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Conversation: What Do I Like and Where Do I Get More of It?

For a while now, I've joined in a Tunnels and Trolls game run by Jon Hastings, mostly with members of his longstanding friend group. One of them, George, wanted to have a conversation with Jon about how to follow up on what interested him in his RPG experiences. I nosily asked if they would be willing to have me join in and record it, and they said "sure". The conversation ranges across some familiar Adept Play territory (Sorcerer, Legendary Lives, Tunnels & Trolls) but there are also fresh faces and perspectives.

Department: 
Seminar

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Ron Edwards's picture

I planned to keep my nose out of the discussion even in retrospect, but it's gone the way of all good intentions.

It's just for one little clarification ... so, actually ...

The notion of rich character vs. rich setting is aimed specifically at the start of play. It's best framed as which of those aspects has room to grow through play.

If you start with rich characters, then the sketchy setting (in text or initial prep) takes much more shape, maybe even right at the start of play, but certainly as play continues through events and sessions. If you start with a rich setting (by which I mean lots and lots is known to be happening, and where, and why), then the sketchy characters (on the sheets) become more focused or detailed at first, then can become extremely nuanced and powerful in concept as play continues through events and sessions.

I've found that people react badly to "character play vs. setting play," thinking that I'm talking about how play proceeds and is understood to be about, but I'm talking only about how it starts.

Therefore ... either starting point can result in what George mentioned as rich character arcs, or could include such threats as character death. I think the distinction is important and plays into tons of things about the rest of a given game's design, but it's not a complete determinant of how play "goes" or what it's about.

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