Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Running It More Than Once

I recently re-watched Escape From L.A. and it dawned on me that it's the perfect example of running an adventure more than once.

The original, Escape From New York, focuses a lot of time on atmosphere.  It luxuriates in the dark, nihilistic tone, giving us a feel for the characters, the place.

The 2nd time doesn't fuck around.  It gets straight to the point.  It keeps things moving.  Very little screen time is lost between encounters.  As soon as one scene ends, the next setup begins.

But maybe the story moves too fast.  We get the essentials and then onto the next.  That keeps people engaged, but then you lose out on the world building.  The characters seem to be there for a specific scenario-required reason, not because they actually exist.

Escape From L.A. is also played tongue in cheek.  It's campy and ironic and cheesy on purpose.  I suppose the difference between Evil Dead and Evil Dead II is the same way.  The former is horror and the latter is more horror-comedy.

Now, I love humor.  Whenever I write or GM, there's always a little bit of the comedian in me.  However, not everything should be played for laughs or so gonzo that it's borderline ridiculous.  You've got to know when to pull back and get deadly serious, too.

Did it ever feel like Snake was in real danger in L.A.?  Not really.  Back in New York it seemed like there was no way Plissken could survive... but he did.  And that likelihood of imminent death made the story stronger, more realistic.

In both L.A. and Evil Dead II, the ending is better.  That's definitely an advantage to the remake.

So, which is better?  Well, I happen to think the first time around is more satisfying, even though the remake is more fun.

[Last Minute Edit: Holy crap, I just found out that Hollywood is rebooting Escape From New York... What?!?]

What does that say about the RPG experience?  What if "fun" isn't how we should be gauging our gaming enjoyment?  That's a blog post for another time.

How often do you run the same scenario multiple times?  The setup, pacing, mood, ending... how much does it change?  Did you change it on purpose or did it kind of organically shift because you were using another system, had different players, or the characters chose to go at it from a different angle?


p.s. Also, there's an excellent lesson from Escape From L.A... when you state the rules of the game, don't go back on them without a good reason.  Otherwise, Utopia will mess up your shot!

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