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Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on June 17, 2001, 05:20:00 AM
last night i ran my first game session in a while. it went well. good, but not great. but one thing i definitely need to work on is pacing.
i'm good with beginning a scene, setting it up, getting it going. but it's cutting away from that scene to the next one that i'm not great at. i worry "what if a player has one more thing they want to say?", or "this scene is starting to drag & lose a lot of its strength, but the players are still talking (setting up plans for when the characters will meet next)".
so, i'd like some advice & some anecdotes. when do you end a scene? how dictatorial are you at ending a scene & then starting a new one?


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Dav on June 17, 2001, 07:30:00 AM
I know this is stealing thunder and such, as I am basically repeating Ron's own words to you that were given to me.  But what the hell, I am saving him from typing the reply :wink:

I used to have a similar problem, especially with forcing characters to actually find means to travel to the next scene (do you have a car?  no?  cab or bus, your choice.)  Who cares about transportation methods of the public system?  

Then Ron tells me that he has this style wherein he has a small checklist (mental or physical) of things to accomplish (either broadly in the evening of roleplaying, or specifically in the scene).  Once that checklist is met for the scene, he *may* give characters a few more moments to wrap-up conversation, or ask some things he might not have counted upon, but then he will actually say, "Cut!"  And we are off to the next scene.  We know we have at least hit upon some of the key points, or come to a closure with that scene in terms of relevant information.

Anyway, I am just saying that you could try something like this (Ron, to be honest, used this in the beginning, then, as he got used to the group of us, eased into more elaborate edits (morphs, fades, wipes, and the like), but it *is* a good starting point).

My .02 (on loan from Ron)

Dav


Title: timing is everything
Post by: james_west on June 17, 2001, 08:37:00 AM
I almost never have all the same characters in the same place, so when I feel a scene is over, I just jump to another group, without so much as a word. It always seems to take players longer to figure out a scene is over than it does the GM; that way, the group of players involved in that scene can continue to talk about it while I'm dealing with the other group, and by the time I get back to them, -they- have usually decided the scene is over, as well.

I think that the reason scene endings drag is because players always spend a while talking about what they want to do next. It's fine with me if the players have better plans than their characters would have had time to come up with, so I don't feel required to make them do it "in game"

Also, flashback mechanisms should work well here, too. If a player decides that, really, there was something else he needed to accomplish in that scene, he may feel free to have a flashback to the 'real' ending to the scene.

[ This Message was edited by: james_west on 2001-06-17 12:38 ]


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on June 17, 2001, 10:07:00 AM
thanks dav & james (& by extension, ron). i also reread the gm chapter of feng shui, specifically the part about gliding over nonessential scenes & getting to the action. i'm already thinking about how i'm going to run the next session.
groovy!


Title: timing is everything
Post by: kwill on June 17, 2001, 01:06:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-06-17 11:30, Dav wrote:

[snipped: Ron saying "Cut!" when his checklist is complete]

Ron, to be honest, used this in the beginning, then, as he got used to the group of us, eased into more elaborate edits (morphs, fades, wipes, and the like), but it *is* a good starting point).



Dav (or Ron!),

could you elaborate on this transition technique?

is the aim to deliberately interpret the action in the game in movie-like terms (ie, do you go to the extent of describing things *as though it were a movie*)

or are you simply using well-known conventions as transitions, without really elaborating?  ("okay, we'll fade out on that conversation now... meanwhile, what are you guys doing?")

I could see deliberate-movie-like descriptions working in certain games/campaigns (games with last of fast physical action, games with purely descriptive cut scenes) but not necc. all games (1890s Cthulhu, for example, seems more literary than cinematic to me...)

going off on a complete tangent, what movie "effects" do ppl feel enhance a gaming session?  what would detract?
what can roleplaying do that movies *can't*?


_________________
ttfn,
  d@vid
  http://www.kwill.org/

[ This Message was edited by: kwill on 2001-06-17 17:07 ]


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 18, 2001, 06:45:00 AM
Hey David,

If I ever get myself back onto GO, I could cull a really nice thread about this, which included input from a lot of other people. Given current time constraints, I apologize for not reconstructing it from memory.

