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That Clever Space-Baby Move

I wanted to go back and highlight one bit of the “space-baby” game, namely the part where Patrick reacted to Ace saying the situation was a trap, because there’s actually more going on there than might meet the eye.

What’s interesting about that moment was that Patrick took a player reaction (Ace thinking the situation was a trap) and then intentionally refocused it as a character reaction (Graves being suspicious and fearful). That shift moves us from players talking about what is happening to characters thinking and doing things. It brings us back into the fiction, which is where we make story. It’s a clever move and very good play.

A more common example of this kind of move is when you have a group that is hemming and hawing and talking about hypotheticals out-of-character, instead of making decisions or talking in-character. You can bring things back into the moment just by addressing someone in-character, in the moment, because that prompts them to respond in-character. Even if you ask them something completely trivial, like whether they checked on the horses, or describe your character adding more wood to the campfire or frowning as you think about the trouble ahead, you’re taking things out of the abstract player-level and back down into the fiction. Instead of telling the other players to role-play or be in the moment, you draw them in by giving their character something simple to react to.

    Ben Robbins | June 25th, 2024 | , | leave a comment