Nuadha's Tale

Ignorance can be tolerated, where reason is left free to combat it. -Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, April 10, 2003

Myths and Roleplaying
From this site (link via Arref):

Recreational roleplaying draws much of its content from the world of myth. There are some very practical reasons for this. People share a lot of myths in common, and many psychologists and sociologists have argued that our identities are founded in myths. Myths are powerful, symbolic, instantly accessable, and embody much of the language of our creative selves. They're easy to talk about, easy to understand, and don't need complex pictures or explanations.

By drawing on common myth, roleplaying games let us find and explore those things that are important to us -- the heroes and monsters of our social and personal subconsciousses. Many stories told by roleplaying games are so deeply rooted in myth that they're instantly recognisable to a stranger entering in the middle of a game. The symbols are clear, and the issues are common to us all.

Roleplaying games are very eclectic in the myths they draw on. The stories of knights, princesses, dragons and dwarves are familiar fare. So too are the myths of modern adventure heroes, wild west heroes and comic book heroes. As well as drawing on the heroes and villains of Christian and pre-Christian myth, myths are drawn from the rich legacies of all kinds of other cultures. Many roleplayers have become skilled tale-weavers in the myths of cultures far different to their own.

The myths of our culture develop constantly, and nowadays, each development is reflected in roleplaying. As the dystopian vision of Cyberpunk developed in the eighties, with the novels of Gibson and others, the roleplaying reflections of these books came not after. As vampires came to the book and screen in the early nineties, they came too to roleplaying games. Born of our current interests, roleplaying offers its players a way of expressing and reflecting those social changes that move about them, in the language of myth.


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