Posts Tagged rpg

its a performance

An interesting way to look at role playing games, less about the game and more about the shared performance to create an experience.

When everything falls into place, a group can forge a series of dice rolls into a collaborative improvised scenario, and a story is born. The unease I felt when I started playing wasn’t confusion – it was performance anxiety.


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role playing games are emotional at their core

Role-playing games are thing we do to craft story or celebrate an idea or IP or to enjoy triumph — all things that are emotional at their core.

Ryan Macklin

Rolling dice is an interesting beat in the flow of a game. It can be heavily over used, or  under rewarded or penalized to make a moment impactful. Rolling dice has an element of anticipation, which might not be an emotion like fear or joy, but can certainly heighten other existing emotions.

The key is to make the dice rolling moment something additive to the atmosphere rather than toxic. Ryan refers to ‘toxic emotional beats’ – which dice could be if they don’t become part of the narrative.

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care about advancing through something

“Sheppard went on to explain some of the mechanics payers value. “The RPG user cares a lot about advancing through something, whether it’s advancing through a character tree or advancing through a universe or a storyline. They’ll often pay to advance through that storyline. Then there’s also people paying to participate in something that’s of limited duration. Whether it’s a sale or a promo, which is the more commonly understood concept, or an event like a boss raid…

Mobile Gaming USA

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start with a picture

Use Google images, find a picture which suits or hints at the characters face.

Then to form a character brief, a back story or to help bring someone to life, ask yourself questions like this;

  • What is your name?
  • How old are you?
  • Where are you now?
  • What was life like when you were 5
  • And when you were 10 and 15, 20 …
  • Are you married? in a relationship?
  • Do you have children?
  • What are their names?
  • What makes you happy?
  • What makes you sad, angry?
  • What are you passionate about?
  • Who influenced you most?
  • What stories define your life?
  • What stories do you tell?
  • What secrets do you keep?
  • Do you have an incomplete story?
  • Who are your friends
  • Where did you grow up?
  • Where do you live now?
  • Are you rich, poor, healthy, ill?
  • What do you do?
  • Do you have a job
  • Have you had other jobs?
  • Have you travelled? where?
  • How do you stand, walk, gesture etc
  • How do you speak, what accent do you have?
  • What mannerisms do you have?

Ask the questions slowly, with time to ponder, collate and compile a picture of the person in your mind. You don’t need to literally answer every question, and in 5 or 10 minutes you can create a rich and deep background, allowing you to play the character with great depth and personality.

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design language : you risk…

As a GM, use the code words “you risk…” and then give an indication of the possible outcomes for a player’s failure in a certain activity. This helps player’s guage what they are about to risk on the roll of a die. It might soften the occasional surprising or nasty outcome, it will help keep players stay alive more often than not.

Inspired by an article on Practical Conflict Reslultion and on creating Suspense;
Similiar to the “moment of glory” code words;

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design language : moment of glory

As a GM use simple codes words to hand over the narrative to players, giving them the freedom to enhance within certain boundaries.

E.g. In combat, in certain key ‘success’ situations, pass the narrative to the player with the phrase, ‘it’s your moment of glory…’

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