Rollplay, Roleplay and Ruleplay

There are a lot of arguments over rollplay vs roleplay.

Personally I don’t mind the things described as rollplay. I think a kind of linked skirmish game with characters progressing from skirmish to skirmish is or can be fun.

On the other hand I’ve also had sessions where the roleplay was to the fore and they can be more fun or at least different.

It’s impossible to have both at once as it only needs one rollplayer to prevent roleplayers having their immersion.

However there’s also third option. Personally I’m not keen on *talking* in character but at the same time I want my character to naturally *act* in accordance with the character I have created.

For example, in terms of show don’t tell

– a character with high strength and endurance and high skills in rocket launchers and heavy armor tells a story

– a character with high dexterity and agility and high skill in stealth and sniper rifle tells a story

– a character with average physical attributes and high intelligence with a standard issue pistol tells a story

but only if those skills and attributes work in the game work in the same *cinematic* way you associate with those descriptions.

Another example, in a levelling fantasy game

– rogues level based on gold looted

– wizards level on lore discovered

– clerics level on (varies according to god but for example could be visiting shrines and pilgrimage sites and healing damage)

– fighters level by hitting stuff e.g. damage

so in a game the rogue might want to loot a nearby temple, the wizard might want to read some ancient carvings, the cleric might want to curse or restore the altar and the fighter wouldn’t care as long as he got to hit stuff.

So rollplayers playing their character according to the game mechanics would naturally roleplay.

A third example, make some abilities into time-consuming rituals which must be done in advance e.g. say instead of having healing spells as such druids have a ritual that allows them to harvest an amount of enchanted mistletoe from a druid grove at full moon which they can either use to heal wounds or rub on a weapon or armor to gain a temporary magical bonus of some kind. A rollplayer playing a druid in that situation will ask where the nearest druid grove is and want to travel there to do their ritual.

So ruleplay – where rollplayers *naturally* roleplay their characters while they’re rollplaying because that is how the rules are designed. This might not be enough for roleplayers but I think they’d find it easier at least.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: