1.2 Roleplaying and Mimesis

1) What is a role playing game?

A roleplaying game is where a number of people come together and agree to participate in the creation of a shared story. The participants adopt characters that have personalities, motivations and backgrounds different to their own. The participants include those who perform the acts of main characters and a Narrator who moderates the proposed actions in according to the setting and acts the role of the non-player characters. The creation of the story and its development is mediated by the game system.

Different moments in the direction of the story require the player to take a "director's stance" (making a choice of the player's volition), "possessor stance" (using the character like a unit in a game) and "author's stance" (making the most probable choice for the character).

As a whole, role-playing games is like improvised drama or free-form radio theatre, in which the participants are the actors who are playing parts.

2) What is Mimesis?

The Mimesis Role Playing Game in particular is a game of speculative simulation, set on a fantastic and explorative version of our own history and future possibilities. Mimesis is a game of heroic mythology and magical realism.

3) What is the player's purpose?

Roleplaying games have been used for vocational, educational and entertainment reasons for many decades. The purpose of the Mimesis is to help players understanding how others people think in different places and times. Further, it provides an avenue to engage in abstract modelling of the real world with the opportunity for theory. Finally, it provides an opportunity to understand literary models, cooperative story telling and in particular the narrative of heroic literature.

4) What is the character's purpose?

The purpose of Mimesis is to roleplay a heroic character in a setting chosen by the Narrator. A Heroic character is an individual in history who defies the norms of their society and faces dramatic existential challenges. The purpose of heroism is to transcend (and risk) normal life and establish new value systems for others to follow. Establishing new value systems allows the character to reach apotheosis (Moksha, Bodhi, Enlightenment), that is to achieve such things that they "become (like) a God".

5) What influenced on Mimesis?

There have been a number of roleplaying games prior to Mimesis that have influenced design decisions and directions in this game. "Dungeons and Dragons" established an emphasis on heroic activity and provided a basic scale and structure. "RuneQuest" contributed the importance of setting on character psychology and purpose. "GURPS (Generic Universal Role Playing System)" promoted plain-language, universality and "reality checking". Fudge contributed to skill depths and result levels. "Vampire: The Masquerade" gave an emphasis on story and player metanarrative input. "HeroQuest" provided the importance of narrativism design and flexibility in characteristics.

Boardgames also contributed, especially "Empires of the Middle Ages" for religious and cultural factors and the "Civilization" board and computer game for technological and institutional development. In the future, "War of Warcraft" for multiplayer online play.

There are also some core texts that helped promote the sense of historical accuracy and narrative flow. These include: H.G. Wells "Outline of History", J. Campbell "The Hero With A Thousand Faces", Jacob L. Moreno "Who Shall Survive?", Claude Levi-Strauss, "Structural Anthropology", Erich Auerbach, "Mimesis: The Representation of Reality in Western Literature", Jurgen Habermas "Communication and the Evolution of Society". Various Larousse Encyclopedias, Internet History Sourcebooks Project, and the better appropriate articles from Britannica and Wikipedia were also used throughout the text.