The Art of Storytelling

On a little side note, I want to say that if you read this blog and have defensive goggles take them off. I would never want to say something to put down anyone, including a whole country, unless I was trying to entice some thinking. I am glad that I am making some people mad about what I say, but then I realize that they are completely missing the point. When I post about humor not being present in every day life, most missed that I was able to find it with my close friends… is it better to get it from a stranger or from your buddies? not sure, my point was simply find it!

I have been curious about role playing for a while. Even though I had a previous experience, this past weekend was the first time that I actually played the Serenity game.

I ended up finding a local gamer, who is also a blogger, also a food lover and cook, also into martial arts, also into plenty of other things that I like. We met a couple of months ago during lunch and had a great conversation but busy schedules had prevented us from getting together more than during just social calls. We had met each other’s wifes and this weekend we both blocked out Saturday night to do dinner and hopefully start a game.

After a wonderful dinner at a local Indian restaurant we had not visited, review of that to come in yelp, we were invaded by puppies. Btw, if you are in the KC area and want a puppy come we can direct you the right way. In any case, after we had settled for the night Bea and I embarked on our first role playing experience. I have to admit that I was surprised that Bea wanted to do it, but super excited she got into it. I might go into details on another post, but I want to concentrate and maybe make sense of the title of the post.

Growing up in Colombia I was familiar with “Cuenteros” known here as storytellers. I have actually been told by many of my friends that when I tell an anecdote I go into too much detail, some like it, some don’t. The first storyteller in my life was my Grandfather who would sit and tell me about growing up, or the army or his job. He would always tell me little details that later became part of the story and I loved every single moment.

The closest thing that I have found to storytellers in the US have been comedians. They are the only people that I have seen that transport an audience with words, sometimes simply to their own lives but just from a different point of view.

Role playing games reminded me of storytelling. As the story developed and the people playing started to build a story I felt very excited. I had missed oral story telling a lot, and now I had found a place where I could not just hear it but be a part of building a fantasy world. The more I thought about it, there more I wanted other people to be there so the story could take other turns and other characters could come into play. While storytelling and role playing are a lot different, I find the similarities enticing and cannot wait to get another night of gaming going.

14 comments on “The Art of Storytelling

  1. The hard part is being able to meet up regularly for this kind of thing. Otherwise, I have been a roleplayer since I was 12, and have used some of th eskills for problem solving. That is a nice side effect of it. :)

    Serenity is not a bad game either.

  2. I used to play a bunch of different rpgs. During college we even had a gaming club that met every Wednesday. I think I have only played once or twice since then. I tried getting involved with a new group of people and my wife just thought it was weird and was taking away time from the weekend so that died out pretty quick.

    I haven’t heard of Serentiy, what is that like?

  3. I love the setting for Serenity, having been a fan of the Firefly show, but I got the impression that the game design suffered a bit at the hands of licensing expectations. They didn’t present a system for creating characters and telling stories in the Firefly setting, but rather a system for creating characters and telling stories just like in the Firefly television show. Perhaps a fine distinction, but there it was.

    As for storytelling, check out The Moth or even A Prairie Home Companion.

  4. P.S. A Prairie Home Companion is great if you are 60+. This American Life is a bit better. Both can be found on NPR.

  5. “NPR is for people who eat dinner before 4PM…”

    This from a guy who eats fried fat in a bucket, watches fake reality game shows and whose life’s ambition is to be Beer Drinker of the Year.

  6. As both a Firefly fan and a long-time gamer, welcome to the club. When I try to explain the hobby to adults, I usually get all high-fallutin’ and say something like “it’s co-ooperative story-telling.” But we all know it’s like when we were kids:

    “Hey, I shot you!”

    “No you didn’t. I ducked behind the garbage can!”

    “Pow, pow!”

    And really, there’s nothing wrong with that.

    BTW, if you need players…

  7. Heck right up to the end I assumed you were talking about Kanga lol.

    I have avoided RPGs as an adult, not because I don’t think I would enjoy them, but rather because of the dubious nature of so many adult players. But, that said, if you can find a bunch of folks you like, to game with, it can be a very pleasant past time.

    Oh, and I checked the puppies, they are adorable but Rottys are more than I am ready for.

  8. I have been asked about my use of the word dubious.

    In High School those of us the played D&D or other RPGs had a reputation as geeks (some would say losers). Adult gamers get a similar rep. They are seen as unattractive, socially awkward, disconnected from reality, immature, and other things. Many of those players that actually speak up about their interest live up to some of these low expectations. They perpetuate the stereotype.

    Take my good friend W. After his marriage failed, he retreated to the point his whole life is work and games. On the other hand, I personally know folks who can live a normal life AND game. It’s just like any other past time, if you don’t let it take over your life it can be great fun. Kanga seems to have a solid perspective on things, and my ex-roomies boyfriend, sister, and niece play a Saturday evening or so a month without problems.

    So I suppose by dubious I mean I can’t bring myself to play ANY game with folks who treat it as their basis for living.

    I dunno if this helped, I talk much better than I write.

    N }:-

  9. I also love boardgames, which have a bit of a less dubious rep. I think for me that the whole gaming thing is about mental and social exercise. And the whole escaping reality thing, can’t forget that. But as Nuke’s example showed, gotta keep that monster under control.

  10. Hi Logstar.

    I’ve just had some argument with my wife about this very same issue: are “cuenteros” and RPG GM the same?

    She said “absolutely not”, because she just know the most common way to roleplay. You know, these games and gamers more keen to role-dicing than to genuine role-playing.

    I’m a quite veteran roleplayer (and also quite bond to Colombia, but that’s a different story) and one of my biggest desires is to play one of such games: a RPG session where all gamers and the GM concentrate in the creation of a common story.

    Unfortunately, it’s easier to say than do it. It’s far too easier to play the usual D&D style game.

    My best hope are some independent and quite unknown kind of RPG known as “story games” (which have nothing to do with White Wolf’s “Story Telling System”):

    Greetings from Barcelona

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