Vow of Chastity
Role-playing is immersion (”eläytyminen”) to an outside consciousness (”a character”) and interacting with its surroundings.
RPGs and role-playing
Most traditional mediums are either active (the part of the creator; writing, singing, acting etc.) or passive (the part of the audience; reading, listening, watching). Role-playing, however, is a truly interactive medium - and the best and most useful of such media - because there the creative side and the receptive side are no longer separate. The experience of role-playing is born through contributing. No one can predict the events of a session beforehand, or recreate them afterwards. Also, most of the expression takes part inside the participants’ heads (in the process of eläytyminen), which make role-playing games (RPGs) a very subjective form of art.
Interactivity and subjectivity are typical to RPGs, but everything else can vary greatly, depending on the game. In some games all action is described verbally and the events happen in the players’ imagination, while in others the goal is to visualize everything as concretely as possible. In some games the players focus on the story and the action, in others the purpose is to simulate the world in as much detail as possible.
There is an infinite number of ways to role-play, but one of the most popular is to divide them between live-action role-playing games (”LARPs”) and traditional or table-top RPGs. Although it is impossible to draw an exact line, a typical LARP is a game where you try to do everything as concretely as possible, and do your best to avoid any means that are not part of the game world (”non-diegetic means” or ”off-game”). In a typical table-top game the game master (”GM”) is the players’ medium for interacting with the game world, and most things are only described, and take place only in the players' imagination.
Another way of dividing the different ways of gaming is to group them into gamist, dramatist, simulationist and eläytyjist styles. The gamist players (”munchkins”) try to somehow win the game by making their character as powerful as possible - in a way turning the role-playing into strategy-gaming. The dramatist people have no true grasp for the meaning of interaction, as they think the purpose of the game is for the game masters to tell a story using the players as actors - but with no audience to tell the story to! The simulationists try to create a working society or even a world which is simulated through role-playing. The eläytyjist set the goal to becoming the characters, to experiencing everything through the character.
While the division between the mediums of LARP and table-top games does not provide any difference in quality, the second division certainly does - not all of the above styles are as well thought-out as others. As is obvious to most role-players, the dramatist and the gamist styles are inferior to the simulationist and eläytyjist styles. For the sake of objectivity, they will, however, all be here introduced.