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May 25th, 2008

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12:58 pm - Cross cultural experiences in roleplaying + minor occult musings
I've repeatedly encountered references to various unusual RPGs coming out of the various Scandinavian nations. A few months ago, teaotter, alephnul, and some other people I know played the Swedish game Doubt, which sounded fascinating, if both not my sort of thing and very little like anything I'd consider an RPG - it strikes me far more as like a semi-improv play, which in large part explains my lack of interest - I love roleplaying, but have absolutely no interest in, and in fact considerable reluctance to participate in any form of theater.

Today, I just encountered a write-up of this Norwegian RPG Poem - One Foot in the Wild (here's an explanation and discussion of what an RPG poem is. I'm fascinated, once again, I can't see myself doing this, and in fact, I have difficulty imagining most people I know playing this game. Even more than Doubt (which largely seems to me to be something that would appeal to people with an interest in acting and especially improv acting far more than to most roleplayers), One Foot in the Wild strikes me as the sort of game that is vividly alien to most US & UK gamers and perhaps even most US and UK residents that I've encountered and causes me to wonder what it must be like to belong to a culture where such a game is considered less strange. It's nothing that I'd consider an RPG, but it is definitely interesting.

Also, I once again see vivid proof that the world is a remarkably diverse and fascinating place. It's also interesting for me that I think that a culture where games like One Foot in the Wild are considerably more acceptable than here is from my PoV, considerably more humane than my own, but I am also vividly aware that I would have difficulty playing such a game.

In any case, it also strikes me that you could use the "RPG Poem" form as a useful form in designing ritual magic and it might in fact be an ideal method for combining the strict forms of conventional ritual magic with the freeform nature of the various sorts of chaos magic and suchlike that I largely avoid. I'll definitely be thinking more about this.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed

(5 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:May 26th, 2008 04:25 am (UTC)

I'm a Finn, and I've encountered these Jeep guys before. They're the ones who've made the Doubt. Their games/interactive theatre doesn't interest me personally, so I probably wouldn't play such games.

The Jeep guys, or some of them, have visited Ropecon a couple of times, so there are at least some people here who think they have something to do with RPGs. I think most of the Finnish roleplayers haven't even heard of them and play their D&D/HeroWars/nWod just as they have done for years. My personal opinion is that I'm not sure if these games are RPGs, but it's great that somebody is willing to push the boundaries of the art form.

Yes, art form. A pretty unconventional one, and most people just play RPGs, but it's great that people do try to express strange things with it. It's the only way to find out new stuff to do.

I don't know if that was clear, I can try to clarify, just ask.
[User Picture]
Date:May 27th, 2008 05:40 pm (UTC)
Wow. thank you for these links.
There is as you say much food for thought here.

And now I really wish folks who lived near me [and I knew] would play some of these rpg poems with me....and really not just as a way of getting laid [which I could see some of them being used for] but actually as just a different way to interact/experience/express....
Date:May 28th, 2008 09:55 pm (UTC)

Roleplaying poems

Hi, got your blog on a search on roleplaying poems and it's cool that you like the poem. Roleplaying poetry as a genre was created by Tomas early last year and has become popular as a genre among Norwegian players and rpg-creators and recently begun to be noticed abroad. The last four or five years there's emerged a creative environment around a Norwegian forum called rollespill.net that has worked as a sounding board for new ideas as well as working towards a "Norwegian Style" of gaming. Matthijs (from the SG-thread) maintains the Norwegian Style blog, which is part of getting an anthology of Norwegian games published at lulu. There's a lot of other roleplaying poems over there as well as other games for free download, so you can get take a look at different approaches to the genre. The Norwegian collective and Jeepform aren't related except for general Scandinavian trends which tends to ignore rules and focus on emotions, moods or character immersion.
Date:May 28th, 2008 10:06 pm (UTC)
Hi John!

Nice to see your writing on my little game! Thanks for being openminded! I know it is a strange concept, so I appreciate your attitude.

I've done a fair part of thinking about rituals in RPGs. I find it practical to consider the whole gameplay as a form of ritual, and to give advice that reflect this. So I try to help players of my games doing the right things, to get into the mood they need to experience the heights of interactive gameplay. I've succeeded too, occationally, both in classical and modern roleplaying games.

The last GM-lecture I held had rituals written all over it. I took a chance, and were rewarded with very satisfied pupils. The theme seemed to open their eyes in ways they had never experienced before, and to clarify things for them. Their reactions strengthened my belief that rituals and group-dynamics and psycho-social insights have much to contribute with in RPGs.

By the way: I'm not a "Jeep-guy". I do not play very much free-form, like the Swedish Jeeps seem to prefer. I'm all for tough and tender methods in my games.
[User Picture]
Date:June 30th, 2008 07:02 pm (UTC)
Hi! I played One Foot in the Wild last weekend. I am Norwegian, but it felt a bit strange to me as well, and if it felt somewhat less strange, it's more because of the RPG culture i belong to, than Norwegian culture in general. (To the extent that any culture can be characterized, which isn't large, openness towards other people is not considered to be a distinctive trait in Norwegians.)

Whether it's an RPG is, of course, a matter of definition. To me, the most useful definition of RPG is "something that has sprung out of a particular hobby/tradition that began some time in the seventies," and One Foot in the Wild did. On the other hands, games like this are fare removed from the roots of that tradition.

I don't know much about ritual magic myself, but I know that ideas and tools from RPGs has occasionally been put to such use.

- Martinbg

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