RPG Theory Journey: back to basics

RPG Theory Journey #1There’s an oft used military axiom that says “It’s not the plan that is important, it’s the planning” and anyone who’s ever seen a road movie will know that the journey is at least as important as the destination – I feel that there ought to be an ancient Taoist saying along these lines but I’m not aware of a specific quotation. Anyway, it seems like pretty good advice to me and so I thought I’d try and apply it to RPG theory by going back to the basics and looking afresh at things rather than just taking what others have said as canon.

If there’s anyone reading who fancies tagging along your comments are very welcome. I’d be more than grateful for any input – agreement, disagreement, observations, questions or links to similar discussions.

I’m going to start with a statement that I made in a post I wrote a few months back which basically theorised that the constituent elements of roleplay were Players (the participants), the Game (the system of play) and Story (the product of play). I can’t imagine this is very original as it seems kind of obvious but I don’t remember anyone actually stating this specifically.

Anyway, that’s the initial model I’m starting from…

Players play the Game and a Story unfolds.


I can see that this is an over-simplified representation of play but it’s useful to start with something to talk around.

Now the first thing I find myself thinking about is Story (the product of play). What is it exactly? Is it the only product of play? Does it exist in its own right or is it a figment of the player’s imaginations?

I’m going to have a bit of a think about this and then make it the topic for discussion in my next post.


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