There are some who refer to a good role playing session as being like a moment of improvisational theater. Others refer to is a story where the characters write their own dialogue. I think both of those are true. But if I had to pin down the underlying factors in what is my fourth phase of role playing I think it is all about me telling stories.
First, in an interesting post I read earlier in the week whose link now escapes me the writer wrote about the phases of role playing in his life. How the first phase was when he was young and first playing, basically the teen years. The second phase was in his early twenties, basically the college years. And then he was now in his third phase, his adult years, rediscovering it. Well I would follow all that, except I am in my fourth phase, after the years of my kids younger years when they demanded more of my time.
Anyway, the one big thing about this phase for me is the writing. I dabbled some in my teen years, writing up some of what I did. During my college and later phases I didn’t really do any writing. I just played. But now I am seized with the inspiration to turn these adventures into bigger stories.
The world inhabited by the boys game is one story. Both the story of their adventures, and the stories of what is happening in the bigger world around them. And I enjoy writing up those stories every time they play. And then writing up the adventures they play, what will happen, why, weaving in the encounters to make a more coherent story.
And then in the Denver game I am just playing, but my character is slowly taking shape. With each game he does different things, which take him in different directions. And then I spend time the week after we play envisioning what to do next with him, what items he wants, what feats and skills he will learn. And now I am growing that. I have a vision of Viper that goes beyond his basic class, what he is going to do. And depending on what happens the next time we play one of 2 visions will take place:
(after the next level comes)
As Viper rose and Meditated for the day Fang curled up next to him as was customary. During his meditations he began to receive a vision. Great changes are coming to the World. The world is out of balance, there is too much death and destruction. Some have blamed the rise of the Undead on the Druids and such, for their balanced vision. They cry out for the help of the Good Gods. Seeking their help to defeat and end the Undead scourge.
But in his vision Viper sees that bringing an end to the scourge of the Undead, and sealing the Chaos rift will not restore the world. It will only end the seemingly endless cycle of more death and destruction. But in the face of that, some must fight for the Earth. What is needed are those who will help restore nature, and fight for that nature in the face of all this destruction.
Viper can be one of those who fights for nature. He must give himself to the Earth. End his crusading for Good. He can continue to accept the Blessings of Iomadae, but he must no longer use the tools of the Goddess, he must reforge a bond with the Earth and fight for nature.
After crossing 9th level, Viper will give up the Scimitar, in favor of a spear. And will begin meditating when he has the chance on the life of a Druid. And when he moves to 10th level he will take up the life of a Druid, with a Bond to the Earth Domain.
As Viper rose and performed his daily meditation for the day he could no longer see a place for those who worshiped Nature. All that he saw around him was death and destruction. The spoiled lands of the Orc wastes, the ruined Necropolises, the Dead zones. He could no longer see a purpose to it all.
Instead he was filled with a rage, an unquenchable anger at all the destruction around him. The prayers of all the priests and followers did nothing to end it. And now more destruction was coming, a war that would only do more damage to the earth.
It was no longer worth it to try to follow a quiet and peaceful life. The way of the snake was all well and good in a world where there were rats and mice to hunt, a sun to bask in quietly. But such peaceful times promised to never come back, if he had ever enjoyed them. No, the only worthy response to this world was to meet it with rage and anger, put down the light weapons of the Goddess, and turn to weapons more worthy of showing that rage.
After crossing to 9th level Viper becomes more bloodthirsty, gives up the scimitar in favor of a battle axe. And when he crosses to 10th level it is instead as a 1st level barbarian.
A good deal of which direction I take will depend on what type of adventure we run into next. What items they find, what type of opponent we fight. And of course I will have time to change my mind as it could be a good 3 sessions more before we cross that 10th level.
But as you can see I am enjoying putting a great deal of thought into this character. I know I am not the only one. One of the other players, who is playing a Norse War Priest, is writing his own epic saga of the groups adventures. And this is one of the reasons this phase of my role playing is different and so much more interesting to me. I am really letting my creative juices flow as I play, letting my characters and sessions create a story that I am translating to paper.