Friday, August 29, 2008

Oh thank god, there's an end in sight

Finally announced that I will be stepping down as VST Awakening Toronto in December. I gotta admit, its a very freeing feeling.

I've put a lot of work into the Camarilla over the last 3 years...and I think to an extent its been to the detriment of some of my other work. I've had such a very singular focus on writing for the local game that I haven't been doing much actual writing on the side. Only 4 more months of having to do that, thank god.

I admit, though, that I enjoy writing plot and running games. But 3 years (well, 2.5 really) is quite a long while, and it'll be good to just blow off some steam come January and not have to worry about putting a game together every month. That'll be someone else's problem!

Still. I notice that my focus for game itself has shifted towards more of an artsy/theater point of view. I'm kind of regretting not getting involved with more student theater in university. My excuse was always "I can never remember my lines", but I think that really was just an excuse. Still. Missing not having hunt out with the theater crowd, because now I'm thinking of game in a very dramatic sense.

All live action games consist of two groups: Storytelling Staff and Player Cast. I've gotten to love the word "storyteller", because it really is the function of the person running the game to set out the story being told. However, to relationship between ST team and player cast is a symbiotic one, its a state of give and take. Both sides *must* say "Yes" to each other, even if its "Yes, but".

As time has gone on, I've moved more away from dice rolls and more into the essence of the mechanics and their place in the story. Recent scenes (especially combat scenes) that I've run have gone quite smoothly because I've just stopped rolling. I've use narration, and only narration, asking only three questions:
1) What do you want to accomplish?
2) What are you willing to give up/lose to accomplish it?
3) Is there anything really cool or character-defining that you would like to put in here?

After these combat has just run...smoothly. Very smoothly, and has really hit on the two things that need to be present for a good game: Enjoyment of the player cast, and innovation by the ST team (wherein the ST uses the information given by the players, and works in collaboration with the player cast, in order to tell a story).

I'm being reminded of the only episode of Samurai Jack that I can actually remember. Its a bunch of kids sitting in a big auditorium, waiting to be told about the glory of Aku. These 3-4 kids start telling stories about Jack, and how he would defeat Aku, each adding in bits and pieces to the story. At any given time one kid is telling the broad narration, but its a collaborative effort between all of them. also has my favorite line to randomly shout: "And then they FIGHT!" *Ahem*

I'll be happy to no longer run the local game, but at the same time I think I've really learned a valuable lesson in the last 6-8 months from it that has enhanced my experience of the game as a player and as a storyteller. ...Unfortunately its also made me somewhat critical of STs who focus on a more rules-heavy style, but eh, whatcha gonna do?

4 more months. 4 more games. I'm counting the days.



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