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Old 02-10-2011, 11:19 AM   #209
Bęthberry
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Join Date: May 2002
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Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
I don't want to hog the conversation here and would like to see others comment on Mithadan's request and Formy's proposal, but I also would like to address Mithalwen's concerns about character bios and the Inns (Note: not games, just inns) because I think her insecurity about posting demonstrates something important and I would hope we can address such issues so players don't have to feel so insecure about joining in.

It shouldn't matter if someone gets someone's eye colour wrong in an Inn. (After all, even Tolkien wasn't consistent on some of his.) It shouldn't matter that something a week ago is vitally relevant to a new entry--if that element is so vital, it should be in play.

Ideally, inns should be more improvisational and less structured in order to accommodate newcomers. It should be possible to drop in and run with an idea or easily pick up a theme already in progress; there should be "hooks" or things that a newcomer can pick up on in recent posts. If something is so complex that it requires extensive back reading, then that something defeats the purpose of providing an informal interactive role playing situation: the inn is already too complex for newcomers.

Character bios even for games can often become similar to police rap sheets: detailing physical characteristics enough that a felon can be apprehended, but really not saying much about how the character will interact. In an inn, it should be the action in play that garners the attention and not necessarily or particularly an all-encompassing view of a character. When we read fiction, we don't get all the details at once up front, but must read selectively to gather what is needed to follow the play. That, ideally, is how an informal inn can operate.

If a player wants to, he or she can write a bio for his character as a helpful reminder, but to ask players to post bios for an Inn sort of defeats the purpose of the improvisational play. It already makes the role playing into something formal, rather than an exploration. And it detracts from what is supposed to be the main or important writing: the actual thread. When gamers become so fixated on external documents, they lose track of how to write really interactive narrative. And that's what an inn is supposed to do: help players learn how to develop a game and action by actually practicing in a small on-going one.

This of course is just my opinion. But I would hope that the rules--necessary rules, I agree with Mithadan--don't sound so much like a reflection of what has stimied games in the past that they continue to create insecurity for newcomers. Someone on this thread referred to The Shire as a place where gamers are babysat. If that condition of being babysat (assuming that statement is valid) continues, then I would argue it will defeat attempts to help gamers become, as Firefoot said, self-regulating and more independent. At the very least, I would hope that at least one Inn would function without requiring extraneous documents like character bios.

And I would hope that in addition to the forms now used for structuring games there would also be some direction about how to develop the more interactive role playing (First, to avoid the free-fall of the Troubles. And second to avoid the appearance that only that structure is acceptable.)

Okay, I'm outta here.

EDIT: cross posted with pio and Mark.
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