Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Big Game Hunting - The character mindset

One of the most difficult things when I game is getting into my character’s mindset. In part because - as I’ve mentioned in a previous article - it’s difficult to know whether your "a-ha" moment is because you've actually come up with an idea in character or whether your epiphany was from meta-gaming. I was chatting with the wise GM that I’m going to marry, and something else occurred to me.

Sometimes, just sometimes, I think gamers worry too much.

What I mean by this is getting into your character’s mindset might be as easy as thinking about what they’d do, or as complex as actually having some character notes to get you to where you need to be. Either way, once you’re in the game and thinking as your character, does it really matter whether it is you - the character - or you - the real you - that came up with the idea?

And at that point, my head started to hurt.

What I failed to take into account until just after that previous article was luck. Sometimes you can do something that might seem like "the hand of Gods" from the outside, but really it was just blind inspiration. Or you have to make something up because you weren’t expecting to roll a 1 on a D100 or a 99 at the other end of the spectrum. It’s the dumb luck element all over again.

What I did eventually figure out - after chasing my tail for a bit - was part of the reason I seem to think like this is I’m a writer. We detest “deus ex machina” with a passion, because it makes for really trite books. That said, in roleplaying games if you hit the big red button that fixes everything, it’s not always a bad thing – as long as you know there are consequences later. That’s something that I’ve been overlooking as a writer, as well as dumb luck. Because dumb luck is one of the few things that it’s very difficult to role-play. That kind of luck – we just don’t do it as writer – or gamers. And sometimes that’s what’s missing from the whole equation of, "Am I meta-gaming?"

Sometimes the answer is no – sometimes it’s just luck!

D Kai Wilson-Viola is never that lucky...

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