Monday, October 30, 2017

What is an RPG?

I was going through some old Call of Cthulhu books in preparation of running a session at the upcoming Gamehole Con in Madison (this coming weekend), and came across an interesting document. It was on the back of some scribbled notes for an adventure I had put together. The document is unsigned and undated, and while the erratic use of punctuation and Significant Capitals looks like something I would write (represented uncorrected below), the language is not mine (words like "fiat" and "playgroup"). Here's what it said:
Roleplaying Notes:

A Roleplaying Game is

A social activity in which the players engage in mental competition according to agreed-upon rules, in which the players take on artificial personas which have an effect on that competition.

Social Activity - must include others.
Mental - Relies on communication skills as opposed to physical attributes of the players
Competition - There is a rewards system inherent within the game.
Agreed Upon Rules - Previously determined porscribed activities with the game, in the form of a rulebook or generally agree-upon behavior.
Artificial Personas - Within the game, the player pretends to be someone he is not.
Which have an Effect - That persona affects the nature of the game itself.

A TSR Roleplaying Game is:
An RPG that in addition to the previous definition, has the following elements:
     - One player in plays a co-ordination and storytelling role, known as the dungeon master or moderator.
     - There is a conflict and event resolution system which is a combination of agreed-upon moderator fiat and randomized factors.
     - Playing the game entails willing suspension of disbelief among the players for common experience, the full nature of which is unknown to the individual players at the start of the game.
     - The game is expandable in that it encourages serial, episodic play
     - The game has common rules to the game that may be taken from playgroup to playgroup.
     - The game places the non-moderated personas in heroic, dynamic roles.
     - The game encourages players to interact with the game when in non-social settings.
    - There is no universal requirements as far as components or presetation of TSR Roleplaying Game.

Looking at this (and ignoring the grammatical errors), it still makes sense over the years, but I can't exactly date it. Late 90s? After the WotC purchase? Anyone recognize it?

More later,