Anticipation in your Games [mature]

 Posted by on September 19, 2016  Filed as: Better Gameplay?  Add comments
Sep 192016

Creating a sense of anticipation is a worthwhile technique no matter what genre or artistic vehicle you choose. However, this blog post is about erotic anticipation (I can get away with using the word “erotic” here because I haven’t gotten to the really sleazy parts yet). I’m talking about my own space opera RPG Alpha Blue, specifically. Although, any game can benefit from occasional titillation.

You’ve seen it in plenty of movies, TV shows, books, etc. This is a case of art imitating life. In the real world, human beings like to be teased. Or rather, they hate being teased but also love it simultaneously. It’s part of the build-up, the suspense. You don’t start showing hardcore action or a gruesome death scene in the first 30 seconds or first paragraph. No, you work up to it, giving the audience a little background, character development, and plot points.

After establishing the basics, give the audience a taste, but not too much. Whet their appetites so as to build up desire. Here’s an example from one of my own Alpha Blue sessions: there’s a beautiful service droid aboard the PC’s starship. I’m not going to have her walk onto the flight deck, sit down in the captain’s chair, spreads her legs, and say “Come and get it, boys.” Where’s the anticipation in that? Instead, the PCs notice her getting out of a magnetic shower… they catch a brief glimpse of her synthetic flesh glistening with violet droplets – then she’s quickly covered in a space towel and back in her room.

That idea is going to subtly play in the players’ minds. It’s going to (hopefully) subconsciously arouse them. Not necessarily in a sexual way, I’m talking about waking up the senses, as well as, signaling to the players that nothing’s definite, but sex may happen down the road. For the vast majority of men and women, that’s hot. Sexual activity for the sake of it is nice, but the build-up makes it better.

The GM can take the anticipation idea further by layering additional moments. As the KB-69 droid (I envision her looking like Kristen Bell) strains to reload her blaster, she bites her lower lip and makes soft grunting noises – reminding you of that prostitute from Rigel 12.

Little breadcrumbs like that sprinkled here and there – such as an appetizer course – can really pave the way for the main course. The main course is what we want. It’s the good stuff. But in order for the main event to be as satisfying, the GM should make preparations.

And let’s not forget that the act of sex is an activity that benefits from escalation – a sort of procedural anticipation. As stated in Monty Python’s Meaning of Life, one shouldn’t jump in head first towards the clitoris! Try a kiss first or a soft caress. I can remember my first Alpha Blue session on Roll20. The PC ran his finger… or maybe it was the barrel of his laser, down her stomach and along her thigh. It was a move that initiated sex between his character and some space princess NPC.

Try some dialog to get things going. Words and phrases can be bigger sexual triggers than actions, so don’t be afraid of using them. Even something as forward as, “I want to taste you,” can have the right effect. As in life, there are no guarantees. Whoever you’re trying to entice could decide to knee you in the groin, but that’s just the way things go sometimes.

Most of all, enjoy the game you’re playing. Easing into things can make everyone feel more comfortable while building much needed anticipation for what’s to come.

This article will appear in the upcoming Slipper When Wet PDF for the Alpha Blue RPG next month. You can back it here.

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Venger Satanis

High Priest of Kort'thalis Publishing. Also found at Venger's old school gaming blog. Age: Almost 42. Favorite Films: Star Wars, Heavy Metal, The Godfather, The Thing, Alien, Conan the Barbarian, Zombie, The Terminator, Hellraiser, Herbert West Reanimator, Planet of the Apes, Flash Gordon, Vanessa, Escape from New York, Krull, Clash of the Titans, and The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, and many others... Favorite Flavor of Ice Cream: Classified. Interest in Roleplaying Games: Started when I was about 10 with the D&D magenta box.

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