The best references would be found in the Story Engine rules and the Theatrix rules, as well as a semi-harsh version in Feng Shui.

I'll return to this thread to spend more time on it later (a few days). Scene-cutting and scene-presenting are perhaps the most important job of my GMing, and making sure that they are NOT a form of railroading is the top priority.

One point within that topic is this: "what I want" from a scene is FLEXIBLE - contributions of any kind from a player may suddenly beef that scene into a far more important one that I had previously thought ("planned" is no longer applicable). In that case, halfway through the scene, I would abandon the "cut" I was just about to impose, in favor of developing my NEW "what I want" from this scene.

This is important because although it LOOKS like "massive GM power" to cut out of the scene, I'm actually using player contributions to determine what the scene is FOR, to a large degree, during play.

Best,
Ron

[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-06-18 10:48 ]


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Peter on June 18, 2001, 06:50:00 AM
Transitions are tough.

Somewhere about halfway through the game I ran last year, I came up with a style I've been using ever since; if at all possible I have some ideas for scenes already made up and listed. These aren't exactly linear or railroaded, but theyre sorta set pieces: many of them are cut scenes and 'behind the scenes' scenes that are taking place whether the players are there or not (I let the players see all the scenes with the villians, for example, unless it's important that they not see them). If I've got several factions or subgroups or even party splits active I'll try and skip from one group to the other quickly with the most emphasis on the players. The players are there to play, so you have to settle down and let them go at it. This is also a public demo game for RPG newbies.

For transitions between scenes I do this: make a V-closing motion with  one arm coming down into your other hand like a directors cutting board. Add a sound effect. then say something like "okay, next scene..the sun rises over the village, there's a sound of morning birds chirping. It's breakfast time.. who is eating breakfast?..."

(The one sound effect I usually use is supposed to sound like a door slam, but I do it with my voice so it sounds just sorta like a mimicked gunshot.)

Here's a real world example of a session outline from my current game: This may or not be of use to anyone, but this is the "Actual Play" section. =) You may wish to skip the rest.  

Scene list:

Opening (cut scene): Kobolds find Sepoto's magic coin. (Sepoto is a PC, the magic coin is a long running mystery from earlier).

Player scene: Sunrise and breakfast scene in Village of Dragon Falls. Introduce any new PCs, and village healer (major NPC).

Cut scene: Player scene: Just outside of town, miners find an ancient, buried stone box in village mine.  

Players scene: pure roleplaying. The healer engages in conversation with players about villagers, politics, origins and travels. I'm setting the healer up as a sort of mentor/foil for the newbies in my campaign.  

Cut scene (quick): miners open the box...

Players scene: continue conversation as above but get to adventure hooks: needed potion supplies, kobold raids and an omen in the temple.  

Players scene: Administrative, optional: players get a free hour or so to individually (or in groups) do whatever they want. Hint/suggest that Toki (another PC) may want to investigate his own magic coin, and Sepoto can reconsider why he threw his away. Or they can hang out and meet NPCs, go shopping or whatever else they want. Also address new PCs wants and needs.

Scene: Demons released from the miners box (who have by this time killed a bunch of miners) suddenly attack the village, somewhere in the vicinity of (at least two) of the players. (big, exciting fight scene).

Denoument Players scene: players may wish to investigate where the demons came from, follow up on the existing mystery of the magic coins or follow up on the healers lead to gather potion supplies or the omen.. Or something else.

Ending cut scene: kobolds deliver Sepoto's coin to Dagrah their boss, who now knows the name of one of the PCs. End scene with Dagrah trying to activate the coin and finding out it needs it's twin (which is now with the PCs.) He vows to track down the PCs!

Administrate the awards for the evening.

Get feedback from players.

