Tuesday, 23 September 2014

Making as well as Doing

I'm currently reading TH White's book about falconry, The Goshawk. It's a great book. A beautiful, sad, meaningful book. A book that every one of you should read. One of those books which you come across from time to time and think, "How come I've never even heard of this before? Why have I never heard anyone raving about this?"

Anyway, it's full of grist for the RPG mill, but I loved this line, which I think sums up what is fun about this hobby.

"Regarding these arrangements after many hours of scrubbing with a file, one could say to oneself warmly: I have created. Indeed, one of the great beauties of falconry was that one was allowed to invent things in the first place, and in the second place to play at Red Indians with them, whatever one's age."

Setting aside the old fashioned phrasing, if you replace the word 'falconry' in that sentence with 'role playing games' I don't think the paragraph would lose anything. The hobby allows you to invent things in the first place, and in the second place to play with them, whatever one's age. It's not just the gaming, it's the way you can say to yourself warmly after drawing a map, drawing up a table, statting out an NPC, "I have created". Like all the best hobbies, it's as much about the process of making as it is of doing. 

7 comments:

  1. Tyro question here (because I know nothing about falconry, or working with animals at all) - what sort of invention or creativity is involved?

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    1. Making different perches and tresses and similar equipment, and also lots of traps and hides for catching birds. In the book he goes into some detail about how he makes all of his different pieces of equipment and why it's needed.

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  2. I have always loved the idea of falconry...hell, there's falconry in my Five Ancient Kingdoms (with actual mechanical bonuses when foraging for rations!). But I wonder if the reality wouldn't mean cleaning an awful lot of bird crap.
    ; )

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    1. Not to mention learning first aid. Talons are f-ing SHARP.

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  3. I read this book a ton(ne) of years ago, shortly after completing White's The Sword in the Stone; it was the only other book of his in my school's library. All that I really remember about this book is the uncertainty I felt over how the title was to be pronounced: is it 'goss hawk' or 'gosh awk' or some other peculiar pronunciation like 'goosehawk' perhaps.

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  4. I completely agree. The two modes of RPG creativity - solo invention and social interaction - have distinct and complementary kinds of appeal. However, in light of your chosen analogy, I am slightly disappointed that you chose not to make a pun on "hobby".

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    1. I know - I hang my head in shame.

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