Discreet Immersive Role Play

           Q: What’s a DIRP?

           A: A discreet immersive role-playing game (DIRP) is a form of role-playing game where the participants not only physically act out their characters' actions, but clandestinely carry out nearly all of these actions around, and sometimes even actively involving, non-players. All DIRP players pursue autonomous or group goals within a shared conspiratorial context, the face of these conspiracies varying radically from game to game.

          Unlike other role-playing games, the outcome of a player’s actions in a DIRP are often not mediated by game rules, or even determined by consensus among players, but rather are measured by real world results. Such real world results are ultimately used to also determine whether or not one has won the game. Furthermore, whether the conspiratorial context for the game involves aliens, vampires, demons, wizards, or whatever else one can imagine, one of the most surprising things for new players is the fact that various occult artifacts, and the circumstantial evidence for any number of such mythic conspiracies, seem to already be concealed within the “real world” wherever the players turn to look for them. For his reason, DIRPs have a strong tendency to completely blur the line between fantasy and reality for many players, making such games slightly more dangerous, if a bit more exciting, than most other forms of role-play.

          In addition to this immersive element, individual awareness of many DIRP games is only spread through a discreet and gradual “initiation” for all new players. Thus, even reading an explanation of the phenomenon itself, such as the one you are reading now, could be considered as an important part of one’s initiation into some particular DIRP that one may or may not stumble upon in the near future. As this would again be the case with anyone else onto whom this text was passed, finding a set of DIRP instructions such as this should remain intentionally uncommon. DIRPs can be so discreet that some players may not even know that they have ever played in one, or if they are playing in one now.

          All DIRPs begin with a player’s introduction to some sort of undisclosed, or else unrecognized, mythical context, the revelation of which will often immediately plunge the new player into a previously unexplored and unbelievable world; that is, at least, should the new player decide to actually engage this unfamiliar new world and play in the game being offered. Depending on the game in question, simply exploring and acclimating to the strangeness of a new world may constitute the full extent of a typical player’s involvement.

          More advanced players, however, will actually run their own plots and schemes, engage in strange occult rituals, actively investigate and verify the sort of information that’s only whispered about in less ambitious DIRPs, pursue various esoteric forms of training, as well as the accumulation of countless other important resources, all the while completely concealing the existence of the game from all non-players. In nearly all such games, the overarching goal is to advance the knowledge, abilities, or resources of individual players and their allies, because, as stated above, such things provide the only real standards for “winning the game.”

          There are many different types of DIRP, having varying degrees of discretion, immersion, and role-play. Some are more action-based, as in war games like the game Assassin, where all players are assigned a single target to mock-assassinate, while being targeted by unknown assassins themselves, in a mock-assassination race to see which single player will survive. Other DIRPs are more research-based, such as the games Private Eye in the Pyramid or The Mutual U.F.O. Network, where all of the players are expected to discreetly collect and share news of hidden conspiracies with each other on a regular basis, the best investigations winning group acclaim. Some DIRPs, such as the ones run by the Society for Creative Anachronism, involve both research and combat, where the players assume the identities of fabricated historical characters in a fully immersive, although not terribly discrete, medieval world. This world is temporarily reconstructed on a regular basis, populated by what can sometimes become thousands of other players from all over the world!

          Even more ambitious DIRPs have existed, and these have had enormous societal repercussions. It is claimed that the creation of Scientology and the lesser known Church of All Worlds were both the direct products of a private DIRP between the religion’s founders, L. Ron Hubbard and Robert Heinlein, respectively; likewise with Wicca, only the DIRPers in this case were Aleister Crowley and Gerald Gardner. What’s more, an Illuminati style DIRP called Skull and Bones has apparently captured the presidency of the United States more than once! These claims are, of course, rather controversial, but that's simply an unavoidable consequence of nearly all successful DIRPs, given their dissimulative nature.

          In the end, DIRPing reveals that a great deal of our truth comes from illusions believed and acted upon, so go out and play whatever games you wish, but, for reality’s sake, please be careful what lies you make true.