kilroy: (Default)
[personal profile] kilroy
Getting this down before I lose it. 

Roleplaying games exist at a unique intersection of three elements: triumph, immersion, and collaboration. 

Triumph: Roleplaying games allow players to take actions to achieve their goals against some opposition. They are games-- they inherently limit the options of the players via the system and setting, which makes the players' success meaningful. 

Immersion: Roleplaying games allow players to be part of another world and to inhabit new lives. Where other fictional pursuits require the suspension of disbelief, roleplaying requires the active construction of the fantastic; every player is responsible for making up a person that doesn't exist and deciding what they should do in a world that also doesn't exist.

Collaboration: Roleplaying games allow players to interact with other people to create a shared experience. They exist at the intersection of multiple viewpoints and have a life outside of any individual-- the constant parallel streams of input and feedback from the participants mean the game is always changing.

You can have Triumph and Immersion without Collaboration-- it's called a video game. 
You can have Immersion and Collaboration without Triumph-- it's called acting. 
You can have Collaboration and Triumph without Immersion-- it's called a board game. 

For a player to enjoy roleplaying, they need some level of buy-in for each element. Individuals will focus more on some elements than others, but a complete lack of any one will result in a very frustrated player. 

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