Friday, April 4, 2014

The Verbal Tradition

Hello storyteller,
Has it ever occurred to you that we as RPG players are continuing a long and proud tradition of Verbal Story Telling? This thought hit my chest like a badge of honor as I was trying to explain to a non-gamer friend exactly what a Tabletop RPG entails.

I basically ended up saying, "It's a conversation guided by rules to create a story."
Like any good conversation a good RPG has back and forth, questions, and statements. These help to make the story rich and relevant.

This definition made me smile for a few reasons.

First, I'm no longer a young gamer. I've crossed the 30 year threshold and as the years pass the label "gamer" becomes less and less appealing but the high title of "storyteller" feels like it will never lose value. I mean, I could be 80 years old and respected for the stories I tell, but I have a hard time believing that I'd be respected for the games I play.

Secondly, the definition lends itself toward co-operation. Making the rules take a back seat to the reality of the conversation. I personally can't stand railroading and rules lawyering so having a democratic expression in the definition helps to express my preference.

Finally, this definition opens RPGs up to non-gamers. This is a big deal if you're like me and believe that:

1. RPGs can be therapeutic.
2. More access to RPGs is a good thing because...
3. A lot of people need therapy!

So to you who are continuing the story telling tradition, thank you!
To those of you who haven't played an RPG, go see what stories you can tell!

If you want to give storytelling a try, check these out: Apocalypse WorldDungeon World, Hillfolk, Microscope.

My friend also mentioned this: NPR Prairie Home Companion. I haven't checked it out yet, but it was worth noting.

May your story be rich!
-Matt