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On Gaming

24 Jan 2010

I'm a gamer. My friends and I have spent a lot of time playing various table top RPG games such as Dungeons and Dragons and Mage. The amount we play has tapered off of the last few years as the group spread out, got married, had kids, became adults. We do still game, and some of those games have been running for years, other games have fallen by the wayside for various reasons.

Recently I've found myself thinking about gaming. I've never been good at the histrionics part of the game. I can find interesting ways to combine rules, feats and spells but describing the outcome is not a strong point. I've always felt awkward describing scenes and actions. I think this is the basis of my not running games. Much to the disappointment of my friends. In the last, 15 I think, years I've been gaming I've run twice. Once for a group and once as a solo. The group game was too long ago to remember how it went. I was told the solo was good, but it didn't feel solid to me. Maybe I didn't have a good enough grasp on where I wanted it to go, maybe it was something else.

The lack of description confidence is part of the reason I hang in the background in games. I'll let the other players take the lead on quests, satisfy their personal agendas. I'll tag along and do my bit, and sometimes come up with ideas that cause the GM to think, but don't typically look to take the lead in games. This can, obviously, have a detrimental effect on character development. Especially after a character, played for 2-3 years, dies and you start anew. Developing the skeleton for the new character to hang off, while hanging in the shadows, is difficult.

Maybe this is an experience thing. Practice makes perfect and all that. I guess the question becomes, how to you get better at the descriptive aspects, the creative aspects, the design parts of the game?

How do you transition from a player in the background to a GM? Or, with smaller increments, a player that steps in the fore more often.

I know our main GM would love for more of the descriptive elements in the game. Hell, he'll give XP rewards for descriptive write-ups of game content. Die modifiers if you give good descriptions of actions.

So, I ask you, gentle reader, how do you work on your descriptions, your histrionics, your character and world development? How do you make your game better?

Tags — D&D and Gaming