Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Who's Fun Is It Anyway?

In my previous post I stated a sort of manifesto that defines a 'good game' for me:


I want a game where vital and active characters come up against personal and dangerous plots with relevant bad guys and epic monsters. I want the players and the GM to engage with a plot that weaves them all together - forestory and backstory - against a common foe. I want the game to reflect the desires of the players rather than the ego of the GM. Rather than saying 'I will entertain you, this is how, enjoy!' I want to say 'How do we want to be entertained? Cool - right, we can all help make this happen, lets go!'

Reflecting on this, I realised that I had missed out one aspect - fun. Fun is paramount for me as part of the roleplaying experience. Like many people of my age I have limited spare time between work and family commitments and I like to use it wisely. Therefore I seek to maximise my 'fun' whenever possible. Sometimes this drives me to almost maniacal degrees of activity but hey, thats half the enjoyment!

So I was ruminating on how we bring 'fun' to the table and indeed, what 'fun' is?

I settled on a reasoning that 'fun' was when a game delivered the groups expectations. Even this answer, in my mind, was a little surprising as I naturally disassociated my personal fun from the groups fun - which I placed as paramount. If the group is not having fun, then an individual (unless possessed with some sort of egocentric issue) cannot be maximising their fun.

Of course, this suggests that the group needs to be aware of their expectations, have the ability to communicate them and to measure fairly whether they have been met. That all sounds very academic but in the end it just means being able to be honest at the start of a game about the sort of game you want to play, what you think would be cool to feature in the game and having a sound feedback mechanism - fora, blog, phone, email, pub, whatever - to let the GM know whats what. Oh, and having a GM that can take that feedback and channel it constructively rather than having a stroppy diva moment.

So therefore, how we 'bring the fun' to the table relies on us all being clear about what we want and also buying into the idea that we can make that fun ourselves but we can make it far better as part of a group.

The question is, how do we 'bring the fun' in practicality, as players? Two things spring immediately to mind.

1. Use the Knowledge to Press the Button
If you know that someone has a certain agenda for their character and you are in a position to offer them a route to advance that agenda in a fun manner, then press that button for them. In Pendragon I knew that Ian needed an 'intervention' to turn Aeryn from the path of unintended evil and back to the path of righteousness. Ian knew that Brion needed someone to focus his rage into some constructive (well, destructive really) weapon. Both of us needed that moment when our pain and our confusion could be rallied into one point and then moved on. An email to Nigel and voila! Two knights braying seven colours out of each other in a forest in the tradition of many an action film. It moved the game on for the characters in a fun and appropriate manner.

2. Share the Limelight
I'm aware that the concept of niche protection in RPGs is a little bit of a hot potato but in a long running campaign 'niche at the table' is a palpable sign of players identifying their own fun. Again in Pendragon we have players who are quite blatantly angling their characters towards certain areas - Guillame is 'the Courtier', Brion is 'the Warlord', Merrin is 'the Manipulator', Aeryn the Younger is 'the Warrior' and Aeryn the Elder is 'the Pious'. By recognising this we can guide our play and give each other room to shine. So when we are at Court, barring a few angry outbursts Brion shuts his mouth and lets Guillame and Merrin do their thing. On the battlefield however, everyone has been gracious enough to allow me to 'be the Warlord' - not just as a matter of fact by title in the game, but also in that I get to write the troop lists and lay out the field of battle etc. That willingness not to just scream 'me! me! me!' all of the time and take pleasure from other peoples gaming pleasure is something I believe is crucial.

There are indeed more - feel free to add more as comments!

Of course there is always the flip side of this and thats when players suck the fun out of the game or worse, steal fun from other players. This is an area of the game that I think rarely gets a mention because it lends itself to direct criticism of the play style of other players in your group and sometimes that can be a little spikey! However, nothing loathe, I am always willing to be the first to cast stones at myself!

