Yesterday, I commented on an article on RPGwatch about roleplaying in single-player CRPG’s, and the valid points it brought forth. There were many excellent remarks from readers, which served to bring home the main issue: that solo RPG’s don’t really allow for much “being in character”.

Then I read Bruce’s very interesting article on role-playing, which contends there are multiple styles of play, especially as applied to live games with a DM, either online or off.

what it all comes down to is that roleplaying is really an illusion. Most adventures, campaigns or scenarios are already “fixed”, even with a live DM. Major incidents have been set up, and the DM is going to make sure they occur.

Of course, players in live games do have more leeway than in the computer kind. And sometimes dice rolls can bring about unexpected consequences. However, typically the DM will guide the players through to the desired conclusion, one way or another.

It is what happens along the way that creates the fun. Part of that is “roleplaying”, pretending to be someone you aren’t. So why not dispense with “roleplaying” and just be ourselves?

That would be tough in a fantasy setting. How many of us know how to swordfight? How many of us can cast spells? How many know how to disarm traps or pick locks?

A modern-day setting is no easier. I’ve used computers for many years, but I don’t have the least idea how to hack into one. If the adventure called for hacking skills, well, don’t ask me!

By creating these alternate personas, we give ourselves interesting and powerful abilities, plus the opportunity to act in ways that might be inappropriate or even illegal in the real world.

Which brings us back to the matter of solo CRPGs. As I note from some of the comments to the previous post, a lot of this roleplaying is completely imaginary. It takes place mainly in the player’s mind, and has little or no effect on the game world itself.

In fact, it usually can’t affect the world outside the limitations set by the designers. This is likely the reason that many players say they “play themselves” in the sense of personality. There isn’t much reason to do otherwise.

So in both types of games, live and computer, there isn’t too much difference, as far as roleplaying goes. It’s just that, with other real people, there’s more fun to it.