Monday, August 22, 2011

Emile and Event Streams: A Moral Viewpoint on DMs and Players as People

This is my final online post regarding the GM Challenge now raging towards its ultimate conclusion at various blogs.  This was noted in a recent topic in which I made my points. However, they were probably not as clear as I had hoped.  Such is this medium's lack and much can be lost in translation; but in retrospect I will say that I have read the vast majority of these posts by each contributing author.  Whereas Grendlewulf and the fine chap at Gothridge Manor come close to the idea it is my opinion that these still do not go back far enough in the event stream to pin down what I consider to be the most important point.

I will further explain by posing among the commentary some fictitious (though not tongue-in-cheek) examples; for this "Build a Better GM"challenge is certainly beginning to look like a group of older artists, say from the late 1800's to early 1900's, who upon gathering at Paris or Brussels find themselves sipping tea or coffee whilst discussing among themselves their various techniques.

Event Stream

Back drop:  A notable art gallery.  Seated in one of the viewing rooms are several artists who have a number of their pieces on display and within view.  They openly discuss the merits of these and the techniques used in crafting them...

Seurat (to Gaugin):  Your paintings jump before the eyes, Guagin!  They illuminate even this dull parlor.
(looking sidelong at Van Gogh): Unlike poor Vincent's, which are too dark, I fear.

Gaugin (absently):  Ah, but the hand minds the eye's choice in such matters, does it not?  True, the shades are darker, and in Paris his works do not sell as well, mostly for lack of appreciation of them I'd say, but they do voice his intent.

Van Gogh (to both):  I paint what I feel.  I express.  And I do not want for others; it is not that I detest light so much as I can appreciate the darker shades, as well.  Life is my palette and no other.

Seurat:  Yes, indeed, but you miss the greater import of which Gaugin has exposed in part.  Impressionism, Vincent, is now upon us.  The galleries, the institutes which you despise, they are alive with it!  The students, the public and the art sellers, they all clamor for more.  You are not adapting to the times; even your brother thinks so.

Van Gogh:  Times change as do moods.  There have been masters before us and there will be many that follow.  I am not concerned with the past or the future, but only with that moment when I apply my brush.

Gaugin:  Well said, Vincent; and in that you remain you, Seurat remains himself and I remain Gaugin.  Time for some more refreshments.  Absinthe anyone?

Note:  The 3rd highest priced painting to sell in the world was VVG's last self-portrait:  72+ million dollars.  He is notable for being one of the few to resist institutional learning (i.e., conformist views of the time), though he had some institutional training in anatomy/human proportion. Though having great respect for the artists of his time and their methods he stayed to his own course.  He did not start painting until he was 20 years of age.

Moral Questions1 (grouped):  How best will we as neophyte instructors of RPG teach newcomers who seek learning, and in the broadest possible sense of that term, when we just could be, just may be, be teaching another M. A. R. Barker to be without even knowing it?  And who is to say that all players or DMs could not be up and coming geniuses?  For as Picasso said:

All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

My commentary from the second response in that thread:

Let's extend the process a little further. What if the creative force of an individual gravitates towards more story-telling as they find in that process certain ways to improve latent talents and interests, whether theirs and/or in concert with a group who might share that interest?  It is possible by design to create such matter as hereby concluded, say in creating a city and having as the adventuring focus the intrigues of a greater political backdrop therein. This is only one example of the range that is possible within expression; and that cannot be treated as a lump sum technique, but will instead be fashioned according to taste and need as their story unfolds.

..."There are no tricks, no short-cuts." And I mean this generally, as an aggregate that cannot be passed along to a group.  If they exist at all it is within the specific confines of an individual who has implemented these according to their creative thrust; and that creative thrust depends on a personalized and very singular story*.

*Note:  Easily restated as--"...creative thrust depends on a personalized and very singular approach."