Doc Fortune/Peter


















Title: timing is everything
Post by: JSDiamond on June 18, 2001, 09:15:00 AM
This may sound nuts, but it's true and it always works for me. I simply tell the players this at the beginning of each session (with me as GM):
    I'm not here.
    From now on, you are your characters.
    Whatever you say, -you say;
    whatever you do, you do.
And that's it, we're off and adventuring.

The main thing is, I let the players know that their characters may try anything they want and go anywhere they want. And it is that knowledge, that great big vista of possibilities, that somehow makes them want to discover what's going on with the adventure at hand.  It's like by having the freedom to deviate from the plot, they know the opportunity is always there so they never feel the need to do so.

Really, I've had to nudge characters in a specific direction maybe once in my entire life of gaming.  I have never resorted to 'power of the gods' or lightning from the sky to push a party (or errant member thereof) back on the road to the haunted ruins, or whatever.    

The party wants to split up? Fine.
A character wants to cavort at the local whorehouse? Okay.
So what? I'm the GM, I'm not actually there.
Characters can do what they want.
 
Besides, characters often times create stories that are quite fantastic and interesting!  Oh here's something; did you know that I have not used a module in over ten years of gaming? Not even as source material.

Never underestimate the character.

Jeff Diamond
6-0 Games



Title: timing is everything
Post by: jburneko on June 18, 2001, 09:33:00 AM
I thought I'd just jump in here and say that I have this problem as well but I have an added complexity.  As I've stated else where I often run either mystery type adventures or adventures in which I'm trying to trick the players into doing some work FOR the villain.

This means that often characters in my stories are LYING.  When the players sit there and question the NPC I don't want to just cut them off because latter when they find out they've been lied to they'll go, 'Oh, but you cut us off in that scene.  If we'd had more time we would have asked a few more questions and figured that out.'

On the other hand I hate it when the questioning of every NPC turns out to be this long drawn out: Player, 'Tell me X'.  NPC, 'That's private and personal and none of your business.'  Player: 'Then we won't do Y, like you asked.'  NPC: 'Why?'  Player: 'Because you won't tell us X.' around and around and around and around and around and around.  Sigh.

Oh well.

Jesse


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Peter on June 18, 2001, 10:31:00 AM
Geez. Suspicious players!

However, I might be able to help: players usually only act like this as a metagame tactic when they see the GM as an adversary (or they've been hoodwinked one too many times, and they won't get over seeing the Gm as an adversary, even when he isn't one).

Address that first.





Title: timing is everything
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 18, 2001, 12:51:00 PM
Peter,

Hear, hear. Full agreement.

Best,
Ron


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Mytholder on June 18, 2001, 01:07:00 PM
While I agree with Peter that having the players willing to work with you is the best approach, you can avoid long, drawn-out conversations by having an in-game reason for cutting them short. Have the NPC villian be called away to a meeting or get on a plane or something, or give the PCs a reason to move away.


Title: timing is everything
Post by: james_west on June 18, 2001, 04:16:00 PM
This is, after all, what people do in reality when you start trying to grill them ....


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Epoch on June 21, 2001, 01:44:00 PM
Hey, Ron, FYI:

You should have access to GO until July 18 for free, if you want to go and grab stuff off the fora or whatever.  Everyone who used to have an account had a month added, so that they could "test the waters."


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on June 25, 2001, 06:33:00 AM
thanks to everyone who gave me advice. we had our second session yesterday & it went much much better. story engine was a tremendous help, too. i even had players saying "don't cut to me, i'll inject myself into the next scene i want to be in", which was brilliant.


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on July 16, 2001, 06:45:00 AM
Another update--

Last night we played our 4th session, & it went even better than the previous sessions, thanks mostly to advice from Ron & Paul. I let the players know that they were responsible for generating a lot of the plot thrust, to not worry about "ruining my plot" (I told them flat out: "There isn't one to ruin"). & it went really well. They players were injecting themselves into scenes with perfect timing, things were moving quickly, conflicts were being generated & dealth with. I'm very happy with how it went. Thanks again to everyone who contributed advice.


