What's the appeal of spectating games? - Audiences get to enjoy two parallel levels of story and character development - the players and their characters.--- There's a parallel here with the improv concept of the Second Story. The First Story is the one the improvisers are telling, the Second Story is the story of the performance coming together.- It's like watching a movie with the commentary track switched on. As well as enjoying the story, audiences can enjoy insight into its construction, the creative decisions behind it, why it goes down certain paths and not others.--- Performers switching in and out of character, sometimes seamlessly, is one of the things that distinguishes a performed game from a traditional theatre performance.--- Audiences get to watch a tight-knit group of people discover a story together - emphasis on *discover*. Speaking of which...- Roleplaying game rules almost always include elements of chance and uncertainty. Audiences can enjoy the thrill of knowing that no one - not themselves, and not even the performers - know for sure what will happen next.--- Part of the enjoyment can be wondering whether the players will 'win', a bit like the appeal of watching sporting events.----- It's interesting that in improv, it's generally bad form for one performer to try to 'win' the scene, while in the improv-heavy roleplaying game Fiasco, it's an integral rule that each scene has a 'winner'.----- A question directors sometimes ask actors is "What game are you playing in this scene?" - which could be interpreted as "How will you know if you've won?"--- Game rules provide uncertainty, but within knowable bounds. Audiences know a dice roll could determine whether a character lives or dies, but usually a dice roll can't completely upend the setting (Darth Vader probably won't show up in a Dungeons & Dragons game as a result of a failed roll, for example). Game rules help balance creativity, exploration and the unexpected with a level of comfort and security.- It allows audiences to feel part of the performers' gaming group.--- Roleplaying game groups share a connection; people enjoy watching them play because they're seeking that kind of connection themselves.--- It can be a stand-in for people who would like to play roleplaying games themselves, but can't access that experience right now, because of logistics or other reasons.--- Players can role-model 'good' roleplaying for audiences - in terms of correctly applying the rules, or showing respect at the table, or skilfully inhabiting a character, or showing what good game group culture looks like, or some mixture of all of these.- Does an audience member have to understand the rules of the game being played to enjoy spectating the game? In order to enjoy watching a game, do audiences need to be as emotionally invested in the rules as they are in the action/characters/story?--- The rules provide another element that audiences *can* invest in (for example, by anticipating players' next moves, or knowing when the rules dictate that the character has little chance of success). There can even be elements of dramatic irony when an audience member knows a rule that could help a player out, but the player forgets it in the heat of the moment.--- Understanding the rules allows the audience to appreciate the players' skill - again, a bit like watching a sport.----- In established live shows like Questing Time and Critical Role, this leads to that unique form of heckle: the rules heckle ("You forgot to roll a concentration check!" "You should have cast Hunter's Mark first!"). Rules heckles are acceptable at Questing Time, while Critical Role specifically asks audiences to suppress this urge.--- In a game played (at least partly) for an audience's enjoyment, when should the rules take a back seat? Depending on the circumstances and the stakes, dice rolls have the ability either to increase tension or to disperse it.----- Critical Role is broadcast uncut, with all dice rolls, table talk and rules discussions on show. But some of the most enjoyable moments for the audience are when the players put the dice down and improvise heartfelt conversations together in character.- Roleplaying game rules can incentivise certain behaviour from players. For example, the experience point system in Dungeons & Dragons incentivises the players to have their characters fight monsters. Could we write a roleplaying game with the explicit intention of incentivising behaviour that's entertaining for a live audience?--- Like with any performance, the appeal for an audience depends to some extent on the performers' intentions. The comedians playing Dungeons & Dragons on Questing Time are trying to make the audience laugh, while the cast of Critical Role are aiming for more of an epic narrative.