Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The Potential Benefits Of Hiking On Your FRPG GMing Skills; Or, Gee, Thanks A LOT, "Prince Caspian".

Man, we went to the movies yesterday and we saw Prince Caspian, and it was a fun movie and I enjoyed it and all but DAMN! So here's what happened...

I dunno where they shot the dang thing, but the locations are gorgeous. They're all naturey and dynamic and interesting to look at and stuff. And so I'm sitting there watching and the kids are, like, rowing along on a crystal-blue river that runs through a gorge, or maybe they're running through a wood and a knee-high carpet of ferns, and suddenly I think, Why the HELL don't I picture that when I'm running my C&C game?!

Seriously. I'm just not that good at picturing landscapes. I'm terrible at it. They just don't...they don't occur to me, see? I feel like I should be thinking that this-or-that place in my game setting should look like this forest or that gorge, or what-have-you, but...I don't.

And it bugs me.

I've been trying harder lately, but I wonder if the culprit is unfamiliarity; in other words, that I don't get out much. Well, not into nature, anyhoo. I wonder if I don't think so quickly in terms of "nature looks like this", when I'm GMing, because I don't go look at it a lot. I guess I can "train" myself by looking at photos like the ones I'm putting in this post (not related to the movie, by the way), but I'm sure I'd get better results by experiencing it.

As a kid, in Mexico, I went hiking a few times. I saw some cool stuff...which...umn...I wasn't really paying attention to at the time. Eh! I was a kid. Different things on my mind, at the time. There are nice places to hike around my hometown, that's for sure (forests, mostly), but rivers and stuff, not so much.

I'm not real, uh, physically fit. I'm not an obese lozenge of fat and clumsiness, y'unnerstand, but I'm not real physically inclined. I never have been. But realizing what I'm missing out on is making me re-think some priorities. I think I need to go out and see nature.

There's a good reason for it, a better reason, and a great reason.

The good reason is, hey -- if I can get better at describing my FRPG setting through experience with local geography &c., I can finally scratch that damn itch. Right? So that's good.

What's better is how it can help improve my health and my quality of life. I'm missing out on a beautiful planet, here. Life only lasts so long.

The greatest reason of all, though, came from my daughter's mouth yesterday.

See, she likes it when we drive through foresty areas near out house. So I told her that if she likes driving through them, she might like walking through them. This has really captured her three-and-a-half-year-old imagination, and she's brought up the idea of hiking a few times since I proposed it.

Yesterday, though, was the kicker. We were driving home from Grandma's house and my wife said to my daughter, "Lily, can you tell Daddy what 'Hiking' means?"

According to my kid, "Somebody who loves you takes you hiking."

I can't really fight this stuff, can I...?