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    Dark forests and doomed adventurers: an ecocritical reading of horror roleplaying games

    Germaine, Chloe ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-5187-8815 (2023) Dark forests and doomed adventurers: an ecocritical reading of horror roleplaying games. In: Generation Analog: the Tabletop Games and Education Conference 2021, 27 July 2021 - 28 July 2021, Online.

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    Abstract

    This paper explores the ecological potential of tabletop roleplaying games (TTRPGs) through a close reading of contemporary horror games. I argue that these games go beyond representing and mediating anxieties around ecological disaster. Instead, I propose that they offer a generative mode of collaborative worldbuilding in a time of climate crisis. I interrogate the ethics of TTRPGs through the lens of ecocriticism, identifying tensions between game texts and game play. These tensions exist between the expression of ecophobia—which tends to position nature as an antagonist—and the attribution of moral considerability and agency to the more-than-human world. Such tensions are productive and play out through collaborative storytelling techniques and ludic mechanics that invite players to reflect on the interrelationship between humans and the worlds in which they are embedded.

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