Tuesday, 3 March 2015

A Week in Stories - March 3

TV

 Agent Carter - "Valediction"

I am very much hoping for a second season of Agent Carter, but if this is all we ever get, I will also be satisfied. They didn't leave anything hanging, wrapping things up in satisfactory, if not mind-blowing fashion. It's interesting. The big fight at the end was between two women, which is often a way of shoving a female character to the side. In this case, however, these were two women who we repeatedly saw, not only beat, but destroy every man they fought during the entire series, and so, instead of a sideshow, this was a well-deserved clash of the titans.  It's a nice twist on an oh-so-tired trope.

I read one review that wished the fight had been longer. I was satisfied with how long it was. They had more important things to pack into that hour! Like Sousa's plan in the warehouse. I was so pleased with that. And that he asked Peggy out at the end. I might have a slight crush on Enver Gjokaj, so you can all be quiet out there in the peanut gallery.

And, of course, it's no mistake that the end mirrored very nicely the ending of the first Captain America movie, but with a different outcome. Good job.

Arrow - "Nanda Parbat"

Well, I did not see that coming. And I have no idea what it will mean from now on. This season seems to be about Oliver and his crew growing apart, with them assuming their own roles, and more specifically, some concerns about the choices he's been making. Justifiable concerns, most of the time. This was a big, bold move, and if you haven't seen this episode, I am not going to tell you. I will be very, very interested to see.

Also, Felicity and the Atom, huh? I doubt it will last, but still, it was fun.

Roleplaying Games

Shakespeare, VA

I ran the second session of "Shakespeare, VA," and for the most part, that went very well. The supernatural creepy stuff I'm planting through with a light hand seems to be grabbing people, and I'm enjoying the hell out of the theatre stuff.

One of my players is worried, though, about not being able to keep up with the theatre references, so I'm trying to figure out how to help him find entry into that world without throwing that stuff out the window. Any ideas?

I can't talk about it very much quite yet, but I managed to make an NPC one character thought she would hate decidedly likeable, which was my master plan. Her spotlight episode is coming up in only two more sessions, so then it will be time to test that.

Also, my husband is really awesome at reading Shakespeare and I find that very sexy.  Good acting, whew!

Paper Dolls

We didn't officially play this week, and yet, we really have. It was an off week for this weird three-characters-each, three-alternate-worlds game, and yet, we've been filling in some gaps by writing scenes by email. One of my characters, Bee, whom I'm feeling very protective of these days - she's so broken - has really screwed up her relationship with her husband, Kyle. But we've never seen what that relationship was like when it was good. 

So, the player who has been playing Kyle for me (and he's barely an NPC anymore, he's a fully-realized character) and I wrote three scenes covering their first meeting, first date, and when they found out she was pregnant, only three months into the relationship. They aren't full of drama, but they're so incredibly sweet. It's given me a much clearer idea of what their relationship was like before her anxiety and post-partum issues made her freak out and run for the hills. And also a stronger reason to try to fight to save it.

Then that player also wrote a scene between Kyle and one of her own characters, as we'd never be able to do that at the table unless someone took on a character that is very much hers. That was pretty devastating.

And I'd decided that Bee, while she was separated from her 4-month-old daughter and being held captive, was going to have a mystical experience. That may sound weird, but it makes total sense in context to me - particularly since she's always had trouble with religion, and her husband is a priest, so it's been something that they've never shared. Initially, I thought I was going to play it out during out next session, but then I realized that a) the utter despair that precedes it I couldn't play without alarming Melissa's neighbours, and b) the mystical experience itself would be so internal that there's no way I get it across effectively to the other players.

So I wrote three pages yesterday about how that happened for the other two players to read, and I'm very happy with them.

These two other people and I have been playing a roleplaying game through prose for the better part of a year, and it is far over 300 pages long at this point. So we've taken what we learned there, and are using it to supplement a game that mostly, we play in person, in a living room, acting out the scenes. The supplementary material, though, has been there to support the main action, and has really enriched it. I can't wait for next Monday when we can see what happens from here.

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