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Basic Information

Something that is fake that everyone pretends is real. Mass intentional self-deception. See also Willing Suspension of Disbelief

The term comes from Professional Wrestling, where it refers to the scripted nature of wrestling events. Great efforts are taken blurring the line between reality and staged performance… even if we all know it's fake. See also Worked Shoot. There is also a suspicion that a great deal of gladiatorial combat may have had at least aspects of kayfabe.

The word itself is taken from the Polari "language" … a theatrical cant made up from a mixture of pig latin, Romany and Italian language words and assorted other forms present in the music hall, carnival and theatre businesses.



Game and Story Use

  • Parallels could be drawn to other arenas, such as politics, religion, tabloid "news", reality TV, stage magic, etc.
    • A character who is both a wrestling fan and Conspiracy Theorist, for example, might express an opinion that much of life is just Kayfabe.
    • A deep state society could, for example, could run regular elections with a high degree of kayfabe, giving the population the illusion of choice, only to install governments that achieve little or nothing different from their predecessors - even an upset, landslide victory by an apparent insurgent candidate can be stripped of significance when any policy changes are carefully countered by bureaucratic inertia - thus preserving the status quo. If done carefully this may only be noticeable to the "hopelessly paranoid" and those close enough to the inner circle to notice supposedly mutually hostile individuals keeping friendly company with one another at the elite parties.
  • A campaign world (or fictional culture) could be built with a sinister Kayfabe element, such as in the book/movie Logan's Run, where the majority of the population convinces themselves that being recycled is honorable and necessary, and not the tragic mass murder that it actually is.
  • Big Brother is your friend … and we have always been at war with Eastasia Eurasia and allied to Eurasia Eastasia
  • And it's over to our wrestling reporter, Kay Farby…
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