02 August, 2013

Games of Episodic Nature

I'm terrible with these things.

I read a post the other day (it was on my G+ stream, and linked back to a blog article). The general nature of the post stated that roleplayers tell stories in the form of a book, the assumption here is that single games might be chapters of that book, but the presence of all players was generally needed for the ongoing continuity of the book. The author went on to say that maybe roleplayers should abandon the concept of telling stories in book form, it might make the hobby more approachable if stories were told in the paradigm of television. This would mean taking each session as an individual episode and an overall chronicle might be viewed in the form of a TV series. If the story catches on, then you run a second season exploring different aspect of the world.

The author seemed to think that this was a marvellous construct of his own devising.

Problem is, I've been thinking of roleplaying games in this way for years (maybe even decades). I've run a whole lot of games where players were erratic, so it made sense not to end things on a cliffhanger at the end of the session. Who wants a cliffhanger when half the cast won't be present for the chapter's resolution (or the next episode)? It might also be a factor of running so many games at conventions, where you get a tight 3 hours to expose players to your world and get them through a meaningful and self-contained storyline.

I like episodic games...don't get me wrong, I also love epic storylines that build up over time into something that totally changes the world (or at least changes the perception of the world for a small group of people).

I just thought that it was odd that there were players around who hadn't considered the notion of episodic play before.
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