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Community Forums › Main › General Gaming Discussion › role-playing vs "role assumption" defined by RPG originators
role-playing vs "role assumption" defined by RPG originators

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darwin
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Joined: Jun 20, 2013
Posts: 16
Location: Colbert

PostPosted: Sat Sep 21, 2013 1:56 am    Post subject: role-playing vs "role assumption" defined by RPG originators

Only a low percentage of paper & pencil role-playing game (RPG) gamers still play the games written by Gary Gygax & Dave Arneson or that were still basically compatible with what they wrote... few people have probably read Gygax's books about role-playing games either, namely Role-Playing Mastery, Master of The Game.

In book #1, IIRC, he defines role-playing probably strictly in relation to how a person can be involved in it similar to how an actor is involved in drama usually with other actors. He defined 'role assumption' (RA), IIRC, as taking a role that has certain restrictions so it no longer fully allows acting in the sense of theatre. If I recall correctly, that excludes things such as solo gamebooks, and video games, which are RA. Certainly, solo games designed for RPG games, and video games in which people interact in a group, have elements of RPGs, but not all the elements. Actors, whether they have specific lines or not, also normally act within a drama partly or all written by a playwright, or also directed by a director, etc., and it is the game master who takes a role like a playwright/director, and also acts non-player characters. When a game is restricted by a system in which the game master does not have absolute power, it becomes more like a board game and/or gambling than role-playing. Certainly, people may enjoy acting their characters in multiplayer video games, but without being able to interact other than with remote audio (which theatre is not restricted to), and without a game master who can change the game to suit the group, and with a system of rules enforced to restrict players arguably even more than solo gamebooks (which are much easier to cheat in), I would not call any video game an RPG--certainly not any single-player one, which are definitely RAs. The whole calling of any video game an 'RPG' is a misnomer based on parts of the rules, and genres, but not all the elements of the games.

I know many younger people, and even anyone not seriously into paper & pencil RPGs, will probably dismiss all this because of what terminology has become popular, but what is popular is not always what is right, so I will ignore it. This is not to say that there are not advantages to games other than RPGs or that they are somehow inferior, but one should know what words really mean, and use them right, and if a term is not accurate, then come up with one that is. I just think RPGs and RA games are an interesting subject and wanted to write about them.
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HZeraze
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Joined: Dec 31, 1969
Posts: 304

PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2013 11:21 am    Post subject: Re: role-playing vs "role assumption" defined by RPG origina

Wow. Great post. I couldn't agree more with your point.

While I haven't put nearly the thought into it that you have, I do cringe every time I hear someone refer to their video game as a "role-playing game." I like plenty of the games that are often referred to as RPGs, but I've always hated when they use that name.
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