Thursday, February 19, 2009

Anatomy of a post

Its been ten days since I last posted anything. Not that I have nothing to post but sometimes I haven't felt like posting. Its tough to break through my mental blocks that restrict me from posting more often. And when I write I tend to edit as I write. Less stream of conscious more inner struggle. Things that sound perfect in my mind often come out less than stellar in print. Add to the mix my horrible spelling (some times even spell check has no idea what I'm trying to spell) and you have potential disaster. However no art comes to perfection without practise so more time in the rough is needed. My previous post was my longest so far. And I'm proud of that. However I don't think it came out quite like I intended. At the time I wrote it I was feeling less than motivated to start work on my gaming world. Every decision I had to make weighed heavily on me. And perhaps I was thinking to far ahead for my own good. I was attempting to tell how unheroic many systems felt. A certain feeling that was hard to describe. Its not that I'm ready to drop all other games and just run Risus.Thanks for the feedback and suggestions about last post. They made me think perhaps I didn't do a good job at getting to my meaning. Future posts will ramble on about whatever subject I'm thinking of at that moment. But are not meant to be literal. Its a mood I'm setting up not a literal balanced treatise on a topic. A window into my own gaming experience that might provide some insight to your own.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Adventure details, the heroic and mundane

I'm a big picture kind of guy. I lack the patience for details. At least when it comes to action and adventure. Ok maybe I do nit-pick movies a bit for detail errors. Like the wrong car/gun/uniform etc for whatever period the story is set in. Or number of bullets a gun fires. Adventure however is about action not what you had for breakfast. Its not about doing the laundry or taking out the garbage. Miraculous escapes, daring do and edge of your seat action. Ok I'm starting to sound like a movie poster. But movies exude a strong influence on how we tell stories. And they connect to role playing quite well. I frequently visualize the action in a session as how it would play out on a movie or TV screen. A common joke with my gaming group is that our adventures are a TV series. When one the PC's suddenly died we said it was because the actor demanded too much money from the show so the producers wrote him out of the script. D&D and other early games all professed a connection to literary sources. But when I was young and playing War or whatever Cowboys and Indians equivalent, it was movies and TV that were my source material. Graduating to RPGs when I was older, the connection reasserted itself in my mind. When I was playing I wanted things to behave like their on screen equivalents. Likewise when I started game mastering. I struggled to match the game style to my source material. I sought refuge in greater detailed systems thinking that was the problem. I tried things like GURPS. But I soon found that I couldn't handle the details. I was rated at a RPGA event where I ran a game. That I was great at the character interactions and setting descriptions but I wasn't good at mechanics was the group opinion. Running Shadowrun for a few years helped but they kept making the system more complicated. I was always more interested in style over substance. I began not caring about encumbrance rules or how many days rations the party had. I didn't want to worry about every little plus or minus on the hit calculations. I found games like Story Engine. I had some trouble with the rules. And I didn't think I could get anyone to play it. I then discovered the old school games movement. Classic games like Traveller and OD&D. Simple mechanics and open rules. But I still have a sense of foreboding. Even those games still count the bullets or arrows. And how many days rations might be important. I have trouble thinking about the worlds I want to build. How much detail to put in. In war games they call it rivet counting. I really don't want to worry about tracking the group's money or spell equipment. My creativity is cramped by the confines of detail. Maybe I'll just run Risus.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Giddy As a School Girl / A very long wait pays off

I'm giddy as a school girl. A Japanese anime school girl. Ok maybe not quite that much. But man am I pumped about the latest news from Greyhawk Grognard. My favourite cheesy 70's (it was released in 1980) sword & sorcery flick Hawk the Slayer is getting a sequel! The story is a text book example of a fantasy role playing game adventure. A mostly good group joins a charismatic leader to right a great wrong. Joseph @ GG gives a really good review of it so I won't go into more detail. The only trouble I had with it is that the heroes assembled by the leader know him from past adventures. Ok so there is another movie out there about this group and their exploits right? Wrong, a furtive pre-internet search revealed no trace of this mythical movie. Ok maybe they will make one after. I'll just wait and see. And I have been waiting ever since I first saw it on late night TV in '81 or '82. But now my long wait has paid off. I hope.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

A fistfull of blogs (links)

I added some of the RPG blog links I regularly check out to the site. Its not a complete list but hits some of the highlights. I'd like to (as the kids say) "give props to my peeps" or whatever they say now. Damn I sound like an old fogey.