Saturday, May 14, 2005

Importance of conflict

The other day I began a text about GNS, explaining my view on the whole thing, but I quickly came to the conclusion that I didn’t have anything interesting to say about it. But I will say this.

The whole wave of narrativistic games that emanates from The Forge and people inspired by The Forge discussions is a very good thing I think. They give a lot of new impulses to rpg design and point out some of great flaws of traditional games that are taken for granted. I also want move away from traditional games, (and have of course, there are a lot of alternatives out there already) but generally my departure from the tradition is in opposite direction than the typical Forge persona.

One of the many things that is often mentioned as a goal by these designers is stripping the story told to the bare bones of plot. Many of these games seem to come down to mutual creation of plot by giving focus to conflicts. After one conflict is solved you jump ahead to the next. For me that is totally uninteresting; of course it’s always fun to create stuff with friends, but for me it contains none of the kicks I get out of role playing. And there is one more things.

Plot is boring. It’s almost always needed, but with almost the same frequency also the most boring part of all kinds of fiction

And if there is anything more uninteresting for me, that’s the pure conflict, that exists only to be resolved in one way or the other.

When alone in the gym I like to listen to Henry Rollins spoken word record Black Coffee Blues. In the track monster he utters these wonderful lines.

It seems like I can confront myself all day long, but I can’t go from there. Confrontation takes little thought. I have always been good at the things that take little thought. Sure, you can confront. But what do you do next? That’s what tells you what you are.

When you roleplay you occasionally see into another world, not all the time, but you get these glimpses. When an intellectual young woman, who have spent all of her life at a university talks about gender structure in society, what does the 35 year old punkrocker think? Or more interesting, when she raises her right eyebrow to mark that she expects an answer, what is his reaction in that moment to that gesture. Just imagining that you might know something about it is really, really cool, right?


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