The Legend of the Fiction Campaign
January 04, 2011
Based on a true story.
Once upon a time there was a non-fiction role-playing game entitled Only a Game, in which a verbose rambler wittered on about whatever happened to be on his mind. After a while, a small crowd of strange and wonderful people began to participate in the Game and in April 2006, nine months after it began, the rambler held a campaign discussing the metaphysical elements of science and religion. This Metaphysics Campaign ran for seven months, and provoked a lot of intense discussion.
In May the following year, the Game launched into a second thematic exploration entitled the Ethics Campaign. This went on for nine months, but was a much more demanding process on account of the higher standard of writing the rambler held himself too by this point in his life. When it concluded, a new campaign was putatively announced to begin in 2009, and it was suggested that this probably wouldn't be the originally intended Narrative Campaign that would have completed the original trinity of themes based upon a definition of religion as comprising essentially of metaphysics, ethics and a central narrative or mythology.
The seasons came and went, but still no new campaign. It seemed as if the players of the non-fiction role-playing game had drifted away, and the rambler was becoming ever more swept into carefully orchestrated set pieces such as a serial on the metaphysics of Michael Moorcock, and another on religion in science fiction. Perhaps he was no longer interested in campaigns any more... The players soon forgot about the promised new campaign, and went about their business elsewhere on the internet, frittering away their time on social networks or being sucked into the fictional worlds of whatever games had attracted their attention.
Finally, three years after the second campaign had concluded, there was a abrupt transformation in the rambler's thinking brought about by a serial concerning the role of make-believe in fiction. Fiction could be understood as a game of make-believe, and this, it transpired, had all kinds of consequences that required careful pondering. The rambler realised that if there was going to be another major campaign, it wouldn't be about narrative so much as it would be about fiction, and that in many respects the fiction campaign had already began – it just hadn't been formally announced.
But what of the legend that if the final campaign were to come to pass it would mean the end of Only a Game? Was this just a myth, or was it some kind of mysterious prophecy? No-one knows for certain. But the rambler had come to realise that nothing is just a myth, just as nothing is only a game. But what the strange folktale about the end of the Game meant, well, that was not so easy to guess, and there was really only one way to find out: to play the final campaign, and to discover what would happen...
Welcome to the Fiction Campaign.
Some of us are still around and haven't drifted away. Speaking solely for myself, I find that in many cases I'm a) out of my depth, b) having to remember points across a 23-part serial with which I'm unfamiliar, and/or c) so far at odds with your axioms that anything I say is probably meaningless in this conversation as it presupposes a different way of looking at the world.
Posted by: Peter Crowther | January 11, 2011 at 09:32 PM
There are a few stalwarts, such as yourself, of course, and you are all greatly treasured. But I think it's safe to say that we have had a lot of people drift away. Besides, I was going for whimsical narration in this piece. ;)
As for your converse axioms, I take your point, but I usually enjoy engaging with your perspective all the same. :)
Posted by: Chris | January 12, 2011 at 10:57 AM