Sunday, 21 February 2016

Preparation and Craftsmanship

I saw this video today at an art exhibition - all about Leonardo da Vinci's drawing materials. In those days just getting ready to draw something was in itself quite an effort, and I enjoyed watching the process - which is almost a work of art in its own right. (You'll have to click the link below to watch it, as it can't be embedded.)

Leonardo da Vinci's Drawing Materials from Royal Collection Trust on Vimeo.

It reminded me quite a bit of preparing for a campaign or gaming session as a DM. Now, I don't want to draw some sort of absurd parallel between a gaming session and the work of da Vinci. I just mean that there is something similar in the procedure: the careful creation of mundane materials from which something much more interesting will spring. The careful time and effort devoted to simply setting up a framework for something better.

Da Vinci must have had a lot of patience, and faced a lot of pressure. Imagine how much more tense the experience of painting and drawing must have been when your materials were expensive, limited, and time-consuming to produce. You'd be loathe to waste anything and so what you created would have to be good. I often think the same must have been true in the age of typewriters: imagine how disciplined and careful Hemingway had to be when writing, simply because correcting things was so much more of a ballache than it is nowadays.

This is also a bit like gaming. It's not like a computer game that you can just switch on and play. It's something that only happens at fixed times. This also means that you want the quality of experience to be higher, and place more demands on it. Time on a Playstation is throwaway. Time playing RPGs is precious.

This combination - the requirement for careful preparation and the sense of delayed gratification - is a big part of the hobby's appeal for me.

No comments:

Post a Comment