gbsteve (gbsteve) wrote,

Are your games rituals?

I've seen a lot of posts around the place that posit the ritual nature of roleplaying sessions, something to which I don't subscribe. A ritual is a set of actions, performed mainly for their symbolic value, which is prescribed by a religion or by the traditions of a community.

I'm not talking about the psychological definition of ritual that pertains to OCD, I think Abe Bruno deals with those particular pathologies.

So whilst I understand the traditional element of group behaviour, particularly in long-standing groups or with people who conform to certain gamer stereotypes, I don't see that there's a symbolic value to the actions of the group. The value is explicit and immediate as actors and audience, not mediated via some symbol set.

That's not to say that you can't have ritual roleplay. I imagine all ritual involves some kind of roleplay, otherwise it would be difficult to appeal to the symbolic value, but I don't see that the other way holds unless the group is really aiming for that.

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