Wednesday, February 29, 2012

"C" is for Conversation

I admit, this topic may be a bit of a stretch, but I think it's a good place to start.

Conversation, This word, has two main applications in a gaming group that I want to discus. One in game & one out of game.  We'll start with out of game first.

Having a conversation out of game is VERY important to any game, any setting any campaign ever.  You should have several before you start a new campaign. The group needs to talk about what type of game it's going to be, where the campaign will head, how much of a commitment they want to make, all the usual "social-contract" stuff. Also I want to be clear about this, i believe it's important that this be an actual conversation a discussion, not just the GM, handing out a list and saying "this is what's going to happen"

Having a conversation t this stage, can help prevent a LOT of issues down the road, but sometimes issues still pop up, especially if you have a "problem-player" My personal belief is that one of the best courses of action, the one that I've been most successful with is, you guessed it,  Sitting the player down and having a conversation about the problem. This is not the easiest thing to do. No one wants to be the bad guy, no one wants to be the one to come off as a jerk, and say "you're doing it wrong" but when it gets to the point that one players actions are affecting the other players ability to enjoy the game, something needs to be done. Often times, simply setting a person down and getting to the root of a problem can be a simple albeit awkward thing.

The next type of conversation i want to talk about is IN-GAME conversations, and this is a bad habit I find myself guilty of a lot.  Talking to the GM instead of talking to characters.  i do it ALL the time, and i hate myself for it. All to often we are gaming and I revert to simple "I go down the hallway"  "I pick the lock"  "I listen at the door" (BTW can you tell i'm playing a rogue in our current campaign?)

This is not necessarily in and of itself, Bad role playing, but I want to do better than that. I think conversation is the answer, this might take a little cooperation from the GM, but it's not overly difficult to pick up on. When I want to listen at a doorway, instead of telling the GM flat out what my character is doing, I'm going to have my character, engage in conversation with other characters.  I know ,sounds simple right?  this is why I kick myself for not doing it ALL the time. when I want to listen at a door, instead of saying " I listen at the door" to my GM, I'm going to turn to my fellow players, get into character and say "Wait brothers, hold yourself still, let me listen here, to see what is on the other side of the door before we proceed"  or at least something to that effect, maybe a little less dramatic,  maybe more over-the-top and hammy, depends on the character.  You get the idea though right? By using a simple reminder to myself, to have conversations, I can improve my role-playing, and perhaps, make it easier, and/or encourage others to get more into character as well.

The other conversation I want to talk about in character is this

GM: "You enter the tavern"
Player1: "I grab a drink"
Player2: "me too, ok now what?" *8looking expectantly at the GM waiting for the proverbial dark stranger in a corner**

This makes me want to bash my own skull in, seriously. there is SO much opportunity for role-playing here, so much that could happen, but it's being swept under the rug in the name of advancing the plot.
Let me be perfectly clear
NOT EVERYTHING YOU DO, EVERY SECOND OF THE GAME, HAS TO BE PART OF THE MAIN PLOT!!

Seriously, you can do things other than go after the big bad.  Have drink, talk to the bartender, meet some townsfolk, get to know your fellow advanturers, earn some brownie points with the local by entertaining them with a ale of your daring-do by the fireplace. The possibilities of what one could do in a tavern, are nearly endless, and not only do they provide great role-play opportunities, they can help you out too, it gives the GM a chance to stray from the path a little bit, introduce, foreshadowing, NPC's drop clues. A simple conversation between characters, or between the characters and an NPC can take a scene fro ma mild placeholder, to a wonderful memorable occasion.

Leave a comment and Tell me some of the most memorable gaming conversations you've had?

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