How does roleplaying work?

Hello, my pretties! How are you all? Doing well, I hope! I’m doing well… a bit bored of being home and waiting for my turn to be vaccinated to come (we’re still working on the elderly population here, so I need to be patient). How is vaccination going where you all are? I’m curious!

Pleasantries aside, I came here to talk about roleplaying today. Again. First things first, I want to add the disclaimer that this is not about anything sexual. That’s better left for another blogger, I suppose.

This is about the game or collaborative writing kind of roleplay. I do mention it here often, so I thought I’d talk about it in more general terms just so we’re all on the same page

We’re going to talk about two kinds of roleplaying here: roleplaying games and the kind of roleplaying I do, which has very little of the “game” aspect and a lot of the “roleplaying” aspect.

Role-playing games, or RPGs, are something a lot of people has probably heard of. If you have ever heard of Dungeons and Dragons, you have heard of RPGs. There are other systems as well, of course – such as GURPS, the World of Darkness (old and new), and others. If someone can remember others, please comment on them, I’m sure I’m forgetting something important!

Roleplaying, without the gaming element, is what I usually mean when I post here. It’s simply when a group or pair of people come together, choose a setting, create characters, and start creating a story together, by playing their main characters and several other side characters (those would be the NPCs on role-playing games) to craft a plot until completion, or until everyone involved gets bored.

This second kind is much more flexible, in my opinion. You get to choose the venue – face to face, via some voice chatting system, email, discord, forums, or pretty much any kind of communication system you choose. When it’s a one-on-one relationship, you get even more flexible, as you don’t have to worry about turns. When you have a group, you need a little more work on making things organized, storing character sheets, recording the important info, whatever it happens to be, etc. In my case, I tend to store everything in a Google Doc or shared folder, so everyone involved can have access to the important info in one place, or, if everyone is in agreement, create forums to store all of it within the same site we’re writing our stories. If the roleplay involves a group, I usually also create some house rules to deal with chance, establishing what we dice roll for and what each result means. I do try to keep the roleplays dice mechanics-light, though, as I don’t usually do combat-heavy plots.

Well… I’m thinking of more things about how I deal with roleplays, but I can’t really think of much more to say, as I currently only have a few one-on-one stories happening on Discord, and those are with a close friend and my girlfriend, so we have much more leeway to do things as we please!

I might come back to this in the future, if there’s any more to say! Do you have questions, opinions, or anything to add that I might have forgotten? Talk to me in the comments!

See you on the next post!

8 thoughts on “How does roleplaying work?”

  1. I never used dice. For me, it was collaborative writing, an interactive story, and the main outcomes were decided by discussions/ negotiations, so that everyone wins something and the story gets interesting for everyone. If your character was defeated this time, the next time he would win.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That makes sense! Sadly some people don’t know how to accept defeat even in this way. I am a big fan of the partners agreeing on outcomes as well, as long as everyone can be mature about it. It makes things much easier if everyone can just reach an agreement! Thanks for taking the time to comment! ;)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ll start with a point of view… if you have any type of organization and/or any means to determine outcome via some sort of random chance for your story, I consider it a game. The only question is how heavily integrated the game system is with the story. But that aside, roleplaying is roleplaying. I like roleplaying… games ;-)
    I played in a couple of World of Darkness campaigns some time back. In the first campaign, the storyteller fell back quite a bit on what little system that the RPG has. The second campaign, though, I don’t recall ever rolling any dice. We did create character sheets to start, but the sheets quickly evolved into notebooks about all the interaction and storyline elements that were directly connected to our characters. The sheet only served as a starting point to kick off the story. It was great fun. It was still Game Night to me, whether we were actually playing a game or not… and with that second WoD campaign, the game part was all but non-existent.
    I think when it comes to RPGs vs. collaborative storytelling, the line between being a game and being everything but a stage play can be quite fuzzy. If you enjoy what it is you’re doing, why worry about whether it’s a game or not?
    Your version of roleplaying can be quite fun. Plus, it can turn into a great written story when it’s done. It just becomes a matter of capturing the “action” into book form. So much of it can be documented, especially if it’s done in a forum or if the “players” keep good notes. I definitely see the appeal of it.
    I think the reason I lean more toward the RPG versus collaborative storytelling is the fact that I like high fantasy and sci-fi. There is less social interaction and more “action” in the story that needs to be sorted out through a game system of some sort. Intrigue and mystery stories probably do well as just RP rather than RPG.
    Regardless, I am always interested in hearing about your style of RP. The stories can be very interesting and character development is always fun to read about. I guess what I’m saying is that my feelings would not be hurt if I saw more posts about this kind of thing…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your point of view! I love the Storyteller system exactly because you can jump from game mechanics into well, storytelling very easily within a few sessions – it was my third system, but definitely my favorite, because I’m very much one for the social and story crafting aspect of roleplaying. With enough time and good partners, it’s really easy to get immersed into the world, for better or for worse.
      I have been wondering whether or not I should pull some old stories and characters from my trove of past roleplays and talk about them here. I might do just that, since it will be welcome at least by one of my readers. :)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I have never done role-playing, but I have a group of friends who do D&D regularly (would be interested in trying, but it’s hard for me to get to things regularly).

    Vaccination over here (Australia) is going very slowly. The government backed the Astra-Zeneca one really hard, but now because of blood-clot issues they say it should only be given to people over 50 (blood clotting seems to show up more in younger people). So now they’re struggling to source other vaccines that will be better suited for the rest of the population, and hardly anyone can get vaccinated in the meantime.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It has been a long time ever since I’ve had a regular group! I now do it 1 x1 mostly with my best friend and girlfriend, it’s fun to immerse myself in different worlds! :) But I totally get you, I can only keep it going with them because they’re very patient!

      It’s really slow here too! My state is only now vaccinating 58+, I have no idea when I’ll get mine, probably not this year. And there’s also that. This whole thing is such a mess, we don’t really know what to expect, and while we do get things sorted, the virus changes. Can this just be over already?

      Take care! <3

      Liked by 1 person

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