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WISH 67: Tell me

WISH 67 is all about the story:

How do you tell stories in your games? Are there character stories, overarching stories, and/or other kinds of stories? Could you tell a coherent story from games you’ve GMed or played in? Does it matter to you? Why or why not?

I don’t ever strive to tell stories, but it’s nice when it happens. I’m really more interested in exploring the story space than I am in setting out to tell a story. I like it when things happen to my characters and I like it when my characters do things, but I find plotting for a story to be restrictive.

My characters sometimes have goals, but I regard those as plot hooks for the GM rather than indications of where the story must end. I expect goals to change in play. My goals in real life certainly do.

The Dear Brother letters are a solid example of this. Reese actually didn’t have a goal; he had a desire. He wanted to show America the true road. I didn’t know how it was going to play out, and in the end it’s been a little darker than I envisioned. People have told me that it works as a story, and I think it does, but that’s more because I’m making an effort to write the letters as stories — I’m subscribing to the conventions of fiction rather than gaming.

It means that sometimes I talk about things Reese didn’t see, and I take a few liberties here and there, and I leave out great swathes of things that make the campaign interesting. In the end, the differences between Rob’s campaign and my Dear Brother letters illuminate the differences between playing in a campaign — even a story-oriented campaign — and telling a story.

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