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23891Re: [mythsoc] RPG fiction

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  • Mike Foster
    Dec 19, 2012
      Like David, I’ve never RPGed but I’ve played with David when he’s visited to jam with A Fine Kettle Of Fish.  With song choice, extended breaks, &c., it is playing as subcreation that takes us beyond ourselves, certainly what I can do alone.
      “The blue guitar surprises you.”  --Wallace Stevens.
      Sent: Wednesday, December 19, 2012 7:58 AM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] RPG fiction


      Intresting comparison. I'd agree that rpg campaigns don't tend to produce the same feelings of sponteneous joy as playing music with others (my genre is folk rather than jazz, but folk sessions share much in common with improvised jazz). But certainly the same sensation of togetherness, of being connected at a deeper level than normal conversation and interaction can offer, by the creation of music in a group, and the creation of an imagined world in an rpg.
      ----- Original Message -----
      Sent: Tuesday, December 18, 2012 5:16 PM
      Subject: Re: [mythsoc] RPG fiction

      I've been following this thread without much to add, but now I can jump in.  Although I haven't played role-playing games, I have heard enough accounts from friends who have, to appreciate that there is at least the possibility of a communal creative activity inherent in them.  I'm not primarily a writer, but I am a musician, and I see a direct correlation.  A single author writing a story is like a performer playing a piece of music; a group of people collaborating on a story (e.g. a group of RPGers at their best) is like a band, especially an improvisational group such as a jazz combo or a jam band.  When I'm playing with such a band, it is possible to create music that no single one of us could have come up with.  More than the sum of our parts, the resulting music is made up of not just our individual contributions but also the interactions between us. 

      Now, I readily admit that my basement band, even when our playing is transcendent, is never going to create something like Beethoven's Ninth, which was the product of a single mind with a particular vision, worked and reworked over time until it became the polished diamond that it is.  The Ninth can be performed over and over and is always great.  But improvisational music, created and perceived in the moment and then released into the aether, can be just as impressive.

      I don't know of any written accounts of RPG campaigns that successfully reproduce the spontaneous joy that the players must have experienced while mutually creating their story.  But perhaps this may be the effect of the gaming structure rather than a definitive limitation on the concept of group story-telling.

      David Emerson

      [...] RPGs .... I've likened them in the p ast to some types of community rituals I've read about where participants reenact stories of importance [...] to become a part of the story. I certainly don't think that the games hold that sort of religious significance, but I think they tap into the same emotional center of taking part in living myth/religion while also being creatively driven rather than performing from rote. [...]
      I suspect that the need for that community-oriented storytelling is stronger in some folks than others, and that people find all sorts of ways to evoke that sense beyond RPGs. I think the way that fan communities have gained momentum shows another outlet for that same need. There are probably lots of other examples, too.
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