On the Shoulders of Dwarves
Recap (episode 4)
What’s in a recap? Quite a lot, actually.
**1:30 The ritual announcing the game has begun**
Every session starts with 15 or so minutes of a social gathering. The recap usually marks the stage in which we enter the game: getting into character, reminding ourselves of the atmosphere, remembering the story, separating everything that happened so far from the game itself. We did a recap - the game has begun.
[Fear the Boot podcast](http://www.feartheboot.com/ftb/).
**4:08 The importance of rituals**
Roleplay is a social activity and as such it requires boundaries.
In a martial art dojo, there is always an opening ceremony. Bowing to one’s master, bowing to an opponent at the beginning and ending of each fight. These rituals are there for a reason. They allow us to decide to be something else for a limited time, with a trigger to be something else and to return to ourselves.
More opening rituals: Uri had a campaign called the Lament of Prepartum, and every session started with the same verse: “The world is a story / that began as a game / and will end in a mistake / and the song the world sings / is Pentartum’s Lament”.
**6:00 Recap to remind us where we were**
In real life time passes between session. Maybe your character had its blade on the throat of its father’s killer and was about to finally avenge his death, but the next second for the character could be a month to the player.
The most obvious use of a recap is to remind everyone what’s happening in the story. Usually, people will ask questions during, or at the end of the recap; if they don’t, ask one yourself. It’s time to re-focus ourselves on the background we all agreed upon for our story, our canon.
**8:20 Recap as a tool for establishing an atmosphere**
Tone of voice, things emphasized, phrasing.
Reminds everyone of the tension level from the end of the last session, to which we might want to return.
Looking back vs looking forward.
[Establishing atmosphere when setting up the scene](http://www.uptofourplayers.com/2017/09/setting-up-the-scene/).
**11:55 Having a player responsible for the** **recap**
We had a player who did it with an energetic and exciting style, and excitement is catchy. Dassi was the one in charge of keeping tracks of notes, so she did the “previously on” when she gave all the main headlines, in order.
Generally speaking, giving players responsibilities help them feel they’re necessary for the continued function of the group, and that encourages them to feel invested in the game.
**15:30 Switching recap responsibilities between players**
Especially useful when you have some “low-energy” players in the group. When you’re required to do a recap, it forces you to participate.
More importantly, a recap shows the GM what the players remember, and therefore, what they perceive as important. If a player doesn’t mention rescuing the princess, that means something. As a GM, it shows me if I managed to deliver the information, and the motives, I was trying to deliver.
It also gives me an excellent opportunity to learn what the party likes and what’s fun for them - the recap is one of the only times when everyone’s saying out loud and with very obvious reactions, what they liked and didn’t like about the previous session.
**20:20 Recap in-play vs off-play**
If you’re the player giving the recap, be theatrical, play with your hands, talk in tone, tell a story.
[Storytelling](http://www.uptofourplayers.com/2017/08/storytelling/), and [storytelling examples](http://www.uptofourplayers.com/2017/09/storytelling-examples/).
**21:40 Recap as a GM tool**
As a GM, you can emphasize specific things, thus drawing attention to them and bringing them to the front of the players’ minds.
The players tend to forget the smaller picture... and also the bigger picture, and the GM should remind them of both (short and long-term goals). The GM might forget these as well (I sure do) and I’d say it’s everyone’s responsibility to make sure we all know what happened.
**24:50 An all-recap session**
Uri had a special session where the characters were sitting in a tavern and telling their deeds to an NPC (we’re gonna talk about specials in a separate episode in the future). Why? It was toward the end of the campaign and he used that to remind the players and characters alike what it was like along the road and what brought them to this point.
[Avatar the last Airbender's](http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender) recap episode: [The Ember Island Players](http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Recap/AvatarTheLastAirbenderTheEmberIslandPlayers)
**27:30 Opening credits**
[Uri’s opening credits](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8SQ9XbOsN0), done with PowerPoint.
Gives the feeling that the campaign is an institution, something bigger than just a few people sitting in a room. Look, it has a name, with big letters and music in the background! And you’re the heroes! Here is your character, with music and animation!
Using session names: foreshadowing, creating tension. Guest stars. Big changes in the animation to correspond to big changes in the campaign.
The first time you see it, an obvious sign of investment by the GM.
How do you recap? Do you have any opening rituals to your gaming session? Please tell us in the comments below or drop us an email to email@example.com.
**35:40 Taking the load off**
Uri played [STARFINDER](https://paizo.com/starfinder/)!!! WOOOO - HHOOOO!!
Eran will not be playing Mouse Guard because of [Dragonmeet](https://www.dragonmeet.co.uk/). Come and meet us! Eran also has an article in the Dragonmeet programme.
_The intro and outro are taken from “Silly Fun” by Kevin MacLeod ([incompetech.com](http://incompetech.com/)); Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0 License (
Brought to you by Eran Aviram of On the Shoulders of Dwarves