Friday, July 21, 2006

In the Mood 1

Last time I brought up the subject of mood with respect to gaming, as it applies to the setting, the characters, and the players--of course the GM too, or maybe even more so. Maybe I should elaborate, with examples even.

Setting. The mood of the setting is something that comes in parts. The first part might be from the genre, of which the setting is a part. A horror game is probably going to have a different feel than a fantasy game will. Within fantasy games there are a wild divergence of moods as well, usually pertaining mostly to the affect of magic on the world, and now again based on where the game is set, such as medieval Europe, Oriental, or another world entirely. Rewinding a little bit, magic is a huge factor in any fantasy game. It is the de facto reason its a fantasy game in the first place.

There are a handful of questions you must ask yourself about magic when creating the mood of your game. First, is it prevalent? Are there a lot of people capable of doing it. Second, is it easy to do? Can you say a few words and it happens or do you need special ingredients, long chants or worse, full bore rituals? Third, how powerful is it? Can you do things at the most powerful end like shoot fireballs or can you move heaven or at least earth/mountains with it? Fourth, does it work well? Is each spell cast flawless with the same range of results every time or does it sometimes do weird things or not work at all on some occasions. Fifth and last, what are the costs? Do you just do it as you please or is it exhausting or does it carry dark consequences?

Each of those questions can be subdivided further to get closer and closer to the "truth" you are trying to building into your game about how it feels. They also connect together, the same as everything else. Imagine a game where to do a good thing with magic takes much more work and time than to do an evil thing. Now, imagine you could do good things faster by incurring bad things against yourself. Maybe anything from inflicting pain upon yourself up to making deals with the Devil. How does that contrast to a game where you have magic points and do whatever you please with them and are none the worse for wear until you run out at some time you really need them. That's just a taste of the kind of things you can do.

Mood: glazed and perhaps a bit candied...
Music: Mustapha by Queen and When the Walls Came Tumbling Down by Def Leppard

Queen: Jazz
Buy these at Amazon.ca
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Def Leppard: On Through the Night

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