Let me conclude this part by saying that the bolded sentence--If they exist at all it is within the specific confines of an individual who has implemented these according to their creative thrust;--refers in fact to what all of those responding to the challenge have indeed emulated! Each and every one of you has discovered over time, by learning, by challenge, by reading, by thinking, and by many other methods distinct to each and every one of you, you have discovered and brought into being from your experiences 3 creative particles. There was value in that learning, that discovery for you, wasn't there?  That is why you can feel assured now in presenting these points.  And now you want to pass yours along to "Build" (I suppose that means create) those in an image of it as you faintly understand it.  In so doing you hope to help those who supposedly can not help themselves (even though each of you have done so in each and every case, that is, over time you have learned and progressed).

Moral Questions2 (grouped):  Doesn't this very combined process expose all too clearly a dichotomy?  In implementing this to "indoctrinate" newcomers and thus steer them among the choices presented, is this not channeling them along different paths that each of you took for arriving at your own individual viewpoints?  How does this fit within the description and exercise of individuality for newcomers as each and every one of you have experienced for yourselves?  If your past experiences and processes have produced for yourselves a heightened degree of knowledge, what are the consequences of not allowing (or foreshortening) that same learning and growth path to occur in others?  Do you agree or disagree that only value-added experiences spur growth (if you believe that these two mix, then please refer to the preceding question which I reiterate as my last)? 

Continuing Upon the Event Stream...

A short conversation between Socrates and a student, Ancient Greece

Student:  Socrates.  As you have instructed me, I have a question.
Socrates (nods):  Continue.
Student (smiling):  Who taught the first teacher?
Socrates (unshaken):  Life.
Student (puzzled):  If that is true then I need only to learn life; and if that is true, then why am I here and why do you teach?
Socrates:  In answer to the first:  You have not acquired that path due to indolence, a common human failing.  In that lies the answer to the second.

Moral Questions3 (grouped):  Are we to assume that every newcomer who is drawn to our creative hobby is doing so only for base reasons, such as:  Boredom?  Companionship? Lack of anything else better to do? Game-play fun? Or might they have been attracted for some of the same reasons that many of us were?  Such as artistic inclination? Creative freedom?  Related intellectual pursuits? Broadening of knowledge?  The list is endless, of course, in both extremes, so how do we best serve the whole without limiting its parts?

Conclusion:  We are dealing with unique individuals; they are not plug-and-play objects easily fitted one after the other into categories no matter what we think is true, or is the "norm," amongst ourselves.  We owe it to newcomers and ourselves to be cautious and concerned in the matter of teaching and its methods.

These are the "3" I feel most strongly promote that balanced goal:

1.  Each person is different, thus you have an obligation to identify that difference and nurture it in the best way that you can for their benefit.  This specific tact will benefit the whole group.

2.  That this course is best served by specific approaches rather than inundating each individual with a shot-gun blast of information and choices.  This will allow each person the time to grow, understand and communicate their needs and interests, which thereafter can be honed by your participation in a mentoring situation.

3. Through this course you as the DM and your players will grow and excel, not just in the game, but in life as well.  It will prepare your players for DMing with a courage they have won, a knowledge they have gained, and all through your patience, perseverance and subtle guidance.

Ending event stream, Master Owl and the Grasshopper

Master Owl:  What is best?  To serve or to be served?
Grasshopper:  They are one in the same, Master Owl.
Master Owl (pausing):  How so?
Grasshopper:  In either I do my best and appreciate the contentment displayed in the acts
Master Owl:  You are wise, grasshopper...


Anonymous said...

I am reminded of the story of a young man asking Mozart to tell him how to compose:

Young composer: "Herr Mozart, how do you write a symphony?"
Mozart: "You are still young. You should start with something simpler, like a concerto."
Young composer: "But Herr Mozart, you were writing symphonies at my age."
Mozart: "Ah, but I did not have to ask how."

I all-too-briefly glossed over this by saying "what works for one, may not work for another", but you have elaborated on it so much better. Thank you.

I was presuming the young GM's desire to learn as already being there without asking why. I wanted my contribution to the challenge to be more of what I enjoy about gaming than a how-to list.

Experience is always the best teacher. I expect someone making their own path in gaming would either find my comments to have a shiny nugget to inspire or be a lump of dung to discard.

