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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Mood vs. Resolution

What is more important when role playing? There is something that always drives to a problem in the games. We all want to play scenes and situations we have seen in books or films. But that kind of "language" and that way of advancing the stories does not always work at the RP table. An agreement has to be reached where the GM is able to present the situation in its own waym as he prefers, and the PCs can interact enoguh and feel like they are the protagonists in the game and that they actions are relevant to the solving of the case. I remember a GM who was complaining that their PCs were not able to fidn the core clue. That said clue was written on a PostIt note that had been torn and removed. So, the solution the players needed to imagine was to use a pencil, softly, on the next note for the previous text to appear (as it would, due to the pressure done on the next piece of paper at writing). This, seen in a movie, may seem a good idea to get a clue, however, we can not trust that the players will think of that.

One of the proposed ways is creating a game system for investigation scenarios where getting core clues is an autoamtic task. ANother way, and I think it is the one we have been using for long, is to take measures to make sure the players get the clue with independence of what the scenario says. We can fake a roll, give an automatically successful "Idea roll", we move that clue to a different place where the players are going to be and where it appears easily...

And with this, we return to the original theme of the article. When RPing Horror... what is more important? The mood or solving the case? We as a whole vote for the mood. Every person that has seated at a table for a Horror game know what are they there for. We already know that they are not going to experience "fear". But their Characters should. And that can only be got through playing the part. As Sir Lawrence Olivier once told Dustin Hoffman, when he spent a whole night without sleep to play a specially cruel interrogatory; instead of not sleeping, for the next time, why do not you just try to act through it? Because of that, it can be considered that the goal of a Horror game is creating the mood, and every person should be involved (as active and passive subjects the players). Because, some others could also think that if the most relevant part is solving the case, we are playing an investigation game... But, everything can be merged, can't it?

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