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Tools of the Table: Mel0drama
by T. Glenn Bane

Melodrama: a sensational dramatic piece with exaggerated characters and exciting events intended to appeal to the emotions.

Gaming is not a simple matter of sitting at a table, rolling dice, and resolving situation, after situation. It is about a great deal more than that. It is a shared experience between friends, that when done correctly can create memories so vivid that it is like virtually being there. When I gamed in high school and college, my game was considered to be a good one. Years later when I began to write games, I asked myself, why that was. The answer was...I engaged the players at my table with more drama and expressions, accents, and voices than many other GMs (Game Moderators, or Game Masters if you are a little more old school).

When writing the section tips for noir for GMs in Rotwang City, I detailed the proper use of melodrama. How to use voice and body language to add punctuation to the events of the game. The phrase, "I'll be right back," has a great deal more gravitas when accompanied by a thin grin, a wide rapacious glare, and the stroking of your chin or beard. It wouldn't hurt to hiss a little when it is said in this way. In fact that same phrase can be given numerous meanings, simply by how it is delivered to your players.  Its a little goofy but try it, play to the mirror, or to the camera phone. Sure, it will feel silly at first, but the more you as a GM practice your deliveries, the more your table will benefit.

Where are the best places to study melodrama? Personally, I go to the television or to movies, or to the font of useful tutorials, Youtube. In fact, I have included a link to one of the best classrooms for melodrama there is. Silent films rely on non-verbal communications to make their points to the audience. One of the very best examples of melodrama I know of is the one I have selected, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. Enjoy, and game on!

 Image result for doctor jekyll and mr hyde 1920

 Doctor Jeckyll
 and Mr. Hyde

1920 Silent movie
John Barrymore,
Martha Mansfield,
Brandon Hurst

1:21:59 minutes

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