Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

Tabletop role-playing game characters: A transdisciplinary and autoethnographic examination of their function and importance
by Hall, Claudia, Ph.D., California Institute of Integral Studies, 2015, 276; 3743712
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation uses mythological studies, psychological ideas and sociological techniques to introduce the reader to the thesis that tabletop role-playing game (TRPG) characters are intricate, semi-independent personae of their players, who have the potential to be equal in influence to an individual’s other expressions of personality (e.g. employee, parent, friend, etc). TRPG characters, like all aspects of personality, exist at the junction of mythical, psychological, and sociological forces. Unlike other personae, TRPG characters exist within alternative realities deliberately crafted from heroic mythology, which feature group-centered behavior at their core.

By examining differences between character and player perspectives, especially the group based norm of heroism common across many kinds of TRPGs, the importance of studying TRPG characters as personae in their own right is emphasized. The dissertation concludes with ways for TRPG scholars to increase emphasis on TRPG character studies, and with ways for non-TRPG studies to benefit from an increased emphasis on personae play as an important aspect of psychosocial growth, especially with regard to how heroism is understood in American culture.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: McAuley, Charles
Commitee: Combs, Allen, Raskin, Jonah
School: California Institute of Integral Studies
Department: Transformative Studies
School Location: United States -- California
Source: DAI-B 77/06(E), Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Social psychology, Psychology, Sociology
Keywords: Gaming, Hero's journey, Heroism, Persona, Role-playing, Trpg
Publication Number: 3743712
ISBN: 978-1-339-36457-5
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