Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Is Gaming All I Think About?

After reading last week's post, a friend of mine had the following to say to me:
It's interesting, Eric. You tied all of the fiction you have been reading back to gaming. Do you ever think about anything else?
Yes. Yes I do. I spend a lot of time thinking non-gaming thoughts. But not when I'm reading. Even non-fiction keeps throwing game ideas at me.

For example, Salt: A World History. When I read this book a few years ago, it sparked all kinds of RPG ideas to the point where my wife and I are working on a setting using some of the ideas from this book.

When I read fiction, I try to figure out which game system will best model that story. Allow me to qualify this just a bit. See, I'm a firm believer that RPG's and literature (or, for that matter, novels) are two different animals.

Wolfgang Baur put it very well in The Kobold Guide to Game Design, Volume 1: Adventures:
The worldbuilding I do with these fiction writers tends to be all about the telling detail, building the world from the character out (or building the character from the setting), directing reader attention to just the parts that matter and so on. None of this works for gamers because, as a designer, your first audience is the DM, not the players.
There's more to it than that, though. You see, writers have to come up with dialog , and most gamers don't spend a lot of time talking - action is more central to adventure RPG's than conversation is. Players don't want to chat up the guard to find the clue he has - they want to knock him out and then bring him around and beat the clue out of him. But that's a much longer discussion for another week.

That said, however, when I read The Night Angel Trilogy, I was trying to figure out which system would best model the action (and magic) of the story. I wound up figuring it'd have to be something like Sorcerer, where the rules for what is possible are extremely flexible. But there are ideas in the book that I'd love to tie into a game of my own sometime ...

When I read Lost States: True Stories of Texlahoma, Transylvania, and Other States That Never Made It, I was trying to figure out how to work this into a Deadlands game.

Even when I'm using Google Reader, I keep seeing links like this one, which I easily could work into a Call of Cthulhu game.

And sometimes, my reading goes from game to book - for example, I recently read that Cubicle 7 was doing a book based on The Atrocity Archives. So I checked out the Wikipedia entry, which intrigued me enough to download the sample onto my Kindle. I liked the sample enough that I bought the whole book. And the sequel. And I read the two short stories that are on And I added the upcoming third book to my wishlist.

Speaking of fiction-to-game:  the preorder for The Dresden Files RPG is up.  We preordered earlier this week.

So yes. If I'm reading a book (or my Kindle), odds are about 90% that my brain is still working on games.

Do you think that's a problem?

1 comment:

  1. no ... maybe!
    this is not a problem for me, so why it could be a problem for you?