Exploration

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We're role-playing! That means sitting around and talking about some imaginary stuff. We have to be describing characters in some kind of universe who are at this moment facing some kind of hassle, and we do things at the table to make things happen to them and stuff they do. A lot of the time, we do this vividly.

Those things do have a nice relationship to one another, for instance. The hassle is usually a nice trainwreck of the facts that these characters are specifically in this spot at this time, and the things that happen are basically the hassle getting worse or coming to an end. And without all the vividness about any and all of this, we wouldn't be having as much fun.

A good way to look at it is that Exploration is the medium of the activity, like canvas and paints and visual reception are the medium of painting. A given group uses its own unique blend or composition for the components of Exploration, just like a painter uses his or her own set of paints and other physical things. See also Shared Imagined Space, which emphasizes the communicative process at work and in practice is the same thing.

Diagram

Exploration components

Situation occurs when Character(s) are in some specific location and moment in the Setting

System is used to make the Situation change; in a given instance of play, it contains a whole bunch of specific Techniques.

Ephemera are the moment-to-moment, on-and-off practical realities of the Techniques, whether cognitive, verbal, or manipulating objects.

Color makes anything and everything about this more vivid and therefore more easy to imagine and share among everyone.

Jargon

The imagination of fictional events, established through communicating among one another. Exploration includes five Components: Character, Setting, Situation, System, and Color. See also Shared Imagined Space (a near or total synonym). Exploration is maintained through the application of the Lumpley Principle.

The term was originally proposed by the Scarlet Jester as a distinct Creative Agenda, but discussions showed that no form of role-playing lacked what he was talking about. The essay [GNS and other matters of role-playing theory] introduced the idea that it represented the medium rather than the goal of play.