I really hadn't thought of it as "railroading" anyone's creativity. Yikes. I would trust the more creative the mind, the less likely this would be to happen. Of course, with the spoon-feeding type of media culture we have preaching its philosophy of "this is all you need to know", it is something to be careful of doing, even with the best of intentions.

Anonymous said...

It's good to have you back online, Rob.

Timeshadows said...

@Rob: Thank you for distilling it to the three. I'm reposting on TGT with as link here.

@Grendelwolf: 'Yikes' indeed. You, however, don't seem guilty of that from all of the blog posts I've read.

@Journalizer: Nice seeing you again. :D I hope your new life is pleasant. :D

Timothy Paul Schaefer said...

Sipping coffee. Contemplate the Gateless Barrier.

Nan-in, a Japanese master during the Meiji era (1868-1912), received a university professor who came to inquire about Zen. While the professor proudly expounded his understanding of Zen, Nan-in served tea. He poured his visitor's cup full, and then kept on pouring.

The professor watched the overflow until he no longer could restrain himself.

"It is overfull. No more will go in!"

"Like this cup," Nan-in said, "you are full of your own opinions and speculations. How can I teach you Zen unless you first empty your cup?"

Chris Kutalik said...

The problem with how you put words into Van Gogh's mouth for the first case is that both of them had an influence on each other's technique and later paintings:

After meeting in 1887 in Paris:

"neither artist could escape the other's influence. Gauguin's work began to have more religious themes after being influenced by Van Gogh's strong religious background. Gauguin also began using brighter colors, especially yellow, and thicker brush strokes like Van Gogh.

Van Gogh began to use Gauguin's technique of painting from memory. This caused his paintings to become more decorative and less realistic."

What the GM challenge--what you are clearly taking aim at here-- is about is an experiment in the co-sharing of knowledge--which is a few notches less top-down and directive than the mentor-pupil relationship. It's an attempt to foster the cross-fertilization like the Gaugin-Van Gogh one, though without the pretension that we think it will make great art.

Chris Kutalik said...


Your contribution to the GM exchange is quite good and thoughtful, don't let anyone make you doubt that.

Rob Kuntz said...


You concentrate on a part which I summarized with Gaugin supporting each of their individual forms and persons. I am aware of the history; this is a fictional representation which you take out of context for your own reasons while ignoring the moral questions I asked. Your whole posture is unbecoming and certainly could be called sophistry. Iy avoids the real reasoned moral questions. Your logic stream exposes this: Attack the beginning, find no answers in the body and summarize at the end. If indeed your end begins and concludes the matter in whole from your stated POV, why have need to attack any other part of it as you did? I will venture a surmise: Because other than grasping at the Van Gogh straw, you had no other recourse but to disengage, which indeed leads to your restatement. Tsh, Tsh. Such poor argumentation, Chris.

1. My initial claim that this question you posed is indeed being asked in a vacuum as it does not address newcomers has still not been answered. Instead it was shunted aside the first time and now is dismissed out of hand again.

2. I asked many moral questions regarding this point which still have not been answered or responded to (at least here, which is where I am posing the challenge to your "challenge").

3. I understood the content of your last paragraph as previously stated in the whole exercise as you initially posted it, which is when I raised my first concerns. Restating it here does nothing to reinforce your view, but instead points to those facts that I have already exposed in #1 and #2 (above) and which raise alarm to the whole initial concept and asks for a corresponding rethinking and re-engagement upon it.

4. Your comment to Grendlewulf and implication that I am assaulting him or others' by the way you couched your sentence in an opposing manner, this is not genuine, as all I stated was:"Whereas Grendlewulf and the fine chap at Gothridge Manor come close to the idea it is my opinion that these still do not go back far enough in the event stream to pin down what I consider to be the most important point."

Sounds like you are reaching for a consensus--dare I say Group Think?--so why worry about Grendlewulf? He is his own person and on top of that, don't you already have a consensus? Or was this a low aim at me? More pandering rhetoric? That is all I seem to be getting from you in response to a well reasoned moral question.

I am asking for a full engagement from folks in open discourse on this. Your restatement only reinforces my view and does not subtract from your initial CHallenge, so I must reiterate: This is a moral position. Who will answer it?

