chapter  21
15 Pages

Role-Playing Games as Subculture and Fandom

WithEsther MacCallum-Stewart, Aaron Trammell

This chapter examines role-playing games (RPGs) as a subculture and fan activity. It defines some of the key terms needed to understand these ideas, providing a brief overview of relevant schools of thought and linking these theories to RPGs. The chapter focuses on how and where subcultural and fan practices take place and discusses whether RPG communities identify themselves as a subculture or not. Sub-cultures must exhibit a distinctive enough shape and structure to make them identifiably different from their 'parent' culture. They must be focused around certain activities, values, certain uses of material artefacts, territorial spaces etc. which significantly differentiate them from the wider culture. There is a great deal of overlap between the theories and work examining subcultures and fan studies. This includes some of the critical terms and concepts used as well as studies that assume fans exist within their own subcultures.