Monday, August 31, 2020

Are we really creating stories in TTRPG?

 By Christopher Robin Negelein

One of the oldest strawmen in TTRPG is the whole roll vs role argument. It sets the focus of those who like to optimize the results of dice rolls as antithetical to those who prefer where the dice rolls support the social dynamics at the table.

Notice I didn't say "story" or "fiction," because I think it is a bit misleading. The word Story, in any language, is full of baggage and lots expectations. It's leads to GMs trying to do things, like bait and switch premises, and players to create lone wolf characters in a game about shared event at a table.

And when you look at what people do with RPGS, I swear you can  watch five tables and see six different experiences. Maybe even more if you consider that many GMs tailor an adventure that spotlights different players at different times with whatever their their focus is. 

Which is why going forward, I want to experiment with calling, and thinking about, what we do at the table as an experience compared to labeling it a story. At the very least, I hope it causes less judgement on what's considered a good/bad story or a lack of such.

And to be even more specific that experience is a shared one that comes with some compromise. Your lone wolf is going to have a heart of gold or some  parental attachments to keep your character to keep coming back and even do some grizzled veteran banter with those younger, fresher characters in the party.

What are your thoughts?

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