I got the Norwegian Style book in the mail the other day, so naturally I got inspired to make a role-playing poem, which is to say a mostly freeform role-playing thing meant to be played in 15 minutes. Monday Afternoon Blues is a bit derivative of Stoke-Birmingham 0-0, only it’s about the aftermath of a big anime convention.
10 thoughts on “Kyawaii RPG #5: Monday Afternoon Blues”
Especially amusing considering today‘s Mistakes of Youth ;)
Hi Ewen! Your rp-poem is a nice little derivative of my game; Stoke-Birmingham 0-0. I really liked it, and feel proud to have inspired it!
I don’t get it. What’s the point of these ‘role-playing poems’? They sound like bad drama class activities. You don’t really do anything. Do you have examples of game play I could look at to get a better understanding of it?
According to the guy who came up with the concept (whose comment is right above yours BTW), the point of a role-playing poem is to explore moods and scenes that wouldn’t work in a conventional RPG. Even for an indie style short-form game, talking about a crappy soccer match probably wouldn’t work in a full-length RPG, but if what Mr. Mørkrid has said is true, it can have incredible results in RP poem form.
I haven’t yet tried playing one, so I can’t comment on how effective they really are, but the aforementioned Norwegian Style blog has several posts on role-playing poems, so you can at least get a better idea of what’s been done with them. Some do have a little bit in the way of game mechanics, but it’s definitely a challenge to do that with a 15-minute time constraint.
I had already looked at the guy’s original post and realized who he was. I’m not a moron. I just don’t get the apeal of these games and reading some more of them didn’t help. Yes they are moods and scenes that might not work in a regular RPG probably cause they’re boring. Talking about a soccer game for 15 minutes?! Where’s the fun in that. That’s why I want to see these so called incredible results. What does he mean by that? I think my main problem is I’m not really getting story games. They just seem to be games that are designed to help you tell a story, but I can already do that with out their rules and in fact tell better stories with out their contrants. I’ve liked your other Kyawaii RPG games; they had elements that I think could be applyed to other games to help bring out characters. This doesn’t do anything like that.
I didn’t at all mean to insult your intelligence or anything remotely like that, so I apologize if I gave that impression. I try very hard to keep a civil tongue, though sometimes I need to try harder.
I don’t claim to understand the merits of the form, and I’m not evangelizing them either. To me the idea is intriguing, but until I have some actual play under my belt I’m neither going to make a judgment about them nor write any more of them. Stoke-Birmingham sounds boring to you, but to me its only front-end flaw is that me and my friends don’t know enough about soccer to play it as-is. That was the impetus for Monday Afternoon Blues, something that me and mine could definitely do.
I haven’t found any substantive actual play reports for role-playing poems (though not knowing Norwegian probably has something to do with that). Whenever I get around to trying one I’ll be sure to post about it. On the whole I’m inclined to think that they simply represent a style that isn’t to your tastes, but I haven’t yet figured out whether that will be the case for me.
“Story games” is kind of a nebulous term, and it can only be really reliably used to refer to the forum. My experience is that constraints can *potentially* encourage and enhance creativity (and help remove choice paralysis), provided they mesh well with the people at the table. Some people are more creative when told to “create a fantasy adventure; start by picking a race and a class from the book” than when the GM says, “Use 300 points to make a character, anything you want.” Other people chafe at even being limited to set classes, much less having to play a Mormon cowboy inquisitor or an Expeditionary Forces Trooper.
Also: The point of the Kyawaii RPGs is for me to design whatever the hell I feel like at the time. If people like *all* of them, I’m obviously doing something wrong. :3
No real offense taken, it’s just the way you opened your comment seemed to make the assumtion that I hadn’t done any reserach first.
I still don’t even see how Monday Afternoon Blues would be any more fun than Stoke-Birmingham even though I do attend anime conventions. To me these sound more like improve classes than real games. That’s my problem.
If anything I was the one who hadn’t done much research (“Oh wow, Tomas not only did Stoke-Birmingham, but was the one who came up with RP poems?”). ^_^;
For my part I don’t see improv exercises and such as being totally separate from RPGs. Certainly, Ryan Macklin’s podcasts bringing in elements from improv like reincorporation are things most any RPG players and designers could benefit from examining. Role-playing poems do resemble stuff like Jeepform more than “games” in a traditional sense, with procedures and structure rather than rules per se. In RPGs those kinds of things have traditionally been left up to tacit decisions by the play group, but the more “improv”-ish role-playing things either deliberately prescribe (or just mess with) how those kinds of things work, or put you into a situation where you’re forced to approach things differently.
For example, if you’re playing a traditional RPG, the details of the world and what’s going on in it are determined variously by a published campaign setting book, past events from play, details established by the GM, etc. If you’re playing something like Monday Afternoon Blues, you have only a vague outline to go off of, and for it to work at all you will have to invent past events for your characters on the fly, and arrive at some kind of consensus with minimal meta-game talk. It hadn’t occurred to me before, but I think that that’s one area where these role-playing poems seriously challenge traditional norms of role-playing.
I look forward to an actual-play report on this game. :)
The RP-poems are a natural development within a RP-culture full of game outside the classical RPG-box; the Norwegian.
We do have the clasical games too, like D&D, Vampire, Call of Cthulhu, GURP, MERP and others. I made the first fantasy classic RPG in Norway; Fabula, and still work on it.
But alongside these classical games, we have games with totally different methods of play; with more focus on activating the power of internal character logic, dramatic necessities and intuitive co-play, to drive the game-play in desirable directions. We have methods exploring the use of these elements in different ways, while exploring a great variety of settings (from the everyday life of ordinary humans, to porn-industry amongst zombies).
So the RP-poems surfaced in a tradition where the classical RPG’s is but one side of the coin. I came up with the idea, but the form will survive on its own merit, being a form that facilitate a more direct form of play; cut to the chase, and make it work with a minimum of techniques. To make it work, you have to make the intuition of the players your friend. Engage them, point them in the right direction, and watch them try their own wings … ;)