Into Something Rich And Strange
Some time ago, I posted about the Musical Method, in which song titles or lyrics become converted into story frameworks.
Since then, I’ve also been experimenting with pictures.
|The Unholy Trinity map from DOOM,
extracted by The Green Herring.
|Clutter, by mordere,
NSFW, by the way.
When originally conceived, this entry was going to be about the Iron Kingdoms/Savage Worlds storyline I planned on instigating with these resources, in traditional “I have planned a narrative which you are now going to explore” style. Of course, I left the idea to mature and seethe for too long, and now it’s developing into something broader.
For one thing, as always happens when I sit on an idea for too long, it’s mutated beyond the confines of the proprietory setting and system that it was constructed for, and run into the ever-circling notion of a homebrew design. For another, it’s run into the notions of player agency and the sandbox: my creation of a predefined relationship between resources would surely be robbing all parties involved bar myself of their agency, and I’m increasingly coming to see that as a Bad Thing.
It’s possible that I may do a somewhat teachery thing, which I’ve done several times with my young charges, and simply toss down an image in front of a group of players and say “you’re in this room, this is what you see, and this painting is on the wall facing the window”. Some sort of narrative inevitably emerges. A little prodding or guidance towards a particular element, what we call a ‘probing question’, and soon they’re doing the work of devising the session for me.
On a similar note, Zak has got me thinking about using tarot cards to define magic items, encounter natures and relationships, and quite a few other things, using a few preconceived notions that the cards then model, and I’ve been pleased to note that Prose Descriptive Quality seems to be available again following some inexplicable download issues (and again, I’m wondering whether cards can somehow be fitted into resolving actions and devising player characters). The temptation is strong to create some sort of system and setting of play that revolves around the symbolism of the Tarot – like I was trying to do with the Kabbala in the Dark Heresy thing, and not executing as smoothly as I’d have liked. I suspect that a narrative based on the Kabbala was too prescriptive for roleplaying – more ‘you’re not GMming, you’re writing a novel and making your friends do the dialogue’ stuff – and incorporating that rich symbolism into the backdrops and mechanics of the world might be a better way for me to get my occult kick and preserve player agency – especially if even the GM is at the mercy of the cards.
I’ll get back to you on this.
Also, this blog uses Disqus now. Disqus is cool. In theory, y’all should be able to use whatever logins you ordinarily use, but fewer responses should be eaten, and more threaded call-and-response conversations should be possible.