Collaborative Storytelling In Dungeons and Dragons And CMC Friendship Maintenance




Espinoza, Alanna Shellie

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This study examines collaborative storytelling in Dungeons and Dragons (D&D) and computer mediated communication (CMC) friendship maintenance among long-term friends. The theoretical foundations for this study are the Communicated Narrative Sense-Making (CNSM) Theory (Koenig Kellas, 2018) and the concept of co-telling (Mandelbaum, 1987). For this study, 15 individuals who have played D&D online for more than six months with friends they have met in person participated in in-depth interviews. Thematic analysis was used to identify two emergent themes. The theme of styles of collaborative storytelling, which looks at the different ways that collaborative narratives are shaped in D&D and the focus of the told narratives, provided insight the process of collaborative storytelling in online D&D groups. The theme online collaborative storytelling as "more than" refers to the finding that the experience of stories collaboratively told in D&D as real, as working together, and as a commitment work together to make online D&D feel like a more meaningful mode of CMC friendship maintenance. This study expands the research on CNSM theory and co-telling to include fictional and improvisational stories as meaningful types of collaborative storytelling that can influence relationship quality and relationship maintenance.