John Henry

Heute Theorie, und zwar echte und wahre. Von jemanden der Ahnung hat. Gary Gygax.

In addition to providing the structure that enables participants to operate their characters within the game milieu, the rules of a roleplaying game also describe the elements that give a certain game its particular flavor. To have a good chance of being exciting and enjoyable (and thus popular), a role-playing game must contain
seven major elements, with varying degrees of emphasis placed on each one depending on the intention of the author. The elements are these:

1. wonder and fear
2. adventure and heroism
3 . problem solving
4 . role-playing
5. combat, conflict, and battle
6 . group operation
7. enlightenment and education

The first element, wonder and fear, underlies the popularity of the whole hobby of role-playing games. Fantasy, science fiction, and horror are the most popular RPG subjects, and these topics are certainly filled with wonder and fear-wonder because the game world is different from our everyday reality, and fear because of our instinctive tendency to be apprehensive about that which we do not fully comprehend or understand. In contrast, a role-playing game designed around the everyday life of a librarian or a census taker (to choose a couple of absurd examples) would not be likely to infuse the players with an appropriate sense of wonder and fear. The element of adventure and heroism is present to a measurable degree in all role-playing games in which player characters are called upon to perform remarkable feats under adverse conditions. Fantasy, science fiction, and horror games all have this element, and it is present to an even greater degree in topics such
as espionage, „pulp heroes,“ and comic book characters.
All of us enjoy problem solving. There“™s nothing like the sense of satisfaction we get from using our minds to solve or accomplish something, whether it“™s as elementary as finishing a crossword puzzle or as complex as designing the world“™s best role-playing game. Every good RPG contains some provisions for problem solving by the player characters: How does that magical device function? Which of the trees in that grove is actually a sentient alien life form? Is that friendly agent actually who he claims to be? Brute force is not always the way to achieve a desired goal, and a good RPG will offer player characters opportunities to use their wits as well as their weapons.
Role-playing is fourth on the list not because it is less important than the first three elements, but for symbolic reasons, because it lies at the center of what an RPG is all about. However, while it might come as a shock to certain people, role-playing is not the Y~USOYZ for the existence of role games. Role-playing is the vehicle through which play becomes possible. It is a means, not an end. Thus, the RPG might heavily emphasize role-playing-acting, as it were-or the system might well focus on one or another of the elements of the game. This in and of itself neither adds to nor detracts from the work. The important thing is that the elements in combination allow the participants to enjoy play on an ongoing basis.
One distinction must be brought to the forefront again here. Certain games claim to have a basis in role-playing while in fact all they offer is an aspect of role gaming. These designs feature role assumption. That is, you are given a game persona-you do not create and personalize the character you are to play. Typically, the situations you find the character in are also prescribed by the game. Choices are limited, and game play will always be channeled and of relatively short duration. Do not be misled by claims to the contrary. Role-playing and role assumption are quite different.
Multiple-choice books are typical of role assumption game designs. I am the co-author of four such books (Sagard the Barbarian gamebooks, written with Flint Dille). These works are fun and have all the elements of role-playing games except for actual roleplaying. Even more than one person can participate, since the hero
has occasional associates who can be played by others. Such books, along with far too many games, might deceive the participants into believing that they are engaging in role-playing. Role assumption is similar to role-playing, and it is good training for the more exacting and exciting play of RPGs. But it is a different and lesser game form, I believe.

Aus einem Buch von ihm aus dem Jahre 1989 namens Role-Playing Mastery.


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