I'm interested in the process of using role-playing table top games to workshop scenes and characters in novels. I've found it quite hard to find critical materials on role-playing games in general and I'm struggling to believe that there isn't a whole set of academics that spend their lives looking into this.

So - are there any academic conferences slash journals that focus on the social mechanics of role playing game groups?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Hi Joe, When you say "Social Mechanics" are you referring to game play mechanics? Or theories on how social interaction between the players themselves work? (A quick google returns this paper so I'm sure with a little more time you could get plenty back. What is it you're aiming to investigate? \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 12:23
  • \$\begingroup\$ @LioElbammalf - specificity not the game play mechanics - I'm interested in the social aspects around teamwork and creating a narrative. \$\endgroup\$
    – Joe
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 13:05
  • \$\begingroup\$ Social mechanics of RPG are the topic of some psychologic journal essays. \$\endgroup\$
    – Trish
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 13:46
  • \$\begingroup\$ Google Scholar search for "table top" and "role-playing game" gives >1,400 results. \$\endgroup\$
    – Lexible
    Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 23:21
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    \$\begingroup\$ For work from the 90's you might look through Interactive Fantasy Magazine. All four issues of its short print run are available at DriveThruRPG. No affiliation. \$\endgroup\$
    – Kirt
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 5:42

2 Answers 2


Begin your research with former site moderator Brian Ballsun-Stanton.

Brian Ballsun-Stanton is a former moderator of this site, and he is an accomplished philosopher and sociologist. His profile links two papers that may be of particular interest to you:

This first paper references another article that may be of interest:

The bibliographies of these papers should give you a good place to start your research.

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    \$\begingroup\$ While bibliographies carry a risk of following an academic echo chamber they are definitely a good place to start, +1 \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 12, 2023 at 13:25
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    \$\begingroup\$ What ever happened to him? He just sort of vanished after producing some of the best answers on the site. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 17:14
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    \$\begingroup\$ @TimothyAWiseman, he failed a will save against geas and had to do a lecture series in the astral plane. \$\endgroup\$
    – Freiheit
    Commented Jul 13, 2023 at 19:32

The International Journal of Roleplaying sounds like an excellent launching point; a paper on The Invisible Rules of Role-Playing: The Social Framework of Role-Playing Process sounds relevant to you.


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