BTW: You claim that mentoring was not part of the concept. No where is that stated in the initial Challenge, so IOW, this is being amended on the fly, by fiat. This too is not genuine and smacks of rail-roading the subject to fit your needs and in turn dismisses my questions and suggestions out of hand (Again).

I have great respect for you Chris and really expected more than out and out being dismissed along with all the junk attached to same.

Rob Kuntz said...

@ Lauren--The "Lone Journalizer" Rides Again! Always a pleasant moment seeing your face, J. I hope all is well, and better, at the new homestead. It's been over a year, now, right? Keep on going and always a pleasure to chat, if only in passing. :)


Rob Kuntz said...

@ TS: Great. I hope that open discussion comes of it there. Oops. Just checked the posts. Not many but encouraging, except (no surprise) from Chris, who appears to be running for the Judge of Pleasantville... ;)

Rob Kuntz said...

@ Nemo.

Captain Nemo I presume... ;)

Nothing much to add there, "What's Zen is Zen."

Chris Kutalik said...

When you use words and phrases like "sophistry", groupthink", "poor argumentation" (without actually engaging my critique) you are really just name-calling--something I haven't done once in this whole line of attack you have started up.

My critique is not relevant and engaged? The hell it isn't.

Taking historical personages and twisting their words to be the opposite of what they did is manipulative. At worst it plays on people's ignorance of the subject matter. It's invoking Great Men as cover for a faulty argument.

Look, you came to my blog attacked a fairly innocuous and purely voluntary creative project of mine and a number of people. When I raised some reasonably-balanced points in response, you essentially didn't engage them and proceeded to spout more disengaged, condescending material at length.

Then when that was over you came over to your own blog and rallied your troop(s). In other words you pretty much are acting in the way you (rightly) criticize others for acting in.

Which is frankly a bizarre end to a week I spent sending off personal email after personal email defending you and the ideas in that interview.

Rob Kuntz said...


Of all people i have had the pleasure of associating with (on the net and off) your views come off as the most balanced and fair. What you do and what you think have always been in your camp and will always be, no matter my views or Chris's cheerleading attempts. It is not my position to form a consensus, anyway, but to put forth general guidelines that lead to specific courses thereafter that just may well incorporate at those times the prevailing experiences, but as each and every unique situation arises to fit these. I do not support this "One size Fits All" approach and am surprised as to how many do (well, shocked, not surprised, as like you, I have been aware of this conformist attitude in the US for years, and in my view, in this gaming industry as well).

Ciao back at you! :)


Rob Kuntz said...

Chris, I didn't attack the Challenge (re-read my posts there) but pointed out the weakness in several areas. Call it an attack if you will, but I state my points clearly and cogently and was not abusive.

If anyone was attacking immediately it was you who called me a "Pain in the **** Ass!" Your words not mine; but I ignored those, though somewhat taken aback. You even agreed with one of my points and said you were thinking on another.

You are making this an issue of Us and Them because you will not address the points of argument I have clearly set forth and are dismissive and non-inclusive because of that even with Timeshadows and her unsolicited support of this, and I didn't email and gather anyone here (whatever "gathering troops" means) but merely posted my view. I don't need to rally consensus as you seem to be doing, but rather would like my voice to be heard, and the more it is excluded, ignored. not answered when put forth as a genuine series of questions and tenants, then the more I see this as Group Think behaviour.

Will you seriously address my questions and views, as now supported by others, in open discourse?

Guy Fullerton said...

On the one hand, I find lists of techniques & strategies useful. I would probably not have re-engaged with the idea of DMing again had I not found such a list a few years ago; Matt Finch's Quick Primer and a couple other sources contained language and ideas that enabled me to bring focus and understanding to the nagging DMing dissatisfaction that I had experienced in my prior DMing.

On the other hand, perhaps the main reason those sources helped my own process finally "click" was because I went through those periods of dissatisfaction on my own. Well, not entirely on my own, mind you. I read plenty of DM/GM advice over the years, trying some ideas, discarding others, and coming up with my own strategies for things. So I'm sort of back to the first hand, I suppose.

