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Player characters and "the larger story"

Did I mention that I revived Attacks of Opportunity as a Tumblr? I forget. Probably not, seeing how I've been so neglectful of my LiveJournal. Anyhow, I was about to make a post there, and I wanted to talk about something I remembered writing "a little while ago" on the Story Games forum. I thought I'd cross-posted the relevant stuff here, but I couldn't find it. And then I had to do some scrolling on Story Games to eventually discover that the thing I wanted to quote was something I wrote almost five years ago, in July 2009. Huh. Anyhow, now I'm cross-posting that bit, in case I ever need to refer to it again.

(Why did LiveJournal get rid of a block quote format option? I need that. (And I see I can still do it by editing the HTML directly, but there ought to be a format button in the visual editor.))

From this post in the Story Games discussion "What would you do in a Mech RPG?"

Posted By: zipht My only worry would that be Players would be focused more on their Pilot dude and let the larger story suffer..

But the key there is that there is no larger story. Sure, the background material may provide a grandiose, galaxy-spanning setting, with lots of characters in high positions that seem to be more important than just a bunch of mech pilots, and political intrigue far beyond anything the pilots would normally be involved in... but we only play games, tell stories, about the people who are interesting to us. By choosing to play a game about mech pilots, we're saying that these characters are the ones who matter. Whether their story stays on the level of the personal everyday troubles and foibles of being mech pilots, or whether it expands to a level that affects affairs on the galactic stage, there is no "larger story" that could somehow "suffer" by focusing on these characters.

(And here is the post on Attacks of Opportunity where I've reposted this quote. Worth checking out for artist Aaron Diaz dropping some wisdom about canon in fictional works and how that intersects with problematic material like sexism.)

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