Games/ways to practice "creativity"

edited September 2008 in Play Advice
A few weeks ago I played Geiger Counter with my husband and some of our college friends. (I have to remember to write up a full account of it sometime...) The game had some good moments, but there were a lot of times when we felt like we were struggling with the "creativity" required by the game. (Both my husband and one of my friends put it that way -- they both said that they "don't feel very creative" and that was a problem.)

Some things we had trouble with:
- Coming up with character concepts
- Coming up with character goals/motivations
- Framing scenes
- Pacing
- Playing the character roles%0


  • You guys should read "Play Unsafe" by our very own Graham Walmsley.

    Don't try so hard to be creative. Just make stuff up. What is cheesy and obvious to you might be amazing and novel to everyone else.
  • I've heard it said that the best way to be creative is to not be creative. Play close to home. Build characters based on things that are important to you.

    For example, I'm an only child and have often wondered what siblings are like. So I build characters with siblings. I also have a bit of a "white knight" complex when it comes to women so I build characters who feel responsible for the woman their life. Then I mix and match. It is not uncommon for me to play characters with sisters, for example.

    If I can target this "close to home" material at another player that's even better. So for example if I'm playing one of my "white knight" characters I will come up with a reason as to why he feels like he should be protecting one of the women characters. It doesn't matter what the other play thinks of this setup because however that player chooses to react will create drama. Anything from "Oooo... my hero!" to "fuck you jerk, I can take care of myself." works just great.

    If targeting another player doesn't work or make sense then it's a good idea to figure out how whatever issues you've loaded into the character manifest externally. "Must always be right" is a good one as it externalizes as constantly trying to take control and undermine other people's suggestions.

    Then Scenes and Conflicts become about stressing these interactions. Have the big monster attack the "fiercely independent woman" while "Mr. White Knight" is watching and "Must Always Be Right" dude is shouting orders. GO!

  • Selene,
    If you want an exercise, try this:
    Name two boring ideas (randomly) and then combvine them in a new way.
    My wife says: Celery
    I say: Poison
    How do you combine those?
    Is there a non-creative way to do that?
    I don't think so, and that's the point.

    And Jesse has a point too, don't try to hard. Fred had a goofy idea about Lasers and Princesses and it turned out to be a fun HQ game.
    Dave M
  • There's a simple, two-step solution to this kind of problem:

    1: Get The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Münchhausen
    2: Play the hell out of it
  • Selene: In regards to Geiger Counter, I think it's most important for everybody to be really excited by the potential of the setting, characters, and the menace. Like, you need to have the feeling of "I can't wait to see how these suckers are going to die." If you're not inspired by the stuff you've made, that's hard. Honestly, though, if your local play group is the kind of crew that has trouble with things like Primetime Adventures or other things that require a lot of player input on creative content and scene framing, maybe you should just play something else, y'know? Or at least try to play some of the indie classics (PTA, etc.) before tackling something like Geiger.
  • Copy, steal, riff on ideas, images, characters, situations etc. from film, literature, theatre, music and anything else you find interesting. Combine, mix, rinse, repeat.

    Plus, constraints are good. Limitations make creativity possible, often just like that.

    Personally I wouldn't recommend Munchhausen to people who feel they cannot come up with creative ideas. PTA, maybe, or Dirty Secrets. Dogs is also good. I've seen trad. rolesplayers sparkle creatively in Dogs, because the situaion is so clear and the rules enforce it.

  • Posted By: Per FischerCopy, steal, riff on ideas, images, characters, situations etc. from film, literature, theatre, music and anything else you find interesting. Combine, mix, rinse, repeat.
    Yes.. when you are looking for something creative.. do what the professionals do.. Steal It!

    There are very few original ideas our there, so you might as well make use of those that you have already stored in your head that you like. For example, I played the very first Hero in Blood Red Sands playtesting. I was at a loss as to what to play, until I remembered a trope from anime.. the Bishonen Swordsman that tends to show up in a lot of anime fantasy. From that 2 dimensional character, I was able to fill him out.

    A great place to look for and identify useful tropes would be
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