The Puppetmaster-Player Communication Dynamic in Alternate Reality Gaming and Chaotic Fiction

The Potential (World) Sphere is the easiest to define, as it corresponds to the sum total of the human population, all of whom are potential participants in the chaotic system. Any individual has the potential to have influence on a particular system, whether or not they are an Audience member or an Architect, and whether or not they even have knowledge of the system or their effect upon it.

Within the Potential Sphere reside the other two spheres. The Architect Sphere refers to the Team of Puppetmasters running the campaign and the Audience Sphere refers to the Players experiencing the production. These two spheres may share members with each other and they may not be physically divided from each other. However, to facilitate the organic function of the whole system, they tacitly agree to avoid direct communication that might influence the system, preferring instead to communicate through the framework created by the campaign and its Audience.

At the core of the system lies the Curtain, which at once describes the unspoken division between the Architect and Audience Spheres, and defines the only true game-space in the system: This is an otherwhere not of our reality that contains the whole of possibilities that might be realized by the fiction. This ideation engine is a form of quantum fiction reactor, fueled and regulated by the Architects and fired by the Audience. The Players provide the energy to make it function while the Puppetmasters desperately feed it with assets to consume and vent the results back out into another iteration of the experience. This constant action between the Architects and the Audience begets and hence, defines, the metaconversation about a campaign that takes place via the game's framework.

The focus on the primary purpose of the system requires a different perspective to better understand the Architect and Audience Spheres. I prefer to consider them in terms of thresholds of effectiveness, divided more by what they accomplish or how they are important to facilitating the system, rather than by the types of people within their populations. Each side works differently internally, however, necessitating a somewhat different model for each.

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