There’s an interesting article on RPGWatch about roleplaying, or the lack of it, in single-player RPG’s.

We’ve discussed this before. And it’s quite true that the typical RPG doesn’t allow much leeway for real roleplaying. As the article points out, in live RPG, it’s mostly in conversations that the players act out their roles.

Of course, there are actions as well. You could give “good” responses in conversations, then go around and slaughter innocents, game permitting. But it’s really the personal interaction that makes RPGs what they are.

I’ve seen this in the live games I’ve been in, including NWN online. Even with the most detailed design, there is no way to capture that in a solo RPG. At best, conversation choices fall into very broad categories of “good”, “neutral”, and “evil”, regardless of whether it’s a D&D product with “alignment”.

I think one of the more exasperating features is that everything is set beforehand. You can’t make any responses, or ask questions, of your own. This limitation can make it difficult, maybe impossible, to think of yourself as being “in character”.

Indeed, the article mentions that many solo RP’ers say they “play themselves”, and to an extent, I do it myself. There’s no way to add nuances, subtleties, to your character.

For example in the NWN online session where we were dealing with Shane, there was a point where Taralyn was becoming fed up (Shane can be a little trying at times). So I moved back a few steps and typed in something like: “*Taralyn steps back to cool off*”.

So that way I show she has patience, though not a lot, but yet has strength enough to keep in control. You can’t do that sort of thing in solo play.

The real question, though, is: in single RPG, does it really matter? Your character is the only actual person there. Everyone else is just a scripted nonentity. All the interaction has been determined ahead of time. RP here is just going through the motions.

Read the article and see what you think.

Where is The R in CRPG?