Monday, January 18, 2016

Leading/ Playing the Game

Roleplaying is a mindset, not a skillset. The only requirements of the player are to respond to the events described by the Game Leader. The player should still be creative and collaborate, but his level of required preparation is limited. Ultimately it takes a devoted storyteller to run a dynamic session, but anyone of any age, creed, or social background can roleplay if they are willing to involve themselves. The game exists in the collective imaginations of everyone involved and therefore cannot be a passive experience. Despite the Game Leader’s role in the grander scheme of the story, ultimately the responsibility falls on the shoulders of the players to engage themselves. The stories of Golden Oceans are created by events of the Game Leader, but allow you as the player to control your own character’s destiny. In the end, Golden Oceans is a game, and just a game, so have fun!

The Game Leader holds many responsibilities, but his primary role is as the story-teller. Golden Oceans can be played as an improvisational game, however your sessions will be most fluid if the Game Leader has some predetermined ideas about the direction of his story, even without detailed plot points. The key to success for an inexperienced Game Leader is organization, no individual new to the conventions of roleplaying should attempt to make up an entire storyline on the spot. Instead build an outline for your campaign in advance, allowing yourself time to brainstorm new ideas before the first session begins. Do not fall into the trap of consistently changing your idea, instead chose your basic concept and build on the foundations of your outline by flushing out your story with real world details.

 Like all writers, you will find yourself creatively blocked from time to time. In these instances it is okay to borrow ideas from movies or novels in order to fill in the gaps of your stories. After all, you are playing this game with your friends, no one is going to accuse you of plagiarism or sue you for copyright infringement; the idea is to have fun. The Game Leader should promote conflict resolution through a variety of means in order to make the game more interesting. You should not follow a script, but rather set up a problem. If the players need a prod, feel free to slip them interesting options for resolution to get them back in the right direction. Conflict should not always be resolved with violence, but with the occasional wit and dialogue, which is ultimately more realistic and entertaining.

In one scenario, while searching for buried treasure, the party is beaten and mugged by bandits in a strange, exotic land. They approach a bridge, but discover that it is being guarded by a single young man. He demands an excessive toll for anyone to cross his bridge, as it is the only crossing for miles and the water is too treacherous to swim. Though out-numbered, the young man is armed. The characters, who have no money to pay and no weapons to fight, must now find a creative way to cross. They could try to team up against him, but there is no guarantee that the whole party could make it away unscathed. They decide to converse  instead and after inquiring for a moment discover that his father died building this bridge and now the young man must work as a toll warden in order to support his siblings and widowed  mother. 

Does the party now use the lad’s family against him or do they offer him a share in the buried treasure they seek? Fighting would be the obvious solution in this scenario, but if the party discovers a better way to cross the bridge, you should reward them. Perhaps they invite the kid along and he becomes a valuable asset to them, being an adept guide in this foreign terrain.

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