Role-play games and improv: Get ready

The first time I wrote about role-play games, I’m talking Dungeons and Dragons not the kinky kind, I deemed it necessary to start from the very beginning: creating a character that feels organic and able to interact in a scene.

The core concepts I wanted to convey were: keep the player and the character separate, create your character with your team, don’t be afraid to create a diverse time and to build and explore those relationships.

This week I am looking forward to touch on more important aspects of both role-play gaming and doing improv, more specifically what happens once you have your character and you are about to start a scene.

People like to be prepared, to know what they’re going to say and do, and, possibly, to be informed of what will be others’ actions. None of this is happening in our scenario. The game is playing simultaneously in every team member’s head and you cannot control it all.

All you can do is to be ready for your turn, which means you better pay close attention to what’s happening in the scene and to think outside the box. Sure, the scene may be happening next to a tree, what if you climbed that tree? Would you be able to notice something useful to move forward with the scene? Watching other players and trying to understand what they are thinking makes it immensely easier to anticipate your next move. So, put away your phone and forget about Social Media for a minute. When it’s your turn, act out what your character would do as if everything was happening in real life and real time. Especially when playing Dungeons and Dragons, time spent out of character is time stolen from the game.

Don’t forget that you can bounce ideas off each other while in character!

In order to do so, you should know your character. I am fully aware that knowing the skills and specifics of your Dungeons and Dragons character is way easier than making everything up on the spot while doing improv on stage, but bear with me. Either way, you have the ability and the possibility to bring something to the scene that only you can bring. Imagine a scene like a brick wall that you are building with your team, and each can only add one brick at a time. The whole game is not resting solely on your shoulders, you have plenty of time to focus on actions that only your character would do. Make it quirky and unique, and your team will love having some juicy detail to play with!

Being confident and knowing what you’re going to do next is great, but surprises are great, too! After all, how good is it when it’s someone else that takes the initiative? Be active and take risks, do something unexpected, your team partners will have your back.

Paying attention is a golden rule even in Neuro-Linguistic Programming, which has more similarities to improv theatre that you may think.

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