Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm Done with This Guy!

Neat post from Alexander over at his blog today.

"One of the very exciting things about (maybe I'll just cave and call them 'Story Games', which I am not sure I like) is that when they're done right, they allow us players to tale those things that our subconscious has popped up as 'creativity', and to address them in the context of the game and story. The setting is usually sufficiently abstracted from our reality that it is safe for us to explore modes of behaviour that we would not otherwise use, but as Bettelheim suggests fairy stories do for children, the scenes and events still resonate for us in a meaningful way. When we've explored them enough, we can put that character away (or we'll find that the character is now 'boring'). This is healthy."

I'm Done with This Guy! is, in many ways, the mirror image of the Eight-page Character Background.

I see recognizing that you are done with a character as healthy, functional play, whereas the 'eight-page character background guy' attempts to bring his character into play at the moment that 'I'm done with this guy! guy' is hanging him up.


Iskander said...

8-page guy, my GGG series, and the Dreamation nugget all came together to make that post.

I think 8-page guy can't get to be "I'm done with this" until he gets to play out his eight pages at the table, but he has to write the 8 pages to be satisfied. Poor chap.

Thor Olavsrud said...

The dysfunction in there, I think, is that he really wants to be "I'm done with this guy! guy" but by writing out that eight-page character backstory, he ensures that he never gets there. Everything that could get him to that place gets resolved before the character ever enters play.

It's really sad. And I've been that guy.

I honestly don't think the eight pages satisfies him at all. It just sort of lets him maintain the illusion that he's enjoying the hobby.

What he really needs is for someone to grab him, shake him, and tell him, "Let that stuff happen in play!" And that person has to be someone who will follow up and help him to reach that place where the stuff can happen in play, without stomping on his creative vision.

Keith said...

People who want to have full contorl of their characters and story should write. People who want to be surprised and work with others should role-play...

Iskander said...

Yes, to both of you.

I'm pretty excited that I did just ask someone, explicitly, to toss away the four-page background he wrote and let it come up in play, and I think I can make that happen with Dogs in the Vineyard. It would be a whole lot harder with another system.