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Old 02-08-2011, 06:09 PM   #135
Nogrod
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Okay, I have tried to push this issue of werewolfing in contrast to RPG'ing away as I have thought it's quite hard to compare the two as they have such different qualities - and maybe also because I have thought it more being driven by some envy on part of those who don't play WW for the enthusiasm and involvedness people show in WW-games - and maybe the limited time active ww-players might show for RPG's while a ww-game is on; two things I have not been too keen to express openly. Well it's done now.

But after reading all these recurrent references to the ww-games I must say I have been forced to think about it again, and hopefully in a constructive manner.

Even if there is the same problem with ww-games, that some people join in and then do not play actively enough to the majority-tastes (or just drop out), there clearly seems to be a kind of enthusiasm, energy and commitment one rarely finds in the RPG's. Although I do remember more or less as hectic feelings with RPG's as well, but those have been rare occasions.


So which are the strenghts of the ww-games and which of them could be carried into RPG'ing?


1) The prospect of winning or losing & having sides where your effort does not only count as your own succes but also as all your fellows' success.

Okay, I'm not sure I'd wish to play an RPG where there would be two sides trying to win the "game". That would be nightmarish - unless it was something like a very special game between very good friends in good humour (so not anything like a general guideline to RPG'ing).

But what we could bring from there is the idea that every individual player has a stake and feels responsible for the success of the game as such. And I do actually think that some of those old-time Shire RPG's actually had something of this in them when the mod threw all kinds of obstacles into the way of the players' characters and they had to come over with them together.

2) The ww-deadlines are sharp and decisive - and fast. If you don't make it you really stand for apologising.

Even if I can't see a 24-hour deadlines in an RPG, it is clear strict deadlines do help. Now how that could be transformed into RPG-world is another matter. If you lose a DL in an RPG then just part of the story stays untold, but in a ww-game it can really affect the outcome of the game - for you and your side (all those who rely on you as well as you rely on them). So we come back to the earlier point: the stakes are higher in a ww-game.

Also one knows from the beginning the time-limit the game will take - which ranges from a week to two or three at most. So it is quite a clear-cut thing: you don't have to commit yourself into a game for an unlimited time - and if you get killed it might even end sooner for you. So in a ww-game you play for the right to be able to play on the next day - the possibility of being thrown away from the game works as a big incentive to try your best.

I can see no humane or literarilly satisfying way of applying this to the RPG's...

3) The ww-games can give a player very strong emotional kicks (for good or bad), but most of the time they stay within limits.

These emotional "kicks" in ww have turned a few times into personal tragedies making people leave the playing community - and that is sad. And it's not too uncommon that on some stage of a game people's feelings get a bit overheated (I should know it as I have been guilty of that a few times), but generally people do overcome those and in the after-game discussions they are already congratulating the other side and giving high-fives to everyone.

The problem with the RPG's clearly is that if you get people emotionally as bound as you get people bound in a ww-game, then the bad side of it can be just devastating (as we have a few very bad examples in the RPG-fora). I mean, after the baddies drive a lynch to get rid of you as the seer of the village in a ww it feels soo terrible, and you feel like you'd wish to curse the whole world - but you are able to look at the game with fresh eyes after you have slept one night. In an RPG, on the contrary, when your character and all you have invested in her/him gets somehow sidetracked or denied in any plot-driven happenstance it probably feels so much worse that it will be much harder to come over it by just sleeping one night on it.

4) In ww the game rules are from one point very clear and decisive and make it easy to play, but on the other hand the social rules are much looser than in an RPG. In a ww game you can just socialise, have fun with people you know already or get to know new people - in a way you seem fit in that particular game. Also in a ww game you can just make a fool out of you on one post and then get "dead serious" the next. It's up to your every whim...

In an RPG it feels different... in a RPG you're anticipated to write coherently: as others can use your character to ease the storytelling - which is a good thing to my mind - your character needs to be somewhat predictable for that to work. I mean, sure a character in an RPG can surprise others but the general requirements are much tougher even if they are not exact rules as such. This is somethnig we have nothing to change - and need not change.



Okay, I have been thinking about these things while writing these down so I had no clear view about what is it I would come out with... But what I have learned is that my initial feeling of the comparison being hard to make is even stronger I thought.

But is there anything, except the lengthy ramble?

WW-games manage to make their players involved and feeling they have a stake in the game. So here I should go Fea's and Durelin's way. Give the players more stakes and they might feel more involved.

But also, the question of some real timelines could help - in the case there is the motivation to make a difference: otherwise the DL's will just hamper the game setting up further obstacles to some players.

Getting people more involved emotionally is a double-edged sword. In a way it could make people more involved but then we also risk more personal catastrophies we really don't want. Getting too involved is as bad as being uninvolved, well it is worse.

Looser "social rules" of feeling free to play in totally unpredictable manner might be tried in Mead Halls (well, in Shire), but I'm afraid nowhere else - if not in some special game. But basically that freedom doesn't seem to fit the RPG's in general.

The problem of mainly socialising with others you like vs. playing as trying to be able to play for the plot is actually a big question with the RPG's we should think more about.

Also, part of the appeal of the ww-games is competition / competitiveness - even if I think most of us regular werewolvers do not take that as the primary motivation to those games (as we just love to play itr together), I think it has a role to play there. And competitiveness is quite far away from my idea of a good RPG... quite the contrary.


~*~

A short add-on in respect to Gondor role-playing (in response to mark12_30)... I have always thought that to be the most elitist writing-ground of all, only fit to the English majors or at least to the well-educated and literary excelling humanists who have English as their native tongue. So I have never even peeked in as a non-native speaker, as I have felt it's beyond my level of writing-skills in English. I have nothing against there being levels of playing that reach above my skills, but I do feel the attitude you show is not exactly welcoming to anyone outside some closed circles... which exactly is one of the problems in the RPG's.

Heh, don't read me wrong, I'm not aspiring to write to Gondor myself and make a case for it. I think there is a general problem here - not your fault mark, or anyone's in particular - that the diffrent levels of writing also create castes we tend to follow... I mean, if I think like this about Gondor roleplaying while being quite at home with Rohan and feeling a bit too old to take part in Shire... then what does it tell us about the situation? How many people think Rohan too high for them? How many people think a Shire game too low for them?

Why I speculate about willing to partake on a Shire game first and foremost as in an advisory role, like not playing it so much to myself but to be a kind of pedagogical aid to the newcomers?

I think this thing you oldies talk of as the re-structuring of the RPG's is the only reality to us latecomers... and it structures our thought about the RPG's quite heavily.
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