#RPGaDay2020: rest

Is a change as good as a rest? When do you need to take a rest as player or GM? My Saturday campaign ended recently, and in the intervening two weekends I’ve run one-off convention games – one virtual, one socially-distanced outside a games cafe.  I’m now eager to start another, different campaign.

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#RPGaDay day twelve: message

Do RPGs have messages? Should they? I would say they do send out messages consciously or not.

  • It’s OK to resolve everything by violence.
  • Extermination of an enemy based on race is good, actually.
  • Your actions will bring no negative consequences.
  • Society’s laws don’t apply to you.
  • You are entitled to win every time.

If we don’t present an alternative message, these toxic ones that the oldest among us will remember from the worst of the games of our youth will still be there. Those of us still playing from thirty or forty years back have a duty to decide what message our games carry.

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#RPGaDay2020 day eleven: stack

My first thought was “which of these game effects or modifiers stack with each other?” And then I thought about a stack as a term for a group of counters in a war game. Which started me thinking how my gaming context, born of my own experience, is subjective – I doubt any of the library games group would have thought that way given this prompt. A couple of times in my recent D&D campaign, I put the players in quite “wargamey” situations and they resolved them quite differently than I might have. A reminder that there is no “one way” to play and run RPGs, despite what old grognards like me might think.

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#RPGaDay2020 day ten: want

“What do you want to play?”

“What do you want your character to do?”

“What do you want to get out of this class?”

All seemingly helpful, open questions. All though putting pressure on the person asked from a person in perceived position of authority. Not that they shouldn’t be asked, but how we phrase them, whether we have made the context supportive to scaffold our players and learners, are worth thinking about.

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#RPGaDay2020 day nine: light

(almost caught up).

“Let it be a light for you in dark places, when all other lights go out”.

We have seen some dark times, and continue to. The games, mostly online, I have run and played in have been a light to me this year. Not the only light by far, but an important one. And that light comes from the people, from the community of gamers and friends kept going by playing together and sharing our lives, and supporting each other.

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#RPGaDay2020 day eight: shade

(Still catching up).

Evocative word, shade. It’s cooler in the shade. Shades are shadows, suggesting images to the viewer. Things hide in shadow, or in shade. A stranger sitting in a shaded corner of a bar has sparked so many RPG quests…

There are also shades or degrees of morality, of how individuals or groups are presented – and there a re some important conversations around that happening at the moment.

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#RPGaDay2020 day seven: couple

Another catch-up.

This can only go as a shout-out to Rob and Jo who met at one of my D&D games and have been married twenty years this year. But it also goes out to every couple whose relationship includes playing together or involves negotiations around gaming when they don’t share that hobby. There is a part of a garden which acquired the nickname “Gamer’s Corner” this last month for my taking myself off to play online RPGs there while my SO does her own thing.

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#RPGaDay day six: forest

(Still catching up).

Forests are evocative settings. There are the liminal spaces between settled land and wild, the deeper forests with their ecologies apart from human intervention, and the deeper magical places we imagine when we walk in them. Landscape matters to me as a GM and player.  I haven’t been able to walk in a forest for a while now, with the world in lockdown, but I have in games.

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#RPGaDay day five: tribute

“I volunteer as Tribute!”

Or “I’ll try DMing!” That first time you step up and run a game, it can feel daunting. But somehow you make it through that first session and you feel that incredible buzz afterwards. Same with starting teaching as a librarian. And it is rewarding, but you also need to keep paying tribute to your craft in planning and preparation time, constantly reflecting and developing your skills in response to you r various groups of players and learners. Wouldn’t give up either experience for the world though.

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