Thursday, January 31, 2013

Games and Stories and Werewolves in Trees

We used to tell stories.

As a culture, I mean. No TV. No video games. When you were done working for the day, you hung out around the fire and told stories, and who you were helped shape them. But we lost that somewhere, and now we're used to spectating. We go to the movies, and people tell us stories. We watch TV, and they tell us stories. We watch them pass us by. It's very melodramatic and has a soundtrack full of electronic violin music.

I think that's what attracted me to tabletop RPGs in the first place. I wanted to be a part of a story, and I wanted to get to do something amazing, even if it was only in my head. I learned what makes stories work. Our gaming group was full of theater people, so our games were less roll-dice-and-kill-monsters and more act-out-the-aftermath-and-the-beforemath-and-any-other-math-but-not-algebra. When we played, I learned about dialogue and suspense and drama. I also learned about humor, because it's impossible to play a game in which the giant werewolf hides BY PRETENDING TO BE A TREE without laughing hysterically. I don't know if this is true where you come from, but here, our trees don't have fur.

ME TREE. Still makes me snarf.

I've said this before, but I honestly think that gaming is a large part of my success as a writer. (All faults are obviously still my own.) I learned to love stories and to be a part of their making. I GOT HOOKED. Now of course there's a fine line between good-hooked and bad-hooked, and I've wandered over it a few times. You can forget reality if you're not too careful. But you can also use games to enhance your reality. To challenge yourself to do big things. To remember that you too have a story to tell, and it may or may not involve werewolves disguised as trees.

By the way, if you google "werewolf tree," you get THIS. It also makes me laugh.


Aurora Smith said...

Why did you google wearwolf tree? HAHA. Snort.

PS it took me 16 times to publish this comment, for the love take that thing off your comments!!!!

Marsha Sigman said...

I'm going to make that pic the background on my computer.

Myrna Foster said...

That is an awesome pic!

And didn't you make up stories and act them out with your toys when you were a child? My sibs and I did. I think it's an important part of human development.