I was reading Neil Gaiman's "Marvel 1602", there's a point in it when the one of the Fantastic Four, the tragic Thing, is asking Reed the genius if he could ever be cured. Reed answers that logically yes (essentially enough knowledge and power, what can be done can be undone etc.), "Yet I posit we are in a universe which favours stories. A universe in which no story can ever truly end; in which there can only be continuances.... the laws of story suggest no cure can last for very long .... in the end, alas, you are so much more interesting and satisfying as you are."
All characters in fiction live in a universe in which "the Laws of Story" rule, though those laws vary (e.g., by genre), but generally under the "invisible hand" of story by which they do not know this.
Would it be "more believable" in a way for the characters in a RPG (player and NPC) to know "the Laws of Story" exist? To struggle to make it a drama and love story rather than a tragedy but know it is a story? To know that dramatic logic is at work? Thus the appearance of a nemesis, the significance of metaphor etc. all flow quite logically?
In PTA, characters don't know this but there is an overt nod at Player level to this fact.
I've sort of hinted at this in my games for a long time, in the view that "story" is a fundamental human desire and need and that collective human unconsciousness shapes things in this way in a universe where magical force responds to it.
C.S. Friedman's Coldfire Triology has humans settled on a world where such forces were powerfully at work, one character realizing the only "course open to him" was to make himself "the epic villain".
In 4e D&D for example, the Player Characters are "special", the heal wounds overnight, why? Because the Story is interested in them, they are not going to die except in an "interesting way". As long as they "are interesting and their story incomplete" they can return from death.
Do you think this can be handled with a relatively serious tone?