The Rolling Stories project is a design based project. It builds on the affordances of ‘pen and paper’ role playing games (TRPGs) as a medium of communication and connection.
TRPGs are social games in which participants take on a character and a role and describe their character’s actions in response to game events through speech. These games are played collaboratively face-to-face. A TRPG begins with a game world (typically presented as a game story world book), descriptions of characters that might be active in that world and a rule system that scaffolds the player’s activities within the game world. Participants describe the actions of their game characters based on their individualised character sheets and the outcomes of their decisions are randomized through throwing dice and calculated according to the formal rules of the game.
Use of role-play itself is not new in educational contexts, however the Rolling Stories project proposal is unique in the way that it deepens the opportunities of role-play by inviting participants to become ‘story world’ designers as well as players. The premise is simple: if playing a table-top RPG can be empowering, how much more powerful must the design of the story world be? What sorts of stories can be told through the design of the world?