Posts Tagged ‘RPGs’

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Gaming Thursday: how2RP part 3

July 25, 2019

I’ve come across a sentiment lately (like this post on twitter, very much worth a read) that seems to be pointing to a view that is taking hold within the tabletop RPG community that there’s one right, or real, way to roleplay, and that is in a first person manner.

I do not subscribe to that sentiment.  To riff off the answer given in the twitter post above and to expand on this post of mine from a few years ago, I would instead invite this:

To roleplay is to direct the actions of your character such that they are appropriate to that person existing within, reacting to what’s happening within, and from the viewpoint and mind of that person within the fictional world.  In other words, you are ‘being’ this other person in this other world.  That’s the RP.

The how of it is not what makes good (or real, or true) RP versus not.  First person, third person, or switching between the two, doesn’t matter.  Detailing every minutia of an action or speaking in generalities, doesn’t matter.  The way the character is expressed at the table is not the important part – so long as the character is being expressed in a clear way, the specific method of it should not matter.

And I say this coming from a place of being very much a “method actor” when I RP.  I get subsumed within my characters when I play: my demeanor changes, I speak as would my character*, I gesticulate as would my character, and even my thinking patterns change to match the character.  When I describe actions (if not directly acting them out), I do so with plenty of “I do this” type statements.

I play this way because I enjoy it.  And I love interacting with others who RP in the same vein.  But I also won’t deny anyone who plays with a different style.  “Galen speaks to the queen about their shared past, reminding her of the time they forged a cunning gambit to win the Quadathalon Cup, and the sense of honour we felt that day” is just as valid to RP as saying “Remember, my queen, when we were caught up in pursuit of the Quadathalon Cup?  How the winds blew most foul that day, and we knew that should either one of us lose, the neighboring lord would… (proceed to wax poetic for five more minutes).”  They’re creating and expressing the same thing.

Not everyone feels comfortable to extemporaneously play their characters in the first person.  Others may have no interest in doing so.  Some want to but aren’t ready yet.  And sometimes even I am just not feeling it that day and choose to go third person.  It’s all good.  So long as the character is present (evidenced by acting and interacting appropriate to the fictional person being portrayed) then RP is present.

It’s wonderful that RPGs are flourishing right now, with scores and scores of new players coming into the hobby.  Everyone joins with different levels of experience, different personalities, and even different interests in what the games can provide for them.  It can be tough to get into the headspace of someone else, let alone a fictional character, and doubly let alone having to act like the person at the same time.  Letting everyone RP as they’re feeling it and comfortable gives the greatest freedom to develop that key ingredient.  No matter the how, being a character and weaving the shared story is what makes these games so magical.

 

* I once was playing in a game where my character didn’t have a good grasp on the local language, so I was speaking in very clipped and non-properly formatted English.  Midway through the game, I asked the GM a question, who proceeded to look at me like I had three heads.  “Do you realize what you just did?” they asked.  “No…”  “You just spoke to me, asking a game question, just like your character’s been speaking.”  “Oh!  Really?”  Apparently so!  And I didn’t mean to do that, and didn’t even realize I’d done it.  When I say I become enmeshed with my character, it goes that far…

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Gaming Thursday

July 18, 2019

Have an “artsy-style” gaming photo right from the table…

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Everything Thursday: The Aesthetics of Genre

June 20, 2019

“I think it is very important to be able to read media with a critical eye. To parse it in terms of what it is saying, both on its face, and in how it uses the language of its medium (film, TTRPG, whatever) to deliver its ideas. To make its statement.

Genre is not simply a set of aesthetics, full stop. It is aesthetics with a direction, an impetus.

Lots of folks like to forget the reason behind the aesthetic choices, and just sort of, eat and regurgitate them unthinkingly.”

Commuting Crow [Emphasis Mine]

I came across this and I like it a lot, and want to pass it forward for it is very important in storytelling, in gaming, and even in architecture.

