Tuesday, 21 April 2015

The Week in Stories - April 2015

In the last week, I've got to game twice, as well as continued work on one ongoing project. So, what happened?

Shakespeare, VA

In my PTA version of this Drama System pitch, the actors continue to rehearse for their production of Macbeth.  It was only the second episode, although it was the third sitting, and it had been almost two months since we'd sat down to play, so there was some initial distraction, but after I yelled (well, not yelled, but said that if we were going to play, we'd better start), people settled down and got right back into character.

Two episodes in, I'm still making creepy things happen without necessary knowing what's behind those creepy things - that's my new job this next week. Why were Arthur and Tetra attacked by a bear? What does the new spiral carved on Arthur's wrist mean? Why was Trevor divebombed by a hawk at night? Why does someone or something seem to be trying to tempt Matthew into murdering the director?

I'm good at setting that stuff up. I'm less good at nailing it down, and now I need to, at least for the aspects I've put on the table, so I can give satisfying answers, and/or continue to direct these things in a more planned fashion. Also, I have to figure out what the local eccentric can do to help. Or a reason she can't.

What I'm saying with all this is that, at heart, I'm a by-the-seat-of-my-pants GM, and for the most part it works for me. But I then need to take the off-the-cuff decisions I made and ground them better. 

On the other hand, it's Amanda's character Tetra's spotlight episode next time. She's playing a character who never got up the nerve to move away and actually try to be a professional actor. I was quite pleased that Amanda was bemoaning the fact that she really quite likes her professional rival. I did good there - anything I throw at her is going to be made more difficult by that.

Unnamed Superhero University Project

Having finished Paper Dolls, my biweekly group with Colin and Melissa is going to be starting a superheroes at university game, but we're taking the slow way. We're taking a week for each of us to develop backstory and side characters, so that we can each be playing several characters. We started last night with a modified version of Ribbon Drive, on the road trip driving to a new university with five high school friends and/or acquaintances. Colin only played one character, because that's his PC, while Melissa and I took on two characters each.

We stopped early because we had set up good conflicts to carry on into the game, and so I think it can be called a success. Colin's character is a very awkward high school graduate with a huge crush on the adorable cool girl (who may end up being a supervillain.) Powers haven't been revealed yet, but hinted at. His female best friend has a huge crush on him, Willow-from-Buffy style. The other two in the car were a totally schmoopy couple who are nuts about each other and sneak off to have sex all the time. (For definitions of sneak that involve no stealth.)  It became apparent (and had not been thought of beforehand) that the adorable cool girl was herself becoming aware that her own type might not be the awkward nerd. It might be the perky blonde girl who's seriously nuts about her huge blonde boyfriend.

Part of the reason we went out of our way to establish that couple as over-the-top physically affectionate is that Melissa and I came up with the idea that their powers, when they come, might be of that distressing Rogue-style camp of powers that will mean they can't touch each other anymore. Also that it would be interesting if the totally good guy boyfriend gets the kind of powers that you associate with supervillains, and how you deal with being stuck with that sort of thing when you're a good person.

Also, for Colin's PC, Kevin, his powers apparently first manifested in childhood, and resulted in him being told he had a heart condition and has to take pills many times a day. But now he's going off to university, and will probably forget.

It came up with some interesting stuff. We could play a game just with these five characters. But I think we'll go on and explore character ideas for Melissa and I, and that will end up meaning we'll have a lot of NPCs to play with, some of whom will fade into the background, and some of whom may even meet unfortunate ends. It's promising.

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