Yes, maybe a player would take on a different attitude when playing the cowardly thief, but we never had an actors workshop sort of experience. Instead the referee did the "acting" as it were and the players said what they were doing and it was understood that Bill was talking about his thief or Becky was talking about her wizard.
When I talk to others about role playing games instantly there is a negative reaction. Besides the basement nerd stigma, the pop culture smiting on the IT Crowd, Community and elsewhere, there is also a sense that what I am asking them is to somehow participate in a grade school production of Ivanhoe or Lord of the Rings. "I do not want to spend the next evening pretending to be a 4 foot bearded fellow with a Scottish accent spouting thee, thou, and other none such , thank you." Such is the nature, and perception, of pen & paper role playing. Worse, is the idea that I will make them flit about my yard with capes and foam swords attacking leaf filled trash bags on broom handles called "orcs."
Instead, I have found offering someone to play an adventure game seems to work better. Having some figures and a map along with some six sided dice at the table also helps quell the initial revulsion. Second, I line up the "character figures" and allow the vicitm...err player...to pick one. Once picked I hand them a pre-made character, either a 3x5 card or a book mark character sheet. That's when reality hits, "wait...am I going to have to talk in funny voices?"
One of the strengths of Melee/Wizard was the ability to just play it as a straight up adventure game. You have a map, you have counters, and a light character sheet to track your figure. You could role play if you wished, but initially, most folks just played it as a battle game. I found people who play it just as a battle game eventually want to add the elements of a back and forth shared conversational experience into the game.
That sort of idea has permeated the writing and development of Heroes & Other Worlds. Sure I know most gamers will call it a role playing game, but I really consider it an adventure game. The goal of the game is not to pretend to be Twinkle Toes the elven thief, it is to find out what happens when TT adventures into the the haunted burial crypt of Dogu Nos Gerfu.
Whether you want to make funny voices or speak in character are optional adornments that can be added if you wish, but that is not the core of the game. I do not believe Role Playing is what the game is about...its about Adventure. Heroes and Other Worlds is proudly a game of adventure that you can choose to role play or not.
Most of the people I gamed with in the 80's had started off with Fighting Fantasy gamebooks so the approach was very much one of puzzle solving (with monsters as just another obstacle) rather than 'acting'. This permeated our early dungeon-based AD&D sessions before the more conversational 'in-character' stuff developed -the the role-playing was always secondary to the need for adventure.ReplyDelete
Quite right sir! I think the naming convention of Role-Playing, while somewhat accurate, is also a stigma on what the games are actually about, namely adventure. Whether I choose to change my voice or speak in character should not be the defining label of the game play. It is about adventuring. I do not pretend to be a settler in Catan, nor act like a dog in monopoly, nor a knight in chess. The notion that one must become and speak as the avatar they play in a game is unique to role playing. That's fine if you and you group enjoy that added level of detail in your game, but should not be the label by which these games are known. It is in fact a negative label which hurts, rather than helps.Delete