Progress in rpg design

(from an old G+ post I found while looking through my G+ export)

For some people, the idea of progress in RPG design is threatening — they like the games they have, and they don’t want them to change.

For others, the idea of progress in games is associated with assholes using it push the games they like, or the games they are selling (cf Vampire in the 90s, some of the Forge crowd in the 2000s).

For yet others, they see the counter-evidence to any simple story of linear hobby-wide progress. For example, the recent resurgence of OSR play as a reaction to the plotted-epic-story direction D&D took in the 90s and 00s.

I think progress is possible, and is happening (on multiple stylistic fronts, which as S John Ross points out in [his now-unavailable G+ post] it must do). But I’m not surprised when people don’t believe in it, or don’t like the idea.

Transactions and Rawplaying

Paul Beakley has defined two new rpg theory terms which I think will be useful.

The Transaction — “The steps players engage in to settle outcomes in the fiction. … a subset of the much larger conversation in which all the play takes place.”

I don’t think that definition is particularly instructive, but the worked examples he gives in his post (for Scum & Villainy, Burning Wheel, and Apocalypse World) are much more so.

Rawplaying — “Playing an RPG by the rules because we earnestly feel the rules produce the best experience for us.”

The term is useful to me because while it’s not always what I do, it’s very often what I try to do. And there’s a big divide in rpg culture between people who take this seriously and people who don’t.