The Five Foundations

I thought I should outline the beliefs underlying most of my opinions about roleplaying, interactive storytelling, etc. While the main goal of this blog is to showcase the creative process of developing roleplay concepts (of varying complexity), I have no doubt I’ll dip a toe into opinion writing from time to time. I’m a pretty opinionated guy, after all!

These are the foundational assumptions that inform my worldview (regarding roleplay not, like, my entire worldview). Even if I don’t do a lot of essay writing, these are the pillars I return to again and again when doing development work, so putting them up here somewhere is probably a good idea.

For lack of a better name, I’m calling them the Five Foundations (because I like to name things):

  • There is a real and significant distinction between IC (in-character) and OOC (out-of-character), and both must be considered for a roleplaying environment to be successful
  • The two pillars of interactive storytelling are narrative and authenticity, and the quality of a work is typically a measurement of how well it balances between the two
  • The subtext of a written work is just as important (and arguably more important) than the text of the same work
  • Online communities will naturally gravitate toward being systemically toxic if left to their own devices
  • Authorial intent is irrelevant

I recognize these are all subjective opinions, and I’ll probably write about each one in greater depth when I feel like it. I’m open to discussing them to a point (depending on my mood at any given time), but I also don’t really consider them debatable – these are what I believe, after lifetime of activity in online communities. Anyone who wants to prove I’m wrong to believe these things (or even worse, expects me to prove to them that I’m right to believe them), please don’t waste my time or yours with that shit.