Fan fiction and tabletop roleplaying

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by Katana_Geldar, May 18, 2009.

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  1. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    This is something we've been discussing in the social thread, but I am interested in getting comments from other ficcers as the two fan activities are rather strongly linked.

    I wrote fan fiction long before I started GMing, and once I could "get" the basic mechanics of the game (something I am still "getting") I could approach it like a fan fiction story...sort of. As when you plan a campaign it's not just about you, but the characters the players bring to the table. This makes it more fun and I'd imagine gaming sessions would be great inspiration for fan fiction.

    So any thoughts? I have heard that some hard-line gamers don't agree with this, but both are about bringing your own contributions to a franchise and they have similar pitfalls. Sueishness and all that.
  2. whiskers

    whiskers Jedi Grand Master star 4

    May 19, 2005
    I agree that RPGs can provide a wealth of material for a fan fiction writer. Heck, most of my original characters (at least the leads) have been RPG characters that crossed over, if you will (it's easier when you mainly play Star Wars RPGs.)
  3. earlybird-obi-wan

    earlybird-obi-wan Chosen One star 6

    Aug 21, 2006
    My KoTOR2 character became one of the inspirations for a character and his name in my fics
  4. ardavenport

    ardavenport Jedi Grand Master star 4

    Dec 16, 2004
    I would think that games like that would be more like writing a chain story, with the game-master leading the action. The difference between role-playing and fanfic can be small, but I think that role-playing would be best done with everyone face-to-face to keep the energy going.

    If there were any gaming opportunities around here, I'd want to do it in costume. [face_mischief] Any excuse to dress up. :D
  5. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    Also, because so many critical things hang on the roll of a dice, it has that random element. Imagine a major PC dying in a pivotal point of the story due to an epic failure! Very Star Wars

    That's not really what I meant.

  6. moosemousse

    moosemousse CR Emeritus: FF-UK South star 6

    Oct 3, 2004
    I know there's a fantasy series based on an RPG game that some guys had. One of them literally just transcribed the whole game and sent it to a publisher, the publisher wanted more so the group got back together to finish the whole game off. It did really well, iirc, though I can't remember what it's called.
  7. Commander-DWH

    Commander-DWH Manager Emeritus star 4

    Nov 3, 2003
    Computer RPGs are a whole world apart from tabletop RPGs. Like I said over in the social thread, I never took part in the tabletop activities, because I just didn't have the time I know I would have ended up giving to it. But they give you whole realms of freedom a CRPG can never give you. The main problem with a CRPG is space. Your computer limits how much freedom you can have, how many endings there can be, how many characters can join in on your escapades, what you're even allowed to say, etc. Not to say a tabletop has no rules to that effect, but a good GM can roll with most of what you throw at them.

    I'd love to do it myself one day. Unfortunately, a) I don't know that many Star Wars nerds in my new town yet, and b) I have no life until this production wraps. But there is a KOTOR RPG book that I'm totally picking up, if only for my own evil fanficcing purposes. :D
  8. Kynstar

    Kynstar Jedi Knight star 5

    Mar 2, 2004
    Oh awesome subject! I've done something similar to this (and still do once in a while). I write the story (leaving plenty of openings; because your party don't always go the way that the GM wants them too [face_laugh]) and make it a campaign. Sometimes I have written a story after a campaign (with the approval of the other players of course to use their PCs [player characters] as the main characters in the storyline) based on one of the characters' point of view. Even have done it as a diary format.

    It takes a lot of note taking (if you're a player and do a story off of it) to do this; I was a player character and made a diary format from one of our long campaigns.

    Great fun if you have the patience and time :D
  9. Danaan

    Danaan Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 23, 2008
    Since I'm fairly new to fanfiction writing, I haven't done alot of this. But I'm an old hand at table-top RPG and did, in fact, get fairly far in transcribing a campaign back in high school. What stuck with me from that time is that, yes, the two forms are quite compatible, and that what can really be gained from this kind of exercise (and some of my future writing projects for these forums involve doing just this) is a really great dialogue - the spontaneity really comes across well, and since the players only focus on one character at a time, the personalities really comes through, too. The drawbacks have to do with story and pacing, in my experience.

    First of all, around the table, there'll be a fair bit of compromising simply because we're all friends who want to have fun together. Sometimes, that will lead to compromises to keep the characters together that might not be terribly believable for an audience. The same thing applies to pacing. So there is still a fair amount of adaptation to be done between the two forms. But it can be a lot of fun, and I plan to keep doing it. If nothing else, it's a great way for the players to feel that the experiences don't just evaporate once you leave the table, but that there is something permanent left behind. And that is always fun.
  10. Jade_Max

    Jade_Max Jedi Grand Master star 5

    Jun 28, 2002
    Actually, this is true for more than a couple of the main line fantasy series out there. Most of them, if you read the author's notes, actually started around a table with the characters having been played by the authors.

