Role Games by Forum – loser stuff or writing exercise?
Article by Davide Pozzobon
Even though I am slightly younger than the good Marco Frullanti, I too am part of the 1990s generation, 1990 class to be exact and I too grew up in a world where, unlike today, certain amusements and certain frivolities classified in a given people category.
Now the times have changed and, to quote the 1nt3rn37, nerd is the new cool guy. One of the things that classifies the “nerds” in the collective imagination, in addition to crooked teeth, bottled glasses and any imaginable physical defect, combined with a good dose of sociopathy and personality disorders, is being a roleplayer, in genre in the category of Dungeons & Dragons, the famous RPG pen and paper of the dear Gygax & Co.
With the advent of technology, the fast line and the impossibility of finding a group to play live, a new category of Role Players has developed, which, apparently, are also “war” on each other, I don’t know why, I assume they are the classic stadium wars. I talk about the role players by chat and by forum.
Of the former I have no direct experience, if not some vain and timid attempt in some RPGs whose name I don’t even remember. Of the latter, on the other hand, I have experience that I believe the decade is now over, especially of one in particular, of which I will not give details since I do not know if I am allowed. In fact, a GDR based on the universe of dear Kishimoto, the author of Naruto, for those who do not know.
The GDR that I attended and I attend was born in a small way, in a very trivial and very simple way, in which it was not necessary to do who knows what “postoni” to advance in history and move forward with your Character (from here on in I will call PG).
The history of the GDR, although based on the Narutian world, had little to do with manga and gradually, over the years, we have increasingly distanced ourselves from it, to the point of assuming a completely our own narrative universe, whose only point of contact are the ninja techniques and the various clans seen or not seen in the manga, anime and fillers of the anime.
Being one of the oldest users, I had the chance to see everything in the history of the RPG as a forum, the GDR OFF, as we call it, among unpleasant cases of what I call real psychosis (hacker attacks to destroy the forum, troll that make multiaccounts only to insult …) and stories of friendship and even other ties born in the network, which still last. From this point of view, I can say that I am proud of one thing. The will to write.
Our forum, like many others before, with and after him, bases the advancement of the story of a character and the world based on the narrative and the way in which facts and events are exposed. If you are a good roleplayer, move faster in grade, gain more mission experience and get more rewards.
I have therefore seen users, who are now attending university, starting with little boys (13-15 years) writing short, simple and trivial posts we could say, and gradually advancing more and more in writing, until they assume important roles in the forum and create increasingly truthful and convincing characters. I am convinced that if Kishimoto had a way to read Our Story, he could make us a much better manga than the post-Pein Naruto.
Since the development of our GDR has often anticipated and also predicted things that Kishimoto himself would have done, he jokes on the forum that Kishimoto, on the sly, spies on us and copies the plots. The manga is now finished, but if you really want:
- SPOILER ALERT.
- With our characters we did everything that Kishimoto himself created, years before his manga ended.
- Destruction / conquest of a village? Check.
- Have characters who want to destroy the Kage system to give complete freedom to the world and redo the story? Check.
- The attack of an evil god who wanted to subjugate the world? Check.
- And much more, which I will not list.
From here an interesting reflection could arise on how predictable or influential the human mind is. The fact that we have predicted so clearly what would have happened, voluntarily or not, raises many interesting questions. But this is not the main subject of this article. My experience with RPGs has therefore brought the following reflections. Can GDR by forum be a valid writing exercise? Can they become something else?
They certainly train their imagination.
Even though we had hundreds and hundreds of subscribers who made the classic Uchiha Venditrice Sasuke-Style, we also had PGs who, in their own small way, created their own story, original and fascinating, independently and with the help of the various master / quester. In fact, as much as a player has absolute freedom as to what to do with his character, true evolution does not arise from free roles and ends in themselves, but arises from the challenges that good masters can put in front of a player’s path.
It is now necessary to tell at least one anecdote, then. I will therefore talk about my first PG created on this forum, a sort of Gaara del Deserto, only in a more “quiet” version, at least at the beginning. In a quest to learn the techniques of my clan, my quester played a sensei (NdA: maestro) who taught me to perceive my native village through the sand, to perceive every life form that trampled on a sandy soil and put it to the test the strengths of my character making me lift whole sand dunes with the strength of my elementary control.