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 16, 2001, 07:23:00 AM
Hey Josh,

Tell us more about the system, the game-situation, and the general interaction between mechanics, announcements, and events.

Best,
Ron


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on July 16, 2001, 07:47:00 AM
The game is Mage (yeah, Ron, I know, I know), but with slightly altered mechanics (not altered enough for my tastes, I've come to realize). I'm using only the basic "stat+skill vs. difficulty #", dropping lots of modifiers & ignoring "combat rounds" (make a general declaration, roll, & the number of success--vs. the defenders successes--determines exactly what happened), but cut-&-pasting the "add dice for tactics & roleplaying" of Sorcerer. (Also, I've jettisoned most of the official setting, using my own, which is a collage of the usual World o' Darkness, Doom Patrol, The Invisibles, Planetary, Neverwhere, & Doctor Who, with little bits from Ken Hite's Supressed Transmission dropped in.)
The general idea was to make the mechanics run smoother than White Wolf would usually, but since my group tends to be fairly low on fight scenes (I keep giving them the opportunity for them if they want them, but they keep being sensible, negotiating & bargaining rather than fighting) & focuses more on discussion, there hasn't been loads of dicerolling anyway, so I can't say the game is running any differently than it normally would.
The biggest difference has been my attempts at using Narrativist techniques in running the game. I've told the players they have lots of Authorial & Directorial power, which isn't really reflected in the mechanics (which is why I feel I didn't change them enough--or just throw them out & run something else), but I have given them the ability (or relinquished my control) to inject themselves in a scene when they want to, & encouraged them to vocalize where they want their characters to go, in a larger sense than just the typical RPG "one step at a time" (in the latest session, one of the players told me, halfway through a scene, "Okay, this is how I want the scene to go"--we still played it out, but knowing what he was trying to do helped me to run the scene). This has been a great training ground for my own scene framing & pacing. So, while I'm still not happy with the mechanics & am even more sure that the next game I run will be "hardcore Narrativist", I'm happy with the change in play of my group (& my own growth as a GM, as facilitator).



[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-07-16 11:49 ]


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Blake Hutchins on July 16, 2001, 10:42:00 AM
As a side note, I'm not happy with WoD mechanics either. I run my Mage game with a very "Interactive Toolkit" approach, fast and loose, with die bonuses to players for creative description and tactics. I'm also letting players have directorial input for scene setting and NPC creation. Some very interesting things happen on the fly here.

I'd like to shift to a far more rules-streamlined system, such as the Exalted Quick Start mechanics, which I like much better than the full-on WW system. Unfortunately, my players like the granularity of the current system and don't want to convert midstream.

Best,

Blake

[ This Message was edited by: Blake Hutchins on 2001-07-17 12:42 ]


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on July 16, 2001, 12:36:00 PM
Blake--

That's exactly how I've been running it. Kubasik's "Interactive Toolkit" essays & the subsequent White Wolf interpretation of them (which I think is in the Mage 2nd ed Storyteller Screen book) was my big inspiration for what I'm doing mechanics-wise. But I think I'd be happier with something "harder"--Hero Wars, Story Engine, Dying Earth, or *gasp* Sorcerer ("The hardcover edition will be available when?" he asked naggingly).


Title: timing is everything
Post by: kwill on July 16, 2001, 01:38:00 PM
vot iz this "Interactiff Toolkit" ov vich you spik?



Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on July 16, 2001, 03:25:00 PM
Here's the link:

www.rpg.net:443/oracle/essays/gamesatplay.html (http://www.rpg.net:443/oracle/essays/gamesatplay.html)

I quite like the essays. Sort of a starting point for Narrativism (but definitely not the final word).


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 17, 2001, 05:52:00 AM
Brilliant material, but of course you folks knew I'd say that.

I disagree with Kubasik in regard to "rules," although if we amend that to "rules as we commonly see them, or grew up with them," then I'm fine with his points.

