roleplaying from a point of (un)certainty

Does everyone enjoy roleplaying? I don’t think so. I certainly know folks in my own gene pool who don’t.
I think there are those who like games, or like contests, or enjoy satisfying curiousity about whatever roleplaying might be. I’m not at all certain that folks who experience a good roleplay session will return for more. Many ardent gamers seem to think our hobby is inherently interesting and even addictive.
If I see a good sporting event, it doesn’t ensure I come back for more. I might appreciate the “one good time” from something I didn’t expect to like and leave it at that. Perhaps because I don’t understand the attraction to sporting events. It doesn’t push my buttons.


I don’t have a roleplaying manifesto.
I don’t have a certainty. I’m not convinced I have an uncertainty. However, I think that one of the things I need in my roleplay system is Certainty from which I can explore infinite Uncertainty.
This is how I play Amber, and how I played RP games before Amber. This is why RP games give you stats or attributes for your Character, so that you know what your PC can do.
I think the genius of the Amber DRPG (and to some extent Everway or other diceless games) is to give the Player solid Certainty about something their PC can do very very well and a few things they might do well, and then a whole lot of things they don’t know.
You could change the Attributes of Amber if you wanted to play another genre and have the same effect. Very competant Certainty with a campaign laid out to explore.
So you could run a Supers campaign where you built heroes by saying (to paraphrase Wolverine), “at what are you the best there is?” and let the PC be that with a theme and special effects dressing it up.
A game of spies, or cowboys, or computer crackers would work as well if you defined your conflicts so you could supply your Attributes. Amber DRPG does this (Strength, Warfare, Psyche, Endurance.) It also gives you reason to know, as your PC, who is likely to kick ass with other important issues that the game will conflict about.
Then the Players can explore the “gray conflict” unknowns that lie between the Certainty of the formal Attributes. The drama of Uncertainty.
Folks who love the dice react to that randomizer as being fair and producing uncertainty, tension, and drama. Amber DRPG does not define social skill, or charm, or evil, or beauty, or intelligence and so the Players are encouraged to arbitrate all these things within the dramatic concept of their PC.
All PCs are competant, and the drama is from Uncertainty of the contribution of play, the role, combined with the alchemy of the GM’s hand in the NPCs.
In a sense, I’m looking at the ADRPG backwards and saying by defining the few Certainties, you play out the drama in the areas of Uncertainty.
Enough babble.

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