The Why got a response, which you can read under the post itself. Now I really wasn’t thinking of any word in particular where role playing is concerned, but “immersion” can apply. Though role assumption would be closer to the mark. As to role assumption, I agree that most people aren’t really all that comfortabe with it. And that has to do with our upbringing.
What happens is that we get taught that “let’s pretend” is for children, grown-ups don’t do it. In an RPG you’re pretty much required to role play. And in a face to face situation we have a problem with how the others around us are going to react. We hate disapproval and disdain from others, most especially those we know or would like to know. So I’d like to suggest that in the context of an RPG let’s pretend is quite fine and dandy. Pretend your brains out, and know that you’re not the only one doing it.
But don’t over do it.
Role playing in an RPG is a form of acting; a very intimate form of acting. As Bob the Barkeep you are playing a role for a small and intimate audience, your GM and fellow players. You don’t need to be loud. Essentially all you really need to do is to act and talk much as you normally would at a table or in a living room talking with folks, it’s just that you’re pretending to be someone else.
And where mechanics are concerned, take them more as stage directions rather than as orders that must be obeyed. In Mythus there is a casting which leads the victim to think that the caster just happens to be somebody he met some time ago. It gives the target the impression you are an old friend. But, it doesn’t put the victim under the caster’s control, the target will tend to react to the caster favorably, but he will not blindly obey the caster. The same advice applies to skills such as Charismaticism and Deception, your character does not have to do what he’s told to. You get right down to it, what you have in these situations are guidelines, how you handle a matter is up to you.
Let’s say you meet a Falkland trow in a game Mythus. Now trow in this game are rather like Scandinavian trolls in appearance and behavior, only a bit more civilized and presentable. This trow manages to sort of charm you, which makes you think he’s an old friend.
He—played by your GM—greets you warmly and asks you to introduce you companions to him. You of course are not really sure as to what’s going on, but your GM does reassure you that you have a strong feeling you know this guy; you just don’t know from where.
The trow of course is being sneaky and underhanded, but since your Persona is amenable to his suggestions and requests, and your GM is advising your to play Bob as if the trow was an old friend, you’re agreeable. But how you exactly handle matters is up to you, and keep in mind that just because you have just encountered an old friend does not mean the people you were with before you met the trow have suddenly become strangers. Sally the Apothecary may be suspicious. I mean, how many people do you know who would have a trow for a friend? So she objects, and the trow tries to use you to change her mind.
With your help he could worm his way into the group. Or you could decide that no, he may not join you. Sally has a point and there is something rather fishy here. In the latter case the GM, being a wise GM, has the trow back off. Later he may try again, but under more favorable circumstances. Like maybe after he’s had a chance to talk with Sally and other members of the group and try a little persuasion.
What it comes down to is, when using social mechanics in an RPG it helps a lot when you are subtle in their application, you don’t need to boss people around.
That’s my advice for this time around.