Friday, December 2, 2011

Reasons We Play RPGs -- Valid / Not Valid / Incomplete

I wanted to look at 4th Edition Champions, and take a look at the different types of players and explore how:
(1) they may have found satisfaction in other pre-RPG hobbies
(2) their needs were met by RPGs
(3) they may have been lured away by other post-RPG hobbies

The following list is taken from the classic HERO Big Blue Book (4th Edition), but is expanded upon and grouped differently.

Combat-related Reasons

The Combat Monster
- wants to fight; games must have combat

The Mad Slasher
- joins games to "kill" for stress release
- conflicts with roleplayers and plausbility

Intellect-related Reasons

The Tactician
- is primarily interested in the tactical challenges of battles
- can be interested in political challenges if it's a matter of game mechanics or securing a numerical/tactical superiority

The Mad Thinker
- sees everything as a puzzle or a problem to solve
- loves to outwit the villains and sometimes the GM

The Rules Ravager
- wants to bend or exploit the rules
- may not have any interest in the campaign per se

Character- and Story-related Reasons

The Copier
- copies characters from other media
- expects to be as good as those characters

The Pro from Dover
- wants to be the best at what they do
- may conflict with other PCs or NPCs

The Plumber
- likes to detail his/her character with intricate personality and backstory
- loves being ensnared in moral quandries and emotional scenes

The Romantic
- most interested in the interpersonal relationships of characters
- professional and family and romance

The Tragedian
- likes to explore tropes of literary tragedy with PCs
- not concentrated but diffused and sustain betrayal, loss, death, etc. throughout campaign

The Genre Fiend
- expert in the tropes and conventions of the genre
- expects them to come out in play

The Showoff
- wants to be the center of attention

Meta-related Reasons

Social Gamer
- wants to game because all his friends do

Game Sweetheart
- wants to game because current / would-be / former significant other does

Game Spouse
- wants to share experiences with avid RPG spouse


The Questions
How many of these reasons are now satisfied by other outlets? Do computer games -- and more specifically computer RPGs -- satisfy these needs? Does social gaming satisfy some of them? Do easier outlets for creative expression like role-playing forums and online societies address these needs? Has the table top RPG niche shrunk?

And will initiatives like ConstantCon reclaim lost marketshare?

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