Impatience is something that I think comes from my background as a serial GM. Obviously one of the things that is pretty idiosyncratic to any GM is their idea of good pacing and how to manage the ebb and flow of a game. As a player, I naturally have a lot of sympathy with any GM I am playing alongside and I do find myself having to bite my tongue a little if I try to push the game along if I sense it getting slow, or worse being slowed by a player who maybe isn't quite firing on all cylinders. The need to recognise when someone else is enjoying their fun is paramount here. Sit tight, shut mouth and enjoy their good times.

Stepping back is also I problem for me sometimes. I has been said, occassionally, that I have quite a forthright attitude. Not backward in coming forward. Quite opinionated. Maybe even a little gobby (for those not from the NE of England - mouthy and loud.) As such, on occassion I recognise that sometimes I can force myself onto a game and a style of play and despite the intent of my character, become a defacto mouthpiece. I saw this in Ian's Mistridge game when my bard (an arab teacher on the run in drizzly West Yorkshire - you had to be there, it made perfect sense) almost acted as party leader despite being the lowest of the low, barely speaking the language and generally not having any business to do that. I don't think that was good roleplay and it is certainly something that made me aware of this issue even though I haven't mentioned it before! Indeed, in SotC @ Cottagecon, my character is absolutely NOT the mouthpiece and by design never can be, and thats quite on purpose!!

So, there you go - some initial thoughts on fun and how we can make it, and how we can harm it.

Neil

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

Very interesting. I wish I'd thought of this one. I suspect the comments to come may demand we all stand back and except a slight tap on the chin!

Regarding the comments about yourself..I recognise what you are saying. With respect to the Saracen character in my medieval game I don't think that was such an issue. The time I really noticed an annoyance in what you've mentioned above, is when you're authoring can move into establishing facts that you have no right to establish, and becomes like an exercise in browbeating the NPC. I first noticed this in the Crescent Sea one-shot I ran, which suddenly had your character, from nowhere acting as judge, jury and executioner on a man who had only one problem: he was scared. I put this down to DM'ing in your setting space, but I'm not sure that was it now. The other example was in the Warhammer session, your young and headstrong scribe wanting to become a Wizard (great character by the way), authored in that the town didn't have enough supplies or something, thus forcing that NPC into a position of looking stupid (and making your argument un-refutable in the process without making the player character look stupid). It became the difference between authoring in a conflict, and authoring in a conflict with a solution which left the DM with no place to but to step back and get the player to revoke the established fact. It's sort of an overstepping the mark thing.

It can also manifest in ways that strike me as 'obvious second DM at the table syndrome' in which decisions a DM makes you think are slightly dubious, such as cows and animals disappearing in the forest (and a few others I now forget) are pointed out, in a mild way, highlighted as stupid. It's not overly happened to me as a DM but I've cringed a few times. I suspect if the session was recorded, you'd also may be cringe.

Generally speaking I have problems with people keeping backgrounds secret. Sometimes this is a good thing, but most of the time the only reason background facts exist are so they can come and enter the games and create scenes and conflict – they exist for no other reason. This sort of atmosphere can make it hard for players wanting to get stuff into the game as you're left with no environment to do it other than doing a sililoque, or speaking to the DM to insert private scenes which get it in the players minds but don't drive on the character dynamics which is what you really want.

As for me..interesting. I may have to think more. I think it's true to say I can come to the game with a highly varied level of commitment. Actually, that's probably the wrong word, it's more my willingness to engage can be highly varied and you never know what you are going to get. I can also be very easily thrown, in that if what I had in mind is different to what the DM ultimately proposes, it can take me a while to recover and align myself to it (i.e not in the seen in question). I don't mean knew plot stuff, like discovering Bethany is a genetic experiment, that's fine, it's more the framing, or the DM having a totally different take on an NPC I'd introduced – so I've sort of initiated a conversation on one basis only to find out it's another, etc. I can see those as faults/issues..whatever.

