Impractical Applications: A Recap Sampler

I talked not too long ago about recaps, particularly for game sessions. I’ve seen a few different styles in the past few years, with a wide variety of results.

In my game, I usually favor the recap-in-voice—and since my game has characters out the ears, usually try to make sure that no individual NPC recaps twice in a row. Sometimes this is easier than others—I’ve had to drag in relatively minor characters, current antagonists, one-offs, people who were only there for half the session, or occasionally request permission to use the voice of either Geri’s hamster or Sky’s hat—and sometimes, this has involved messing with the Fourth Wall a little, particularly on the NPCs who haven’t quite gotten the memo that they’re bit characters in someone else’s story. Actually drafting the things sometimes took a little while, given I was usually just home from work and some voices are easier to get into than others, but they usually tended to go over pretty well with the group: “I like [insert character here]” was a regular response.

A good number of the people I’ve gamed with online have gone for about a paragraph in third person vaguely limited to the group’s perspective—just the essentials. It gets them typed pretty quickly. Mostly, they end up sounding like a TV series recap intro. One, during a short-shot, somewhat combined the two, giving us first person summaries all from the same NPC.

The exception to the rule is in a game I’m in live. Our GM tends towards recaps that cover everything, in detail. On the plus side, we tend to be reminded of everything we’re going to need (all right, aside from a tendency to get the suffixes of a couple of population centers we’ve been through straight). On the downside, though, it goes on for quite a while, and I’m not sure about the others, but I’m usually pretty confident in my memory of the broad strokes of events, so it’s easy to get a bit restless.

They all get the information across; what’s interesting about them is what else they do or don’t do.

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