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Episode 2107: Unrestrained


In roleplaying games there is usually a strong distinction between diegetic dialogue and non-diegetic dialogue.

For those not familiar with the word, diegetic refers to objects or events within a fictional world, which the fictional characters can sense and interact with. Non-diegetic refers to things outside the fiction, but which the viewer/reader/player of the fiction is aware of. An example from cinema: Usually a film's soundtrack music is non-diegetic - the audience hears it, but the characters within the movie don't. There are exceptions, such as when a character within the movie listens to the radio or watches a musical performance - the character hears the music, and usually we the audience get to hear it too.

In a game, diegetic conversation is usually referred to as in-character. It's used when playing the role of your character. Your warrior talks to the local blacksmith: "Say, my good man, I am in need of a fine sword to replace the one I shattered against a dragon's hide these three days gone. Have you any in stock?"

Non-diegetic conversation is also commonly called out-of-character. It's used to describe your character's actions to the GM and other players. Your warrior is fighting a horde of orcs: "I target the nearest orc with an arrow and fire. I roll 13 to hit."

One "trick" that some early GMs liked to do was to deliberately conflate or confuse the two. When an adventuring party finds, let's say, a locked door, and the players begin discussing how best to open it:

Player 1: I say we bash it down.
Player 2: No, it'll make too much noise. Let the rogue pick the lock.
Player 3: But it could be trapped, and she only has 4 hit points left. Why don't I just fireball it?
Everyone: Noo!! GM: While you're all arguing, your voices attract the attention of a goblin patrol!

This may be amusing the first couple of times, but it wears thin and encourages players to not talk at all, which is no fun. If it's not clear whether player speech is in-character or not, good GMs will ask, rather than make life miserable for the players.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

And a temper tantrum; no surprise there given what we've seen. Really, it's a wonder there aren't more destroyed walls and such on the.... is this on the Peace Moon? The Finalizer? I guess this would be the Peace Moon if Kylo just returned from his meeting. A lot of the First Order stuff looks the same; maybe the transition was lost in the comic dialogue, but the locations could do with being more visually distinct. If the lighting is meant to be the distinguishing feature, a slightly bluer hue is easily forgettable as being a different place.

I do like that the troopers are just like, "Oh, bossman's having another fit. Come on; we'll patrol this way now." Maybe they'll go look at the security footage before they get questioned; that could keep them from being Force Choked at least if they start tracking down Rey before they're asked to.


GM: Kylo Ren is returning from his meeting with Snoke to check on Rey.
Kylo Ren: I have a bad feeling about this.
GM: You find the cell door open.
Kylo Ren: A very bad feeling.
GM: Rey is gone, the restraints undone.
Kylo Ren: I draw my laser sword and unleash fury on the empty chair!
[SFX]: shwhooom
Kylo Ren: Troopers patrolling the corridor outside stop and turn the other way at the roars of my rage!!
[SFX]: Whooom!!! Slash!!!
Kylo Ren: Sparks fly! Metaphorically and literally!!!
[SFX]: Whooom!!! Slash!!! Whooom!!!
Trooper: {outside, departing} It’s always a bad sign when he voices his inner monologue.

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Published: Sunday, 30 January, 2022; 01:11:07 PST.
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