8 Nov 2007

To Sim or not to Sim...

Session 4 also contained a few moments where we had to consciously and overtly set out how close to the Pulp Adventure source material we were trying to be.

The moments were thus:

- In describing the Atlantean aircraft we decided that it should be silver and futuristic looking from a 1920's perspective, that it would probably look like a bi-plane but not have propellers, and in flight it should look and sound just like the old Flash Gordon matinee shorts, complete with sparks and the electronic turbine sound.

-The flash Gordon look also informed our ideas of the interior of the craft, which was basically a large cylinder with big simple dial readouts and room to walk around inside.

See here for those unfamiliar with 1930s style sci-fi.

- As mentioned in the last post, when the players reached a planning stage and one player was keen to jump into the action "this is pulp...".

- In the negative, when one player suggested that another player could jump from the supersonic plane onto a chasing plane (seen as unrealistic by the same player who asserted the pulp ideal earlier and ironic given the clip above).

As a GM attempting to encourage a Narrativist Agenda I am not always comfortable with the comparison with source material, and at heart it all depends what the group are using the source material for. If we are looking back at our favourite pulp stories and using them as inspiration and colour to help with setting exploration then it is a positive force. On the other hand, if the game becomes concerned with emulation of the source material - confining story and actions to expected channels in an attempt to protect that material and play within, the game drifts into a simulation of that material.

As GM I try to walk this line, encouraging pulp inspiration and colour but trying not to confine ourselves within a pulp aesthetic for its own sake. Realising that I have to be wary of using Constructive Denial and putting forward a case for breaking with the source material when other players use Constructive Denial.

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