I also think that Vampire and White Wolf in general went horribly askew from the priorities as he describes them to the old-style priorities. Their adventure scenarios, for instance, conform perfectly to his "lead by the nose" category, not to the "stories produced through character action" category.

The reason for this lies in system design, in my opinion, so attention to "rules" is important after all. Now we have Hero Wars, Orkworld, and The Dying Earth to point too, not just Everway, Over the Edge, and Castle Falkenstein (which I consider to be heroic pioneers with highly identifiable design flaws for their stated purposes).

But that's the only matter in which I differ with any points he raises. It's a great set of essays. We ought to put a direct link to this stuff onto the Forge.

Best,
Ron


Title: timing is everything
Post by: jburneko on July 17, 2001, 10:25:00 AM
Quote

On 2001-07-17 09:52, Ron Edwards wrote:

I disagree with Kubasik in regard to "rules," although if we amend that to "rules as we commonly see them, or grew up with them," then I'm fine with his points.



I'm sorry, did you just say Kubasik? -- as in Christopher Kubasik?  A man by that name, who I met through RPG.net, just agreed to join my weekly gaming group.  His less than enthusiastic nature regarding the fact that we're in the middle of a (finite) D&D game would seem consistent with the sentiments expressed in those articles.  If it is indeed the SAME Christopher Kubasik, I suddenly feel like someone who just discovered they've accidentally invited Emmylou Harris out to a Britney Spears Concert!

Jesse


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on July 27, 2001, 01:15:00 PM
I'm back with yet another pacing question.

My games tend to be pretty information-rich. There's a lot of stuff for the PCs to learn, & since they rarely learn it all at the same time, there's a lot of PC to PC information transmission.
Now, these all tend to be played in scenes--one PC runs into 3 other PCs, & they start exchanging information. The thing is, the players generally know the info (unless someone was in the bathroom during a scene), but their characters don't.
I recently suggested to my players that we tighten up the pacing by eliminating a lot of that. Rather than having lots of repeated information that everybody (as both author & audience) already knows, we simply cut to another scene & assume the characters now know the info.
But some of the guys in my group are worried that 1) not every character shares every bit of information, so assuming that Character A now knows what Character B knows is problematic (I suggested Player A write a note to Player B listing exactly what information is being shared), & 2) the group will lose some great roleplaying scenes.

Ron, Paul, Logan, any other narrativists--any suggestions?


[ This Message was edited by: joshua neff on 2001-07-27 17:17 ]


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Uncle Dark on July 27, 2001, 09:34:00 PM
Josh,

I've found that, in play, I tend to say things like, "I core dump (i.e., my PC brings your PC up to speed on stuff I know you oberved me play through), except that I don/t tell anyone about the glowing necklace," or something like that.  Evereyone then proceeds as if the PCs were not told about the excluded item.

In other words, it's not much of a problem unless your players are heavily into immersive play.

Lon


Title: timing is everything
Post by: joshua neff on July 28, 2001, 04:58:00 AM
Lon--

That's sort of what I assumed would work (& if I were a player with a narrativist GM, that's what I would do).
I can't tell if my players are really immersive, or if they think they should be immersive. One of my players loves switching into directorial stance--often, when he's in a scene, he'll set the scene instead of me, speaking as if he's describing a movie ("The camera swoops in on a shot of Poe sitting at an outdoor cafe..."), & in a recent session, he voiced how he wanted a scene he was in to play out, & then proceeded to roleplay it--well, it was a cool moment. Another player is the one who seems most "on board" for what I want to do narrativistly. But we're all products of our RPG history, & immersive play, side by side with "ignore the rules in favor of story", became the banner of "serious ROLEplaying" (as opposed to "those awful dungeon crawls"). I think I just need to assure them that they won't lose any roleplaying or character development by losing PC to PC information scenes (which, if it were a movie or TV show, would be those annoyingly insulting scenes of "the audience can't possibly keep up with the plot, so let's have a quick recap").


