It’s all about character, interaction, tension, drama. If all we really wanted was technical and tactical superiority, we’d play a computer game. If all we wanted was social interaction, we would play boardgames. But we’re interested in storytelling. We want to be surprised, we want to delight. We want to see impossible loves and experience immense success and devastating failure in situations that are impossible for us to experience personally.
What will help the other people at the table shine? How can we help the people we are gaming with realize the frustrations and successes that will bring their characters through the twists and turns of drama, comedy and wonder that will create a truly amazing co-creation? How can we up our own game so that our stories mesh and collide in rich ways that are great for everyone?
Rules and dice I could care less about. They are there to serve us and the story we are creating. If they don’t make the story dramatic, interesting, scary, challenging, delightful and fun then let’s do without them.
It’s about getting into a world that’s different than ours, imagining, pretending what it might be like. Finding a voice that’s been hidden inside you, that embodies qualities that you may be too shy – or too afraid – to bring forward.
Go places you’ve never been, try things you’ve not tried before. Delight and terrify yourself.
Walk in a wonderland of the imagination.
I’ve been part of storytelling since 1976 when my brother John left a grey boxed set of Dungeons and Dragons on the dining room table. I stole off with it to my bedroom, read it cover to cover and was ready at breakfast with an Elf character (no profession, no class, ya know, Elf) all ready on big-lined kid paper.
Since then, well, like a snowball downhill, I’ve played countless systems, learned rulesets huge and simple. Sometimes rules get in the way. Sometimes they help us hold up our belief suspenders.
I don’t tend to tell “save the Princess, happily ever after stories”. Except when I do.
I recommend going with your character where you are afraid to go. We are all there behind the roles we choose, showing through the 1-way glass.
Come on in. The water’s cold. You’ll love it.
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