On Narrative

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Note to the Orcs: Yes, it is relevant to RPGs, thus it is posted here.

First, a pair of links.

Google: Narrative

Wikipedia: Narrative

The first is the search page I got when I looked for the keyword, "narrative." The second is the Wikipedia page on "narrative." There are more web pages on the subject, and the ones I looked at all had pretty much the same thing to said. In no case did they say anything about roleplaying games and narrative. Maybe down near the bottom of the list you'll find pages that include RPGs as including narrative of some sort, but not at the top.

That's the thing about roleplaying games, strictly speaking narrative is not involved. During play the players are roleplaying---that is to say, acting. During play the moderator is giving a description of the area, the inhabitants, and the action. While it may sound like a narrative to you, it's really a description, and that's something entirely different. Dramatic tropes do play a role in the game, and that is a topic for later, but narrative plays no role, none at all.

And plus, don't remind me that I'm not using narrative the way some do it. You're talking about a new description of the word, I'm using a much older one. Edwards description of "narrative" is something he concocted out of whole cloth so he could dress the' hobby in robes of importance and refinement. Clothing it doesn't really need. There is no need to make RPGs into something they're not, when they are a remarkable thing already. What's so remarkable about RPGs? Give me some time to think and I'll tell you.
One dagger is a plot point. A thousand daggers is inventory. Thank you for disrailing this thread.
At it's most basic level you'd be right, that role-playing games lack narrative. The thing is that, good moderators do more than just give descriptions of the action. They plan and anticipate and create paths of events.

A story doesn't have to have a narrative, it can be just descriptions of stuff and the same is true for role-playing games. Most one-shot adventures lack any narrative if taken by themselves. It's the sequence of events that creates the narrative, the story greater than the sum of it's parts. It's that shining moment when you realize that as a DM you've been writing the PCs just as much as you've written the setting because the players have developed the characters in reaction to what you've done.

When you've got an advantage of cunning and planning over players, then you can lead them through a narrative just like you were writing them themselves. Good writers talk about characters that do things on their own without the writer's input. Creating a narrative with a role-playing game is similar, there's just more rules and less questioning your own sanity.
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