I’ve spent a lot of time in the recent and not-too recent past talking with my gaming group about what makes a game enjoyable. From our past experiences and personal preferences, we’ve started to put the pieces together and build tools for GMs and players to improve their games. While it has often been challenging to bring about change, the small push of talking openly about what we want and expect from a game has brought us closer to a common vision for our gaming experience. However, my interest in this endeavour tends to exceed the group norm by a substantial margin. I’m starting this blog as an outlet for my thought process, which I’m told is often involved and lengthy. Hopefully, once I’ve explored ideas here, I’ll be able to bring the conclusions back to my group in a concise and useful way.
My goals are:
- To create tools that enable specific and precise communication about gaming: I believe that communication is the cornerstone of successful gaming. It is crucial between GMs and players in defining what the shared imagined space contains. (Shared imagined space is a great term. Three words, each necessary and sufficient to convey meaning. Don’t get me started on “creative agenda”…yet.) It is also critical when offering or soliciting advice about gaming; without accurately knowing the purpose of the parties involved, it is impossible to find appropriate solutions. Finally, this kind of communication is important to allowing gamers to actually *use* theory. All of these often bog down due to miscommunication stemming from poorly crafted definitions, or failure to revise or subdivide in the case of counterexample. I seek to craft definitions and organize ideas in such a way that clear meaning can be communicated between group members quickly and efficiently.
- To craft a (Grand Unified) Practical Theory of Roleplaying: This is the holy grail of roleplaying theory. I’ll be questing after it in the tradition started by my (many) predecessors. I’ll incorporate as much existing theory as makes sense to me, and fill in the gaps with my own ideas. Of course, I’ll be starting piecemeal as I think of things, so we’ll hold off on “Grand Unified” for now. 🙂 It seems to me that a problem with roleplaying theory is that both the purpose and applications are often neglected. Sure, it’s an interesting thought, but why do I need it, and what can I do with it? I’ll be looking for ways to connect theory (my own and others) to applications, in order to create what I’ll call “technology.” Technology might best be considered techniques for pursuing a particular goal. Want to speed up the pace of your game, or build party cohesion? There’s technology for that.