Saturday, January 16, 2010

Balancing Acts: Realistic vrs Fantastic - Part I

So what is it that you perfer at the game table? Do you like things to be as realistic as possible to help you find it to make sense? Or do you prefer a more fantastic aproach, where all you want to worry about is how awesome you are, and ignore (to a limited if not total extent) the more realistic aspects of a game? First off, let me discuss how realism can, when used in the right way, help to create a fantastic if not inspiring experience!

It is my personal opinion that when it comes to gaming, realism should be completely left at the door, and the game that I will share with you ought to trigger the imagination and if anything give you a chance to explore such imagination in ways not thought of before! Realism in and of itself is something most people want to get away from on their time off with friends, and this is very well justified.

Though let me go into detail about how realism can very well make some fun in a world where realism acts as a means of challenging a player to do things that are completely out of the norm, or in essence, fantastic in their very own way! Think of the following situation: You are asked by one of your friends to play in the game and they want you to put together a character that is down right normal, with the only thing that is common between the players the fact that you have to ride the bus in some way to get from home to work. You think "Alright, whats the catch to this one?", and curious with what they might have in store, you put together your character using whatever rules they put forth for you. Maybe you put together a teenager who happens to ride the bus to get from the mall and her house, or you put together a taxi driver who doesn't own his own car yet, or finds that buplic transportation is cheaper. The game master puts together his world and has you all ride the bus together. You and the players decide as to what the relationships are with each other, knowing that you all ride the bus together at some point or another.

The Game Master then has a lot of options before him that can make the game fun in any situation. He can put the bus into the hands of a strange being that takes the bus to a special place that forces the players to do things that are outside of their norm, or he can have a special event occur that grants the players special powers, or even more so, he can have them all witness an accident and they are then key witnesses to an investigation, and they are given the choice to either help, or even investigate the strange event themselves!

In any of these situations, the realism of the setting acts as a key hindrance to the players and poses realistic challenges that force each player to think outside the box, using real life skills to come up with imaginative answers to their problems. It isn't absolutely necessary to kill anyone, but instead its the world itself that is the problem, and its the very players themselves who are the answer!

The possibilities are endless with the right application of realism. Though what are your thoughts on realistic settings and how do you normally manage such games as either a Game Master or Player?