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Ron Edwards on July 28, 2001, 03:56:00 PM
Josh,

You wrote,
"I think I just need to assure them that they won't lose any roleplaying or character development by losing PC to PC information scenes (which, if it were a movie or TV show, would be those annoyingly insulting scenes of "the audience can't possibly keep up with the plot, so let's have a quick recap")."

I think you should use those exact words. The idea is to develop story - and if stories are diminished by such scenes, then performing these scenes is self-defeating.

There are exceptions - when the reactions of PCs during the revelation of information are themselves significant. That's probably what your players are fearful of losing. Tell them that you'll bow to their judgment and play out the scene if they really, really think it's important in that regard. Otherwise, you can all say "data dump!" or perhaps "data dump without mentioning Ted's body!" and move on.

I strongly suggest not arguing about which option to take during play itself, but let the players decide. Talk about it later, some time after the session, and see if anyone really grieved about the "lost scenes" when they occurred.

Worst-case scenario would be if they always insist on doing it the old way. If so, after the game, say so - "Listen, I went and let you decide, and I think you didn't use much judgment about it. Let me have, say, two 'Cut' privileges next time." See if they'll hear your point.

Best,
Ron


Title: timing is everything
Post by: james_west on July 30, 2001, 07:30:00 PM
Quote

On 2001-07-28 19:56, Ron Edwards wrote:
Let me have, say, two 'Cut' privileges next time." See if they'll hear your point.


For interest's sake, I gave each of the players in my last session a coupon that they could use for this (to skip a scene that they thought was pointless). Two of them used them, and in appropriate places.

            - James


Title: timing is everything
Post by: contracycle on August 01, 2001, 10:37:00 AM
Hi all,

First, PC-PC conversations.

One of my favourit game experiences occurred when one character (Malkavian, natch) described their experiences in wholly malformed - but nonetheless convincing - terms.  This was not deliberate on their part to the best of my knowledge, and we all knew at a player level that it was rubbish, but we played the characters through on their PC-based information.  It was cool.  But I think it also highlights the fact that we were conscious of doing so "at another level".

In another game, we did the "core dump" stuff but found, in the end, that so much information had been lost - people assumed others knew X - that we had gone completely off course.  We adopted the desperate technique of not describing our historical experineces to newly introduced characters so as not to prejudice their decisions - we were incapable of disentangling the mish-mash of assumed knowledge, and resolved to start from scratch.  This eventually killed the game, which was a great pity.

On the whole, I favour explicit PC-PC conversations partly becuase of the repetition, and partly because of the explicit exposition.  It means the GM gets to keep an eye (well, ear) on what the players know, and what they think they know, and what they should know but have forgotten.

Cinematic devices: love 'em, can't get enough of 'em.  Every session starts with a helicopter shot and a trick I shamelessly stole from my old GM Chris Gilroy.  This is to have each player do an "intro scene" for their character, pretty much anything they like, which reinforces the characters look, identity, background, that sort of stuff.  The idea was taken from the way TV series do a little charater/actor ID clip - so Dynasty, for example, started with a serial collage of the major players, showing (one could argue) the "default identity" of that character.  It's just a few seconds, someone getting out of a car, or openeing a windfows, anything really.  In RPG, we used this especially to illustrate clothing and how characters look, which is often forogtten by other players, leading to a conceptual mismatch.  This also prompts players to change their characters clothes more often :smile:  Players were also free to do character exposition from their own background - especially for the Man With No Name types, this allows them to communicate information player-to-player rather than character-to-character and thus provide some context on their behaviour which might otherwise be missing.  Not everyone can come up with a new scene every time, and we would just move on, but I think its a great technique both for bringing player-originated information into the shared game space, for reinforcing a shared vision, and for "getting into" the game world and bring up the SOD.


Title: timing is everything
Post by: contracycle on August 01, 2001, 10:37:00 AM
Hi all,

First, PC-PC conversations.

One of my favourit game experiences occurred when one character (Malkavian, natch) described their experiences in wholly malformed - but nonetheless convincing - terms.  This was not deliberate on their part to the best of my knowledge, and we all knew at a player level that it was rubbish, but we played the characters through on their PC-based information.  It was cool.  But I think it also highlights the fact that we were conscious of doing so "at another level".

