Prologue: I recently took a break from RPGs, except for playing short sessions with my daughter. One of the reasons for this break, the reason I gave everyone, was that I had come to feel that playing and planning to play RPGs had become a way to put off writing fiction. So, I cut out the RPGs and began writing more. But another, mostly unstated reason for the hiatus was that, much like Andy recently posted
, I've gotten somewhat sick of playing RPGs. I needed to step back, play some card and board games, and really think about why I wanted to play RPGs, or if I wanted to play them at all.
And so: I was thinking the other day about when I was my daughter's age (9), before I'd discovered RPGs. My friends and I played a lot of "Let's Pretend" games. We ran around in the school playground and our yards playing superheroes. We played with our Star Wars action figures, Legos, Weebles and Micronauts. I thought about why those games were fun--because, boy, did I love that kind of play--and what traditional RPGs (including some indie ones) were missing for me. I came up with what I think of as "rules" for playing Role-Playing/Story/Let's Pretend Games, guidelines and principles that I think would make these games more enjoyable for me. Why am I posting these here? For feedback, really. Are these clear? Are they reasonable? Is there anything I need to explain or elaborate on?Story Game Rules:
- The invitation to play a Story Game should be no more complicated than, "You wanna come over and play?" Just like with any card game or board game.
- Accepting the invitation is a commitment only for the one play session, not a commitment for a series of sessions. It's a game, not a marriage.
- Any Story Game should be able to be played in one sitting, although if the players all want it to continue the game--with the same setting and/or characters and/or story--beyond one sitting, that's an option.
- Everyone is a player.
- All players are equal.
- No one player has more authority than any other in interpreting and adjudicating the rules.
- No one player has more authority than any other in creating and building on the imagined setting. All players have equal ownership of and responsibility for the imagined setting.
- All players have equal ownership of and responsibility for all imagined characters--however, final authority over any character rests with the player who created the character.
- No one player has more authority than any other in creating the story. All players have equal responsibility for creating story through play.
- Story comes from characters in conflict. All players have a responsibility to create interesting, proactive characters with dramatic goals and desires.
- The creation and building of characters, setting and story should all be done in play. Little to no prep time should be required to play.