Roleplaying is…

I just finished off a LURPS campaign tonight, run by the Tiny Blonde Keener, her first tabletop actually. I was so chuffed when she chose to run it in my homebrew system (Jeu de Tarot), I always feel proud when other GMs decide to run my system, considering that I find system a really hard part of roleplay I feel that it’s a real endorsement of my abilities when other people find it easy to run mine.

I ended up thinking about the type of game it was, there were PvP elements and in the final fifteen minutes we ended up all of us debating how the campaign would climax. My character was in prison, the guy she’d been trying to kill was wandering around the site of the spaceship he’d helped to build that had been stolen whilst he was locked up (my character’s fault) and the three others who’d stolen the spaceship were debating whether they had killed each other (one was shot), exploded the ship or survived. In the end the ‘nicest’ two characters, I use that term loosely, ended up with a spaceship under their control and not dead or in prison. It was definitely a collaboratively told story, and the final session was not exactly what the GM thought she might end up doing.

I used to think that there were two ends of the type of game you could run for tabletoppers – on one end was collaborative story-telling, on the other was a straight up Game. But I actually think that this isn’t so much a spectrum as a four angled graph. The two axes run one from Narrative to Game and the second from GM Led to Player Led. In a Narrative Game total GM control leads to railroading and a poor game, whereas in a Game Game total GM control leads to something great fun determined by the roll of a dice rather than the silver of your tongue.
I like both sorts, or all sorts really since these are but extremes rather than actually digital states of roleplaying game.

GMs, like any other artist just need to find their voice, find the type of game they can run well and then go for it. Same with players, find your style of game, find what you’re in the mood for and go for it.

I love roleplaying but I also love gaming and I enjoy the different styles and voices people bring to this hobby. I also really love tabletop, especially in the winter, I think recently I’ve swung way into LARP (well I suppose being LURPs LARP rep for a year will do that) and I want to reconnect with my tabletop roots. I really want to run my zombies campaign more regularly and I’m interested in finding a game that I can join on a regular basis too. I need to look into Roll20 more as I really enjoyed the Cthulhu that my Dark Ref friend ran earlier this year.

Oh hello enthusiasm, where have you been hiding?

2 thoughts on “Roleplaying is…

  1. It’s great when people start running games you’ve written, isn’t it?

    My Imperium roleplaying game from years ago even had a fan site for a while, and it seems my Xenos Rampant science fiction adaptation of the Dragon Rampant wargame is quite popular amongst the Rampant/40k crossover community. (So, you know, about eleven people worldwide…)

    I’ve yet to discover whether it’s better to have friends or strangers on the internet run my stuff though.

    • Well I’ve never had a game I’ve written run before but a lot of people who know me seem to like my system. I’d be interested to see if I was as happy should strangers take it up.

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