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Archive => GNS Model Discussion => Topic started by: poppocabba on May 02, 2001, 03:54:00 PM

Title: method roleplaying
Post by: poppocabba on May 02, 2001, 03:54:00 PM
here is an article I am starting work on and looking for some feedback as to how to incorporate these ideas into an rpg design
Radio Method role playing

There are a ton of role playing systems out there, and a great deal of information about how to structure adventures, but comparatively little information on on presentation methods and techniques, while technique seems to be the sole focus of many resources for public speaking in general. I think that in order to grow the hobby, and make things interesting for players a good deal more consideration needs to be placed on presentation, as well as the general materials. So here it is a unified set of guidelines for presentation that can be used to aid gaming under any system. I originally began developing these ideas for an adventure I wanted to run in the style of an old time radio drama, and at the same time I was reading a book on method acting, so the two themes merged into one idea that became what follows. I was also looking to add some of the more pleasant elements of a larp into traditional table top gaming. Please feel free to use/develop these ideas, and throw out what you donít like

The main objective of of these guidelines is make gaming a more purely imaginative hobby, and  stop some distractions from taking over the gaming session.
Goals/concerns of the radio method/style
1-the use of pictures, outside of minimal diagrams, during a game session doesnít let players use their imaginations, and brings the fun of the game down.
2-non auditory input should be carefully controlled to prevent it from becoming a distraction  
3- a player who hasnít developed verbal or physical mannerisms based on character description is less likely to enjoy himself then one who has.
4-Task resolution should be related to the task at hand rather then rolling just rolliní dice
5-talking outside of character should be kept to a minium, and this can be accomplished by a limited set of non-verbal signals for specific requests
6-each player should be given time, and freedom to develop a character in more detail on a specific worksheet made for the adventure.
Next in the guts of the document I will throw out some ideas as to how to impliment these

fin for now

Title: method roleplaying
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 04, 2001, 06:10:00 AM

There are a lot of good points in what you say. I liked nearly everything on your list, but two items caught my attention: the "speaking in the character's voice" and the "interact only in character" parts.

I want to suggest a potentially upsetting or tricky thing: that "actor" stance - be your character, think like your character, talk like your character - may not actually have much to do with good and enjoyable role-playing.

Yes, I know that this idea contradicts everything people SAY about role-playing - that it's cops&robbers with rules, that it's like acting in a play or movie, and so on. But these well-worn phrases, frankly, are false. Role-playing has NEVER been well-described in role-playing game text, although the best metaphor I've heard came from Chaosium, regarding free-form jazz.

I suggest instead that good role-playing emerges from shared or at least compatible goals (and here's where this G/N/S stuff comes in, because those are three common and coherent goals).

For two of those goals (Narrativist and Gamist), apparently the most effective "stance" [relationship of player to character] is "Author" stance. In a Narrativist situation, the player considers the character to be the protagonist in the PLAYER'S (and the rest of the group's) STORY. In a Gamist situation, the player considers the character to be the expression or "holder" of his strategies - some folks call this "Pawn" stance. Neither of these stances means the player is constrained by the character - "out-of-character" discussion and decision-making is common to both.

Degrees of "acting" can be added into Author stance, but I have found this to be a highly variable, generally irrelevant issue to the quality of play. One of my current players always uses the third person; several of the others almost always use in-character dialogue. Author stance works either way.

Anyway, I wanted to bring up this idea that there exists a pretty well-worked-out set of concepts about how players relate to characters, and one of the surprising conclusions - that "method acting" is perhaps NOT the most effective model to follow. There's a lot of material in the Sorcerer forum on GO about it.

One final point - I've read quite a bit of Stanislavsky as well as been involved extensively in theater. One thing that surprised me is the difference between Stanislavsky's TEXT (what he really says) and "The Method" as perceived and adopted by the American dramatic culture. They are hugely different - I consider Stanislavsky to be handing the actor much responsibility for creative portrayal, through tapping into his largely unspoken awareness of human behavior and emotion, for purposes of conveying the story BETTER; however, I consider "The Method" (as interpreted by others) basically to be REMOVING such responsibility from an actor so that he can mumble and scratch his ass instead of conveying the story.