Many of today's hottest selling games--both non-electronic and electronic--focus on such elements as shooting up as many bad guys as one can (Duke Nuk'em), beating the toughest level (Mortal Kombat), collecting all the cards (Pokemon), and scoring the most points (Tetris). Fantasy role-playing games (Dungeons & Dragons, Rolemaster, GURPS), while they may involve some of those aforementioned elements, rarely focus on them. Instead, playing a fantasy role-playing game is much like acting out a scene from a play, movie or book, only without a predefined script. Players take on such roles as wise wizards, noble knights, roguish sellswords, crafty hobbits, greedy dwarves, and anything else one can imagine and the referee allows. The players don't exactly compete; instead, they interact with each other and with the fantasy setting. The game is played orally with no game board, and although the referee usually has a storyline planned for a game, much of the action is impromptu. Performance is a major part of role-playing, and role-playing games as a performing art is the subject of this book, which attempts to introduce an appreciation for the performance aesthetics of such games. The author provides the framework for a critical model useful in understanding the art--especially in terms of aesthetics--of role-playing games. The book also serves as a contribution to the beginnings of a body of criticism, theory, and aesthetics analysis of a mostly unrecognized and newly developing art form. There are four parts: the cultural structure, the extent to which the game relates to outside cultural elements; the formal structure, or the rules of the game; the social structure, which encompasses the degree and quality of social interaction among players; and the aesthetic structure, concerned with the emergence of role-playing as an art form.
"This book examines the archetypes and concepts within the fantasy gaming genre alongside the roles and functions of the game players themselves. Other topics include: how The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings helped shape fantasy gaming; the community-based fellowship embraced by players; the origins of gamebooks and interactive fiction; and the evolution of online gaming"--Provided by publisher.
Tracing the evolution of fantasy gaming from its origins in tabletop war and collectible card games to contemporary web-based live action and massive multi-player games, this book examines the archetypes and concepts within the fantasy gaming genre alongside the roles and functions of the game players themselves. Other topics include: how The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings helped shape fantasy gaming through Tolkien’s obsessive attention to detail and virtual world building; the community-based fellowship embraced by players of both play-by-post and persistent browser-based games, despite the fact that these games are fundamentally solo experiences; the origins of gamebooks and interactive fiction; and the evolution of online gaming in terms of technological capabilities, media richness, narrative structure, coding authority, and participant roles.
This is the revised 3rd Edition of the Basic Fantasy Role-Playing Game, a rules-light game system based on the d20 SRD v3.5, but heavily rewritten with inspiration from early RPG game systems. It is suitable for those who are fans of "old-school" game mechanics, and it's simple enough for children in perhaps second or third grade to play, yet still having enough depth for adults as well.
Music in the Role-Playing Game: Heroes & Harmonies offers the first scholarly approach focusing on music in the broad class of video games known as role-playing games, or RPGs. Known for their narrative sophistication and long playtimes, RPGs have long been celebrated by players for the quality of their cinematic musical scores, which have taken on a life of their own, drawing large audiences to live orchestral performances. The chapters in this volume address the role of music in popular RPGs such as Final Fantasy and World of Warcraft, delving into how music interacts with the gaming environment to shape players’ perceptions and engagement. The contributors apply a range of methodologies to the study of music in this genre, exploring topics such as genre conventions around music, differences between music in Japanese and Western role-playing games, cultural representation, nostalgia, and how music can shape deeply personal game experiences. Music in the Role-Playing Game expands the growing field of studies of music in video games, detailing the considerable role that music plays in this modern storytelling medium, and breaking new ground in considering the role of genre. Combining deep analysis with accessible personal accounts of authors’ experiences as players, it will be of interest to students and scholars of music, gaming, and media studies.
Since the release of Dungeons & Dragons in 1974, role-playing games (RPGs) have spawned a vibrant industry and subculture whose characteristics and player experiences have been well explored. Yet little attention has been devoted to the ways RPGs have shaped society at large over the last four decades. Role-playing games influenced video game design, have been widely represented in film, television and other media, and have made their mark on education, social media, corporate training and the military. This collection of new essays illustrates the broad appeal and impact of RPGs. Topics range from a critical reexamination of the Satanic Panic of the 1980s, to the growing significance of RPGs in education, to the potential for “serious” RPGs to provoke awareness and social change. The contributors discuss the myriad subtle (and not-so-subtle) ways in which the values, concepts and mechanics of RPGs have infiltrated popular culture.
This classic study still provides one of the most acute descriptions available of an often misunderstood subculture: that of fantasy role playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. Gary Alan Fine immerses himself in several different gaming systems, offering insightful details on the nature of the games and the patterns of interaction among players—as well as their reasons for playing.
The 1980s saw the peak of a moral panic over fantasy role-playing games such as Dungeons and Dragons. A coalition of moral entrepreneurs that included representatives from the Christian Right, the field of psychology, and law enforcement claimed that these games were not only psychologically dangerous but an occult religion masquerading as a game. Dangerous Games explores both the history and the sociological significance of this panic. Fantasy role-playing games do share several functions in common with religion. However, religion—as a socially constructed world of shared meaning—can also be compared to a fantasy role-playing game. In fact, the claims of the moral entrepreneurs, in which they presented themselves as heroes battling a dark conspiracy, often resembled the very games of imagination they condemned as evil. By attacking the imagination, they preserved the taken-for-granted status of their own socially constructed reality. Interpreted in this way, the panic over fantasy-role playing games yields new insights about how humans play and together construct and maintain meaningful worlds. Laycock’s clear and accessible writing ensures that Dangerous Games will be required reading for those with an interest in religion, popular culture, and social behavior, both in the classroom and beyond.