... and the pigs who love them
"We love pigs." Imagine that as the rallying cry of people finding one another to enjoy their interest together.
Only then they might find ...
- Some of them love to kill, butcher, and roast pigs, and then fall to a joyous meal accompanied by side dishes and intoxicating beverages. - Some of them love to purchase and trade entertaining representations of pigs, whether china-glazed statuettes or photography or whatever. - Some of them love to house, breed, and raise pigs, habituating them to humans and distributing them to like-minded people as pets
Sincerely proclaiming "We love pigs" is not sufficient to ensure that any random grouping formed from these people will be able to have fun loving pigs together. Nor will it be functional for anyone to lay claim for their favored way to be the one-and-only way.
But that's what happened to the role-playing hobby. Somehow, "we love role-playing" is supposed to overcome any differences concerning why we play. And that is stupid, because it means that people get addled by the identity-issue of being a gamer and therefore suffer frustration and no fun because they keep trying to play with people with utterly different priorities (who are in exactly the same position). In trying to resolve it, their discussions instantly get bogged down with competing claims regarding who is or isn't the "real role-player" in the room.
What, you think there's more? There may well be. Long and brutal discussions at the Forge typically landed us back at these three, though.
No, not all at once, and not a little of each mixed together, either
One time at GenCon, this guy came up and belligerently insisted that the whole idea was bullshit, that in his game, all three priorities were evident. I asked him how that happened. Equally belligerently, he said, "By me running three separate games at the table at the same time!"
I can only spread my hands at that point.
The original terms proposed for a version of this idea were Gamism, Dramatism, and Simulationism (see the Threefold Model). This happened in a usenet group in the middle 1990s.
Later, different discussions resulted in some changes to their meanings (particularly regarding the role of systems) and in changing Dramatism to Narrativism; also this construction acquired the abbreviation "G/N/S" or "GNS." This happened at the Gaming Outpost and at Hephaestus' Forge, later renamed the Forge, from 1999 through about 2002.
The above points about how imagined events and role-playing procedures are tied together by these priorities have been discussed in detail since that time at the Forge and at some related sites such as Anyway, sometimes with reactive flare-ups at The RPG Site and RPG.net. The collective term Creative Agenda was coined in 2004.