically improvisational acting. Text-based RP is a lot more to my liking, as an act and as an art. And the extent to which it is like writing invites comparison and criticism from a literary point of view.
All that said, I’m going to try to dispense with terminology and explanation of the basics on future posts. I’ll start making them soon.