In traditional theater, television, movies and even comics there are four walls – the three that the audience can see around the stage and the invisible barrier between the audience and the action on-stage. In these primarily 3-dimensional media, characters on the stage that interact with or address the audience directly are said to be “breaking the 4th wall”.
In gaming – specifically tabletop or pen-and-paper gaming, as in traditional literature, there are no walls but words separating the audience from the scene. This imaginary barrier between the audience (the player) and the media (the player’s characters and the world the game master has created) we call the Third Wall. It is not our goal to break the 3rd wall – but to understand it and improve the game through that understanding.
Through a better insight into the boundaries and mechanics on both sides of the wall we can rebuild key areas of our interaction with the game world. In doing so, we can become better players, build more fulfilling characters and empower game masters to create more immersive worlds. This study of the barrier between the role-player and their character through a better understanding of the game system, the game master and the fantastic world of the role playing system is what we’ve come to call “Thirdwalling”.
And the goal of Thirdwalling is to examine the third wall and provide insight for players, game masters and game developers alike that will make the RPG world(s) a little better.
To learn more about the people behind Thirdwalling, check out The Players page.