Friday, November 1, 2013

Storytelling RPGs: What are they?

As promised, starting from November 1, 2013 the blog is switching back to English.

David Reichgeld has arrived at an interesting definitions of storytelling RPGs:

1) A storytelling RPG gives at least one person at the table narration rights.

In a traditional RPG, the only person to hold narration rights is the GM. He alone can introduce new facts and truths into the game world. The players usually only react to the descriptions of the GM. Without any person to hold narration rights, the game is not really an RPG. In a storytelling RPG, the players have a way to gain the narration rights in some way, e.g. by rolling dice, spending tokens or playing cards. They get to add to the game world.

2) A storytelling RPG gives the players (as opposed to the GM) the right to narrate not only their actions, but also the consequences of their actions.

In a traditional RPG, the players describe their (re)actions to GM-introduced events, and the GM describes the outcome of these events. In a storytelling RPG, the players also have the right to narrate consequences to their actions. Maybe not always, maybe depending on some condition to gain the narration rights, e.g. rolling a high enough result, succeeding at their task or spending some sort of tokens.

If those two definitions are applied to RPGs, then suddenly it becomes a bit easier to separate traditional RPGs from storytelling RPGs. Indeed, suddenly you realize that the whole World of Darkness line-up, despite the name of the system are not storytelling games at all. But other games are. Houses of the Blooded, Numenera, Dungeon World and FATE come to mind. Everway, for example, shows the first glimmers of being a storytelling game. All you have to do is passing the interpretation of the fortune deck from GM to players.

Do I believe in this definition? Yes, I do. That's why I am including it in my blog. Am I going to add to that point of view? Not for the moment. But feel free to comment on this post.

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