Counterpoint

May 15, 2007

Just for anyone not reading Secret Wars yet, I just posted that Chris Lehrich…

    …got me thinking about the equivalent of counterpoint in roleplaying, having multiple narrative threads dancing around each other, sometimes juxtaposed in harmony, sometimes juxtaposed in contrast, but interesting and powerful for being simultaneous and providing a more complex experience of play — with your attention constantly shifting between them — than a single narrative thread.

    Which brought me to an improv technique that’s sometimes called “split screen,” where you divide the stage into different sets in your mind and have different events take place in different imaginary “locations” at the same time, all on the same stage. This is actually a theater technique in general, not just something limited to improv, and is used a lot in plays like Equus to do flashbacks or to contrast or compare the distinct experiences of different characters. And I don’t see any reason why that wouldn’t work in roleplaying, especially in games where players have the power to frame their own scenes and don’t need a GM to do so.

Yeah. Check the post for an example of how this might work. I think it’s damn exciting.

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