by Edward Le Prieur


The Abbey in the Oakwood

I was recently viewing a discussion on implied direction for the use of the Game Master role in a tabletop gaming environment. The technique when applied to give an increased subliminal layer of description for role-playing. I’ve embed a link here, and highly recommend you check out his channel. If you are interested in this type of thing you will find it invaluable. In summary the DM giving narration, and while in character for the NPCs in the game would play an even more cerebral level of interaction. Relying on very unobtrusive signals for the Player Characters to detect and interpret.

I’m not nearly as experienced in the realm of tabletop gaming as this fellow. It’s evident the people with whom he plays are far more adept, and perceptive when playing. Most of the people in my generation have comparably atrocious attention spans. It seems that if you don’t wave something in plain view, we are completely oblivious to it. I know almost certainly if I were to attempt to introduce this into a DM role it would likely remain undiscovered. Day to day conversation is a monumental task to find yourself talking to someone who doesn’t have half their attention devoted to a smart phone. Then only have to repeat what you’ve said initially, or just give up.

So as technology disconnects us more and more, and emotionally distances us as well. I am again reminded of my childhood, I think of my friends and family who I used to play with. In regards to our communication it seems as though we understood ourselves more clearly. The non-verbal cues were almost exclusively what we played with, still we weren’t confused. We laughed more than we spoke it seems, and sometimes we yelled or cried! With our faces we spoke, and our actions became symbols on the ground etched with sticks. A simple glance and we would know what our next destination was. Indeed children would probably pick up more quickly an implied direction by a good DM, than most adults these days.

So what is it that separates the creative intuition of a child’s mind from the adult? Where is the exact point that we lose our imagination? What’s the reason behind it; why does our worldview fundamentally change so we never view it in the same manner?
If I were to stand in front of a box of toys that I had as a child, there would be tiny vehicles, plastic soldiers, bricks for building structures from. As a child they were an incredibly vivid world, I could build or line up army men or push a truck around in the dirt. I don’t understand now why it was fun for me, it just was. As you get older if becomes more and more difficult to quantify with the imaginative energy that makes it enjoyable. Eventually it just all looks like plastic molded to take the shape of something else.

It would seem there is a Pavlovian fear response when people encounter something involved in creativity. As creativity is associated with imagination, which is in turn associated with childishness. Which we all know is a negative thing…even now those people who are involved in occupations or education that involves creativity be it writing, or art or music are regarded as flakes. People exclaim in despair “They obviously aren’t taking their lives very seriously” So how can it come as any surprise when people consume what they are fed, resisting must lead to failure?

“You don’t want to be come a starving artist, striving for something you care about. Who wants to fret about integrity. Why not become an accountant, or better yet a lawyer. Now there’s some stability; you want stability in your life don’t you?!”

The child’s mind is the creative mind, despite all the toys I had the thing I valued the most as a child. The pen and the paper; my fathers instruments, paint and clay that I could shape into anything my heart desired. There was the true freedom, not in anything that was manufactured, but my mind the immeasurable kingdom. I look now at the brilliant minds I knew as a child their spirit is crippled, and their features parallel their essence. The void created in the spirit of man, and those faces I used to know haunt me more than words can describe.