And beyond that, my mind races to a possible subtext of society, in general, making things too easy for each other. I'm not innocent of wanting things to be quick and easy, and I can see society (and the planet?) suffering from some of those desires.

I can't say, though, that I'm particularly fond of the idea of deconstructing things to that level. ("Whoa Doc, this is heavy!") I'm not sure the context at hand is worth that deconstruction. Though perhaps I underestimate the value of DMing as a possible creative outlet.

Now back to hands again…

On the one hand, I can appreciate the presence of these lists of ideas/techniques. One of my own learning methods is seeking out information. It's nice for the info to be out there, and it's a shame to stifle it. (Not saying that you're stifling it, Rob, but I wonder whether the point is expressed in a way that makes it appear to some as an attempt to stifle it. To me, the presentation appears to mirror the point – complements it – but I can see how others might see the presentation as an impediment to understanding. I wonder whether ckutalik's difference of opinion comes from a misunderstanding more than anything else.)

On the other hand, I can see that information is sometimes harmful in the sense that it's distracting, wasteful, or less relevant than you might want, and so an information author can be of more value if he considers any "damage" the information could cause.

Too many hands used up, so I should stop now...

Anonymous said...

@Chris: Thanks for the concern, but I am alright with my posts.

As Rob said at the beginning of his post, he was giving his opinion of mine in relation to what he saw as the most important point. I'm not offended, and unless an ancient green dragon parks itself on my lawn I'm not going to get upset (BTW Rob, please don't send the dragon ~ my wife is still working on her garden and if anything messes it up I can't promise you'll get your dragon back in good shape).

I appreciate critique & opinions; I'm a blogger. Moreso, I'm a GM which means I'm a people person. Sure, I'm an arbiter of rules, but I'm also a fellow player. It's my nature to be objective.

Now, as Rob has brought up some thoughtful moral questions (oh, morality ~ this is punishment for all those moral dilemmas I've given my own players!), why not address them?

For the first one:

The simple act of answering the challenge means we're trying to lend a hand to GMs we think may benefit from it, right? We are seeking to be mentors. True, there may be a young Master of Games (i.e., Barker, Gygax, etc) in the wings. Will we "railroad" him? Personally, I don't think we can entirely. True artists would just disregard any distractions like this.

Could we shoebox GMs in need of taking their own first steps? Hmm, maybe. They could waste time with formulae not fit for them and become frustrated and discouraged.

In truth, we all can be geniuses if we put our minds to it. We have to believe in a vision true to us and the people we play with.

Yes, it is a dichotomy. How does one teach, yet not take command of their path. How do you encourage style that doesn't match your own? How does a parent accept the child's desire to not follow a similar career path, or advice, etc. It all comes down to basics.

There's a lot of trial and error for both sides. Are there better ways to teach? Have we tried? The challenge is one step. It says, this is what has worked for us. We need to trust that the student won't follow it blindly. They may come up with something better.

We have to try. Our experience has to matter for something. A long time ago, someone discovered fire, and we've passed it on. Okay, so in addition to warmth and cooking, mankind also invented arson. So it goes.

Everyone, repeat after me:
"We are unique."
lone voice: I'm not

Sorry, couldn't resist using a Python reference. :)

Will we make as good teachers as we do GMs? Some may say we wouldn't be able to agree on what makes a good GM. Who knows? I have had players who have attempted my type of gaming and I've had to ask them to stop. Mimicry may be flattering some of the time, but unless you are really, really good at it, it will never work.

Overall, I think the concept of the challenge is good for getting some of us thinking about what we do and how we do it and why we do it. Rob's concerns are quite valid. A little helpful reminder of our own bumpy roads getting where we've gotten isn't bad either. I wear my scars proudly. There was pain, but it was good pain. You know what I mean? I wouldn't be who I am without it, nor would many of you reading this.

I'll step down off my soapbox now. What do the rest of you think?

Rob Kuntz said...

Guy! Good God, I thought the big "Apple" had swallowed you up Hope you and the wife are well.

