Saturday, October 24, 2009

Good Fiction and Good Gaming

After finishing off the two books in one by Leigh Brackett, I've moved onto the Ginger Star, the first in a trilogy of tales about Eric John Stark. I'm one of those weird people who usually reads the introduction and as this one is by Ben Bova, an author who I'm familiar with thanks to his work in the Orion series, I was glad to.

He makes some arguements about what makes good fiction and I think that they speak strongly as to not only what makes good fiction, but what makes good gaming.

"Part of the answer lies in the word "adventure." Part of it comes from the fact that such stories deal with the frontier, that vast unknown region where almost anything can happen. Another part of the answer can be found in the strong, brave, tough heroes and heroines that exist on those frontiers: Achilles and Hector, Long John Silver, John Carter, or The Giner Star's Eric John Stark.

But the real secret is this: Readers want to live those stories. Readers want to be the hero, fight the fights, triumph over the enemy.

This is the fundamental secret of exciting fiction: give us a hero whom we want to be, and pit him against the most powerful enemies imaginable.

"Good stories are based on the struggle between right and wrong. In every good story, a strong person must face a moral choice between right and wrong."

This to me speaks volumes. It's not true for every group. I've known groups that were more than content to sit in the decaying halls of a dying city and playing the rogues so murderous that they could turn on each other at the drop of a hat but the games I've most enjoyed being in and running were those where the characters were heroes.

For each gaming group, there are many decesions ranging from what game system to play to what type of character to play. The above statements may not hold true for your group but if nothing else, they may give you something to think about.