New Directions in Australian Roleplaying

Don’t let the title fool you – I produced this seminar in 1991 and 1992, and preserve it here for historical interest as much as anything else. The second half contains plenty of practical tips for anyone writing or running a convention scenario, and these are as relevant as they ever were. I am grateful to Brian David Phillips at The Society for Interactive Drama (formerly Shakespeare Eclectic) for first publishing this paper to the web.

This essay is  flawed and outdated, but until I do a rewrite, its the best I can offer. I hope you find it useful.

New Directions in Australian Roleplaying: Style and Innovation in Roleplaying Design

Presented by John Hughes at the Second Roleplaying Forum, Sydney, May 1991. Updated slightly for Arcarnacon X, Melbourne July, 1992.

“Art must ultimately be valued because of its capacity to improve the quality of life– by increasing our sensitivity to others and our surroundings, by sharpening our perceptions, by reshaping our values so that moral and societal concerns take precedence over materialistic goals. Of all the arts, theatre has perhaps the greatest potential as a humanising force, for at its best it asks us to enter imaginatively into the lives of others so we may understand their aspirations and motivations. Through roleplaying, (either in daily life or in the theatre), we come to understand who and what we are and to see ourselves in relation to others. Perhaps most important, in a world given increasingly to violence, the value of being able to understand and feel for others as human beings cannot be overestimated, because violence depends on dehumanising others so that we no longer think of their hopes, aims and sufferings but treat them as objects to be manipulated or on whom to vent our frustrations. To know (emotionally, imaginatively, and intellectually) what it means to be human in the broadest sense ought to be one of the primary goals of both education and life; and for reaching this goal, no approach has greater potential than theatre, since humanity is its subject and human beings its primary medium.”

Oscar Brockett “The Essential Theatre”

The seminar is presented here in two parts:

Part One – Systemless Roleplaying: History and Definitions

Part Two – Systemless Games: Design and Presentation


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