“Roleplay” is to Storygame what “Hexagonal Grid Movement” is to Roleplaying Game
I’m perfectly willing to stipulate that there are moments in
storygames where roleplaying happens.
Even where roleplaying is
explicitly required by the system and not just something peripheral or
optional like someone playing pretend with their monopoly piece or chess
But that doesn’t make a Storygame an RPG.
The better way to understand it is like this: In RPGs, there are
moments when you have to use combat mechanics, movement rules, weapon
vs. armor types, etc.; some RPGs might even require the use of
miniatures and hexagonal grids. However, this doesn’t make an RPG a
Simple. In a Wargame, those elements: the combat rules, movement,
terrain, miniatures, grid; the combat simulation in other words, are THE
WHOLE POINT of what you’re doing.
In an RPG, they aren’t, they’re
just a peripheral part, and the whole point of what you’re doing is to
ROLEPLAY a character in an emulated world.
In a storygame, likewise, little moment of (even obligatory) roleplay
might happen, but its not the “point” of a storygame. The point of a
Storygame is to create some kind of a story (or to put it like the
pretentious story swine do, to “address a theme”); the roleplaying is
Ultimately, the most key point of what the problem is with thinking
of storygames as the same hobby, and why they are absolutely something
different from RPGs, is found in the statement: “I don’t care if my
character dies if its better for the Story”. That’s never, ever,
something that belongs in an RPG, and is not a part of RPG play at all,
but is absolutely the basis of all Storygame play. So all those “little
bursts of immersive roleplay” storygamers claim might happen in some
storygames ultimately don’t matter for shit, because everything,
including the immersion itself, gets sacrificed at the altar of what
some ass thinks would make a “good story” (even if said “ass” is
Currently Smoking: Mastro de Paja Apple + Dunhill 965
(Originally posted October 1, 2012, on the old blog)