1 two of my roommates, Peter Keller, and Tom Stanis, were the only friends I could corner and who would admit to having the time for this
2 Fine, Gary Alan. Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1983. Despite (or perhaps because of) what I would consider an exoteric viewpoint, Fine does a fair job of describing the roleplaying subculture of the late '70s and early '80s. The only fault I can find with the book is that the sorts of roleplayers he meets, and thus the sorts of roleplaying he encounters, seem skewed towards a particular play style, much more akin to wargaming. From what I know of that period (which predates my own roleplaying-the early parts may predate my literacy, for that matter), it was a much more common playstyle than today, so it may merely date the work. But it may also be that, like today, roleplayers of radically divergent play styles interact only rarely, so that once you've met one style of roleplayer, it is not likely you will meet others. It is also possible that that playstyle is today more common than I know, and I simply haven't met many roleplayers of that stripe.
3 Andrew Rilstone "Role-Playing Games" Inter*action #1. Rilstone is a long-time writer in the RPG field, including editing several fanzines and magazines and contributing to even more, and was the editor and half the driving force behind Inter*action/Interactive Fantasy (the magazine underwent a name change after issue 1).
4 Brett Evill "Storytelling vs. Storyhearing" private email correspondence on 6/18/96.
5 Brett Evill "Storytelling vs. Storyhearing" private email correspondence on 6/18/96.
6 Greg Costikyan "I Have No Words and I Must Design" Interactive Fantasy #2. Emphases his. Costikyan is a long-time RPG writer, having designed or contributed to the design of several very influential RPGs, including Ghostbusters (based on the movie of the same name), Toon: the Cartoon Roleplaying Game, and the Star Wars Roleplaying Game, and written many articles on RPGs and the RPG industry.
7 Greg Costikyan "I Have No Words and I Must Design" Interactive Fantasy #2.
SimCity is a popular commercial computer simulation, wherein the player attempts to build, maintain, and expand a city.
8 Strictly speaking, most RPGs don't involve direct competition between the players, so this fairness is an unnecessary construct, unlike in a competitive game. Some newer games are toying with eliminating this initial guaranteed equality.
9 "Dungeon Master" in Dungeons & Dragons®. Other synonyms include Referee, Storyteller, Storyguide, Game Operations Director (GOD), Keeper, Sholari Guide, Host, Marshall. Some of these are intended to reflect the genre, others are just an attempt to be unique.
10 NPC: Non-Player Character. All of the characters run by the GM, as opposed to the PCs-Player Characters-who are run by the rest of the players.
11 For example, the RPG Call of Cthulhu is known for featuring arguably average individuals, but these characters' lives within the game revolve around confronting the horrifying truths of H. P. Lovecraft's Cthulhu mythos.
12 These latter are generally sold as "universal" systems, for use with any setting. They generally have numerous setting/genre supplements available.
13 Cantwell, Robert. When We Were Good: The Folk Revival. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 1996.
14 Gaudiosi, John. quoted in "The Games People Play" The Washington Post 9/23/97 Page B05
15 Folkerts, Jean, Stephen Lacy, Lucinda Davenport. The Media in Your Life: An Introduction to Mass Communication. Needham Heights, MA: Allyn and Bacon. 1998. pp173-174 describe films through personal retrospectives as providing the entertainment and escapism that storytelling do, only moreso; pp183-190 discuss the history of movies as social commentary, and their interaction with the marketplace of ideas, and noticeably absent is any discussion of direct response from audiences, except for counting profits; p198 talks about Godzilla, an excellent example of how this limited feedback actually does produce changes, as Godzilla has gone from a destructive monster to a national defender over the last 40-some years; pp235-236,271 briefly touch on the idea of TV and film replacing indigenous folk culture; pp259-260 summarizes the TV ratings system, which is the primary feedback storytellers get in the medium of TV.
Jack Zipes. Fairy Tale as Myth/Myth as Fairy Tale. The University Press of Kentucky. 1994. Chapter 3, in particular, discusses the "Disneyfication" of folklore.
16 Advanced Dungeons & Dragons®, a newer game published by TSR and based on extensions to the original D&D, with which it has many similarities.
17 English-speaking, at least
18 I specifically chose examples with multiple existences for this paper, but some of the lingo I collected was arguably unique, and probably doesn't qualify as folkspeech-at least not for roleplayers as a whole; quite a few of the terms were unique to a particular small group of roleplayers.
