Monday, March 14, 2016

Romp adventures

I was thinking about adventures and the tendency for me is to find the nugget of decision that the characters have to make. Two choices, each of which has good points and bad points. The adventure becomes the story of the decision.

But. That isn't the only type of adventure, and it behooves me to remember that.

There's the milieu adventure, where the players take their characters to a new place, and sometimes mess up, because it's not like home. This fish-out-water story doesn't have to be another dimension or country. It could be going into board rooms instead of back alleys.

There's the adventure where they have to right a wrong. It might be as simple as stopping the ransom of all the fish in the sea, or getting the impenetrable dome off the White House. That's actually the most common superhero story.

There's the one where a character has to return to their core values. The character has to recognize there's a problem, usually by having some opponent or ally actually embody what they used to embody, and then there's opposition where the character can do either what he or she would have done before or continue the current behavior. Either way, the character loses something and gains something.

Closely related is the tough choice story, where both decisions are reasonable and rational, but one fits the morals of half the group, and the other fits the morals of the remainder. Decisions and consequences follow.

But the one I don't see mentioned often is the romp.

Generally, a romp is outrageous. It pushes things in a different direction...having Batman chase a pig and then ending with him singing is a kind of a romp. Stories with the Impossible Man tend to be romps, though you could make them dark and pregnant with meaning. Stories with Ambush Bug pretty much had to be romps.

And there's a place for the romp. It's an afternoon at the circus, eating cotton candy. It's a palate cleanser after dealing with the intergalactic overlord. It's an entire adventure with the heroes as hostages in their secret IDs and contriving to "accidentally" have the bank robbers and kidnappers keep falling unconscious. (There would be something to "The Ransom of Red Chief" with the superheroes being the kidnapped ones...they keep leaving and coming back, and the kidnappers wonder why there's no response to the ransom...)

Let's have a few more romps.