Thursday, August 25, 2016

#RPGaDay -- Orientation Week edition!

Here we are again with another installment of RPGaDay 2016! This week has been orientation week at school, so lots of meetings and prep for the next semester going on. Let's pick up where we left off, shall we?

15th: Your best source of inspiration for RPGs?
My players, always. I mean, that sounds kinda cheesy, but I'm very much a player-driven GM. I don't come up with a story I want to tell until my players do. I figure out storylines over time based on their choices and backgrounds. I mean, I watch movies and read books and stuff like anyone, but I don't tend to set up a story or anything. A huge part of my enjoyment in something comes from the people I'm with, so that's what matters first to me.

16th: Historical Person you'd like in your group? What game? 
Oh, this is such a weird question. Um, I'll reveal my 18th-century geekitude and suggest Jane Austen playing Monsterhearts.

17th: What fictional character would best fit in your group?
Um... I'm not sure how to answer this question. Um, Felicity from Arrow? She seems the gamer type.

18th: What innovation could RPG groups benefit most from? 
Cheap effective teleportation. Online games are better than nothing and way better than they used to be, but face-to-face is still the best way to play. The ability to get people together across distances without involving long road trips/airfare would be the best thing.

19th: Best way to learn a new game?
Play it. Nothing else comes close.

20th: Most challenging but rewarding system you've learned? 
Wow. I've learned a lot of systems over the years, frankly. Hmm. FATE in terms of getting me to GM again. Storyteller in terms of the amount of freelance work it's gotten me (and, you know, meeting the current husband). D&D 3/3.5 in terms of the career jump it gave me.

21st: Funniest misinterpretation of a rule in your group?
Er... I got nothin' here.

22nd: Supposedly random game events that keep recurring?
What even does this mean? I don't get it. Next.

23rd: Share one of your best "worst luck" stories.
Hmm. I think that's probably when my character got run over accidentally by another character. There will be words had when we pick up again. Tori (black lesbian welder/artist parkour-hobbyist) does not forgive shit like being run over easily.

24th: What is the game you are most likely to give to others?
Well, taking Tragedy in Five Acts out of the equation, as it's mine, I'd likely say Dresden Files Accelerated once it comes out. Alternatively, Fate Core/Fate Accelerated.

25th: What makes for a good character? 
Personality. Viewpoint. Story. Investment. I get the most fun out of rounded characters who make choices based on their own flawed perceptions, goals, and quirks. I want to see character arcs and see that story -- not an overarching epic, but a personal story in a potentially weird setting. I can play a bee and pretzels game where you magic missile the darkness, but it won't hold my interest very long. I'm too much of the narrative/theater school for that.

And we're caught up! Tune in next week for our final installment -- same bat time, same bat channel!

Friday, August 19, 2016

Summer's End

Here we are, coming to the end of another summer. I'm not ready.

My youngest son is going back to Seattle at the end of next week. I won't see him again until Christmas. I'm not ready.

My oldest son is starting school on Monday. He's getting a do-over on his senior year. This is his chance to make it work, and I'm overseeing it. I'm not ready.

I leave for London in a week and a half, and I'll be there for three weeks. I'm both terrified and exhilarated. I am not, however, ready.

Matt's already back at work. Has been since last week. I am still not ready.

Next week is orientation for the new semester. Definitely not ready.

I want to be ready. I want to be caught up on working and sending stuff over to my advisor. I want to feel like I've spent enough time with my kids, that I'm where I need to be, that I've spent enough time with Matt. Instead, I feel like things are coming to an end and nothing is quite okay, and that's somehow my fault. I feel like I am without recourse. All I can do is keep moving forward, and that's still not going to be enough. Change isn't impending, it's already here. I am being weighed and found wanting. I cannot be all the things I need to be, and do all the things I want to do, and accomplish it all in the time I have left. Something's going to be lost, and part of me will go with it. There is nothing I can do to fix it, because I won't know what it was until it's gone.

I know that a month from now, things will be okay -- at least, as okay as they can be. I will have gotten past the post and survived the transition and more or less gotten through, and life will go on. I'll be closer to seeing my William again, and I'll be getting Christmas visit tickets for him. Al will be established in school and we'll have a rhythm going. I'll be coming back home and seeing Matt again, and that'll be wonderful. Nothing will have blown up, and things will mostly be okay.

But now is not a month from now, and now -- in the moment -- I'm just not ready, and I'm scared and sad.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

#RPGaDay -- Week After GenCon edition!

Okay, so maybe we're doing this in weekly installments instead of daily. That's okay, right? Especially if I'm also writing on my dissertation?

10th: Largest in-game surprise you have experienced
I'd have to say in Monsterhearts (2nd or 3rd season) where it came out that Rook was kinda playing us all only. And when Dora left. And when Ginny's brother Bastian died. And when Austen and Briar actually became a couple. Okay, so lots of them. It was a big game for sudden plot twists.

11th: Which gamer most affected the way you play? 
Hrm. My ex taught me to play, but I don't know that he really affected the way I play -- he just gave me a space and means to do it, which I don't intend to discount -- it was a useful thing. I think honestly it might be my friend Trey. Trey was the first friend I made RPing on a World of Darkness MUSH, and our characters ended up getting involved -- I was a normal introverted human and he was an 8th or 9th gen Gangrel who was on the outs with the prince, so obviously that was going to go well. That was really the first game and RP where I was focused on character growth in story more than plot/game mechanics, though. It was pretty transformative.