There is probably more...interesting.

Ian

Vodkashok said...

Well, whilst it was a brave topic in some ways, can I point out here that it WASN'T meant to be a critique of other peoples play - rather offer a little self analysis of your own! Not that I mind, but I definitely didn't write it as a catalyst to cause that.

Neil

Anonymous said...

Yeah, which is fair enough, I just don't mind being open about these things. And I was keeping it as a conversation only factoring in myself and you.

Possibly too enthusiastic! :)

Vodkashok said...

That said, having re-read through your initial comment, yes. Over-stepping the mark is an issue for me in a lot of things. It's something that I do recognise, be it a comment that is made in fun but can be taken otherwise right up to an inability to shut my mouth and supress that one extra fun anecdote. And yes, it does sometimes mean that I can bludgeon things with enthusiasm.

Open rule for all GMs: if I do this in your game, feel free to use the NO word and tell me I'm overstepping. I won't be offended!

Neil

Anonymous said...

Defining fun is a little like defining comedy. Fun is spontaneous and unpredictable. That's not to say you can't make an effort to make something more fun, just that its difficult to make rules for it.

Examining what negative influence you bring to any walk of life, not just gaming, is a noble endeaver and never a wasted effort. As is the ability to take on board constructive criticism. Not beating yourself up about either is also important, you should always maintain your self-esteem.

If you accept that not everything you try will work and that not every session will go well and combine them with the ability to recognise why, then add a group you're comfortable playing with then nine times out of ten you will have fun.

Anonymous said...

Ben

Anonymous said...

I dont think fun or comedy aren't always spontaneous and unpredictable, I completely agree these are often the greatest drivers for fun, but I can watch a dvd of 'Spaced' or 'Faulty Towers' which I know back to front, drink a bottle of chianti and have a seriously fun evening. It can be more fun with more people involved but all is good.

When we start commenting on gaming style or critique our styles, and each-others more importantly, I think the key thing we should remember is if something bugged us, or got under our skin we should have addressed it much, much nearer the time.

Neil - To be honest I don't see you as a loud and mouthy, definately a man with strong opinions but I've always found you perfectly willing to rationalise/justify your thoughts - and because I hold most of the same ones I think I'm immune to finding you overbearing in any way, other times I know I've deffered to you have been when you've been 'in charge' - GM, event facilitator etc, when it would have been inappropriate for anyone to have overstepped that. I think a factor here is we all have enough social grace to be able to hold opinions but not arrogantly batter people with them, part of us being a bit more mature, our experience and growth, and careers.

Ian - The overstepping the mark part in WHFRP I can appreciate, but I think it's a shared issue in player/gm relationships in that both of you could have acted to resolve the situation, but I think the onus there was on the GM. In hindsight (my head) our resolution for that was to never play the game again, which I was quite frustrated at.

My issues I think are 1) concepts rather beyond the actual play - I had so many ideas for Exalted but felt crushed when I couldnt face the time to flesh out the characters and npc's. I have a good handle on all abilities from DnD and can run it in my sleep, but the interest in Exalted came from the cool rules and crunch, but I ended up not being prepared to crunch my way through. My Buffy characters I had great ideas for, but they didn't seem to flesh out - Morella the musical prodigy I was imagining all kinds of supernatural links to myth and music, in the end I felt frustrated because I couldnt 'smack down' with everyone else - Then my Boxing Catholic priest was a 'fighting' character, but of mortal proportions. *my* issues I think but it is a common thought where I look at the character I've created and everyone else seems to be more 'efficient' - Sir Guillame is another example, starting the game with damage of 4d6 made me seem pathetic V 5 and 6 damage dice. So I work harder at other options but try and do it within the style of my character (chuck that shield, become 'the unscathed' and my dramatically appropriate dice seem to help me out.

Nige has really impressed me, in that we're definately doing the game 'his way' and despite concerns at the beginning we're still really doing it the same and it's working, I think the group adjusted to the game, instead of forcing the game to adjust to the group, and I think this is a real achievement.

