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Anyone written a story from their rpg tabletop gameplay?

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by subzero22, Mar 6, 2020.

  1. subzero22

    subzero22 Acolyte

    I'm just curious for those that play Rift or DND type games. if anyone has ever written a story that progresses as each session of the game progresses?

    I was recently introduced to those games and the idea hit me recently wondering how a story like that would come out. It wouldn't just be the author that makes up the story themselves. But from the group of people each playing their character. I'm guessing depending on how much life or roleplaying a person puts into their character would also affect how boring or exciting the story could be as well as the DM.
  2. Midkemia, the fantasy world of Raymond E. Feist is based on his fantasy RPG world. I think most stories in it are not directly RPG related. But the setting and overarching conflict in his first couple of books are.

    He also has a couple of books based on computer games (the krondor series), which is sort of the same thing but digital.
  3. Orc Knight

    Orc Knight Auror

    I haven't, because there's only so many times I can explain that the dwarf not only failed to break down doors, but as to why he always ended up on fire. Again. For the fifth time this week. And the general party insanity doesn't always carry over so well, though more in cartoons and such. Other people can manage it, but while they make for great stories at times it's easier to use the setting without the dice to settle things. At least I think so.
  4. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Even in the best case scenario it’s like making a movie based on a book. The story was designed for the quirks of the medium and changing the medium is going to be felt. Is there too much random banter? Does the turn based combat system make for stale action scenes? There’s a lot to work out.

    In practice people tend to play RPGs on the early side of their creative development, before they’ve really honed their skills. The eighth world and story you create will be better than your first, so sticking with the first because you had fun with it might hold you back.

    Finally most of the players make characters based on having fun for themselves rather than telling a story. Most RPG parties are eclectic, and they meet up in a bar, and they’re given an adventure flat out or just kind stumble upon a fight scene because the DM wants to get things going and nobody wants to overthink why the group is traveling together at all... and that’s a terrible platform for a novel. The characters need agency, they need to do things that create the plot line, things that only make sense because of that character’s personal details... the typical RPG skips that. All of Act 1 gets handwaived in the interest of getting to the fun parts.

    Any hurdle can be met - but there are quite a few of them.

    All that said, I have a perfectly good story worked out based on a d&d game I ran online. But I worked closely with one of the players to develop the RPG and the story leaned heavily on his character’s background. Also while I have the story worked out, and it’s pretty good, I’ve still moved on to a stronger one.
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2020
  5. Not sure where I sit on this but I do think the growing number and expansive settings and roles of RPG's allows for this to be considered more now than ever before.

    Here's my take. I have several actual plays I love to listen to and what hooked me on them was the first episodes were mostly backstory about the main characters with an inciting incident at the end of each character's introduction. I'm not one to listen to actual plays that include all of the table banter, swearing, inside jokes, every dice roll and rule question asked by players and answered by the GM. I'm drawn to a well edited narrative/chapter/podcast style that includes great NPC characters, music, sound effects etc. ( Turncloaks and Dark Dice comes to mind as the best of these.) And based on those dramatized character development episodes, which made me care about the characters and are what hooked me into listening, I can easily see a whole novel being drawn from them.

    However, as the actual episodes wear on, there tend to be a great deal of events that take place that are awkward or convenient turns and happenings meant to get the players back on the main storyline. Much of the drag in those episodes involved players being unable to really act/portray the subtleties of a character (murder hobos = not interesting) or who were not all that good at ad-libbing and end up creating long, repetitive monologues, or falling back on game tropes too often. A character may love to remind the listeners about how he has to get back to his young daughter and how he would do anything to protect her — yet he leaves her with absolute strangers time and again! I found my self thinking, well there goes the whole novel idea.

    Still, I can see saying, OK, a campaign, as it's played out, would be akin to a rough first draft. (I've read worse first drafts, I'm sure) :)

    As a novelist, you can go in and tighten all of that up, streamline your plot lines and remove the redundancies and drag. Maybe even eliminate the obligatory mention of common character roles (cleric, elf, rogue etc) and don't start in a tavern. Just write the characters more as you would to serve a novel.

    So what I guess I am saying is this: I've yet to play or hear a full campaign where I think, Now there's a ready made novel just waiting to happen! But I have heard and experienced GMs and players who took the time to create well developed characters and a world that would certainly support and be a good base of inspiration for a fleshed out story.
    Devor likes this.
  6. Devor

    Devor Fiery Keeper of the Hat Moderator

    Maker of Things Not KingsMaker of Things Not Kings, admittedly I think the RPG industry has come a ways since I was involved in it. There are games like Fate which put more emphasis on being free with your character, and games like Fiasco which are heavy on the narrative story, and I think the competition has pushed even D&D into better storytelling. Not to mention this stuff gets more and more mainstream every year, with all the pressure on quality that comes with it.

    I’m not familiar with the play throughs you mentioned but I’m glad there’s more emphasis on properly getting the characters involved in the story.
  7. It was discovering the more narrative driven games that brought me back to the gaming fold after a long absence. I'll have to check out Fiasco. And yes, the world of RPG's has grown so much, everyone pushing each other to be better creators and GMs. The types of games and systems, the choices for narrative, themes and settings and the way 3-D printing has made quality terrain and props so accessible. It's a whole new monster. :) I feel completely lost in it myself though, occasionally, I'll allow myself to revel in the nostalgia of the days when it was just D&D and how exciting that initial discovery felt. Simpler times.
    Devor likes this.
  8. Asael Verity

    Asael Verity Scribe

    I have thought about this but I agree with DevorDevor many battles and interactions are very clunky when put on paper, you would have to reshape a lot of it which would take away the charm of the RPG setting but it is possible. I play D&D and most of the time fight scenes and interactions are interrupted by last-minute planning or conversations out of character that the reader would need to know in order to make sense of it all. All in all, it is possible but in my opinion it wouldn't easy.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 17, 2020

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