    DragonLance, Forgotten Realms, Dark Sword - just to name a few... it all depends on how much detail you taken when it comes to your notes.

    As someone who is an avid gamer, I admit to using our sessions as a way to come up with wacky and spontaneous dialogue, random ideas for how to beat certain impasses and even characters and traits you wouldn't normally see. RPGs are a great source of inspiration, though I've never transcribed a game into story format - and my players keep asking me to. Of course... our games tend to be pretty far out there which is only one reason I've never done it - that and my players would -never- keep things PG lol!
  11. mavjade

    mavjade It's so FLUFFY! Fanfic Manager star 6 Staff Member Manager

    Sep 10, 2005
    As I said in the social thread, I know several GM's who adamantly disagree with the statement that RPing and fanfic are similar. To me, RPG's are kind of like round robin fic but with the element of randomness and surprise where no one knows exactly what will happen next, not even the GM (especially if your players are as random as we are ;) ).

    RPG's can definitly make for great fanfic, as long as the people who created the characters don't mind you using them because like fanficers, they put a lot of work and heart into those characters.

    I've been working on making a campaign I participated into a fanfic but it is pretty difficult in some ways. While I take extensive notes (so we remember what happens from week to week) so much happens (and since you don't exactly have complete creative license if your trying to keep it true to the campaign) it's hard to remember everything, weed out somethings that maybe weren't that important and make sure you tell a story that would be interesting to people that weren't there.

  12. Sinrebirth

    Sinrebirth Mod-Emperor of the EUC, Lit, RPF and SWC star 9 Staff Member Manager

    Nov 15, 2004
    Considering that I actually tied up the ending of one of my roleplaying games set up over in the RPF boards in a massive fanfiction, with the permission of all thirty-odd of the players, I think it can be very well done. It was only ten chapters long, but it set up events after the roleplaying game covered by canon - the game was set in (and called) 128 ABY, and covered the entire year to the beginning of 129 ABY, where the fanfic finished off things for them.
  13. Danaan

    Danaan Jedi Master star 4

    Apr 23, 2008
    With regards to note-taking, I'd highly recommend recording the gaming sessions, with the player's permission, of course. I use one of those digital recorders - excellent sound and they're small enough to not be conspicious.
  14. SithGirl132

    SithGirl132 Jedi Master star 4

    Dec 6, 2005
    I only recently started RP'ing, but I too notice the parallels. I consistently feel like when I'm making OC's, I create them based off of how I'd create a character in an RPG. Gaming seems a lot like a collaborative fic, and I totally understand the link.
  15. Katana_Geldar

    Katana_Geldar Jedi Grand Master star 8

    Mar 3, 2003
    Also, when people collaborate on plot you can have a much more widely varied story. Say a simple plan as opposed to a very complicated one, it works as I think several people are working on it.
  16. Thumper09

    Thumper09 Force Ghost star 4

    Dec 9, 2001
    I didn't used to be into fanfic. Then years ago I created an RPG (tabletop) character specifically for a weekend gaming session. Essentially every fanfic I've written since then has been about what that character did before the events in the gaming session took place. I completely owe my fanfic obsession to RPGs.

    Like others have already mentioned, there are a lot of similarities and differences between the activities.

    I learned a lot about characterization from roleplaying, and especially about keeping it consistent. In my tabletop groups, you get instant feedback if another player or the GM thinks you're not acting in-character, whether it's regarding your class, alignment, or personality. :p

    I also found out how seemingly benign actions can have a waterfall of consequences that might not be apparent at first or that might happen behind the scenes. That's helped me with working out story plots.

    I love using the character generator chapters in RPG sourcebooks to help come up with different traits, quirks and backgrounds for my OCs.

    In my experience, different types of characters are sometimes better suited for each activity. I love writing about introspective characters because it's easier to delve into their minds and motivations on paper, but I've never had good luck with introspective characters in an RPG. The RPGs I've played in have required outgoing, make-things-happen characters in order to advance the game and not let the character get lost in the background while the other players press forward. But my gaming groups have been very outgoing as well, so it's a matter of keeping up with them.

    I agree with Danaan that sometimes the ways an RPG will have to contort to "keep the party together" due to out-of-character reasons will not always translate well into a written fic where only in-character reasons are seen.

    The random element the dice give RPGs is great for twists and turns and thinking on your feet as a player and coming up with inventive solutions together, but as a writer that "lack of control" over the outcome makes me nervous. :p

    I tried writing a diary and transcribing the first D&D campaign I ever played in, and it was lots of fun, but it took much, much too long for me. Before long even trying to type the outline of an 8-hour gaming session from my handwritten notes got to be too much for me to do.
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