a definition of role-playing
Travis S Casey
casey at nu.cs.fsu.edu
Fri Jun 6 09:12:02 New Zealand Standard Time 1997
Well, not exactly wanting to feed the fires, but wanting to get my
two cents in, here's my take on role-playing:
Role-playing a character in an RPG is simply playing that character
as if he/she were a real person in a real world. Anything else you
add on is simply excess baggage; a method of role-playing, if you
The contrary position to role-playing is what I would call
rule-playing: playing your character as if he/she is simply a
piece in a game. (Note that this is *not* the same as powergaming;
many rule-players are new to RPGs and simply don't understand that
they're not supposed to "play the rules;" after all, they've done
that in all the other games they've played.
So, what's the game designer's responsibility? There are three main
paths that are usually taken.
1 - Try to make the rules as close a fit to the "reality" of the
game world as possible. The idea in this case is that if
the rules perfectly represent the game world, rule-players
will be forced to role-play at least somewhat.
2 - Decide that the rule-players are going to rule-play no matter
how perfect you try to make the rules. Use means external to
the game reality to control rule-players.
3 - Don't have any rules. Have all decisions made by a GM or by
mutual agreement of the players.
Each approach has its own advantages and disadvantages. IMHO, which
method is "best" is almost a religious question; it depends on what's
important to you.
|\ _,,,---,,_ Travis S. Casey <casey at cs.fsu.edu>
ZZzz /,`.-'`' -. ;-;;,_ No one agrees with me. Not even me.
|,4- ) )-,_..;\ ( `'-'
rec.games.design FAQ: http://www.cs.fsu.edu/~casey/design.html
More information about the MUD-Dev