thread: 2006-02-16 : Throwing It Open: Color

On 2006-02-16, Thor Olavsrud wrote:

I actually had a lot to say about color last week in my blog.

I argued that there are actually several different types of color that we use in play.

Here's pure color:
"Color consists of the details that allow the participants in the game to imagine a location and how it works. It's the stuff that makes us feel as if we're there. When we describe the leaves of the trees in the elven forest, the population of a village, the creaking churn of the watermill wheel, the clothes your character is wearing, or the manner of succession for the kingdom, that's color."

Aside from inspiration, which is extremely important in its own right, I feel that pure color is mostly used to patch up seams and cracks in the shared imagined space, to get us all on the same page.

If we've just had a scene where Brother Jebediah is way off in the mountains trying to see what's going on at the headwaters of the river, and I want him to be in the next conflict scene initiated by Sister Hesther, then a little description of Brother Jebediah riding his blown horse into the branch as the conflict starts helps patch things together for us.

On the other hand, in my opinion, color that is expressed in mechanics is the stuff that we players really internalize. It becomes more than just color.

I describe that this way:
"For instance, in Vincent Baker's Dogs in the Vineyard, buttes and snowy mountains are pretty easy to forget about when playing, but the fact that life is never more than a few words away from the greasy smoke of black powder is in your face at all times through the escalation mechanics. The fact that these people are your kin is in your face at all times through the spent (and unspent) relationship dice. Your authority and stature as a Dog is in your face every time you call on your Coat's dice in a conflict. That stuff is potent setting."

Is this getting at anything useful for you Mark? Am I way off base?


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