Storytelling or Story-making?

Knight and CastleYou see, the shared computers I’d usually use at my place of residence lost connection to the Internet, and that connection won’t be fixed until tomorrow. So I’m using a library computer, which means I can’t do the research on games I’d was supposed to do for this post. That means this second post will ask a question or two, starting with:

Given that a story is about things which have happened, and life is about things which are happening, and that an RPG is about things which are happening—albeit, imaginary things, how can RPGs be story?

How did performance; that is, playing a role, come to be storytelling?

Are we really storytelling, or storymaking?

I’d like to read your thoughts on the above.

Alan Kellogg. I am a blogger and a gamer, and I opine on various subjects and topics. I live in San Diego CA, have been gaming since 1964 (board games) and 1975 (RPGs). Have credits in Dangerous Journeys: Mythus and have helped out with a few other projects (Charlemagne’s Paladins for TSR for instance). Currently working on a revision of Mythus for possible publication.

2 thoughts on “Storytelling or Story-making?

  1. I feel the game is mostly about story-making. I like to study improvisational theater to learn more about how to build stories together. Most GM guides will talk about how to write stories for players, but they’ll mostly discuss techniques used for short stories or film. Those techniques are useful, but they don’t really teach people how to build a story together.

  2. I see we substantially agree. The problem I have with RPGs as storytelling is that that restricts the group entirely too much, in so far as they feel constrained to follow a plot and insure that events occur as they’re supposed to, not as they will. It does mean more work for players and GM, but the results can make the work worth it.

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