In another game, we did the "core dump" stuff but found, in the end, that so much information had been lost - people assumed others knew X - that we had gone completely off course.  We adopted the desperate technique of not describing our historical experineces to newly introduced characters so as not to prejudice their decisions - we were incapable of disentangling the mish-mash of assumed knowledge, and resolved to start from scratch.  This eventually killed the game, which was a great pity.

On the whole, I favour explicit PC-PC conversations partly becuase of the repetition, and partly because of the explicit exposition.  It means the GM gets to keep an eye (well, ear) on what the players know, and what they think they know, and what they should know but have forgotten.

Cinematic devices: love 'em, can't get enough of 'em.  Every session starts with a helicopter shot and a trick I shamelessly stole from my old GM Chris Gilroy.  This is to have each player do an "intro scene" for their character, pretty much anything they like, which reinforces the characters look, identity, background, that sort of stuff.  The idea was taken from the way TV series do a little charater/actor ID clip - so Dynasty, for example, started with a serial collage of the major players, showing (one could argue) the "default identity" of that character.  It's just a few seconds, someone getting out of a car, or opening a window, anything really.  In RPG, we used this especially to illustrate clothing and how characters look, which is often forgotten by other players, leading to a conceptual mismatch.  This also prompts players to change their characters clothes more often :smile:  Players were also free to do character exposition from their own background - especially for the Man With No Name types, this allows them to communicate information player-to-player rather than character-to-character and thus provide some context on their behaviour which might otherwise be missing.  Not everyone can come up with a new scene every time, and we would just move on, but I think its a great technique both for bringing player-originated information into the shared game space, for reinforcing a shared vision, and for "getting into" the game world and bring up the SOD.


Title: timing is everything
Post by: contracycle on August 01, 2001, 10:40:00 AM
whoops


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Shpyder on August 13, 2001, 10:47:00 AM
Gentlemen,

I am currently a player in the campaign Josh Neff, is GM'ing.  I liked the original idea from the get-go.  I had no idea what I was in for.  Through the years of playing hack and slash D&D and others, I had always felt there was so much more possible.  I had one D&D DM, that pushed us to really work on character development.  But it wouldn't hold a flame to the leaps and bounds we as a group are making. Upon reflection, I realized I had never played a roleplaying game...I had played "Roll" playing games. I did some stage acting when I was in college, and worked with the concept of truly "becoming," your character.  The game we're playing now is probably the best creative outlet I have ever been able to be a part of.  I would like to give credit to Josh for exposing us to an awesome new experience. I am really excited about the new (to me)possibilities for RPG's.  What are some good games to read that would help stear me in the right direction?

Chris.


Title: timing is everything
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on August 13, 2001, 11:03:00 AM
On 2001-08-13 14:47, Shpyder wrote:
Quote

I would like to give credit to Josh for exposing us to an awesome new experience. I am really excited about the new (to me)possibilities for RPG's.  What are some good games to read that would help stear me in the right direction?


First of all, congratulations on playing with Josh - he's one of the funniest and most interesting guys I've met, and imagine his games are kick-ass.

Hmm. The games that got my mind a-turnin' were:

Sorcerer, of course (Elfs is worth it, too - plus it's funny as hell, and Josh would probably run a gut-busting game of it)
Dying Earth - if you like Jack Vance, or like fantasy, or like both, this game can't be paralleled
Zero - Everyone should read Zero at least once. It's hard to find, but worth it. (Check eBay.)
Pantheon - Kind of a roleplaying game, it changed my mind about what RPGs could be like completely.
Story Engine (from Hubris Games) - There's not another generic system besides this and Fudge that I'd ever play. It's mind-blowing in its deconstruction of the normal props of RPG play such as rounds, combat scenes, and task resolution. I absolutely love this game, although it's foreign enough that it took me about three reads to understand.