In closing we talked about 'playing to type' the other day, and I seem to always play 'supportive caregiver' type characters, somthing I should me a concious effort to change to make it more fresh 1) for you and 2) for me! There are times I roll my eyes a bit with all my gamer friends, and I'm sure you do with me - examples, caregiver/facilitator Matt character 'lets all sit downand resolve this...', shadowy Andrew character'I'll despatch a minion...', here we go with the lesbians again 'Ultimate at what I do!'Dave character'scrolls of whatever it was...', Ultra high concept detailed background yet oddly silent in game Ian character, bardic Neil character =)

Then again, these can be used as strengths as from between us we will come up with a kind of balance to our groups, and have GM's can have a good idea of what will work for us.

I think the best example of leaving 'issues' to brew and doing nothing about them was The Dungeoneers - by the time we 'acted' and tried to resolve stuff, it was too far gone. A big regret for me as miss a load of old dungeoneers dreadfully, but also a plus as i'm no longer shouting 'oh ffs what a tosser' much, much less often at my screen.

Matt

Anonymous said...

I actually take issue with the 'silent in game' issue as it pertains to me. I'll agree with it for Pendragon - but I find it certainly wasn't true for Buffy especially, and not Pulsars and Privateers.

I'm not sure it was true for Crescent Sea either - but it's a bit far back.

Also, it's a myth my character backgrounds are details - they are surprisingly brief and hang off a handful (if that) of broad concepts.

I think it comes down to a perception of what 'constitutes not being silent'. I tend no to role-play for the sake of it, which may contribute to that feeling of 'silentness'.

I see it another way. I try and add scenes continually which have an interesting conflict and are driving character relationships between NPC's to an interesting point. What usually happens is they go nowhere because (a) the character I'm engaging with keeps stum on his issues, conflicts and background or (b) you can sort of a bland role-playing a response, rather than a what's the scene about, what's the conflict response (which doesn't necessarily mean blazing argument).

I can even think of a few examples, I was continually approaching Nigel's character in P&P from the prospect that we would eventually fall out - it was inevitable, he was betraying the ship to a degree. So we started the scenes in the hold sparing to build up the bonds. WHen het got captured it afforded me the opportunity to have my character ask his character directly if he was betraying the group, as if he was, we would have a difference of opinion. Good scene I thought, builds to something later when his communication of info to his superiors is revealed. So, not sure I'm silent, in fact I'm actively trying to create, shift and mould character dynamics, often looking a couple of moves down the line as well.

After I caused trouble for the ship in the second scenario, any my very presence on the ship made the vessel an 'enemy of the Decados' I engineered a scene with Matt's character to hash that conflict out. It went a bit like a damp squib due to it turning into a bit of a joke because all the characters brought danger to the ship, which wasn't exactly true at that point, but even it was, it was an opening to deal with that issue, to iron out that conflict - to establish something for the future. Never happened, almost viewed as not necessary.

Anyway, it's interesting, because it's a perception issue. I can understand the remain silent issue from the perspective of me not overly getting involved in every scene, and that's largely because I see no great conflict in it. I wasn't bothered about getting involved in scenes about my church being a built if it was just scenes about it being built...story/conflict is needed, etc.

These differing views are interesting, because I think they are more about misunderstandings between the agendas in the actual play of the game, rather than a player actually being silent.

I will concede the point to a degree in Pendragon.

Anonymous said...

On the Buffy front, the issue I had is from the very beginning I felt I had no way of engineering anything with either of your characters at all. I wanted to it, but couldn't grasp the way to do it.

I had no idea that was the inherent 'story potential' you envisaged in Morella at all. Did Neil, because it sounds like some of those ideas would have been cool stories we'd have ran with?

