There was a Game Ideas Unlimited article of this title that addressed these ideas (not, it should be noted, romance). That article appears to have been lost, and this is an attempt to address the ideas afresh.
We roleplay for many different reasons. Ron Edwards has identified three fundamental motivations, ways in which gamers enjoy games, identified as gamism, narrativism, and simulationism, and described at Places to Go, People to Be in the article Theory 101: Creative Agenda. It is the third of those, simulationism, which is of interest in this article.
What characterizes simulationism is the love of learning, of exploring what something is like; it is in some ways the broadest. We explore places, from Narnia to Saturn 5 to post-apocalyptic earth to Toontown. We explore milieus, from medieval Asia and Europe to the wild west to outer space. We explore professions, real and unreal, from gunslinger and swordfighter to wizard and starship engineer. We even explore what it’s like to face death.
Yet I think one of the most interesting, subtle, and overlooked things that we explore is our own identities. Read more
Two months ago we began considering character Archetypes and how they reflected our values, for better or for worse. Last month we considered Warriors in that connection, and this month we are going to expand on that notion by looking at the knight.
To grasp this as an archetype, it is important that we agree on what we mean. Here I am looking at the noble fighter, whether called samurai or paladin or cavalier or some other name. These are those who fight for honor and glory and are proud of what they do. Read more
Last month we introduced the notion of Archetypes as collections not so much of skills and traits as of values and beliefs, character concepts which inform us about ourselves and our views of the world. This month that notion meets its first test, as we consider our first archetype. We start with one that is fairly simple: the warrior.
I should clarify that I do not by this designation mean anyone and everyone who fights, nor everyone who trains to engage in combat. I have in mind the soldier who fights to defend home and family. I’m aware that there are others, and we will consider the knight, the assassin, perhaps the barbarian, perhaps others, as distinct kinds of fighting men who represent something else. This is the simple man who fights because someone has to do it. Read more
Role playing games have been criticized for many things that are easily explained. Readers of this magazine don’t need to hear why the involvement of magic, false gods, or demons and devils isn’t a real objection to role playing per se. Or hear why it doesn’t matter if we play with non-Christians whose characters may reject God and His morality even more than they themselves have. But once all of these questions have been answered, one comes back that is not so easy to dismiss. Characters in role playing games have an alarming tendency to solve problems by the use of force, even what we would have to admit is at times violent, bloody, gory, unnecessary force. Yet Christians are called to turn the other cheek, to suffer when persecuted for the faith; in most games, that will get your character killed “right quick”—and this seems in some ways to mirror reality. Where would the world be today had not Christians in many countries joined with their countrymen to oppose Germany and Japan during World War II? And do we truly believe that Christians should not serve as police officers, soldiers, or in other potentially violent occupations? Although a few among us might say so, for most of us the idea that we should expect God to stop evildoers when we are not willing to do so ourselves is hardly more defensible than permitting them to continue harming others unopposed. Read more