As I was wandering towards the Metro station this morning I was pondering some of the stuff that I have read recently on some message boards. Oh yes, what an amazingly exciting life I lead!
In this thread on Story Games, Judd is asking about examples of things that go on in roleplaying sessions alongside kickers and bangs. He calls them crosses, weavings, openings and bobs.
In this thread on Ian's blog he talks about putting some of the old 'indie games angst' aside in order to actually, you know, happily play.
And on this thread Ian points to a man who has a serious problem with some aspects of gamer theory and the way it can be represented.
These three all came to mind at once and I wondered what it must be like running a game where your mind is, in one small part, working on the theory side of things, whilst the rest is working on the imaginative side? Is it even possible to be doing that without being Deathstroke the Terminator (ok, DC reference, supervillain who 'uses 90% of his brain')? Does anyone actually sit down at a table and think "Hmmm... this is an intersitial scene between these two protaganists which will be followed by this bang, feeding off those three flags on the character sheet...'
(Warning - for those that find references to sex so cringeworthy that you feel the need to say things like 'Eww' and 'To much information!!' at the thought of basic human reproduction, best move on...)
It came to me that GMing is a bit like sex. When you start off, you know roughly what you have to do and you can do it, fumblingly. Sometimes it's good but most of the time it's too hard, too fast and rarely satisfying. As you become a little more experienced to realise that there's more to it than the actual act itself and that you can enhance things with a bit of technique. Later still you begin to learn just when to do one thing, then another and then another. You know when to speed up, slow down, move here, do that etc etc. It becomes ... instinctive. Later still, to carry on the analogy, some people like to add new things to spice it up a little, drift off from one partner to try something with another or eventually just find out they are doing it so intermittantly that they never bother again. (And of course to carry it to its furthest point, yes WoW is to roleplaying as online porn is to sex!)
My point being that rarely do people think 'Ok, time for a nipple tweak' or 'hmm, should I be changing angle here or waiting another minute or two?' - its just something that happens. So whilst I'm aware that being aware of these various GMing methods can help you understand what is happening when you play, I wonder whether they actually do HELP when it comes down to playing or whether, when the chips are down, we tend to resort to the instinctive practices that we are comfortable with and that have worked for us in the past? And is that necessarily a bad thing? I'm not sure it is.
I am now assured that should any of the games that I have detailed below happen, someone will be thinking ' .... he says its a fight, but is he really tweaking my nipple?!'