The ‘rules’ of a fictional universe – there’s never one definitive copy

Wrote this here and I thought it’d make good content on this blog as well. A poster talks about how players might cheat – which to my mind makes me think he’s not referring to players breaking rules from the rulebook, but ‘breaking’ the fictional rules as he sees them:

Cheat at what? Breaking the rules or breaking how the fictional world ‘aught’ to work? Roleplayers often seem to consider both as cheating, as if how the fictional world ‘aught’ to work is a set of rules as well – when really they all have one one single rulebook between them and in terms of fiction, multiple individual ideas of how the game world works, which may match in some ways but not in others. It always surprises me how roleplayers, upon finding a discrepancy between them in how they think the game world works, never seem to think ‘Damn, were all working from different fictional rules on this – lets all give up thinking the fiction is any sort of rule set we can adjudicate our activity by!’ and instead leap to thinking ‘He’s cheating!’. Cause we always think we make sense and it’s always the other guy who’s random/non sensical/cheating.

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