This isn’t about game design. Except that it is. But not like that.

It is actually somewhat vaguely related to Annie Get Your Gun, if only ’cause thinking about the song of the same name as the post title is what got me thinking about this. Theatrics, as a skill Craft, has a number of uses, which aren’t all specifically related to the “bard” class-equivalent in my system, and can be pretty versatile in application.

When characters are in competition with each other, but there isn’t necessarily a clear “contest” they’re participating in — basically when two or more characters get in a “pissing contest” (though it could be more positive or even more important than that), let’s just say, when it’s more about style than skill, it uses Theatrics.

Let’s say two characters are boasting in a tavern, and things escalate. Maybe they’re trying to drink each other under the table, maybe they’re insulting each other to their faces, maybe it gets to the point where they’re trying to out-sing or out-dance each other, that’s when Theatrics comes into play. It’s about oneupmanship.

But you know, it isn’t just about that. Courting includes Theatrics, as do the greatest of soul-touching arias and epic poetry. Dances that evoke the rawest emotions in the audience, and scenes of tragedy from the most inspired plays all draw on the Craft of Theatrics. Song, dance, poetry, drama, insults, and so on, and so forth.

Theatrics is about putting on a good show, flair, and style. Some characters are much better performers than they are anything else. Narrative is only one element of Theatrics, though it’s one a lot of modern audiences crave. All these things, and more, go into the complex Craft that is Theatrics.