Thursday, 17 March 2011

Dapple, dabble




A long time ago in a post with the title 'Size matters / class war' I wrote the words:

... the lack of a mechanic is as infinite as our imaginations and capacity to communicate. In designing a game we pave over the infinity and fence the players into our way of thinking.

The same could be said for any act of creation, which is a large part of my interest in flash fiction. The less the author says, the more the audience says; the more the audience becomes the author. This is important. Why? Let me make the case.

I've been pondering the next step in the 'Getting out of the boat' gaming project and I'm starting to feel there is no next step. The idea is out there. Why should my development of the idea close avenues for players? The most that might be done is to suggest ways of approaching this new style of play, helping a group get the desired effect.

Today at Errant Greg Christopher presented a related idea for roleplaying modules, based on what he calls 'impressionistic narrative'. Put simply, the idea reduces a situation to elements and presents those elements as prompts, here words, to be read at a glance. The DM / GM fills in the blanks, on the spot if so desired. If..?

First - but not most importantly - it's incredibly efficient. Not only can the experience be better tailored to each individual group and campaign, but preparation time can be reduced, as can reading in-game, along with the need for the author to produce so much in the first place. We can even see a saving in resources.

Second - most importantly - this means more space for DM / GM to create - and more stimulus to do so - more time in a session for players to roleplay - and more scope to explore with the context less rigid - more time for other games too, and so a more open market, and authors asked for quality over quantity, able to sow more wild oats.

Yesterday I posted on energy and different understandings came out in the comments. We live today in a time when behemoths - old ideas too - are more easily challenged. Excellent, I think we'd mostly agree. Three weeks ago I posted on freedom and said:

The point is surely making the new boss no boss, just us, or more us.

There's lots of us. Lots to reconcile. Do we agree on everything? Probably not. Can we get along and solve our problems. Why not? The best part of it all might even be the journey, the process of engagement. The riffing off the differences and learning the best.

If we accept this, encouraging engagement is the way to go. Greg's impressionistic narrative and tools like it are tools not only for better entertainment, but tools for building a better future. All of us can make a contribution, and even have fun doing it.

My creative energies are already going into an idea I want to express at last, a modular game concept that aims to be all things to all people, based on mind, body and soul.

What about yours?
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5 comments:

Greg Christopher said...

Glad to see I inspired you, Porkster

Porky said...

Plenty. I really dig the drive, the restless energy. You set the standard high and that's something to be grateful for.

ArmChairGeneral said...

Interesting. Hey by the way did your readers see that I have a contest going whoever has read at least 12 vsf book and or seen 20 vsf books/films combined gets a free copy of the quick play rules?

ArmChairGeneral said...

I read it and posted on your site Greg. Very nice idea. It follows logically and it allows for sandbox style for a crafty GM.

Porky said...

I don't know if anyone else has, but I saw it and started counting. It didn't take long - I won't be winning a copy..! I'll collect topics and give a group shout. With the review there could well be interest.