[III]Settling on a Setting
Ic grete þe!
In the previous chapter, we arrived upon a sound definition of what roleplay is, and then expanded it into the following: "Good roleplay is to assume or act out a particular role in a consistent manner, in accordance with the setting in which the roleplaying takes place."
Of course, this is a slightly redundant manner of phrasing, so to make our definition shorter, sweeter, and easier to handle, we shorten it thus: "Good roleplay is to assume or act out a particular role, both in a consistent manner and in accordance with the setting." Since we are all, presumably, interested in good roleplay - we play on a declared roleplay enforced game, after all - we can then shorten our definition even further for a localised definition
. Therefore: "(Good) roleplay (in Geas (and most other places RP-focused)) is to consistently assume/act out a (particular) role in accordance with the setting."Roleplay is to consistently assume/act out a role in accordance with the setting.
This definition is shorter, sweeter, and more specifically applicable to us. Now that our definition has been sharpened, we can move onto the real topic of today's chapter: setting. First, however, I would like to debunk the common myth that "there are many different ways to roleplay, all of which are legitimate (or correct)". Based upon our definition, there is ONE correct way to roleplay. If you roleplay by consistently assuming/acting out a role in accordance with the setting, then you are roleplaying in a legimitate/correct manner. If your role is consistently assumed/acted out, but is not in accordance with the setting, then your roleplay is illegimitate/incorrect. If your role is in accordance with the setting, but is not assumed/acted out in a consistent manner, then your roleplay is illegimitate/incorrect. And, of course, if you do not assume/act out a role to begin with, you are absolutely
not roleplaying. We see here that there is only one legimitate/correct way to roleplay, but that legitimate/correct roleplay has unlimited possibilities in handling role and setting.
Now that this common myth and error is out of the way, let us bite into today's actual topic.
Thefreedictionary.com offers the following two very relevant definitions for setting:
2a. The context and environment in which a situation is set; the background.
b. The time, place and circumstances in which a narrative, drama, or film takes place.http://www.writersdigest.com/tip-of-the ... in-a-story
contains the following excerpts:
"Fiction has three main elements: plotting, character, and place or setting. While writers spend countless hours plotting and creating characters and then imagining their character’s arcs and dilemmas, often too little attention is paid to place. This is a fatal mistake, since the place fiction is staged provides the backdrop against which your dramas ultimately play out."
"But setting is more than a mere backdrop for action; it is an interactive aspect of your fictional world that saturates the story with mood, meaning, and thematic connotations. Broadly defined, setting is the location of the plot, including the region, geography, climate, neighborhood, buildings, and interiors. Setting, along with pacing, also suggests passage of time. Place is layered into every scene and flashback, built of elements such as weather, lighting, the season, and the hour."
The same article then lists twelve different elements of setting in written fiction, which, while interesting, is not very relevant here. In most games the setting is either completed before play (Planescape: Torment), or is the territory of a select few (Dungeon Masters in D&D, wizards (largely) in Geas). While PCs can influence setting, the setting is nonetheless mostly set by wizards. (Byspel, PCs can become judges, but the judicial workings were sometime decided upon by wizards. "Warlords? Judges? Anarchy? Elected kings? Hereditary monarchy? Eh, let's go for judges, it'll give the PCs more to compete for." While a PC being judge is part of the setting, due to political power and such, the fundamental workings of the system was not decided by the PCs or players, but by the wizards. (Most likely. I haven't been here since the dawn of time! I don't know *everything*!) What constitutes setting, then, in Geas (and, with some tweaking, most games)?
Obviously, the IC setting quickly springs to mind. The world lore contains mention of other continents and some creation mythos. Everything currently takes place in Forostar and some nearby isles. Early history is rich, then there is rather a vacuum of subsequent history up until the time period actual play started in. The cities and towns. Smaller locales still. The societal organisations and functions. The guilds. The population (both PCs, visNPCs and invisNPCs). The towering mountains of the Giat, the high spires of the Balinok. The river Ulfenn. The year, the month, the season, the hour of the day. The weather. And more, much more, naturally.
However, this is not all there is to Geas' setting. Consider definition 2a again: "The *context and environment* in which a situation is set; the background." Does this not obviously also entail OOC setting? OOC setting then, is also very important for the roleplay. As seen in chapter two, some failed attempts at describing roleplay actually described mediums or forms in which roleplay might occur. In other words, they described PARTS OF THE COMMON OOC SETTINGS.
The OOC setting of Geas includes, but is not limited to, the following:
The medium - a MUD game made in LPC.
The player/wizard division, with both groups having rather different OOC tasks - namely to RP and to code, respectively.
The rules (in 'help rules' and other helpfiles).
Most coded systems. The xdesc system is an OOC system which gives further possibility for IC action because it creates another opportunity to inform others of your character's state. The skill system is an abstraction representing a character's ability in a particular coded topic. The room system represents movement in an orderly fashion and describes what is immediately apparent - the content of the description is very much IC info, the actual rooms and movement between them are OOC abstractions/representations.
The forum is also part of the OOC setting of Geas - oft things discussed on the forums will lead to additions to OOC setting or IC setting.We see that setting can be divided into IC setting and OOC setting.
To roleplay, then, we need to keep in mind both the IC setting and the OOC setting, and how they influence one another. However, from our definition and examinations so far, it is not yet clear how one assumes or acts out a role yet. This is what we will look into next time...
Hugs and kisses,