Friday, June 6, 2008

Analyzing Movies

This started over at repeated expletives. I was blabbing about classic Bond films (and how they hadn't stood the test of time so well) and a couple gaming-related thoughts crossed my mind.

Thought #1: Action films are full of wandering monsters, yet I shy away from them in-game. There's tons of scenes in film history that have only the slightest tangential connection to the plot. If kept short, these provide spice and action in an otherwise slow moment. But if they run long, you start asking yourself "why is this happening?" I don't use In Media Res often enough - it's a great tool to get your game started.

Thought #2: Bond always has the right tool for the job. Q gives him only the devices he'll need for the mission. RPGs tend to a polar-opposite dynamic: the PCs pour over equipment lists, or power lists, and tend to have lots of stuff they don't need in any given session. Is there a way around that? You could just give the PCs the gieger-counter shoes, laser wristwatch, and pants made from jelly that will solve exactly the encounters planned for the game. Such a solution would, however, just feel like railroading in an RPG. Why does it work in the movies?

Thought #3: In general, I need to relax a little more as a GM. I work really hard to prevent plotholes and maintain verisimilitude. Recently, I've noticed that I do a better job of that than all the 007 movies, the latest Indiana Jones film, Buffy, Star Trek, and the new Battlestar Galactica. That's not just me being cocky. I put way too much time and effort into my games. Anyone who spent this amount of energy would get similar (some would get better) results. It's like that M Night Shyamalan quote about how any reasonably coordinated (ie: not painfully clumsy) individual in decent shape could play at the pro level if they were just given two years to really focus on their sport of choice. Same concept - time and practice is what gets results.

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