To be honest though, the two-series of Buffy were great, but they were also great in highlihgting how we didn't just go that one step further. There was conflicts in the group we just didn't engage with..my characters and Nigel's character should have had a final conversation about the lingering issue over the love of his lif's death, which was sort of my character's fault, and we didn't, for whatever reasons.

It's those issues that burden me. For me the game is ALL about character relationships. That's all it's about, the epic plots, the exciting adventure is all just a framework for that. This is driven by my extreme liking of the TV medium - especially from the early 90's onwards.

This is why you'll find most of my characters backgrounds (hardly detailed) or focused on character relationships.

The weakest area of our gaming at the moment, in my opinion, is we have great characters, but we don't maximise their exponentional benefits of the conflics and relationships they have between them and have scenes about that.

We should have done that more in Buffy, and P&P and we should do it more in the future. To a much higher level.

I do try, that's the irony.

Ian

Anonymous said...

I'm intersted in your roleplaying for the sake of roleplaying thoughts, is it something you see me doing? I think my view is I'm at a gaming table, for that very reason, to roleplay because its something I enjoy - Yes I want to engage and watch the scenes and characters unfold all around the table, but I don't want to be passive in that regard, my thoughts, feelings and ideas also shape the story - I agree its all about 'characters' but not just our players, the character of an area, a location, even an object could be just as important.
It is completely perception and expectations we all hold differently. I'm glad we're using more tools to talk about thoughts and feelings we have, as well as game mechanics and our characters - I hope thats ok to continue to do?
Matt

Anonymous said...

Matt

I wasn't actually commenting on how anyone else plays, I was just trying to get to the bottom of this silent tag which has cropped up a few times now. I was purely talking about myself, and how I'm approaching it.

I'm fine with how anyone plays to be honest. I realise people have their own agendas and attitudes and that's all good. For example, we've noticed there is quite often an element of the game for you that is about acquiring things - whether it be more land in Pendragon or a small moon in P&P. It's a bit like if you can have your way every game would have an Ars Magica element in which material things were part of the fabric. That's fine, it's not overly my thing, but fair enough.

The only time I have problems with the styles of others is when I feel it does create barriers for me. And I must admit, though I'm trying not to appear elitist about it, as that's not my intent, but I need to describe the issue, I think a core of the players in the group view things in different ways - or appear to do.

Why do have a character a brief, conflict-laden character background? To get it out their in the game - I don't believe in backgrounds, I only believe in them in the sense they create foreground conflicts.

I'm always seeking conflict..give me a conflict laden scene and a conflict laden decision and I'll make the decision and be damned with the consequences - that's what the games about. If those conflicts aren't present my role-playing will be dimmed. The other key is to run things at a pace so you don't have time to think..time to think is bad. One of the best Buffy games was that one, though I can't remmeber the plot exactly, but it may have been the one with Bethany's three friends in, in which the session started and it just did not stop - bang, bang, bang, always something happening to respond to each with a dilemma, a decision, a conflict and consequences for making the decision - it was great. The Reality TV one was also good, though we'd discussed that one behind the scenes for a while, as it was all about facing up to decisions and creating an environment in which the player could not hid from facing that issue.

It basically comes down to this, you can sense player to DM scenes that are just going to play out and after they've happened they might as well not have existed. They didn't establish a future story, they didn't establish a future conflict, you didn't learn anything about your character - they just happened. I can't overly engage with them I have to admit.

As for player on player scenes, 'I just don't believe people approach them with an eye for the confict, how it can change their character
, how it can get their story out. When everyone is doing this only the DM can get the story out, and then often only in a Lonely Fun way. The irony of the Lonely Fun issue is I see myself getting tagged with it when I try and do everything to get out of it. The issue is though, unless everyone is looking at player on player scenes in the above manner (conflict, bringing issues, background and story into play) no one gets it out as you're left with the option of (a) a sililoque or (b) the DM on player route and lonely fun begins.

I had an angle for each character in P&P I could just not bring them to fruition (Nigel's character aside).

