Saturday, February 27, 2016

Clan of the IF

I write this on the night that I forego a visit to my gaming room (in that I mean a video gaming room) and simply sit and wait for posts to come into my play by post games. 

Fascinating how I forego a lush, nearly real world, for the world of the word- simply the word. In many ways play by post gaming is like dating- waiting for your life to be saved by the announcement of a text.

(Now I am not sure how many of you have dated in those times outside text, or the times that you had to hit a button four a five times before reaching your letter, but I can tell you it was a chore, and a chore not meant for the arthritic or the easily confused.)
But yes, I am drawn to my PbP (play by post) games a bit (far more) than the craving I feel for the first person Fallout or a bit of the Sword Coast Legends.

Why is that? Are we not built for the more civilized stimulus of a reality utterly steeped in completion- where all is provided for our senses? Or is it rude to theorize that a RP gamer’s mind (so contrary to neo-social darwinism) may well be attuned more to the artistic imagination of the cave painters of Chauvet.

Is that it? Is that what we are trying to recreate at the tabletop, at the online message board- waiting for the next word, the next description, the next horse-head?

Maybe we are not gamers, maybe we are storytellers in desperate need of a far stranger and (contemporarily) defined medium. Are gamers the lost story-tellers in the cave? The Norse-man of the mead hall? The post-ers in need of a non-existing medium.

For we, as role-players, are nothing but the teller of stories that we WISHED had happened. That is the key.

As a serious gamer and a veteran role-player, I can say that modern ‘video’ gaming (I place the quotes there because I believe that modern ‘video’ gaming has far exceeded the bounds of that title) is the genie that gives us all our wishes, while role-playing, collaborative story-telling, in all its mediums; are what we would do IF we had a lamp.

No judgements aside, in summary, I say when you play how much IF is given to you.

I can say this, there must have been a tremendous amount of IF in those paintings, in those mead-hall stories. Must have been a lot when you stare into that flame, into those dice.

Go ahead try me, the next time you play, the next time you shut off this damned reality and turn on a world that is not yours nor should be, how much IF is yours?

Monday, February 22, 2016

The Writer's GM

The following is an expansion of G+ comment I made to Nick Carter, a fellow writer/soloist.

In this blog I am looking to fuse writing with RPG mechanics. The dice, the rules, the mechanics are a rocket booster to the writing. They extend the thrill of RPG (what is behind that corner?, is that door a trap?, what is in the inviting chest?, how does our hero defeat that monstrosity?) to the sometimes empty chamber of writing. 

The empty page, both like and unlike tabletop's graph paper, can be a very inviting

Sometimes in the written word, we are prisoners of our freedom. Our universe of thoughts just needs a game master. I would dare to say there is comfort in having a Game master in my writing. After all, don't we always need someone to blame?

Like teaching, when I started out I wanted to use everything. Cover every rule, roll every die, set up an entire party of characters that went carousing into an ever-expanding dungeon (homage to +John Yorio and his solo-ing). But the writing got bogged down in the mechanics. The rules and systems felt like sludge where I wanted it to be near-frictionless fiction. Now I use simple fudge ranks and link them to Mythic's Likely rankings. Being that my journey is called 'Rogue of Changes' I allow any and all sudden divination or divination-like practices to flow into the soup. This includes I Ching, tarot, runes, playing cards, story dice, a scene out the window, something on the tele, or poop on my car. It all gets thrown in, very much like the strange casserole one makes from a randomly stocked pantry. 

Fortunately I very much enjoy eating mistakes! is just it, frankly

I have to mention this, I must say it though I have tried to either deny it or find other ways of playing. I say with complete certainty that is the easiest, most fluid, and least in your face approach to solo roleplaying/ dungeon storytelling that I could find. I have tried Virtual table tops in a solo setting, but they just wind up getting in the way. RPtools, iTabletop, Rolz- they all wind up bogging the solo-player down in rolling and mechanics and just not allow me to WRITE. That is what I there for. just takes of it and lets me write. That could very well be the bottom line.