#RPGaDay 2017 – Day 29

What part or parts of a session do you look forward to the most?

There comes a point in a session where you just creep past the existential mystery of what you are going to be dealing with. Even if you digested a brief game description, up to this point, you’re still largely facing the unknown.

I’m talking mostly about one-shots here, but it happens at the start of campaigns too. As you go round the table, the GM introduces some backstory or context. It frames the scenario. The players start to tell each other about their characters – interests, appearance, drivers. There may be some collaborative world-building, but there doesn’t need to be for The Moment to still happen.

By now, the session canvas is no longer paralysingly blank. The elements that are revealed as you go round the table create reference points and constraints. You start exploring, stating and seeing the connections, the relationships and lines between them.

And in that moment, it blinks back at you. The game ceases to merely exist, but it starts to come alive.

It’s that moment. That is what I look forward to most.  The moment the narrative begins to reveal itself.

You have just enough of a clue about what’s to come – the characters, the hook, the world, the threat – that the game becomes alive with actual possibilities. You get a glimpse, not merely of what could be, but a taste of what will lie ahead.

That moment is exciting, and it doesn’t mean that the mystery is gone. It certainly doesn’t mean you have exhausted your play potential either. It’s just now that things really start getting going.

You can start making plans, seeing opportunities, discerning realities, taking action, testing your character and doing stuff. Purposefully. It’s the point that the game shifts from being a world of possibilities and of boundless imagination, and into a deliberate story that is about to be told.

 

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