So we’re playing Grey Ranks. The mission – defend the critical junction of piping beneath the waterworks, the only thing keeping clean water flowing to Old Town. We’re splashing around in the dark and the key motifs are claustrophobia, paranoia, and terror. I’ve got a personal scene coming up, so wham! Flashback – it’s 1940, it’s a sunny day on a sandy beach next to the Vistula under an endless blue sky and we’re all kids, naked and splashing around. My character, Robert, is gay. I want a scene where Danusia – two years younger, a severe Catholic prude by 1944 – finds out. We play it out, and the outcome will determine how Danusia takes the news. It goes bad for Robert, she takes it poorly at the tender age of 11, and we end the scene without feeling the need to explore that – we know what it means.

Here’s the thing – suddenly Danusia’s relationship with Robert has been colored by this event in their past. I can look at the previous two sessions of play and see why certain things did – or did not – happen. It’s like a puzzle piece falling into place, but one that we did not even know existed until it fell.

This happens all the time. It goes beyond simple agreement, because it informs plot, or story, or fiction, or whatever. It’s an interesting phenomena.

This Thing That Happens
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