Date of Award

Spring 5-2021

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Ian Barnard

Second Advisor

Morgan Read-Davidson

Third Advisor

Jan Osborn


Can gaming be considered narrative? Should gaming be allowed in a pedagogical space? Tabletop roleplaying games are probably not the first thing that come to mind when thinking about how to innovate narrative structure and teaching composition. Often considered a nerdy pastime, participants ridiculed for playing pretend and caring about imaginary characters, TTRPGs have nonetheless entered a sort of renaissance in recent years. While video games have slowly become more incorporated into pedagogy by teaching students more abstract concepts of interactivity with narrative, audience, and player engagement, TTRPGs have been slower on the draw. But incorporating the highly interactive and freeform narrative structure into composition curriculum is far from impossible. In addition to helping students break out of their comfort zones, TTRPG-like assignments can help build community and strengthen communication skills, allow students to explore ownership and leadership in group work, and teach real-time improvisation and problem-solving techniques. TTRPGs are a vastly underestimated and underutilized form of narrative structure and innovation, and deserve consideration as a valid form of composition and pedagogy for practical and theoretical applications.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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