So I took the kids to see Brave on Friday and really enjoyed it. Granting that it is as predictable as any other Disney|Pixar film, the kids obviously found it a fun movie and they had a great time.
All in all it is a good movie and worth your time.
Most notably however, and altogether unexpectedly, the game player/developer in me started to analyze the story at a much deeper level.
And lately I have been thinking over how well it aligns with my opinion on how low level RPG gaming should be presented.
- For starters, no real spoilers here. The actual storyline isn’t what’s important to the discussion. Rather, the presentation of the story is what’s significant here.
- Second, if you have the opportunity, go see the movie. Trust me, it’s worth it. This isn’t a review of the movie per se, but I would recommend it were I asked.
No on to my point…
Brave is low level high fantasy gaming as it should be presented to players.
The characters aren’t much better than their peers, but the movie doesn’t dwell or turn on some fantastic and heroic capability that is required to resolve the story. Instead, the story simply doesn’t require heroic capabilities above and beyond those of a normal person.
Sure there’s skill demonstrated, but it isn’t demonstrably over what anyone else could accomplish.
I know what you’re thinking. The scene with the archery challenge sets Merida as a very accomplished archer… but her back-story doesn’t indicate her prowess is unnatural or super, just that of a well practiced individual. – KO
Sure, there’s magic in the story, but it isn’t used directly to overcome the dangers present.
Again, I know I’m splitting this point pretty fine here, but it’s my discussion so I’m going to do just that. – KO
Dangers and Challenges:
Most notably, and more to my point, the dangers aren’t scaled down in order to present a challenge worthy of a lower skilled protagonist. The challenges faced are equal in scope (story-wise) to those that might be faced by a seasoned and more “heroic” character. And yet the dangers aren’t dumbed-down in order to lower the scope of their challenge.
What’s more, Merida and her family deal with a threat in a rather innovative way; not unlike how low level characters in a RPG would.
So stop making the low level characters of your players face off against rats and goblins. Let them face off against mythic beasts and challenges that are worthy of a heroic story.
So here’s my advice: Let each and every story you present, and the means by which you present it, unfold as heroic and worthy of becoming legend… even if the characters involved are little more skilled than the kitchen scullery maid.
Trust me, your players will thank you for it.