[English] Scrambled Eggs Play – TTRPG without heavyweight and burden

egg omelet photo by Amirali Mirhashemian (Unsplash)

Some people do enjoy listening to someone’s story. They prefer to act in character for the entertainment. Here were challenges, dungeons’ and dragons’ explorations, dramas and tragedies. But we calmed down and decided to take a rest. We put aside the GM’s story about struggles. We carved out the very needed space for our characters, for ourselves. It’s a safe space – what happens here, it’ll stay here….

However, there are folks who don’t like playing like above and they call it „scramble egg play”. At least in Poland, it’s a word for it – „jajuwa”. It derives from „jajecznica”, which means „scramble eggs”. Anyway, today I’ve explained what a gaming style called „Scrambled Eggs Play” really is. How it looks alike during TTRPG session? Why people play like that and which needs are addressed in a process?

Back to „scrambled eggs”. It’s one of a popular and cheap meals at inns. Imagine scenes in the inn, where players can roleplay without constrains and stakes. Consuming meals and drinks. Talking to the innkeeper, galmbling, meeting new acquaintances and so on. It’s a place free from pace of the story, the mission or the dangers.

What is „Scrambled Eggs Play”?

„Scrambled Eggs Play” is a form of entertainment about enjoying roleplaying by itself (acting, in fact) and focusing on aesthetics and the color. It’s aimed at entertaining players as actors and spectators at the same time. It doesn’t have any specific goal except of portraying player characters on their own: no context of the adventure, no hard decisions to make, with an insulation from a situation at hand. We have a situation with safeguards needed to play it care-free.

Imagine a glass ball toy with house and fake snow inside. You may enjoy watching it, how it „snows” and looks. It’s a „Scambled Eggs Play” – encapsulated scenes or even entire play, sheltered from external narratives. Celebration of a suspended animation.

„Scrambled Eggs Play” is a common non-binding escapism without consequences, heavyweight or possible burdens. If some conflict arrives, it’s quickly deescalated and turned into relieve, joke or at least into an engaging but inconsequential acting drama. During „Scrambled Eggs Play”, a player unwinds themselves in a safe fictional space, while still acting in-character…

Big Model RPG already describes a phenomena called „Zilchplay”. It’s a play without any other goal or intent except „Let’s be here together” or „Let’s play together”. At first glance, „Zilchplay” looks synonymic to „Scrambled Eggs Play”. However, I consider „SEP” as a wider bracket. „Zilchplay” makes an assumption that players brings no involvement into playing something, just they want to „vibe together somehow”. But you can make some involvement into „Scrambled Eggs Play” – taking care about color, acting and aesthetics. In other words, you can make a deliberate decision to have a scene about them. This will bring a evocative direction and purpose, which „Zilchplay” doesn’t have…

Why people like „Scrambled Eggs Play”?

Up to this moment, whole blogpost may sound rather negative or judging. What is the most important to me is to find out, why people like „Scrambled Eggs Play”.

There are several reasons, each for the own. For instance:

  1. Some people are getting overwhelmed by daily stress and decision making. They want to escape it and they choose TTRPG sessions for it. They like to daydream together, having in mind that „nothind terrible or bad will happen”. They know that there isn’t any hard decision to make, no struggle to endure and live through. No mental strain.
  2. Some people simply likes to hang out. „Scrambled Eggs Play” offers flavoured small talk with compeling and engaging aesthetics. In fact, „Scrambled Eggs” are about „something” as a meeting (not as a game, however) and you can derive some qualities from it.
  3. Someone may like vistas and listening to someone’s descriptions and narratives. Sole listening to someone may be considered as a entertainment on it’s own.
  4. Referring to Point No. 1: some people avoids substantial emotional involvement into play. They don’t like it, it’s uncomfortable to them. And it’s fine, we should respect it.

„Scrambled Eggs Play” is in fact a rest by mild intensity mental activity in social environment.

Also, there are reasons, which origins cames from Traditional RPGs and it’s problems. For instance, Traditional RPGs doesn’t support competent PCs („roll how you’re incompetent”) by default; except of specific situations like magic-user or one single optimized combat tricks. „Scrambled Eggs Play” works well for avoiding such dissonance between your character sheet and the gaming session. Additionally, Traditional RPG relies on playing with a fixed story, pre-written by someone else (a module or homebrew GM’s work). In such circumstances, „Scrambled Eggs” scenes acts like remote places just for Players – not for Game Master – or at least where Players does have any real agency. In simpler words: there’s a division between „Scenes about GM’s Story” and „Scenes about Taking A Break From It”.

Player can explore scene – finding out something interesting to interact with – but without specific aim. So they start with acting in-character and wandering around…

Consider „Scrambled Eggs Play” as a consequence of Players trying to carve out a space for their own, in Trad RPG session. It’s a compromise in struggle for agency.

Is there a space for „Scrambled Eggs Play” in TTRPGs?

First of all, there is a game called Wanderhome (Jay Dragon). It’s about common escapism in fantastic world, about wandering through vibrant aestethics free from commiting violence and making hard decision. I could say: „The Scrambled Eggs Play RPG”.

For a second, „Scrambled Eggs Play” only becomes problematic, when people who enjoy it decides to play with people who wants to engage hard with the game and fiction. When you have folks who likes making hard choices during play, who seeks intense activity and emotional investment.

Why „people who loves SEP” and „people who don’t want SEP” will not get together in a group? In my opinion it’s a clash of Creative Agendas. They are different approaches to the TTPRG session, different preferences about what we are doing to make fun. Essentially, those folks are interested in vastly different focuses of a gaming session, let alone components of a TTRPG or Shared Imagined Space! Imagine that you have folks who wants to chill out at the gaming table, and folks who wants to wind up and spice things!

If we invite – let say – 2 SEP and 2 non-SEP folks together and decide to make an equal spotlight to each of those pairs, we will end with separately functioning sessions, glued only by sheer formality of a group (and perhaps that fifth player, GM). Personally, I don’t see a point to making a group just for playing two simultaneous but separate session!

Of course, you may try it for TTRPG session, but also you may try to find an another common activity for such group, where everyone can be on the same page…

In the end, it’s not bad to admit, that you like „Scrambled Eggs Play”. It’s important to communicate with each other, what are you looking from TTRPG session. What do you prefer and what do you abstain from? After all, learning what you are looking becomes beneficial to you, in the end.

If you want to support me, you can buy one of my games 

Ten tekst powstał dzięki wsparciu: Jędrzej Śmietański, Aleksandra Sontowska, Jakub KucharzewskiErpegowe Piekiełko, Sebastian Żarnowski, Michał LaskowskiPrzemysław Wasilewski i Marcin Zaród. Dziękuję!

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