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    What does literate mean in RP games?

    Literate in the context of text-based roleplaying games (RPGs) refers to a preference or requirement for players who are literate and fluent in the game’s primary language.

    This ensures that participants can effectively communicate, understand complex narratives, and contribute detailed, well-constructed responses.

    Literacy in this context goes beyond basic reading and writing skills; it encompasses a deeper understanding of language nuances, storytelling elements, and the ability to engage with the narrative creatively.

    Historically, the term has evolved from traditional roleplaying games to online forums and multiplayer text-based games. In these settings, literacy is key to maintaining the quality and depth of the game narrative and interaction among players.

    Literate FAQs

    What is the importance of being literate in text-based RPGs?

    Being literate in the game’s primary language directly affects the quality of the game’s narrative and the enjoyment of all participants. Literate players can craft detailed, immersive, and coherent storylines, making the game more engaging and fulfilling for everyone involved.

    How does literate differ from semi-literate in RPGs?

    Literate denotes a community of players who can write complex, detailed posts, often with a high level of grammar and storytelling skill. Their characters are often deep and possess realistic flaws and limitations.

    In a semi-literate game, players are capable of writing decently but might not achieve the same depth or detail. However, using terms like “semi-literate” and “illiterate” to describe other players can be offensive and exclusionary and should be avoided.

    Can a player become more literate in RPG contexts?

    Yes, a player can become more literate in RPG contexts by practicing their writing, reading extensively, participating in more games, and learning from feedback. Improvement comes from actively engaging with the community and striving for clearer, more detailed, and imaginative writing.

    Do all RPGs require players to be literate?

    No, not all RPGs require players to be literate. The requirement depends on the type of game and the community surrounding it. Some games may cater to less literate players or focus more on gameplay mechanics than narrative.

    What other types of literacy are there in text-based roleplaying games?

    In text-based roleplaying games, literacy extends beyond just being able to write and read in the game’s primary language. Here are some other types of literacy that can enrich the experience:

    • Emotional Literacy: This involves understanding and effectively expressing one’s own emotions, as well as empathizing with the emotions of other characters. It helps in creating deep, nuanced characters and in responding appropriately to in-game situations.
    • Cultural Literacy: This is about understanding and respecting the diverse backgrounds and experiences of other players. It helps in creating inclusive environments and in crafting characters and storylines that are respectful and authentic.
    • Genre Literacy: Being familiar with the conventions, tropes, and styles of the specific genre of the RPG, such as fantasy, science fiction, or horror. This helps players create fitting characters and storylines, and contribute appropriately to the shared narrative.
    • Narrative Literacy: This refers to understanding how stories are structured and how they flow. This includes knowledge of pacing, tension, character development, and plot development. It aids in contributing effectively to the collaborative storytelling process.

    Improving these literacies can lead to a more fulfilling and immersive roleplaying experience for everyone involved.

    Can using the term “literate” be offensive?

    Yes, the term can be offensive because it implies that those who do not meet a certain standard of writing are “illiterate” in the traditional sense, which can be disrespectful and discouraging, especially to players for whom English is not their first language or those with dyslexia or other learning differences.

    Other ways to communicate that the game prefers literate players include:

    • “Detailed storytelling”: This term focuses on the storytelling aspect rather than the player’s language skills, emphasizing the narrative contribution rather than grammatical perfection.
    • “Descriptive participation”: This alternative highlights the importance of contributing vivid descriptions and details without implying a judgment on the player’s overall literacy.
    • “Narrative-rich” or “narratively engaged”: These phrases denote a high level of involvement in storytelling and character development without making literacy the central focus.
    • “In-depth roleplaying”: This term shifts the focus to the depth of character portrayal and plot contribution, rather than writing skill alone.
    • “Collaborative storytelling proficiency”: This phrase underscores the cooperative aspect of RPGs and focuses on the ability to work effectively with others in creating a shared narrative.

    Myths about literate games

    There are several myths about games that label themselves as literate. One common misconception is that literate games are elitist or exclusive. While literate games do have higher standards for writing and roleplaying, they are generally welcoming and encourage growth in one’s skills.

    Another myth is that one has to be a professional writer to join literate games; in reality, enthusiasm and a willingness to improve are often more important than one’s current skill level.

    Literate game examples

    • In a literate-tagged RPG forum, a player may write a detailed post describing their character’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings, enriching the game’s narrative.
    • A literate game may involve complex world-building, where players contribute in-depth backstories and settings that are woven into the main narrative.
    • Players in a literate RPG might engage in intricate plot development, using subtleties of language and character development to advance the story.

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    About the author

    Andruid is a writer, roleplayer, storyteller, and nerd who tries to live by Bill and Ted wisdom, i.e. "Be excellent to each other."