Ever since JDCorley's Star Wars by way of Arrested Development (an unreliable, contradicting narrator), I've been gripped with the idea of other ways to do narration that's not the typical "GM describes stuff in the present tense, Players do the same." But that seems to really miss out on the potential. If you are running a game where there's a person called something like a GM with narrative authority, I think we are falling short if that authority is essentially just used to describe the world. Director's have their vision. And yet, like RPGs, they aren't the sole creators (usually), in fact most often they didn't even write the thing, much less act it out. So, if authors and directors can bring in a style and voice, why not GMs? To stick to one method would be like having every novelist write like Stephen King and every director work like Steven Speilburg.
Some ideas for styles:
- Arrested Narration - unreliable and contradictory to actions and dialog, turning dramatic irony up to 11.
- How Fred Savage Met Your Mother - a character narrates from a point of view of experience, long after the events are over, with ample nostalgia, regret, and sentimentality.
- Historical Professor (inspired by World War Z) - events are presented as interpretations of uncovered artifacts, documents, or other evidence (academic or theory based bias optional).
- Epic Veda - inspired by John Wick talking about the primary sources for the ven in Houses of the Blooded. Homer, Beowolf, Middle English poetry, whatever your style of preference. Lofty language, repeated phrases, and if your good enough a particular cadence or even rhyming.
- The Stan Lee Cameo - Describing scenes only as still panels, anything not visual is said as if it were written in a box on the panel.
- The Tarantino Method - Scenes and events structured to build to a climax, regardless of the chronology (this is sort of an ur-style that could be combined with another, I think).
- Hard Boiled - That well known Chandler style of narration now required for every Private Investigator license. Although like any first person narrative, this would be tricky with a PC as the narrator, and might need to be an observing NPC (but who? That's the tricky part).
- The Faulkner-Joyce Gambit - Stream of consciousness, poetic, but PCs speak and act concretely. Would this even work? I'd love to try.
What else might work? Or better yet, have you tried something like this and how did it go?