August 29, 2013
Giggles At The Game Table
There are so many things that can distract you during games, and I have already done one article about it. At my Dresden Files RPG session tonight, I was introduced to a brand new one: giggling. I have no idea what brought it on, but there was something going around that infected everyone at the table with random bouts of hysteria, which in itself, was quite hilarious. This turned out to be very distracting early on, when the game was just trying to get started, as none of the players could focus. This took time away from the game as a whole, which led to a later start and a shorter game overall, as we keep to a fairly regular end time of around midnight. While not upsetting, I found it rather surprising to have such a little thing cause such a major distraction to the game.
The Dresden Files game I am running is far from light-hearted. There is some monstrous being roaming the streets of St. Louis, drawing in victims to be killed by some horrific beast so that, upon their deaths, they become ghosts. This creature is then using black magic to infect the ghosts with a sort-of contagion that turns them from normal ghosts, which haunt the places of their deaths, to specters which are able to roam more freely. These specters are then hunting down their own loved ones, killing them, and turning them into specters with this same magical contagion, which creates an ever growing spiral of death and chaos. Then, on top of everything else, the adopted daughter of one of the characters is revealed to be the child of the monster behind some of this and is kidnapped by her birth-mother so that she might receive her “birthright.”
So, when the group breaks down into random bouts of hysterics, it comes off as a bit odd when looking at the overall arc
Then I got to thinking about it and realized that the impossibly dark story may, in fact, be the cause of the need for hysterics. The players need to laugh, to release all of the pent up tension both from their normal lives, and from the events that their much beloved characters are enduring. These are games after all, things made to have fun with, and while drama and suspense can be fun, they do not always do a lot for releasing tension. It is much like a scary movie. If the movie goes too dark and too serious, you lose the ability to take it seriously anymore. It just becomes silly, and all you have left to do is laugh at it.
My players are all very invested in this Dresden game, which in turn fuels my own investment. Even so, it can be good for all of us to take a step back from it at times to just have a fun, healthy laugh. After all, as long as you are having fun with your friends, that is all that really matters.
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