September 15th, 2009

Grosse Pointe Blank

Beware: Gaming natter

I have been thinking about neat character moments in RPGs, and how they seem really hard to pull off. As a GM, I can set stuff up, and they almost invariably pass by. As a player, I've seen openings created that I have failed to capitalise on, for want of quick thinking or half decent dice rolls (and I'm sure there are openings I failed to even notice as well).

I suspect this is one of the reasons my games run for so long. (Also, I'm a novelist in mind, if not body, and that's how things come out.) I always set things up carefully, provide copious notes to players to keep track of the complexities, and plenty of NPCs. That puts less emphasis on individual moments of coolness that might or might not work; which makes the game run better but can stifle creativity and immersion.

When it works, the slow burn can be pretty cool; if not, it's just tedious and takes up a lot of time that is no doubt better spent. And, of course, different players want different things (certainly in our group they do), so saying such a thing is good or bad is fairly meaningless.

But I want cool moments, to have them and to provide them, and I haven't really figured out how.