A Dirty Little Secret (Updated)

I have a secret. It’s not really a dirty secret, but it is little.

I like to play games. And not just board games, but sometimes the mood hits me right and I enjoy engaging in a role-playing game.

I blame Seth. Sure I played an RPG once or twice in high school, but Seth, and Seth’s other friends, love RPGs. And write them. And play them. Regularly.

And so my horizons were expanded. To the point where I own several RPGs myself and follow several game writer/developers on twitter and play them more often than one might think. And they’re fun.

Now this is a short, linky post, so I’m not going to get into everything I like (or don’t like) about RPGs and playing them but I want to highlight two of Seth’s games that show a particular breadth of the variety that can be a part of role-playing games. Plus I get to put in a plug for my friend’s games.

First: A Flower for Mara

Mara is an improv play about grief. It’s amazing. It started, somewhat accidentally, as a project switch with another friend of Seth’s and turned into something very beautiful. I’ll have some more to say about Mara in another post someday (and grief) but A Flower for Mara is about grieving together, and the experience of “playing” it bonds the players together as they grieve, both improvisationally, and over sin and death for real.

Next: Dirty Secrets (hence the post title)

Dirty Secrets is set in your town. It’s like dropping yourself and several friends into the middle of a detective noir novel and working together to solve a murder (there is always a murder). An added benefit is the conflict resolution mechanism is Liar’s Dice. Which I also love.

RPGs, in my mind, are collaborative, impromptu story building. And that’s what I love about them. I’m not a terribly creative guy, but I have lots of creative friends, and building something together that is beautiful and enjoyable (even if it involves tears) is a part of real community.

If you’re interested in more about RPGs, check out Seth’s blog he’ll point you to some great resources. Or just buy one of his games and jump in. Even if you don’t think you’ll like it…you might be wrong. And I think everyone can enjoy, every now and then, a little community beauty building under the banner of collaborative art. And role-playing games like Mara and Secrets are a great tool to facillitate that collaboration.

Now, if you’ll excuse me, there’s a murder around here somewhere to solve…

I didn’t realize this when I lined up this post, but today is the 10th anniversary of the death of Seth’s mom. Read this post from his blog today to see how you could get A Flower for Mara for free as a PDF.

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