Dylan Horrocks

Dylan's thesis explores the narrative innovations of role-playing games and improvised serialisation through a mixture of comics, essays, and game design.

Commenced 2020

Dylan is a cartoonist, writer, and artist who moved from Auckland to Wellington in 2016. He is the author of the graphic novels Hicksville and Sam Zabel and the Magic Pen and his comics, short stories, and essays have been published in books, magazines, and journals around the world. He currently teaches at the Victoria University of Wellington School of Design Innovation—Te Kura Hoahoa. He has been playing role-playing games for over forty years.

Dylan writes: 'For most of my life I've been obsessed with two narrative forms not usually described as literature: comics and role-playing games. Over the years they have offered me enjoyable fantasies, escape from painful reality, complex and challenging art, and secret doorways to imaginary worlds. Many of my published stories and comics have been profoundly shaped by my long involvement with role-playing games, in both content and form. But it's only recently that I've begun to interrogate that influence more deeply.

'The purpose of this research project is to unpack my complex relationship with stories, games, and comics—with writing and drawing and play. I want to tease out some of the ways in which role-playing games re-imagine narrative as a ludic space to be explored and see what happens when that approach is applied to more conventional forms such as prose and comics. But I also want to create my own game, developing a role-playing game system designed to deliver the transcendent immersive narrative experience I've been seeking all my life. Improvisation is central to this project, so I'm not sure exactly where it will take me. But I do know it will require dice....'

Read more:

Dylan's website

Victoria University Press author page