The look and feel (ie aesthetics) of any genre is born from a philosophical place.  It was through the examination and exploration of certain ideas, theses, and ideologies, whether that be in support of them (we are interested in this  and think this is a good way to go, let’s explore and invent down that road), in question of them (we see this as a possible way things could go, let’s explore and see what the outcome(s) might be), or in opposition or critique of them (this is something we see happening, and think it is not productive, let’s explore and illustrate the harm).  Genre is more than the style of the world, it is about world building, and all of the aspects of world building.  The way society operates (or doesn’t), the way people think (or don’t), the prevailing truths (or untruths), the direction and inflections of humanity.  It is from there, from that baseline world building from which the aesthetics emerge and are developed into their final form.

So when you use the imagery and aesthetics of the genre as just a stylistic choice, you aren’t operating in the genre.  Your work is not of the genre.  It’s something else in different clothing.*

The same holds true in architecture.  The organization of the Beaux-Arts building, the hyper-detailed nature of the Baroque period, the classical orders, the bold planes of modernism, they all emerged out of philosophies about living (in all senses of that word).  There were values and convictions and ideas and ideologies beneath it all, and it was the exploration into form of all of those that informed and created the style, including how the building is laid out, how one approaches the building, how one travels from room to room, how the façade is proportioned, how and where ornamentation, etc.

So when you use the architectural pieces and aesthetics (the architectural language) of a ‘style’ (or genre) as just a stylistic choice, you aren’t operating in the true nature of the style.  Your work is not of the style.  It is something else in different clothing.

In this way, Using the words  “architectural style” to describe how a building looks turns out to be a misnomer.**

To reiterate, genres (and architectural ‘styles’***) are born of a specific context, in time and space and thought and vision.  From there emerges a look.  If you want your story, your game, or your work to be truthfully of that genre, it needs to engage with that context (again, whether it is to follow, to re-examine, to tweak, to refute, whatever, but it must engage with it), not just the look of it.

It is from there that richness arises and that great works emerge.

 

* Which BTW is fine… there’s some fun in playing around only with style.  Just be honest about it.

** It is also where many more recent buildings fall flat or feel terrible, because they’re importing architectural languages in a copy/paste mode without any thought or understanding of all the ideology and knowledge that underpinned the ‘style’ and so having little design sense poured into them.  Confusing architecture as just the “fancy looking bits” leaves behind the most important aspects that make up what architecture actually is.

*** We really need a better word.  Ok.  This is my game now, to find or come up with a new word for this.

 

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Gaming Thursday: RPG Page Up!

April 4, 2019

I played my first RPG when I was 11 years old.*  It was the Top Secret RPG, and I was instantly hooked. Since then there’s nary been a time when I haven’t been playing one RPG or another, and I’ve equally come to love various tactical tabletop games.

It’s likely no surprise then that over the years I’ve written and created a myriad of rules supplements, fiction, campaign ideas, accessories, and so much more for all the various games I play.  After much delay, I have finally begun to re-create a page that collects all that material to share it all.  You can find it at the top of the sidebar to the right, titled Kannik’s RPG Page.

Thus far I have linked my recent Star Trek Adventures and Mouse Guard materials, a gaggle of guns and equipment for Car Wars, and two big books I’d put out for the Renegade Legion line of games, the first being the (what was to have been the official) second edition rules for Interceptor, and the second being a collection of all the material I had created and placed on my old Renegade Legion website (which, delightfully, has been saved for posterity by archive.org).

I’ve still got plenty more!  I’ll keep adding to it in the coming months and leave a note when I do.

Happy gaming!

 

* Actual rules-based RPG that is – my friends and I had been doing essentially freeform RPG-esque storytelling for several years prior.

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Gaming Thursday

January 31, 2019

This is the kind of shenanigans we players get up to during our games… especially when the DM brings 3D printed magnet-edged tiles:

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Gaming Thursday

December 20, 2018

D&D humour!  (and a great pun to boot!)

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Gaming Thursday

December 6, 2018

In honour of both Ralph Breaks the Internet as well as our own just-started D&D campaign…