Monday, 23 February 2009

Theorising Playstyles: Ron Edwards Eat Your Heart Out

There are a lot of theories about roleplaying which are essentially nonsense. Jeff Rients has by far and away the best way of categorising games. Here's my nonsense way of categorising players. It's a little like a collection of Derridian dichotomies through which can be revealed profound instabilities, heirarchies and dualities within ones paticular gaming nomo; or, if you prefer, four questions which you have to answer in order to get a snappy or not so snappy acronym.

1. Are you a Creator or a Goer? That is, if you are a DM do you spend ridiculous amounts of time cateloging your game world right down to the different varities of cheese produced in the Barony of Du Pres, or do you just start off with a village and a dungeon and see what happens? If you are a player, do you think deeply and carefully about your equipment and skills to make sure they fit exactly with your character's background and the campaign setting as a whole, or do you just call your guy Bob Thunderfist the Dwarf Fighter and give him an axe and a lantern and fluency in Goblin?

2. Are you an Iconoclast or are you Easily lead? Do you revel in the obscure, the old, or the downright crap, and sit in a corner paging through a faded copy of Knights and Barbarians and Legerdemain while everybody else has a great time with D&D 4e? Or do you fall head over heels for every new release that has people talking, and immediately declare everything that went before a pale shadow of an imitation of the Brave New World - until, that is, the new flavour of the month comes along?

3. Are you a Monogamist or a Slut? Do you shudder at the very thought of playing something other than Shadowrun, or do you have an entire bookcase full of games, most of which you've barely read, let along played?

4. Are you a Fantasist or a Protestant? As a player, do you want to play kick-ass characters who can beat air-to-air missiles out of the sky with their fist and seduce a supermodel? Or do you prefer being a flawed anti-hero pissant who can only survive due to your wits and the good will of the Dice Gods? As a DM, do you want to facilitate the former or make things difficult for the latter?

I'm a CISP. Watch out if you're a Goer-Iconoclast-Monogamist-Protestant.


  1. Are you a Front-Loader or an Optimist?

    Do you think character personality and story arc need to be planned by GM or players before you even start playing, or do you assume that after a few hours your character will develop a perosnality and some things'll have happened, so, hey, relax.

  2. I gotch'er GISPO right here, screwheads! ;)

  3. I was momentarily afraid I was going to be a GIMP(O) - but, thankfully, I fall under Fantasist. GISF(O) may not be a "snappy acronym," but I'm good with that! :)

  4. Love the post, noisms, though you may want (I may want) to change the categries - I'm (apparently) an iconoclastic protestant slut who's a bit of a goer.

    Come to think of it, that's a character right there. Possibly Call of Cthulhu.

  5. GESF(O) here.

    (Going all Serious Cat for a moment, I wonder if one could find more GM:s among C**P(F):s. Though I'm a wannabe GM, and I'm none of those letters.)

  6. CISP(O) as well. Interesting to see the range of combinations--I like this system very much. Between this and Rients's Retro-Stupid-Pretentious triwheel, all the bases have been covered I'd say.

  7. GISF(O) -- but not strongly in any categroy but S.

    And now I want to do a huge study comparing this index to Meyers-Briggs. Just 'cause.

  8. GISP(O) myself.

  9. ISPO.

    Not sure if the first letter is C or G. Mostly G most of the time. Like, I like C and F when I do them, but that's because sometimes I just like imagining the world and drawing dungeons. The ISP is strong, the G and O weak.

    I'm a Meyers-Briggs INTJ if we really do want to correlate.


  10. I'm a CIMF and a INTP in the MB test.

  11. If only I had the time, I'm sure I could write a Ph.D comparing my system with the Meyers-Brigg. If only.

  12. "I'm a doctor . . . of personality quizzes." Awesome.

    I'd be surprised if it wasn't mostly INTP, ENTP, and INTJ. Y'know, systems geeks.