Yes, this is the middle I seek for resolving the questions asked; and I really believe that is not asking for too much.

Thanks again for re-pasting the Lost City of the Elders map together from the auction scans. I was looking at it the other day and burnt the file to disc. The wife and I are going to get it printed onto a large sheet so I can continue rendering it in my spare time. Then rescan when finished,

Stay in touch when you can.



Anonymous said...

Wow, I see I took to long typing my comment! Three comments have come and gone; I'm getting slow in my typing.

I'm not trying to be all "can't we all just get along", but debating style of historical simulations can get lengthy. That's one of the troubles with the internet, voice and visuals get lost sometimes. Fine nuances and messages with from authors can get mixed too often.

As I have said in my challenge post, I like to teach and I like to learn. We all do, its basic. We're proud when we accomplish something on our own merits and strengths. We want to share it, help others to experience the same thing.

We're not borg (yet), so we still have our variations, thank the heavens! We'd be bored silly otherwise.

I don't mind Rob playing Jiminy Cricket to our Pinnochio (uh-oh, was that a dragon on my lawn? Damn...)

Seriously, I know I'm not a professional teacher. I make mistakes too. I have had some really great teachers, and you know what they had in common? They could all connect to their students as individuals! They made us want to learn for the fun of it, the challenge of it.

Everyone has had somebody in their life like that. It is something to strive for in doing what we do.


Rob Kuntz said...

Just finished watching the timeless comedy "A Shot in the Dark," with Peter Sellers, Elke Sommer and Herbert Lom. Great humor to dispel the tension of the day. yep.

@Grendlewulf. Well, when all is said and done, there are no instant solutions, only options. And if we recognize that there is more than one option it enriches the experience for everyone as it maximizes the potentials. D&D and RPG, if you think about it, is a pretty new concept in commercial form, what? 1974--37 years old. Has it stopped its growth? I dunno. If we keep looking at it in one way only, perhaps. So much has been written on it, so much has been examined, just in those 37 years. To say in all confidence that "These are the ways" and not examine alternatives is quite an amazing POV, as much as saying we are in the Golden Age of RPG. Not so for both. I do not feel that RPG's maximum potential has even been scratched, it's just treading water right now.

Ah, and worry not about the Green Dragons, they flew off a long time ago, with the demise of Greyhawk, in search of their former master, Robilar, who wanders beyond the fields we know.

Guy Fullerton said...

Hey Rob, yeah I've been less internet-involved than usual lately. Family, work, and various back-burner projects keeping me plenty busy these days, but I've had a bit of time to post on forums & blogs lately. I'm glad to see you're feeling well enough to do some posting yourself!

On the subject at hand, I feel a bit embarrassed by getting more engaged in the meta discussion than in the discussion from which it spawned. But I suppose that's the part that happened to capture my imagination. Maybe that speaks to the usefulness I found in the DMing advice? I'm not sure; I did read several of the lists, but I think the drama caught my eye more than the DMing advice itself.

Anyway, on reading your points, I remember how I watched and enjoyed Fistful of Dynamite / Duck You Sucker recently, in part because the film didn't simply lay all its cards on the table. I happen to enjoy "figuring out" (thinking about, really) the themes in films and so I appreciated how much Sergio Leone gave me to chew on with that one. Character motivations, juxtaposition of cultures, history, and even into meta issues of casting, directing, and so on. (I do this with books to a degree, too, though with books for some reason, my mind gravitates to representing their action via rpg mechanics, whereas with films I analyze in a more general way.)

Now I can't say whether I "got" any of the themes Leone was trying to convey, but I did "get" a bunch of stuff out of the film. In fact, I may have found ideas in the film that he hadn't even considered. It made me think. The gestalt of what he made was far more powerful – empowering, really – of an experience that I would have had if Leone gave me a bullet point list of ideas he was trying to convey.

