Thursday, May 6, 2010

A Player's Tale

This week I spent a fair bit of time playing in some different RPG’s. Here’s a brief snapshot of the week that was;

On Monday I helped playtest Morgue’s forthcoming superhero adventure for the ICONS system. I had previously created a character by rolling superpowers randomly (love that old-school, V&V feel) and decided on the basis of rolling plant control, animal control and the ability to excrete toxins that I would be the ‘Green Man’ and environmental avenger and super-hippy. It was a pretty wild time, and I must give nods to my fellow heroes for having some great laughs. Our team was entirely dysfunctional with two fairly straight characters (Slade played by Norman and Salamandress played by Jenni) and two kind of lame, oddballs (Robo-Zard was played by James and was particularly memorable for his stalker style antics involving Salamandress) and me of course.

Other than a fondness for the characters, I was reminded just how much a GM has to try and continuously reinforce the role of the game world’s reality and provide some kind of basis for normalcy in an old school supers outing. It can be a continuous and exhausting process depending on the power level of the Supers and the creativeness of the players. Perhaps it’s the difference between a campaign, or long-term game over a short run, but If anything, I think that it reinforced that I prefer super games which deal with origin stories and bring a focus on ‘real-world’ pressures on super characters, over short run, four colour adventures.

On Tuesday I played my ‘Brutal Scoundrel’ in my regular D&D campaign. It’s been several sessions since the TPK and I like the other PC’s, but it seems that we might have to change party roles around and introduce new characters soon in order to replace our ‘healing role’ which was left vacant after a player left the game. We continue to explore a gigantic city cast out of time and magically sealed, overrun by demons, fey, frog-locks, bugbears and many other assorted nasties. The number of factions involved has made me concerned that we may once again find ourselves betrayed and TPK’d but I guess time will tell.

Last week we were ambushed by bugbears who referred to us as 'noobs', which I guess is true, but certainly made me feel like it was a very long road ahead. Without any bushcraft capabilities, and obviously being at the low end of the power scale in this setting (or else it'll be a short campaign) I pondered whether there was any point in trying clever strategies or trying to do anything but blindly walk into one encounter after another and hope that we can beat it. After all, everything else in the setting is likely more powerful and more in tune with the local environment than we are, so unless the GM is willing to give our ideas and plans a credence that defies the perscription of our level, he or she is unlikely to let us gain any real advantage over the NPC's.

We have our first actual serious, non-combat, interaction with NPC’s next week and it's possible the group will shatter and fragment when given the opportunity to find different motivations . I think that from this game I took away the need to use pace appropriately in order to try to reveal a story of this scope.

On Thursday I played Dr. Ivan Borkovsky, a Czech Archeologist on expedition to Meso-America in 1914, in Call of Cthulhu. We spent almost the entire session making characters (well, talking about making characters and other things) and finding our way to an ominous and largely undiscovered ancient, overgrown Mayan city. Fortunately my fellow explorers were sufficiently outlandish in their antics that my Dr. Borkovsky was actually fairly buttoned down, despite my outrageous accent (I guess that balances out my Green Man mischief on Monday). The group is heavily armed, but on the basis of the scenario build-up so far, I fear that Dr. Borkovsky is unlikely to live long enough to publish his paper on the lost city…