Basically something we have noticed is that we the current group the need for actual dice rolls has become somewhat unnecessary in most non-combat encounters. Considering the story is the main focus of our games I'm a little uncertain whether this is a good or bad thing. The question I find myself asking these days is where the line between 'interactive storytelling' and 'roleplaying game' actually lies.
There was an interesting discussion on this topic, which almost erupted into a flame war. It started with a post by Zak Smith on the D&D With Pornstars
blog (potentially NSFW, caveat emptor), which the Canon Puncture podcast
later addressed in one of their episodes. Zak Smith was furious when he heard about it
, because he felt that the people on the podcast more or less put words in his mouth, over-interpreting what he'd written and generally acted like overbearing douchenozzles - yet that they were doing it for the most noble intentions, of wanting to 'help' this poor, misguided gamer.
Anyway. The flame war itself isn't terribly interesting, because it never happened; they all managed to settle things reasonably peacefully. However, several interesting points were made by Zak Smith and his girlfriend, Mandy (who plays a tiefling barbarian/cleric in the D&D game he GMs).Tizane, played by Mandy, as drawn by Zak - did I mention the guy's an artist, and that he's got a picture in the MOMA? He does. And it's just a teensy bit NSFW, too.
(Incidentally, it should be noted - for context, as you'll see in a moment - that both Zak and Mandy are porn stars, or adult film actors, if you prefer that term. Please don't take this post as an implication that any of the Pantsless Gamers are, in fact, porn stars*. Neither is it intended to malign any of the Pantsies' gaming performances; you guys are doing just fine. So long as everyone enjoys the game, it doesn't really matter how you play it. However, Tess and Regan have both shown a degree of reticence towards engaging in the full-on, hard-core, down-and-dirty, sweat-in-your-eyes, nitty-gritty, bare-knuckle Tropis-style Improv ActingTM
, which Danny and Alex (and Jess) are so fond of. Some of the things that Zak and Mandy describe in their blog posts might be worth considering, in this regard.)
Some choice quotes:
One indie-narrativist game battlecry is "Story now!" It seems like a fairly decent description of how their games work: in the most interesting and original indie games I've seen, the players are all put on the spot at one point or another to come up with some interesting and creative story elements.
Here's the hitch--in order to play you either have to have faith in your on-the-spot creativity or be unselfconscious enough not to give a fuck.
And, if the latter, you have to have faith that even though you don't give a fuck, this game is still going to be fun and worth doing.
I feel like an important element of this discussion is being left out: some people have certain kinds of “shyness” that leads to thier hesitancy or unwillingness to play certain kinds of games.
Personally, despite the fact that I have no problem at all being naked and performing sex acts for all to see on film and online – I seriously feel exposed and vulnerable when it’s my intellectual assets on display.
Essentially I’m insecure (and I value those personal intellectual parts of myself more than my boobies for example) and until I develop more confidence I won’t enjoy exploring a different kind of gaming – one that would put “me” and on the spot – than the one I really enjoy and feel capable of now.
Zak actually says this in his original post.
Alright, enough with the seriousness. On a lighter note, let's end this wall-of-text with another quote from the D&DWPS blog - it's actually
chock-full of GMing tips and gaming stuff, almost no porn whatsoever. (Unless you get turned on by unpainted miniatures and such, then yeah. Lots of that kind of 'nudity'.)
Deep within the jungles of Drownesia lies the Black Pyramid.
And deep within the Pyramid wallows The Viscid King: A horrific, drooling slug-creature whose role is to anoint the Viridian Knight--choosing that Jade Champion of Tiamat from those who pass through the many trials and dangers of the Pyramid. (Or burn through them with acid they picked up in other peoples' games while looking for treasure. But, hey, the Jade Fang cult is pro- acid, greed and cheating.)
Anyway, this wasn't the first thing the players noticed about the Viscid King. The first thing they noticed was that he was a fat disgusting slug monster that had to die. This impression was possibly abetted by the fact that I represented him on the tabletop with a polish sausage left over from lunch:
(Likely also abetted by the fact that when Laney jabbed him with a poisoned rapier I represented his acidic vomit by spitting on the table. I'm awful.)
*Although you guys do happen to have an increasing number of Swedish players, and we all know what they're