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Starting from the middle

An interesting point that Jim Uhls (screenwriter of Fight Club) mentioned in an interview I caught recently, is that he looks to key scenes that a story should have and write those first.

He called it the 'scent of blood' or in other words, to tempt your creativity, to put yourself in the script and grow outward. Instead of trying to start from a seed, get immersed in some thing you're passionate about and let the story grow from there.

I can get behind that.

When I start a new campaign, I look to players to provide a decent enough back story that we are starting from a good launch point together.

My story has its characters and their respective arcs, and players entering a campaign are better served having an idea of where their character comes from or what sort of character they're playing.

Some folks just end up playing themselves, and that's fine. If you're a character, and you're proud to express it, do so!

Who am I?

The biggest challenge I see in players is not what class, race, archtype they wish to play. It's the personality.

Every new player who is accustomed to Bethesda, mmorpg's, or other digital role playing games, is typically accustomed to having their personality provided, their choices provisioned and a tree of gameplay to follow, sometimes accompanied by a strategy guide or as they're known nowadays, a wiki.

The thing none of these games have provided to date (which may change as AI becomes more and more advanced and integrated) is a truly open experience where you can choose how to respond and see a truly dynamic and appropriate response in return.

If you wanted to play a game where you could play anything (within reason and agreement amidst your fellow players) and do anything (again within reason and agreement amidst your group), you would have to look to live action gaming. No computer or engine could compare.

The point of all this is that up until a role playing gamer experiences a table top or live action role playing experience, they've never had to think about who they are in a game. The game has always defined that.

We're not referring to the characters occupation, but their personality. What does angry, or sad or happy or persuasive look like for your character? That's provided, so long as you've put the necessary points into a statistic. If you've put enough points into a skill, you'll see an option. Simple.

In a tabletop or live action scene, your skills are just a piece of the equation.

Who you are is up to you and how you portray your character is an expression of your self through whatever lens you're trying to use.

Acting Class

Some people are naturally cognizant of how a person ticks or they are very good at immitating a sort of character; while some are not.

I appreciate when a person tests themselves against a sort of character. I'll say his here and now though: psychosis is not a personality.

Schizophrenia is not a character, and players who try to play these sorts of characters usually fall flat as they simply revert to being the player.

I tell players who come in that everyone plays and acts at their own level and need and nobody is required to be an actor, a thespian, a shakespearean prodigy, and frankly the game doesn't need it.

I'm not an amazing actor but I'm not afraid to push a character here or there to portray it strongly enough, however I'm not here to flex some dramatic muscle that I don't have. I'm just here to tell a story inasmuch as the players are just there to play their parts in the story.

Up & Coming

Come June I'll start playing again. I'm taking a small hiatus and letting my creative muscle relax. I don't know what my next story will be and I hate nothing more than a false start.

I'm quite proud of each campaign that I can take from start to finish and I want a few more of those under my belt.

In the mean, I can state I need to get a few week end games together to wrap a bit of storyline from the Farsea Chronicles.

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