Chuck Wendig's blog Terrible Minds is pretty great. He recently posted an article about why writers should play roleplaying games. One of the points he makes relates to the immediacy of the story telling experience:
You can’t get writer’s block at the game table. Not as a game master, not as a player. You can’t be all like, “Yeah, I’m just not feeling my character’s actions today, let’s try again tomorrow.” It’s shit or get off the pot time, Vampire Cleric from Minneapolis. You gotta do something. Anything. Stab! Throw a Molotov! Hide under a car! Manifest your Vampire Cleric batwings and take flight above the city!
Same thing goes for writing. Shit or get off the pot. Do something. Throw a narrative grenade. If anything will remind you of this, it’s the act of rolling the bones with a couple-few like-minded gamer-types.
I couldn't agree more.
Your story is the story of the moment, and it reminds you just how important it is to keep the audience in mind — not just your intent as storyteller but their interests, their needs, their attention.
It also reinforces the cardinal rule:
Never be boring.
Because if you’re boring, they’re going to start talking about Dr. Who.
Although Chuck focuses heavily on the Dungeons & Dragons style role playing (players and a gamemaster (ie. referee/story driver), there are many modern (mostly independent) role playing games out there which are completely different. A great example of this is the game Fiasco, a diceless (ie. no rolling), cooperative game. There is no single arbiter, such as in more classic roleplaying games, and the structure really emphasises communal storytelling and improvisational narrative. The game's rules do enforce some limits on the story (mostly that it will inevitably resemble a Coen Brothers movie such as Fargo/Burn After Reading, hence the name).
Unlike the games Chuck discusses in his article, this kind of environment explicitly forces everyone to work together to tell a story. The kind of rapid-fire character and scene generation that Fiasco encourages is great mental exercise for writers.
Anyway, go read the rest of Chuck's great post here: http://terribleminds.com/ramble/2011/09/13/why-writers-should-play-roleplaying-games/