12th: What game is your group most likely to play next? Why?
Oh lord. Well, I'm going to be gone for three weeks and they'll play something while I'm gone, but I'm not counting that. I think the next thing to come up is likely going to be Promethean 2nd ed. It's been a while, the book is out, and we've got a final chapter to go back to and finish for this chronicle. My character, Feather, may be approaching her New Dawn, and that's super exciting. After that -- hmm. Hard to say. We'll see.

13th: What makes a successful campaign?
Good chemistry among players and GM, and a certain level of commitment and buy in. Almost anything can be fun if everyone's consciously on-board for it and making the effort. At the same time, nothing kills fun faster than having to drag an unwilling player through a game, or constantly make sure there's enough people to play.

14th: Your dream team of people you used to game with?
Ooh. So, this excludes people I'm currently gaming with because I'm currently gaming with them. Um... My friend Phil from Seattle. I loved gaming with him. Tarisse -- she was so enthusiastic. :) Chey, before everything got weird -- we had great gaming chemistry. Trey, back before he got married -- his gaming changed after that and our chemistry in that department just vanished. Brannon -- I miss doing gaming stuff with him.

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

#RPGaDay -- Gen Con edition!

Okay, so I was at Gen Con, and it was awesome and super busy and sort of a blur, and at night I came back to my room and fell over, so I didn't post a single thing. I didn't even knit, which if you know me at all is like "whaaaaaaat?" So yes. That said, here's my catch-up post.

2nd: Best game session since August 2015
Oh, good heavens. That's crazy. Um... I've got to say the final session of this season's Rising Waters game, which you can find here. I'm proud to say that despite difficulties and playtesting and all manner of things, my players found things getting wrapped up in ways they didn't expect, with loose ends getting tied up and new cliffhangers being generated. My perennial fence-sitter character finally chose a direction and now we've got new and reinforced alliances to move forward with, and now the focus gets to shift for the next season. My players were really pleased, and they're excited for me to come back to it, whenever that might be. I also learned that we really do love Dresden Files Accelerated, and whenever it comes out, that's what we're going to use when I pick it up again.

3rd: Character moment you're most proud of
Hmm. I'd have to say that I was most proud of Tori, my hunter character in Matt's Hunter/Mage game. A lot of my characters are just there, but Tori stood up and told me who she was and what she wanted in life in no uncertain terms. She's a proud gay black woman who doesn't generally trust the police or authority. She's a found-item artist. She can weld and draw and paint and sculpt. She has gorgeous hair. She doesn't take shit from anyone, but she can deal it out when the time calls for it. I really deeply love this character -- and it was super surprising to me to find out she was gay. She just was, and who am I to question it? She found herself awkwardly flirting with this woman she ran into, and that was... really cute. And awkward, and cute. Tori is awesome.

4th: Most impressive thing another character did
My friend Matt Karafa's character Hod accepted Faerie's invitation and went True Fae in order to let us escape as we freed some friends, and maintained who he was long enough to let us get out... with a warning not to come back. That was some hard ass RP, and we all got sniffly. Also, my friend Steve's character Felix merged with a scary faerie figure named Skin and Bones, to become Skinny Felix, who comes when you summon him in a mirror by name three times. Changeling the Lost, man. All the feels.

5th: What story does your group tell about your character?
Um... I think the best one is from the Atomic Robo game, where Effy, my combat biologist, refused to let anyone kill the giant carnivorous dinosaur who dropped through a time rift onto our island. She named it Boris. It had to stay.

6th: Most amazing thing a game group did for their community
Ooh, hard. Game groups are often charitable groups on the side. I'm going to go for one I'm involved in and say the GenCon quiet room, because I think it fills a real need at the con for people who would otherwise find themselves quietly distressed and having to leave the con because they didn't have just that 15 minutes of refuge without a 20 minute walk back to the hotel.

7th: What aspect of RPGs has had the biggest effect on you?
Um, the part that gets people together regularly to play games face-to-face. I am horribly introverted and bad at scheduling stuff. Gaming gives me a structure and lets me build relationships and share stories. It is really useful for me, and I appreciate its place in my life.

8th: Hardcover, softcover, digital? What's your preference?
There's not a huge difference between hardcover and softcover to me. I prefer both to digital, because I'd rather be able to flip pages, and most PDFs aren't sufficiently searchable for me to find that a reasonable replacement.

9th: Beyond the game, what's involved in an ideal session?
Time to have a meal and catch up on how everyone's been since we last played. A comfortable setting. Coffee. Possibly dessert.

Monday, August 1, 2016

#RPGaDay: Dice, dice, baby.

It's #RPGaDay time again!

I like taking part in this for a few reasons: one, I don't see a lot of other women doing it, and I think it's important to be visible like this. Two, I think it's fun. Three, it gets me thinking about aspects of gaming I don't normally stop and think about. Four, it gets me in the habit of daily posting to my blog for a month. :) So let's give it a go!

August 1: Do you prefer to use real dice, a dice application or program, or use a diceless system?

Real dice. I have a brick of yellow/blue six siders (originally to play Warmachine in Cygnar colors), a regular set of polyhedrals in blue/purple swirl, and a bunch of FATE dice, plus some extra d10s (reflecting the amount of time we spend playing Storyteller games). All of it I keep in an ARU (All Rolled Up) I bought at GenCon a few years ago. It is the best dice conveyance ever. 

I've tried using programs before, but I like the kinesthetic experience of dice. Programs just feel lacking to me. I also don't play online games, so it hasn't proven needful for that reason. Diceless systems can be fun, but (unless we're talking about cards) I tend to miss the randomness that dice provide.