Monday, December 16, 2013

(12 Days) #3 Imagination is More Important Than Knowledge

Without using day after day of silly Internet jpegs and musings I've already covered and forgotten in previous years, I tried to enlist the advice of the National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) for some variations on my themes.

The one for the 16th worked off of this quote:

"Albert Einstein said: "Imagination is more important than knowledge." 

So, make it gaming related, is imagination more important than knowledge in a role-playing game?

I have to admit needing to softshoe atop the fence on this one.  Of course  there's different games the have different needs.  A special ops game based on Israeli Commandos during the 70s will require more specific knowledge than a D&D game trudging through the B-series modules in numerical order.  Likewise, some exotic world of your creation focuses on your creativity.used to keep your players entertain.  

For me, imagination requires a certain amount of knowledge to guide it.  Not making the fantastic mundane but to understand how if work within and affects the world.   This knowledge is pretty much useless you're talented enough to adjust and adapt your world.  In other words, for me, continuity trumps imagination and knowledge.

My Hackmaster campaign (2001-2004) is a prime example.   The campaign was just one random module after another, crafted around my world of Georic to make sense.  I certainly have the knowledge of the world to fit the module within its parameters, and I certainly can imagine variations needed to adjust it into said world, but the continuity needed to follow up on the results of the adventure within the party as well as behind the scenes makes for a better immersion experience.

Early on, I had a run Aldriv's Revenge  from Kenzer & Company for a fun diversion after the group completed its first quest.  I knew it inside and out, but had to rely heavily on campaign world knowledge when the group screwed the pooch and went in the opposite direction.    Knowledge gave me the tools I used to adapt and imagine a different direction for the group.  The Gran Duchy of Alois had a political meltdown from the loss of its primary heir to the throne, political machinations were thrown about, and ultimately, the new younger prince marries a  shrewd but power hungry damsel and the independent nation becomes a full blown satellite state to a major kingdom.  

I threw out using a number of options to ensure the group had a storyline.  The PCs landed in Saltmarsh, missed more opportunities, lost members when they tried to regroup in Orlane, and skipped a third adventure to get back the capital and figure out what to do then.

Their inaction allowed me to follow up and adjust the campaign world base on what happened (or didn't happen).  Campaign World knowledge guides the imagination to a logical conclusion.

Continuity is your friend, no matter what Einstein thinks... or The Doctor.

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