That Darn Fourth Wall

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At the Run Club on Sunday, we got into a bit of a discussion about breaking the fourth wall in rpgs. A DC Heroes adventure featuring Ambush Bug (that came with a mask so that the GM could pretend to be Ambush Bug escaped from the adventure) was prominently mentioned.

I’ve always been tickled by things that break the fourth wall. I saw Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind last week. They are a Chicago-based show which has no fourth wall, characters, or setting. I’m a fan.

I know that since the near-beginning of the hobby, it has been fairly popular to play yourself, thrust into a situation that changes you in some way. Villains and Vigilantes was a very early superhero rpg that made the assumption that you would, literally, be playing yourself (with powers). Then there was the D&D Cartoon. It wasn’t just old-school stuff, either. I can’t even imagine how many World of Darkness games started off with the players themselves becoming vampires, werewolves, mages, or whatever.

The thing I haven’t really seen, though, is a game in which the characters know (or could learn) that they are in fact fictional. I find this odd, particularly insofar a how it has become almost standard in many rpg sessions to make in-jokes about the rules and such.



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