Friday, March 22, 2013

Discussion: Fun With Quotes

History is full of all sorts of fun quotes that can be meaningful in some way at the gaming table. Maybe it is a famous quote from a story that you use to set the mood or hint at deeper truths in the tale you are telling (Alice in Wonderland is particularly good for this,) or maybe it is just a quote that really speaks to the heart of the core themes that you want to expres in your game.

Either way, quotes can be a great thing to have and to express to players - or to characters - as a means of conveying wisdom. It stands to reason that you as the GM are not wiser and better educated than the entirety of exceptional humans in history, so why not steal some wisdom when you can?

Today's bit of wisdom is something I found in a recent trek through the internet and library databases looking for research material for a story I'm working on and my L5R game. It is a quote that I feel speaks to the heart of the samurai, but it also speaks to the heart of RPing a combat character. It is something that I hope my players understand and something I have seen a lack of understanding for in previous games - often to humorous if wasteful events in games.

the quote? Here it is:

"As for when to die, make sure you are one step ahead of everyone else. Never pull back from the brink. But be aware that there are times when you should die, and times when you should not. Die at the right moment and you will be a hero. Die at the wrong moment, and you will die like a dog." -- Izawa Nagahide, The Warrior's Code, 1725

So, what do you think? What does it say to you?

1 comment:

  1. To me it's actually in a lot of ways for a role playing game tied to the communal storytelling aspect. In a role playing game knowing when to and when not to have the end of your character's story, often death, is important. A wasted death is something that was an unnecessary sacrifice more often than not.

    The other end of that is a character that hangs on after their story is over, which was discussed on this very blog recently with the example of Inigo Montoya's story ending after killing his father's killer.

    The implication in real life is different to an extent, but still centers around the story of a life. Being cut down in an unwinnable battle will mean being forgotten. Being cut down in a battle you can't win but holding off the enemy just long enough for your lord to get away, that's another story entirely.