Saturday, January 10, 2009

Realisations come from the strangest sources

At the moment between my long bout of writing text and producing figures for my thesis I like to watch lighthearted comedies and anime. At the moment I’m watching the very interesting anime Pumpin scissors. It’s about the tribulation of a military unit after a large war (kinda like our second World War) that is assign to the task of helping society rebuild itself and fight “war aggravator”, i.e. people that are corrupt and keep thing bad for their own profit. While watching one of the episodes I though, wow: I’d love to tell that story in one of my RPG games. That when it hit me, one of the biggest reasons I do not like the new edition of D&D and I want my game to be interactive storytelling. I want to tell the story of the characters the players made in a situation or another. The latest D&D, the 4th edition, doesn’t feel that way for me, oh I’ve read the book and the feel I’m getting from them is that I’ll be playing a game, only a game. Not telling the story of my player’s characters and the world I am crafting. Already in D&D 3.5 (the previous) edition I’m finding it hard to tell some stories as the mecanic of the game, well more like the mood and feeling intrinsecly link with the game are pushing me toward a game and not a story.

Writing about this I also understand why some of our games have moved into legend. You know games that we talk about for years after we have stopped playing them, games where you find the old characters sheets and you go: man that was a cool game, remember when Alcarne did that? All of those game where about the stories of those characters. From the neonate vampire born in the first cities search for something that cannot exist, to the first 4 space cops in the starship Destiny by way of the young force sensitive that found and rebuild an hold jedi starship, those story have entered our memories has legend.

Through the magic of sharing an universe and the will to have our protagonist survive despite what the universe threw at them, I think we’ve made stories and myth. And that is what I try to recreate with my games, oh I often fail, well I think I fail most of the time. Yet, I must not be doing so bad, my player keep coming back to one of my game after 7 years and I learned that they even talk about the game with people that do not play any RPG (must be weird for them…)

Yet another realisation has hit me (must be the hour of realisation or something), gaming and interactive storytelling has shaped a big part of my personality. It as made me more expressive, more assertive, and it as gotten me to talk a lot more. Well, when you’re most often the world builder/main storyteller of your game you spend a lot of your time talking and well you end up enjoying it. Well, maybe I should try listening a little more, it might make my life even better… and my games too.

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