WISH 63 asks:
What kinds of game-related things do you do when you’re not gaming? Do you write journals or fiction, create web-pages, make character images, or indulge in other outside game-related business? If you game regularly face-to-face, do you play by email or chat outside the game? Does your GM give you experience or character rewards for your efforts? And if you don’t do any of these things, what are your reasons for not doing them (disinterest, insufficient time, insufficient interest, etc.)?
Oh, man. This is gonna be long.
OK, this is kind of repetition for people who read my blog regularly, but what the heck. Yeah, I do a lot of out of game stuff, just for my own amusement. A bunch of it is on the Web, and I will take this opportunity to link ruthlessly, in roughly chronological order.
Going very old school, from the time I spent in Iowa City, I have Chela’s diary. It’s from an Amber campaign I was in. Fun game, even if the diary is an artifact of a much younger me.
Next, we have my UN PEACE page, a half-hearted IC Web page for Carl Rigney’s UN PEACE campaign. I gave up on keeping it up to date at some point. Man, the graphics on the Vantage Comics page suck. The individual comic titles are links, which is not at all obvious from the design. I put way too much effort into coming up with faux reality comic storylines, not to mention the comic creators.
The Honor Against the Wall page is the only one of these that I created as a GM; it’s for a short-lived L5R game that I wish I’d kept up. I’ll pretend it’s Rob Heinsoo’s fault for moving to Seattle. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Anyhow, it’s a much prettier page.
Lately, of course, I’ve been writing the Dear Brother letters for my disturbing character in Rob’s Unknown USA campaign. I’m very proud of them, which is I suppose why I’ve kept them up. I’m almost up to date, too. They go with the infamous Unknown USA Wiki, which has not only eaten my brain but seems to have eaten the brain of at least one fellow player plus the GM.
I do these things for games I’m really enjoying because it gives them weight. Reese is more concrete to me because of the material I’ve written. The wiki has had the additional, unexpected effect of clarifying a huge amount of in-game material. Hm, and I’ll expound a bit on that:
Our characters have more bandwidth to notice the little things in their lives. No GM can possibly describe all the small setting elements that go into forming a mood; we say the circus tent is scary, and provide a few reasons as to why, but it’s never more than an outline which leaves us to fill in the details of the fear. That’s an effective technique, but it’s very hard to simulate leaps of intuition, because they’re generated by those details.
The wiki provides a very quick-forming context in which multiple players can generate those leaps through a sort of brainstorming process. When you’re carefully filling in all the links between setting elements, you see things you wouldn’t see otherwise — it’s a method of tricking yourself into reviewing all the little hints dropped by the GM. Great stuff.
OK, where was I? I’ve never gotten experience points for any of this stuff except Chela’s diary, but that’s not really why I do it. I do it cause I like writing and I like making out of game artifacts that touch on the game. It’s a way of connecting to the setting, for me.
I sometimes RP outside sessions of an FTF game. It depends on the players and the situation. For example, Carl was running another game in the UN PEACE universe, and my PC had a romance with one of the PCs in that game, so we did some online RP around that. But it’s not something I do habitually.