In light of this post from last week, and the considerable thought I have given on the matter, I have come to the conclusion that role-playing gets in the way of throwing the dice.
I propose a moment in time. You and your party have just encountered a massive, 18-foot-high earth elemental. You are well aware that it is immune to most of your weapons, that it has somewhere upwards of 200 hit points (as this is my world), and that at the moment it is within striking distance of you.
We have just rolled our dice and we find that the party is surprised. As the DM, the next move is therefore mine.
Let's examine two possibilities.
1) I stand, look at the party, and clear my throat.
2) I reach for a d20.
Which of these two options produces the greater emotional effect?
If you say (1), then you are a play-actor. You believe that the crushing of your character offers very little in the way of drama, as you are more concerned with what a strange creature has to say than you are with your character's own life. It makes little difference to you what the creature says, so long as it choosing to speak enables you to strut and fret your hour upon the stage. You perceive yourself as an important protagonist in a performance, working out your personal conflicts, gnawing away upon the stale angst bagel you keep in your pocket, ready to wave it at whatever foil approaches you. Talk talk talk, that's what you love, for every moment you talk you feel your own importance rising. When you hear others speak, you quickly parse and deconstruct their words so that your come-back will be brilliant, that it will bring laughter and applause.
If you say (2), then you are a role-player. You feel tension because you want to live. You're worried about the die because you're concerned that if it falls wrong, you'll die. You have no illusion of being in control. You know that even if the creature misses, winning is going to be a long, hard, difficult struggle. Nothing is guaranteed. Moreover, you don't care if you're the one to kill it. You'll be happy if anyone in the party kills it. Thus, you're not concerned with your own limitations, you're hoping that together you and the party are going to take this thing down.
Undoubtedly, my words have relayed my feelings about those who choose (1). That is because you don't belong at my table. You need to take up acting. That is where you belong. You've confused role-playing for self-aggrandizement. If you go into the theatre, I think you'll discover a lot of people who feel about the sound of their own voice very much like you feel about the sound of yours.
See, 'play-acting' isn't emotional. It's posturing. And the elemental that clears its throat is a relief. Therefore, less emotion. Less effect. The party is grateful that they're going to live, but on the whole their adrenaline-status is much diminished. If, on the other hand, you are the sort that sees me reach for the die with the thought, "oh gawd, combat again," then you have failed to understand what it means to BE a character. You're posturing as a character. You're a fake. You're an imposter, pretending to be a role-player because you've forgotten the way to the theatre.
We all here, we're working at actually being our characters, not presenting them in an affected and artificial manner. That is why you, friend, have to go. You don't belong here.
You see that, don't you?