The construction of LGBT+ identities in tabletop role-playing games

DAVIES, Samantha Louise (2021). The construction of LGBT+ identities in tabletop role-playing games. Masters, Sheffield Hallam University.

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Tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) provide a unique opportunity for the creation of LGBT+ characters and narratives. There is a gap in existing scholarship in this area, but the research that is available suggests that TTRPGs are likely to present LGBT+ themes in a manner that is biased to its authors views. This thesis aims to determine the ways in which TTRPGs engage with LGBT+ identities within their rulebooks, and the ways in which TTRPG players construct their LGBT+ characters as a result. This study utilises mixed methods research, combining analysis of rulebooks focused on queer theory and ludology, and a survey of existing TTRPG players in order to achieve the aims set out above. The result of this research primarily discusses a demographic of young, queer adults who have consistently played as at least one LGBT+ character within a TTRPG. Overall, this study found that indicates that the construction of LGBT+ identities within TTRPGs is ultimately a collaborative effort between the rules as written, and the player’s actionable usage of them within a game. With regards to the fluff reality of the game, this meant that players typically ignored game content in favour of creating their own, personalised lore to match their ideal game world. With regards to the mechanical reality of the game, this instead meant that, while rulebooks could provide a clear overview of the author’s intent towards the place of queer content within their game design, players could purposefully choose to ignore any information provided by the game, as they functioned as the final authority on what rules were allowed within the game.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Thesis advisor - Peplow, David [0000-0001-6535-8095]
Thesis advisor - Kramer, Kaley [0000-0003-0394-1554]
Thesis advisor - Downing, Niamh
Additional Information: Director of studies: Dr. David Peplow / Supervisors: Dr Kaley Kramer and Dr. Niamh Downing.
Research Institute, Centre or Group - Does NOT include content added after October 2018: Sheffield Hallam Doctoral Theses
Identification Number:
Depositing User: Colin Knott
Date Deposited: 31 Mar 2022 15:36
Last Modified: 03 May 2023 02:09

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