Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I'm gonna focus on the Role part of Roleplaying a little bit.

'Cause I seem to have a very different and far more mechanical definition of what that is than most people.

Different than the people that think it relates to rolling dice (although I like rolling dice, I ain't got nothing against rolling dice, and that can get plenty mechanical heh).

Anybody who actually got into that would be good at seeing things mathematically, probabilities and statistics, simulations, 'cause that's what all that is.

And different from all the "roleplaying" folks who read too many of those goddam TSR D&D Novels from the 80s that were like 99% character development and description and dramatic foreshadowing and like 1% Something Actually Happening.

And different from the way (well, most) actors would define it.

And different from the way a guy from some repetitive-ass monster fighting football team game would define it, as in having a "role" in a group, or having a "role" in pvp.

See, I write a lot of stories.

And there is very little character development in 'em.

I mean, I hardly ever paint myself into a corner where I even need to name a character.

And I'm not gonna be trying to sell you an Adventures of Mike t-shirt, so I don't really have any external motivation to build Mike up at all or try to make Mike seem awesome to you so you'll like Mike and buy some of my I Like Mike Shit heh.

Oh I do know how to do all that stuff, I actually had a lot of problems with characters that I used to play in the old days in games and stuff, with people liking my character more than they liked me, with people actually getting mad at me and stuff when I started playing a different character 'cause the fun of being their favorite guy had run dry of being fun fer me.

Y'know, its like, those old guys just sorta ran out of new jokes, man, they just didn't make me think of none anymore.

And I was never one of those guys that cared about being popular or got anything out of doing my old material over and over again, y'know, the shit has to make me laugh or I ain't gonna do it, that's pretty much all there is to it, and wtf have you done for me lately anyways, I'm not the only one that's supposed to be doing this shit and making everybody laugh, man, c'mon ahaha.

Anyways, roles, for me, are things that are created by situations.

And good roles are created by interesting situations.

And interesting situations are the shit that a Dungeon Master or a Storyteller is supposed to be good at coming up with on the fly like super quick and snappity-snap off the top of his or her head.

They're systems stuff, they're mechanical things, they're environmental, they're physics.

They're not just puzzles, though, puzzles are more like things with just one solution, in my mind, things with beginnings and endings, yes and no answers, and the clues that make a puzzle up aren't usually fed to you one at a time like logs being dumped on the fireplace of your imagination heh.

Puzzles don't create roles.

Situations are more complex than that, they inspire lots of solutions (and when we played D&D and all those kinda games, they needed to inspire lots of comedic solutions).

They inspire lots of possible roles.

And the roles and the situations working together creates something that inspires new situations and roles, too.

They sorta evolve together like that, brick by brick and branch by branch, symbiotically and stuff, I mean, its not just simple feedback, its collaboration.

They're elevators falling down an elevator shaft! Quick! What do you do?

They're the game of navigating the maintenance corridors under the guts of some rusted out space station by homing in on the sound of some mad banjo player who can apparently breathe a poisonous kind of atmosphere.

They're an unusual and incomplete explanation of the mechanics of druidry.

Or whatever, y'know, I'm not saying my stories are all awesome and shit, its just easy for me to use 'em as examples heh.

I mean, I suppose you could say those things were puzzles, but there's more depth to it than that.

And that depth is where the whole collaborative art bit comes in, that depth is where the roles are, the places that the players can grab on to the damn things and take ownership of 'em and make jokes to their buddies or do whatever the hell they want with 'em, when you are playing D&D and all that.

And that's exactly like the way that Twin Peaks or the Sopranos or Battlestar Galactica are fun to jibber-jabber about the next day at work and stuff, there's some serious thought put into making that shit fun to jibber-jabber about like that, y'know?

You can't really do that when I'm just telling some stupid story 'cause I'm doing everything and making all the choices myself, but I try to leave enough unexplored branches and shit in the form of hints so that whatever it makes you think of is yours.

I don't even really care if you just steal it 'cause probably every little goddam thing in my head is stolen from somebody else anyways heh.

Like Stephen King and some Zen Master guys are the ones that I stole that "you need to create brain kindling" thing from.

Mebbe you are some kinda guy that was just born a genius and you can come up with brand new shit that nobody ever heard of before but I'm the regular kinda dude that had to actually sit there and learn all the tiresome shit that I know about and that's why I know yer totally full of shit off yer ass if yer gonna try to play it like that with me, man ahaha.

Anyways, what the hell was I was talking about?

Or yah, roles, and situations and stuff.

Yah yah, I'm done, you can go back to your regularly scheduled program of mining ore and collecting treasure and experience points from your whack-n-lewt monster dispensers on your path to 100% Character Development (until the next expansion comes out) or whatever ahaha.

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