As an example, of where we differ, which is not so much that there was anything wrong in what you did, but I think it highlights a point. Your family offered a killer dramatic choice, I'd have loved to have that choice: be part of the family and take up position on the moon they'd set aside for your or give them the finger and dramatically hyperspace off into the sun set having pissed them off? Fantastic, I'd have made the decision to tell them where to go and enjoyed doing so. Conflict. What actually happened is you played both sides, avoided making a decision (or at least put it off) and no conflict resulted..exciting prospect dampened at worse, delayed at best.

I then wonder whether this plays through into player on player scenes and is the reason why chances for conflict-driven character grown never happen even when offered (albeit without going OOC and explicetely stating it).

I'm possibly waffling, but the odd bad day aside, I'm 100% convinced I'm vocal when the environment gives me what I need to shine (and it did more often than not in Buffy). I also have difficulties in getting the high concept background out...because how am I supposed to get it out player to player without a sililoque?

Anonymous said...

One other example: what was my favourite P&P scenario? Ironically, the second one, in which I got to say, screw this, I'm the genetic daughter of the leader of the Decados, I'm going balls to the wall, and I'm going to dupe the Captain of the Battlecruiser into letting us out.

Conflict. Big scale. Decisions. Excellent stuff. I got my teeth into it. Though this was dm-to-player, the usual way my stuff runs - for the stated reasons.

Ian

Anonymous said...

Hey, I'd rather you actively did comment on my play style (and I'm pleased you have - its something we've all done directly through the replies on this thread and I think a way we can grow, or at least understand better. I can see the tags 'quiet' and 'roleplay for the sake of roleplay' do reappear in discussions we've had, so I was just probing about the 'rpftsorp' one. I'm at work now *bah* catch you later.

Matt

Anonymous said...

Umm.

here we go with the lesbians again 'Ultimate at what I do!'Dave character'scrolls of whatever it was...',

?


Buffy- Straight woman, couldn't fight her way out of a cardboard box. Troll (male) lover.

P&P- Male, Puny, Actually fainted and had a coma when a fight broke out near him.

Exalted- Male, admittedly good in combat, but who isn't in exalted?

Werewolf- Male, Galliard (I think) I remember not been the combat guy though(in as much as you can be a werewolf and not be a combat character)

Pendragon- *very* hetrosexual Male :-) Actually cry's at his non-sword skills and berates his son for not learning to read and write fast enough.



The only time I think was our small run in D&D which lasted 2 sessions.. I can't seem to remember any others to be honest.

Am I missing a load of them out?


D.

Anonymous said...

The lesbian thing could possibly be more a myth than reality. I can only assume the SotC character has some bearing on it.

As for the 'best at what I do', I can only guess there is a perception that you tend to make sure you always have one skill set ridiculously high (demonology? Computers?). Possible to the extent other sides of the character are ridiculously weak (Dex, Health). This may or may not be combat related. I have no idea if this is true at all to be honest, Pendragon character aside.

I'm just waiting for Andrew to begin his Mechiavellian defence against his err Mechiavellian methods....sanity busting!

Ian.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't meant to be a great character assasination, and I prefixed it with a mild 'there are times I roll my eyes'. However, didn't you have two cyber women in your head in P&P Dave? Then the dnd you mention, then our new SotC... me May indeed be more myth than reality, so I'll type corrected!

Matt

Anonymous said...

I know, I know, the myth, the man, the legend: me :-)


In P&P my cyber geek character had a girlfriend in his head, and my hetrosexual red blooded male character did occasionally what any hetrosexual male man might do if he truely had the ability to have is g/f do practically anything in a virtual environment... he xeroxed his g/f and had 2 for the price of 1... :-)

To the best of my knowledge the D&D character was the only out and out lesbian.

The SoTC character.. well... she's rather ambigoius to be honest. She's slept with Nigels character, slept with Matt's character, and probably the only reason she hasn't slept with Ians character is the fact she hasn't met him.