So one thing I might take away from this discussion beyond the low-order superficial stuff (that I mentioned earlier), and high order (?) social commentary angle (ditto) is that perhaps a longer-winded, or more prose-like information dissemination model offers more than would a list of "bullet points". More importantly, a long-winded model may offer more than even the author realizes. So for example, if I had the energy, I might like to type up and post a short essay that reflects on how I got to my present DMing style. (But my inner pragmatist realizes that I actually owe somebody a response on a V&V forum about Moorcock vis-a-vis D&D and BRP, so that's what I ought to write about next!) Filming and posting one of my play sessions could also be an interesting way to mentor. In both cases, possibly more so than just stating my play style tips.

I might also take away the idea of turning a discussion (or idea) on its ear – in a good way. Perhaps too often I get engaged in the superficial part of the concept, and sometimes even any depth I go too is still pretty shallow. Maybe I could stand to demand a little more of myself … at least a little more often. If I have an idea – a goal – and I meet that goal, but can I push myself to go a little further?

I probably wouldn't have the energy to do it frequently, but it doesn't cost much … just more time, I suppose.

Rob Kuntz said...


Very thoughtful commentary. Yes, sometimes broadly painted but precise brush strokes can do it.\

None of it matters too much if the DM is not engaged. Fuels for imaginative engagement can be reading and studying outside of the sphere of fantasy/genre fiction and gaining as much experience as possible in real life situations, and within that realm there are films, really well done films, that can be a help, too, as you note.

There is a huge intersection of of all types of matter in RPG. It's actually boggling.

Filming and posting a play session would be cool. I have had numerous people suggest that I do that myself, but does not that come down to typing, again? I am rather shy with making any strong suggestions as to "This is the way," as will be exposed as truth if anyone were to read through my old Dragonsfoot posts. It's not that I don't have my own styles and tricks and such, but they work for me in the way I use them and over the years they are strictly personalized; and that is what I meant about letting this become personal for each and every player and DM, of course.

A good comparison for this are Movie Directors--each has a take on the script and a certain style and tone that they bring to the screen with it; and if there is any medium that is close to the medium of RPG for extended visuals, its film. So in essence a DM is a director and a player is an actor, and I've started an essay on this before falling ill, now at 4-5m words, called, "Boiling Point." It's on my list of non-fiction--my main concentration when I write these days--to finish.

Rob Kuntz said...

@GW: Your spirited and fair post wherein you ask, "What do the rest of us think"? was better stated than my OP in several ways. Ironic, as this is a prime example of what we are discussing: the give and take and learning process involved while interfacing with other individuals. Everything of worth evolves from interchange, passive, active, verbal, mental, visual interchange.

I also appreciated your recent post on GMing, wanting to be a GM.

Related to that: If there is anything that this recent Challenge has done for me it's this: It's increased my resolve to not accept mediocre solutions in favor of being indolent. I have always had a gung-ho attitude tempered by EGG's mentorship anyhoo' I just wish I was 20 years or more younger as I'd set the world on fire again. The mind says go, go, go, but the energy is not always there these days unless I get really fired up. And I am just about at that point over this subject, this infant baby of a subject.

Ramble done, off to bed for this "baby".

I want to thank you. Not for supporting my view but for supporting the humanistic side of the fence. There's honor in that. And somewhere down the road maybe even a great joy--RJK

Anonymous said...

@Guy: GMing is Drama. :)
I love the Sergio Leone analogy. Right on target.

@Rob: I used to have hours and hours of gaming sessions on ancient cassette tape. I always meant to transcribe them as stories but there grew to be too much material and now many of them are lost and decayed now.

GMing and playing can be very personal. Sharing too much is like having an expert poker player telling you when he's bluffing. It takes away from the "magic" and "suspense".

Thanks for your comments on my GM post. I slip into mediocrity every now and then and I'm happy when a subject like this wakes me up.

Hopefully, we may all get to see the RPG Golden Age actually begin someday.

Oh, and you're not fooling me about those dragons. I'm sure you still have a few in reserve. :)

Rob Kuntz said...

"Hopefully, we may all get to see the RPG Golden Age actually begin someday.

I believe that exists at moments in some games, and for each individual during those times in the game, and is not destined to be marked in time otherwise. it is only through such memories, which occur to us afterwards, of course!, that we can reckon it at all.