serenissima: (Default)
It's been eight months since I joined that game club, and I've been to about ten one-shot RPG sessions run by them. I've also been in a continuing campaign since June, which meets weekly. I've drawn some generalizations about what I like and don't like.

I look for the same things in a role-playing game that I look for in a novel, a movie, or even a comic strip: a cohesive plot, well-paced exposition, character development -- all the things that make a good story. An internally consistent setting should go without saying.

Action and adventure make the story exciting. However, there should be a rationale for each escapade. One peeve I have with my ongoing campaign is that it seems to be a series of unrelated adventures, connected only by characters and setting. After each module (which is, of course, what they really are), the player characters basically have to think, "Well, what should we do next?" And then the GM brings in an NPC with an errand or some equivalent plot hook. A continuing campaign needs a central conflict to tie everything together. Television series, which are by nature episodic, still have an overall plot arc. The only reason I should be asking what to do next is because I am choosing between multiple options.

I want to be made to think. Rolling dice is not inherently interesting. Give me an adversary who needs to be outwitted or outmaneuvered, not just smacked around with a sword, and then watch me stew as I try. Making me think also yields character development. A new player character is like a cardboard cutout. That goes triple if it was created by someone else: then I'd compare it to a stick figure. Decisions that the character makes flesh out the form by shedding light on the character's attitudes and personality. So bring on the difficult choices, value judgements and ethical dilemmas.

One of the memorable challenges [livejournal.com profile] aristeros presented me with in the game we were playing a couple years ago was trying to convince my character's twelve year old kid brother not to accompany me fleeing the country but to stay safe at home with mother & dad. Reminding him of his responsibilities wasn't enough; as I recall, I had to write a note to the man who had trained me in use of a sword and ask him to train my brother as well.
serenissima: (Default)
I've been to four role-playing games now, held by the gaming society I found on Meetup.

synopses )

I've been enjoying myself at these games, and I'm going to keep attending. I hope I get better at figuring out what to do with my character. I feel I haven't contributed much to the party as a whole. Maybe practice will help.
serenissima: woman's face with glasses (real life)
I haven't been sticking to those "resolutions" I made very well. The first three evenings after I posted that, I piled up more dirty dishes. I've washed them since, but otherwise I haven't been cleaning much.

I like [livejournal.com profile] gregstoll's concept of microresolutions. They make intimidating things manageable.

I did make it out to an activity last Friday night: my first genuine Dungeons & Dragons game, playing by real 3rd edition rules, with character sheets and dice and everything. It was an interesting experience, not as much fun as I'd hoped but positive on the whole. I may post details later -- I want to wrap this up because my lunch hour is coming to an end.

Tonight is the first session of the class I'm taking this semester. From what other students said last semester, this one is significantly harder, with more coursework. Maybe it'll be on the level of a real graduate level class.
serenissima: (Default)
If you suddenly discovered that your lifelong beloved friend was destined to destroy your nation (by means of internal revolution or external invasion), what action, if any, might you take? Assume, for this context, that you more-or-less believe in destiny.

This is Melinda's dilemma. I want to write about her.
serenissima: (Default)
In our D&D game, Chris killed off one of the main characters, one with whom my character was in love.
I cried.
He was surprised I was so upset.

I watched the 4th Harry Potter movie on Friday night. (Chris came along to keep me company. I think he enjoyed the popcorn more than the movie.) I thought it was fun but not thrilling. This may have been because I reviewed the plot on Wikipedia beforehand. A lot of things from the book were left out, probably for simplicity's sake; as I recall, book 4 is very thick. One thing I didn't like was that Voldemort, upon being restored to life, has no nose, just nostril-slits. Otherwise he looks like a fairly normal, tall, bald man. I think he would look more believable if they gave him a nose.

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