Shared Imagined Space

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You: She's sitting on the skeleton throne, with this huge filigreed crown thing that spreads back from her head like a peacock's tail. (You put on a haughty and terrifying expression.)

Me: I go up to her and kneel. And I'm gonna put my hand out to her, like this. (I gesture)

You: She ...

Other player: I totally cast Mind Screen on myself.

You: ... casts Enslavement! The spell surges over all of you.

Other player: Ha. I'm not enslaved.

Me: I am. Coooool.

You can include a whole bunch of dice or whatever mechanics are involved in getting all that to happen, so go ahead, according to whatever game you have in mind. Dial it back as well to the point when the one guy described the situation more fully, as in, the characters are in a cavern, or the catacombs, or maybe the ruler's chamber of a sorcerous tower. So the point is that we can all imagine what's going on, because we are saying stuff that happens, listening to one another, and acting upon what we hear.

That's the SIS: what we all hear each other say, about what's happening in this fiction we're making.

Don't make it complicated

It is not the totality of whatever a single person imagines, but rather the common and acknowledged information upon which everyone may build their personal imaginings. Some degree of consistency across persons is necessary, but not 100% consistency, and not any implied identical features.

The "shared" necessitates actual communication and contribution among the sharers to create that space. That's why I always try to say Shared Imagined Space rather than "imaginary." By using "imagined," I'm trying to turn it into more of a verb - that people actually have to do it, rather than receive it visually from (say) a screen.

Not to be confused with the term "Shared Imaginary Space" as variously used regarding other media.

Jargon

The fictional content of play as it is established among participants through role-playing interactions.

It's whatever is spoken aloud during a role-playing session and heard by the others present, which is then available for use and treated as a touchstone for what anyone may say next. "Imagined" is intended as the participle, not as an adjective, to connote the verbal and communicative qualities of the term. We share this content in order to imagine what is going on.

We all individually imagine (characters in settings, facing situations, having events happen, all very colorful). We communicate about this constantly in the understanding that each of our individual "experiences" are to be consistent with everyone else's. The extent to which we succeed is measured by how satisfying it is to continue the activity for whatever designated period, and that it doesn't break up due to misunderstandings and dissatisfaction.

Shared Imagined Space (SIS) is a near or total synonym for Exploration and in practice, seems to have replaced it as the primary term.

The term "Transcript" as a summary of the SIS after play didn't catch on. People typically speak of "the fiction" or even just "what happened."

Contrast with Murk.

Relevant links

Moreno Roncucci's historical summary, 2009 Who REALLY coined "Shared Imagined Space"?