Friday, December 02, 2005

Welcome to the Monkey House

In light of the reorganization of the Forge RPG theory forums and as an expression of my dedication to the field, I've decided to carve out a chunk of cyberspace to post my rantings and ruminations about RPGs, their theory, their academic study, and whatever randomnicity manages to sneak its way in.

My Background: I am a first-year graduate student at the University of Oregon, getting my Master's in Folklore. I have been role-playing for twelve years (since fourth grade, folks), and worked four and a half years at my FLGS in Bloomington, Indiana. Over those years, role-playing has been a formative and important part of my life. I decided to make the study of RPGs and the role-playing subculture(s) a focus of my academic orientation, in part as a way to spread awareness of the hobby and because I realized I could get away with writing about things I loved, and thought it would be a whole lot more fun to me than studying the folksongs of a nearly extinct East African ethnic group.

Chops: I've already presented a paper about role-playing games at an academic conference, that being "Can I Get Change For That Plot Twist?: Dramatic Currency for Communal Narrative Shaping in Role-Playing Games." Gotta love those long and formulaic academic paper titles, it's true. It was all about what I dubbed 'dramatic currency' mechanics, those along the lines of 7th Sea's Drama Dice, Buffy/Angel's Drama Points, Serenity's Plot Points, and so on, talking about how the existence and use of those mechanics re-worked the location and distribution of power and authority in dictating the course of the narrative in role-playing games. In a longer version of the paper (hopefully to be published in a book on RPG theory), I'm going to be talking about the relationship of 'dramatic currency' to games that are labeled 'cinematic' and what that says about the aesthetics of role-playing with those games.

The Journey of a Thousand Blogs Begins With a Single Keystroke.


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