She is indeed playing upto that "Popular gal" trait. :-)


Almost every character I roll I possibly talk about potentially having that slant, I'll agree. theres not many I actually go through with it though :-)

In Scion for example, I was going to be the Scion of Artemis... but when it came to it, I decided that Hades made for a much more interesting game :-)

D.

Vodkashok said...

You can probably psychoanalyse yourself into an early grave if you look at the broader stereotypes of the characters we tend to play.

Does my very busy, very multi-faceted, very involved life give me a tendency towards the jack-of-all-trades bardic type character?

Does Matt's background in welfare and his current 'touchy-feely' training job make him look towards the caregiver role?

Does Dave's position as a recognised expert in his field mean that his characters lean towards exemplars - be that demonology, sword, piloting - whatever?

The important thing, in the context of the subject of the entry, is that we can recognise what parts of these stereotypes (if they are right) are part of our fun, and when they exist merely as a crutch and we can have more fun moving into something different.

Similarly, entire conversations like this mean that see things that are good, but could be that bit better. Ian is 110% correct about our inability to really BRING the BAM! to the table on occassions. Believe me, Brion has done battle tactics and combat moves that would make your eyes water. I've planned speeches and rallying calls that would make you erect! Do I ever do them? No. Why? I have no fookin' idea - I just never feel that it is the time or the place and then afterwards I feel annoyed that I missed it.

However, the answer is there and it is communication. Let the GM know what you have in mind. Hell, let the other players know what you have in mind. Grab it, use it, make it yours. We only have that game moment once - we can't go back. Carpe Diem indeed.

Neil

Anonymous said...

I suspect you SotC character had a quite intense relationship, in a physical sense, since it's easy to see that from your post here and Nigel's character's aspects (and that you can suggest he was on a darker riff at the time as well coming out of one of his novels – if we want to). As for Matt's character, you may want to clear that with him first.

As for the source of the stereotypes. Well my high concept approach is linked to my liking of heroic stories, brash commercial fiction and the fact my job is essentially high concept, and persuading people of those concepts and strategies and having the ability to carry people through implementing such business change. So I'd probably comes from there.

As for not delivering on the scenes. Well, sometimes I'm up for it but it demands two and the other guy isn't play. At other times you're sort of waiting to get it in but the opportunity honestly just does not arise. Then there are other times when, let's be honest, some of us have fell prey to it, you just don't feel comfortable doing it, and feel a bit embarrassed.

I also believe, at times, the way we play can create an un-certain environment, which results in people..just holding back. The best example I can think of is P&P and Buffy, and again just because Neil happens to hold 75% of the game space, in that sometimes it wasn't clear what we could get away with. Not so much in a role-playing sense, but in a 'overall authoring sense' the ground in terms of what your character could physically achieve, was never certain. At times, it's actually useful to have it clear what mechanically the character can do as it removes doubt. Not a big issue, but a take on why sometimes 'playing it loose' can actually result in less dramatic editing rather than more?

I'm also interested in how trying different systems resolves this problem. As unless I'm missing something, I suspect most people have a better understanding of all 5 SotC characters now, than they've had of other game's characters five sessions as the buttons to push are already on the character sheet. Plus, if you want to suggest Nigel's character 'loved and left' that beautiful singer than compel his aspect!

But yeah, this is partly why I want to revisit Buffy and P&P at some point, as I was firing on all cylinders in these two games to a much greater extent, especially Buffy, and P&P was a slow burner (character was morphing in the early stages, which is unusual for me). I want to come back to it, and really try to raise the game.

Ian

Anonymous said...

And God, I really need to type slower :)

Ian.

Anonymous said...

I could go on a lengthy rant about being typecast as the sneaky manipulative character.

Instead I will just note that I have only ever played 2 actual characters with this group in my entire gaming career of 20+ years...

andrew