An analysis of thematic conventions in the role-playing game Changeling: The Lost
The paper consists of two parts. The first one is an introductory attempt to translate the concepts of literary genology into concepts useful in analyzing the rulebook of the role-playing game Changeling: The Lost. The key term here is “genre convention”, which replaces the concept of “genre”. Whereas the word “genre” suggests belonging to a certain class of texts, the phrase “genre convention” implies a less strict relation to genre patterns, based rather on a hermeneutic reference to living cultural tradition than on a paradigmatic realization of frozen forms. Such an approach appears to be proper while discussing those cultural texts which creatively combine several genre conventions, instead of limiting themselves to just one. This is exactly the kind of combination that we have to do with in Changeling: The Lost. The second part of the text includes a brief depiction of the presented world of the game and an analysis of this world with regard to the genre conventions it employs. The most numerous group of these is made up from genre conventions that are typical of the cycle of games called “the World of Darkness”: investigation, thriller and horror, psychological, social, urban fantasy, as well as the gothic convention (which is perhaps broad enough so as not to be considered a genre). However, it is the references to the conventions of folk genres — fairy-tale in particular — which are of special interest here. The application of adapted genological terminology allows to distinguish rather precisely the elements of various conventions in the Changeling: The Lost rulebook, being an example of how useful the method of literary studies can be in researching the phenomena of various media.