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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 206 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [PTA] Emergent ritual -> flow  (Read 2429 times)

Posts: 462

« on: May 31, 2006, 12:02:54 AM »

Pretentious titles, we all love them.

A phenomenon I've seen in every single PTA session I've played, both as player and producer, is that it takes some time to get into the flow. There's some awkwardness at first, everything feels a bit stilted, like using your muscles when they're not warmed up. Then at some point, perhaps after half an hour or so, the flow hits in, and it all seems to run by itself.

Last night we had the last session of our Draug PTA game (set in the Norwegian/Danish colony Tranquebar in India in 1818). One of the players requested a scene around a campfire in the jungle, and I thought "Oh well, the campfire scene, they always want one of these for some reason". And then it hit me: They seem to come around the time when the flow starts. After the session, I mentioned this to the players, and they laughed and seemed to agree, although they hadn't even realized that we had so many campfire scenes.

It seems to me that this is some sort of spontaneous, emergent ritual that we just need for some reason. Perhaps it's a subconscious sign saying: "Okay, I'm ready, we're ready, let's do this, let's get into that state of mind".

As I said, this was the last session; otherwise, I probably wouldn't have mentioned it to the players yet, for fear that perceiving the phenomenon might somehow destroy it. I'm curious, though, whether it would be at all possible to use as a technique, or whether that would feel horribly forced and awkward. I'm not even sure if it's a technique for bringing about a certain state of mind, or a sign that that state of mind has already been reached; probably a combination of the two.


Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets

« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2006, 09:48:17 AM »

My very first Unknown Armies game had a variation on this.  The overall format was an odyssey across America, so each session was in a new place.  Invariably, though, each session would start with the characters in the car, doing things on the trip.  The players used this time to incorporate the events of the last session into the psyches of their characters.  Generally, once this was finished, we were ready to jump into the mess that I had planned for the week.  Again, not planned initially, but when we realized what we were doing, we continued to use it, because it worked well.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
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