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Pacing

August 10, 2017 Leave a comment

Netflix and the advent of bing watching having changed the game on this, but as the MST3K episode “Diabolik” taught us — Pacing. Is. So. Very. Important. If you don’t get the reference, that’s alright — we’ll be talking about the importance of Mystery Science Theater 3000 in due time. Until then, pretend that was funny. I’ll wait for your pretend laugh.

Diabolik4_758_426_81_s_c1

You’re going to laugh SO HARD when you see this. So. Hard.

 

 

Those of you who haven’t gamed before might have an image of weekly 12-hour sessions that go late into the night. I can confirm that these images are true, and that I have participated in them. When I was 20. I am no longer 20. I have less free time and a better haircut than when I was 20. TV, these days, isn’t about telling one off stories, fighting monsters of the week and wrapping things back up to zero at the end of the episode. And with the exception of certain specific Netflix shows, it isn’t one 18-hour extended story either. It’s chapters in a book. Complete units of story that add up to a whole. As of this writing, sitting behind the GM’s screen is the only way I know of to practice this skill.

Why? Because your players have lives, presumably. Sure, you could tell an entire story in one night. I encourage it, even! But that’s not what people show up for. People show up for the ongoing saga, the character growth over time. The story of people who started as farm hands and rose up to fight evil gods. The hardscrabble vampires who took control of a city, then lost it just as brutally. But since players have lives, you can’t tell those stories all in one sitting, and you can’t very well expect them to be satisfied with “come back next week for more.”

Each adventure is a whole adventure, a complete quest. It’s when you add them together that they become something special.

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