2012 Student Research Conference:
25th Annual Student Research Conference

Oh Frank? He's a Dragon: An Exploration of the Formation of Folk Groups Through Role-Playing Games
Laura A. Wellington
Dr. Priscilla Riggle, Faculty Mentor

World of Warcraft. Magic the Gathering. Dungeons and Dragons. These role-playing games have, since their inception, represented a stereotype of their players represent the epitome of antisocial interaction. Until now, there has been little to dispel this negative stereotype among non-participants. Part of the problem lies in the insularity of the games; there is little crossover between players and non-players. Over the course of a semester, I engaged in participant-observer research of a role-playing game and learned how a role-playing group functions as a folk group with its own, very social culture. I discovered three meta-layers of social interaction that naturally occur throughout a game session. Ultimately, I discovered that, contrary to the stereotype, game players learn a great deal about social interaction and must draw upon their understanding of human connection as an essential part of game play.

Keywords: Folklore, RPG, Role-playing, Folk Group, Social Interaction, Gaming


Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 412-1
Location: VH 1324
Time: 2:30

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