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In tabletop role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons players collaboratively and improvisationally create and explore imagined worlds primarily constructed through speech. In this episode Nicholas Mizer explores what it means to bring those imagined worlds into the shared space of play. Through interviews and recordings of games sessions with a dungeonmaster names Liz Larsen, he explores the importance of what Liz calls “color, song, and choice diction,” for kidnapping this reality with the imagined one. This podcast investigates the often sonic and synesthetic methods needed for conjuring these fantastic realities.
Nicholas Mizer is an anthropology PhD candidate at Texas A&M University.Besides role-playing games his research interests include folklore, mythology, ritual, phenomenology, interpretive anthropology, performance studies, and geek culture. His dissertation explores how players of tabletop role-playing games collaboratively experience imagined worlds. He is an editor for The Geek Anthropologist and produces Spot Check, a Youtube series about his research on gaming.
Featured image “Map of Nabonidus IV” by Liz Larken. Used with permission by the author.
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