Exercising the imagination

Last Sunday had me in Kingston in my old role as support crew for Holly while she participated in the Kingston Women’s Art Festival held outdoors in City Park , now a grand old dame by show standards, having run for well over 30 years. The Festival offers short of a couple of hundred vendors in a beautiful park venue with live music, and the monies raised go to worthy womens charities in Kingston. Holly and I rose at 5 am, arrived in Kingston by 8 am to find her spot and set up the tent and hang her art. The festival has a token $30 booth fee which allows the opportunity for many young women to exhibit for the first time. Walking around the show this year, I was struck by the very wide variety of amateur and profession art and craft, although jewellery still has probably the strongest contingent, something that can be said for most shows these days.

Well, I really didn’t want to go on and on about it. The day was overcast, but aside from a brief shower, rain did not cause any problems. Shortly after the 10 am start, I hied myself down into the old town to distribute Studio Tour brochures to galleries, shops and coffee shops, only to discover that on Sunday, the first two categories were not open or did not open at all.

Killing time waiting for the clock hands to point upward, I pulled up in Coffee & Company on Princess Street.

In anticipation of a reunion of old gamers, I brought along a note book with campaign notes written down 25 years ago. It was a curious experience to pick up ā€“ or rather start anew ā€“ where I stopped in 1985. Over the intervening quarter century, I found I had accumulated a plethora of new ideas, or other not so original ideas culled from fantasy and SF that I have been exposed to over the years. After an hour, I had 10 or 12 brainstorm pages with notes, drawings, maps and ideas that morphed neatly into a story, and used up a goodly portion of an old notebook, too.

(Yeah, just try to read it!)

Most of the stuff won’t be used. The sketch of the dungeon is just a doodle, something I now do frequently to help me focus. When I’m sketching or doing anything with my hands, I can think out a problem or play with ideas when otherwise I would be distracted by happenings, no matter how trivial, around me.

By the hours end, I had achieved my goal, creating a story with an overall rationale, several interactive elements, arcs and beats, none of which interfere with character freewill. Going in, I had a dilemma: run a balls-to-the-walls high level one-off dungeon with appropriate weary old veterans, or start on the assumption of a campaign with first level characters. Solved. Now I have to find time to haul out the manuals, design a dungeon and write it up. Fairly straightforward now that the big elements are in place. The players may never bother discovering the story behind the dungeon, but it helps enormously in creating the scenarios.

But then again, whether it will happen or not is still up in the air. The session this weekend may be postponed. Whatever the case may be, I spent a very enjoyable hour in a neat cafe in a beautiful city exercising my imagination. No regrets here!

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4 Comments on “Exercising the imagination”

  1. Iain Says:

    Sounded like a good time – I’m getting the bug now, looking forward to an afternoon rollin’ the bones

  2. Deb Says:

    I don’t know anything about D&D (except that the dice are pretty and the little character statues are cool), but your creative process makes me wonder how many SF books started out as game profiles?


  3. Glad you’re enjoying some of the exercise. Feeling nostalgic out here!

    • Larry Says:

      I thought about a tele-link, or tapping into DAKs internet connection for Skype, but at the very least expect a phone call at some critical juncture.


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