19 Battle, Kemp P., compiler. Chapter 13: "Paul Bunyan and His World." Great American Folklore: Legends, Tales, Ballads, and Superstitions From All Across America. Garden City, NY: Doubleday & Co., Inc. 1986. pp601-602 gives the true story of Paul Bunyan's origins, and puts forth the notion that his stories are, nonetheless, folklore.
20 Saving Throws are statistics of the characters against which a die roll is often made to determine how well the character resists some sort of attack or difficulty.
21 Lee Garvin, personal interview via UseNet.
22 Douglas E. Berry, personal interview via UseNet.
23 SAN is the standard game abbreviation for the Sanity statistic in Call of Cthulhu.
24 Jeff MacDonald, personal interview via UseNet.
25 shorthand for eXperience Points and EP (Experience Points), respectively
26 Friedrich Nietzsche, noted German philosopher.
27 Dr. Jim Davies. personal interview, via UseNet.
28 Fine, Gary Alan. Shared Fantasy: Role-Playing Games as Social Worlds. Chicago: University of Chicago Press 1983. p 186 has a brief summary of this concept, while pp181-204 deal with it in depth.
29 firstname.lastname@example.org, personal interview via UseNet.
30 I once knew a group where characters of absent players were suddenly encased in an indestructible pink shell of energy, which conveniently floated along with the group. In another, characters of missing players suddenly suffered an acute flare-up of an incapacitating venereal disease-regardless of whether or not the character's personality would make it likely or even possible for the character to have contracted such a disease.
31 email@example.com, personal interview via UseNet.
32 R. Boleyn, personal interview, via UseNet.
33 Ryan J Franklin, personal interview, via UseNet.
34 Scott Delahunt, personal interview, via UseNet.
35 Lance Berg, personal interview via UseNet.
36 Feng Shui is a new RPG that aims to simulate the genre of Hong Kong action films, and a requisite trait is the hero defeating literal hordes of lesser badguys. Thus the mechanics make this an explicit possibility, assigning characters into two categories: "mooks" and "named characters," (the PCs and major villains) and applying different rules to the two.
37 Probably derived in part from The Lord of the Rings, in which the heroes routinely vanquish unreasonably huge hordes of evil monsters, of which orcs are the most memorable.
38 Gord Sellar, personal interview, via UseNet.
39 R. Boleyn, personal interview via UseNet.
40 Frank J. Perricone, personal interview via UseNet.
41 hack & slash games are games that focus on, or exclusively contain, combat and other violence. minmaxing is the practice of creating a character with the goal of maximizing her power in the game world, without regard for believability.
42 Dundes, Alan. "Who Are the Folk?" Interpreting Folklore. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press. 1980.
43 Columbia Pictures, 1974.
44 Steve Mading, personal interview via UseNet.
45 a reference to random statistic generation with dice in some RPGs, including the original few.
46 first published less than 2 years ago
47 Dragon Magazine is one of the oldest magazines dedicated to RPGs. It has been published by TSR, the company that publishes D&D, since the mid '70s.
48 Expedition to the Barrier Peaks was a published scenario for D&D that involved the pseudo-medieval characters finding a crashed space ship and exploring it.
49 Grimtooth's Traps is a supplemental book published for GMs to use that focuses on the adversarial relationship between GM and players in a dungeon crawl game by providing a host of particularly ingenious, and particularly deadly, puzzles, traps, and obstacles for the GM to incorporate into a dungeon. It has since spawned a host of sequels, containing more of the same, and titled Grimtooth's Traps Too, Grimtooth's Traps For, and so on.
50 L. Frank Baum, author of The Wizard of Oz and sequels.
51 Physicist Erwin Schrödinger proposed the idea that not only observation, but reality itself, was observer-dependent, so a quantity is not only unknown, but indeterminate, until observed. This idea is one of the core tenets of quantum physics, and thus the 'quantum' reference.
52 SAN is the standard game abbreviation for Sanity, a statistic in the Call of Cthulhu game. Call of Cthulhu is a game built around the universe of cosmic horrors from the fiction of H. P. Lovecraft, and Sanity is used to model the way that characters in his fiction were driven insane by these horrors.
53 a submission-driven online movie database, 54 As part of the play contract, it is considered good form to generally cooperate; the GM attempts to provide reasonable hooks that the characters really would be interested in, and the players in return may stretch absolute simulation a bit to accept the plot hooks.