Wulf: RP Dialogue

Hi all! We’re continuing to work on the updates we mentioned last month, but I wanted to touch on an additional item I’ve been involved with outside of Gamer Guildhall. I’ve joined a game development project, assisting with the writing team, for an adventure RPG. It’s been an incredible opportunity and learning experience so far. The game was initially started back in 1999. The original team accomplished quite a bit in putting this game together before momentum waned, but there is still a substantial bit to do and even re-write/re-design as we add to it. I’ll be sure to write up a more detailed synopsis of the project in its own dedicated post at a later date.

One thing writing has had me focused on is telling a story through interactions. This got me thinking about the dialogue used in Role-playing (RP). (I’m talking about the player interaction I’ve experienced and not NPC dialogue written by game writers.) I noticed there is this sense of formality and properness people use when it is a medieval fantasy setting. The same day I was thinking about this, I ended up watching a movie called Midnight Chronicles, which was based on the RPG (Role-playing Game) Midnight, by Fantasy Flight Games. (Just as an FYI, the current edition of the game is Midnight Second Edition.) The movie was decent and I did enjoy it, but I also noticed a bit of that same type of ‘formal’ dialogue being used by the actors at times. It just struck me as theatrical during those points and not so alive. (The best way to describe it is like the person is telling a story in a narrative sense and not actually talking to the other person in a dialogue sense.)

When RP’ing with others who stick to that ‘formal’ manner, I find myself not as immersed in the interaction because I feel more like I’m reading a small novel than I am participating in creating a story. Having seen that same element in parts of the movie made me think about how film/television did have its roots in theatrical productions and plays. Almost as if to cement that idea, that very same night I saw the following comedy routine by John Branyan entitled “The Three Little Pigs” which touches on Shakespeare and literary works/plays:

I laughed through the whole thing, but it also confirmed what I was thinking about the dialogue pattern stemming from older styles of writing/speaking. It makes me feel like when people try to mimic that because it’s how they have always seen it done, it’s a sort of confinement. It becomes the same old story told in the same old way. Now, I’m not criticizing anyone who CHOOSES to RP or tell a story in that manner if it’s what that person likes, but I want to encourage people to feel free in telling a story because it is about imagination and not necessarily doing what has come before. Remember: It doesn’t have to be prim and proper. Make it real by making it yours!

Just as a side note, if you’ve ever seen the Warcraft Movie panel at Blizzcon 2014 hosted by Chris Hardwick, you probably caught a particular statement of his at the end when he was introducing the ‘Fight for the Alliance’ and ‘Fight for the Horde’ websites. Alliance players and Horde players cheered for their side as each site was introduced. After stating the Horde side was very loud, he went on to say of the Alliance cheering: “It’s not like the Alliance side isn’t passionate, but it feels very Monty Python-esque where it’s like: ‘And they rejoiced…hurrah!'” I think he nailed it. (And I mainly played Alliance.) I have to admit I did feel a little freer when playing a Horde character because they didn’t have the whole medieval knights and clergy thing going on. I felt like there was less of a mould to conform to. But that shouldn’t have mattered. The fact is, if it is your story, tell it how you want.

Anyway…thanks for reading all that. I know I rambled a bit, but I needed to get those thoughts out. I was probably speaking to myself more than anyone else. And if you were thinking of checking out the movie “Midnight Chronicles”, I’d say go for it. It wasn’t bad and worth the watch.

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