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The performance of actions or utterances of one's character.

Players in games are often given characters to control and can through these perform actions in the game. Enactment occurs when players are actually performing the actions that their characters are doing.


Enactment is one of the sought after player activities in Tabletop Roleplaying Games such as Dungeons & Dragons, Fiasco, and Paranoia. It occurs less frequently in Massively Multiplayer Online Games but some servers for games such as World of Warcraft are dedicated to roleplaying and MUDs such as DragonMud focus upon it.

The Guitar Hero and Rock Band series let players enact playing musical instruments.


While a player that pressed the jump button in a Super Mario game can make Mario jump, that player is activating and not performing a jump.

Using the pattern

Unless using Mimetic Interfaces, Enactment requires the presence of Characters - either those controlled by players or by Game Masters - and players may be inspired to perform Enactment simply because these Characters exist or because they are engaging in Roleplaying. However, Enactment is not something required in most games with Characters, with the exception of. It is something typically strived for by players and game masters in Tabletop Roleplaying Games.

Enactment can be done by small means. In Tabletop Roleplaying Games, players can say what their Characters say and look, point, etc. at the other players to indicate that their Characters are doing these actions. Physical Enactment is the Enactment of actions that require larger movement or more demanding skills (the difference can be put as non-physical Enactment does not require Dexterity-Based Actions), and when combined with Roleplaying this gives rise to Live Action Roleplaying. This type of Enactment can be augmented in various ways since these games many times want to be able to convey information between players while they are enacting actions. Examples include using Meta-Postures, Prompting Techniques, and Substitute Actions (the latter which weakens the Enactment but makes it possible).

A weak form of Enactment is when players describe what their Characters do. This is often interwoven with the previous form of [[Enactment] in Tabletop Roleplaying Games but in games with Illocutionary Interfaces or Mediated Gameplay this may be the only way actions are presented, i.e. Chat Channels or Communication Channels are the media through which these actions are presented. Emotes can be an important tool in these situations and blurs the lines of what is Enactment since some of these activate animated sequences for Avatars.

Contextualization is an option for games with Enactment so that Scenes can be inserted where players can enact backstories or glimpses of futures.

Diegetic Aspects

There is a risk of breaking Diegetic Consistency whenever players have the chance of including non-diegetic concepts into Enactment.

Interface Aspects

Enactment is an Interface Pattern.

Narrative Aspects

The combination of Enactment and Roleplaying typically gives rise to Storytelling.


All effects of Enactment which does not affect the game state is Extra-Game Consequences. However, Enactment can give rise to Player/Character Skill Composites when the Enactment of players can affect other players' behavior or the opinion of Game Masters. That said, players may identify more with their Characters by having performed their actions themselves, and through this gain an Emotional Attachment to them.

Enactment is often a form of Social Interaction, especially when two or more players are engaged in it at the same time. This can lead to players Competing for Attention, especially in games with Game Masters. Further, Enactment is a skill and becoming good at it is a form of Game Mastery. The two points, and the fact that Enactment draws attention argues why Enactment support the "exhibitionist" Social Role.

As has been mentioned above, Enactment risks breaking Diegetic Consistency and is likely to produce Storytelling when used together with Roleplaying.


Can Instantiate

Competing for Attention, Emotional Attachment, Extra-Game Consequences, Game Mastery, Player/Character Skill Composites, Social Interaction, Social Roles

with Roleplaying

Live Action Roleplaying, Storytelling

Can Modulate


Can Be Instantiated By

Chat Channels, Characters, Communication Channels, Emotes, Game Masters, Illocutionary Interfaces, Mimetic Interfaces, Physical Enactment, Roleplaying

Can Be Modulated By

Contextualization, Mediated Gameplay, Meta-Postures, Prompting Techniques, Substitute Actions

Possible Closure Effects


Potentially Conflicting With

Diegetic Consistency


New pattern created in this wiki.