Characters in Roleplaying Games : a study of the bond created between player and character

University essay from Högskolan på Gotland/Institutionen för speldesign, teknik och lärande

Abstract:

The bond between player and character as perceived by many, in pen-and-paper roleplaying games, is unrivalled in its emotional strength. This is an opinion shared by many hardcore enthusiasts across the globe. Personally I have never achieved a connection to any digital character that even closely resembles the intense affection I have felt for my pen-and-paper characters, and this baffles me. The goal with this thesis is to try and find exactly what pen-and-paper roleplaying games do differently.

The method used is qualitative interviews with students at Gotland University. The participants are experienced roleplayers in both the analogue and digital form. With their help I try to identify the reasons to why players get attached to pen-and-paper characters more than digital ones. The literature revolves around roleplaying and how we identify with characters in other media as well. The result shows that there are four distinct reasons to why players get attached to characters.

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