Tuesday, August 4, 2020
RPGaDay Challenge 2020 - VISION
The word Vision makes me think of a lot of things. Foremost among them the ability to see things, my favorite Marvel Comics Android Avenger, and that moment when a character foresees an event either far way or in the distant future.
None of those definitions are the one I want to talk about today however. Instead, I am looking at this interesting meaning of the word:
"a thought, concept, or object formed by the imagination"
Which relates to:
"the act or power of anticipating that which will or may come to be"
Examples: "I have a vision for this company" and "We need to work together to realize our vision for this project".
When I create a new campaign I am particularly excited for it is usually because I have a clear vision in my mind about what the game is going to be like. I then develop the story, choose a rules system, and make the necessary choices needed to see that vision become a reality.
It may be that my players share that vision or they may be so curious about what it is that they jump in with both feet just to see it come together. Somewhere a long the line, hopefully, they come to like and appreciate what I have in mind, lean into it, and together we create a thing of beauty.
Sometimes...that doesn't happen.
If the GM and players don't share the same vision in anyway it is unlikely the final product will be all that great. Sure you might get some fun moments here and there but it is going to be by share luck that this occurs if the overarching concept isn't one everybody is equally eager to see come into being.
Is there anything one can do to make this happen? That is, how do you improve your chances of sharing your vision?
Well...first off, make sure you communicate your vision to the group as best you can. Sometimes this can be difficult if you are hoping to surprise them with a twist but honestly, letting them know 'All is not as it seems' is part of the vision and it's perfectly OK to say that. In fact, in my experience, it's really helpful. It worked especially well with my ALIEN FRONTIER campaign. I didn't let them know they were gaming in the Alien franchise universe until they figured it out in the third or fourth session. I did tell them from the start, "there is more going on then meets the eye. There will be a point where the context of this game may change and change dramatically."
Another key idea is to ask the players how they see the game after you've explained your vision to them. By this I mean to avoid confusion down the line, make sure what you said is what they heard by asking them how they envision what you described. If you explained your vision as. "An epic, if somewhat sardonic, romp through a world of Medieval Fantasy" and they say back, "It's basically D&D but we can't die 'cause it's a comedy", you can clarify whether that is what you meant to convey.
Having a clear and concise vision of what you intend to do is extremely helpful in making a campaign work. Your vision need not be one of complexity and grandeur. It can be simple, straight forward, and easily accessible. "A classic dungeon crawl where we flesh out the PCs' background a bit more than usual" is just as valid a vision as "A analysis of how the existence of Superhero might alter the course and nature of Human history and society".
Have a vision. Communicate it. Discuss it. Follow through.