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Mode, in role-playing game theory, is a description of how you play the game. In a general sense, you can think of a participant as being in one of several modes:

Character mode: Acting as if a character in the story

Collaborator mode: Harmonizing the text and the system with the other participants

Authorial mode: Making certain determinations about what is true or not in the game

In a traditional role-playing game, players act in collaborator mode while also being highly active in character mode, and are in authorial mode when making decisions about their character's characteristics and actions. The gamemaster acts in authorial mode, while also heavily involved in collaborator mode and dipping into character mode for creating verisimilitude in NPC behavior.

Stances in GNS Theory Edit

GNS theory primarily addresses mode as four main types of stances:

  • Actor, decides based on what their character would know
  • Author, decides based on what they as a player want for their character and then retroactively explains why their character made that decision
  • Director, makes decisions that affect the environment rather than the character (usually represented by a game master in an RPG)
  • Pawn, decides based on what they as a player want for their character without bothering to explain why their character would make that decision
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