Saturday, October 11, 2014

Reading Materials: Unframed, from Engine Publishing

Unframed is a GM/gaming book from Engine Publishing, part of the same outfit as Gnome Stew.  It's the fifth system neutral book intended for helping GMs and players.  Unframed focuses on improv.  It's filled with essays on improvisation, each providing a different insight.

My personal style as a Game Master and player leans heavily on improvisation.  As such, I wanted more tips and ideas for encouraging roleplaying and improvisation.  And that's what I got from Unframed.

A key part of improvisation is a sort of confidence game.  You are trying to get others to believe you, while leaving yourself open to a degree.  Key to good roleplaying is a sacrifice of dignity to a degree: player characters are both audience and writers.  Improv helps with that, and it can help the game's depth.

Unframed is helpful, but still requires a interest in that kind of RPG.  Of late, the classic Narrative vs Gamist debate of RPGs has re-emerged, a perennial debate where one's preferences are central to a vitriolic clash of views on story RP vs gaming tactics.  I think it's better to remember how best to have fun; for me and some others, we enjoy the RP over the game part.  

In fact, I prefer GMing only because as a player I tend to feel restricted.  Roleplaying my character tends to get stopped or halted to accerate toward the next encounter.  My RP gets stalled, or ultimately has no impact on the game as a whole.  At least as GM I feel satisfied with my improv and RP.