The final test was to resist three days and three nights under one hundred meters of sand, without eating, drinking and sleeping, while my teacher, at regular intervals, launched Funerals of the Desert (a technique that consists of compressing the sand around an opponent , making him then implode) that I had to fight with my strength.
Although mechanically my character was pretty nabbo, from the point of view of GDR ON he had done incredible things for his age. And the thing has paid off over time, having become that pg one of the most important historical figures for much of the history of the GDR, whose exploits are still written in the summaries of the history of the GDR.
Now, to understand that the life of my character and the success of the quest depended on my ability to put myself in a similar situation and to describe how I could resist such a thing. Of course, to reread some things all sounds weird, but a GDR based on a battle shonen doesn’t have to reflect reality, right?
- Try then to imagine. How would you have described it, how would you have narrated the sensations and techniques used to survive? Answering these questions involves creating your post.
- Banal, will you say? Well, do you know who is writing books asking a question and writing a book as an answer?
- Stephen King.
- Principle of Auctoritas rulez.
So if they train their imagination, to imagine the most incredible solutions to get out of absurd situations, we must also say that they train writing. A good idea, narrated by dogs, topped up perhaps by errors in spelling, vocabulary and syntax, are, besides a monstrosity to be seen, a very fast way to risk the wrath of the Master.
So then every post gets sweaty, demanding, where rivers and rivers of words flow to describe in detail every single step, every single sensation of the PG that is built under your fingers that beat on the keys. At that moment you become a true Creator, and you shape the story to your liking, whether you are the master, or at least with a certain degree of freedom if you are the “master”. Sometimes resulting in exaggeration. I in my GDR are a staunch defender of the principle “no need to lengthen the stock”. A good connoisseur, good words.
Therefore, imagination and writing skills are exercised. They also exert pressure resistance. When you attend these forums, you begin to dive (perhaps even too much, unfortunately) into situations. And maybe you’re doing Masters in other missions.
So here you are forced to handle a large amount of posts, on which many things depend. If you are the player, from your ability results the success of the mission and your reward. If you are the Master, determine how much your players will enjoy, how much they will become attached to the forum and how much advertising they will do to it.
A good master pushes people to do better, in a fantastic writing workshop where the exchange of ideas, styles and experiences, creates a fantastic harmony, splendid when stable, unfortunately very fragile and easy to break when there are no players (therefore the lifeblood of a GDR), boredom (unfortunately the response times, between commitments and everything, are not always excellent and stimulating) and, alas, I have witnessed them, plots for the GDR that flow into the real and, absurdly and paradoxically, they influence the relationship between player-character and between player and player.
From this point of view, a GDR can therefore become an “exercise” of Machiavellian intrigues worthy of the Borgias or any Serpentine character from Games of Thrones, in which the climate that is generated by paranoia and malaise conditions the general trend of the forum. And alas, this thing happened too many times in our GDR.
GDR by forum thus become micro universes with their rules, real battlefields both in ON and OFF. On the first point it is right that this is so, on the second one you can only spread a pitiful veil.
Fantasy exercise, good writing exercise and writing exercise under pressure. We all know that it is difficult to write novels and often a writer must do everything, even if he stays in the literary field: among articles, reviews, hustlers and other things, he must always write. And time is short. There are other commitments, we must give priority to what to write first, what is more important and requires more commitment, what instead “but yes, but who cares!”.
The same as in a GDR by forum.
Now, our GDR I don’t think will ever lead to “anything good”. I’ll explain. In the end, the plot of our GDR could be considered as a giant fan fiction. And you know, fan fictions don’t bring new things, they are writing exercises to the fullest.
But what happens when the subject of the GDR is original? So when do you create a world in which you want to entertain people?
It can happen that it ends up in much more. Want an example?
Then I recommend a purchase. There is a particular book that tells a very fascinating story. It tells of a man who does not feed on food, but of stories, and goes through our history acquiring more and more stories. One of these is a fantasy story, which is told in interpolation to the main plot. And this story is taken from a GDR. And that GDR I sgam, simply looking for the names of the cities and the named characters.
Want to know which RPG is? Well, then the book is “Story of an immortal traveler”, by Andrea Casalboni, among the books of the NDE so far my absolute favorite, which also boasts the primacy of second book published by the NDE.
Exact! So since it costs a coffee, you could also buy it, right? I mean, don’t you trust my judgment?
I don’t care about that. Buy it the same. I don’t think you will regret it.