Gaming Miscellania

As I write this, Partner is almost entirely non-communicative because they're reading the latest publication in our favorite role-playing system: X-Risks in the Eclipse Phase universe. Judging by the in-drawn breaths and mutters of 'oh gods...' I'm betting my characters are in for a horrifying, mind-flay of a time in Partner's next EP game. This makes me so happy!

Speaking of things to shred characters' sanity, I had to miss last week's Call of Cthulhu game since I came down sick with a throat bug last week. Medium defined entirely by talking + sore throat => not fun times. So I'll be joining in the scenario halfway through this week. Benefits of being part of a podcast: I'll be able to listen to what happened last week before playing. It'll be a new experience, to hear what the guys sound like to our listeners.

Also, our Red Markets campaign will finish posting in the next couple of weeks (wow, our first campaign posted in full...) so we recently did some scheduling of what'll post next. A couple one-shots to take us through the end of July and then the Monster Hearts game goes up. Scheduling what's next in the queue episode-wise means we also have to think about what goes up on the blog half of the site, and well. Monster Hearts inspired some fiction writing from the players. Does it count as fan fiction if its in a story you're already creating in a different media? (i'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments.)

<pause for discussion/argument with Partner over fan fiction and gender politics>
Me: "You said you didn't care which how I referred to you on the blog!"
Partner: "I meant it's your creative endeavor and you should do what you want!"
Me: "I took that to mean you didn't want to be identifiable through the blog! That's why I've been using gender neutral pronouns. What I WANT is to portray you how YOU want to be portrayed!" ::wanders off muttering to self::

::sticks head back in door:: Me: "Which pronouns do you want?!"
Partner: "Male please."
::wanders away again muttering about 'was that so hard?'::

Any rate, I've already post the first piece I did back in April, although I have done a second draft. That one has incorporated the very useful critiques folks on Scribophile did for me, so the version that'll go up on Technical Difficulties should be a bit better. 

One of the other players, Greg, and I got together to collaborate on a piece with both our characters back in April or May. Our characters worked together a lot in the campaign and I ended up with an idea about their shared backstory. But I didn't want to dictate Greg's character to him, not even by writing the story and then asking him to go over it for characterization. So I pitched that I'd write up the intro to a scene, and then we'd hop on Google Documents at the same time – he'd write JJ's reactions to the set up, I'd add Catrin's, and we'd build up a story that way. It was fun, so much so that we got together again this week to write another one – this time from JJ's POV. As methods go, it produces a slightly dialogue heavy first draft, but that's what second drafts are for. :D

A Jumble of Thoughts

I finished reading the core materials on a system called Monster Hearts last night and it prompted a lot of thoughts for me. Fairly disparate thoughts though, so this post is going to be a bit random, fair warning.

1) I probably would have had no interest in reading this system if I'd encountered it on my own. What got me interested was The Drunk & The Ugly's campaign The Harvester and their excellent voice acting. A system about being a teenager and the horrible, melodramatic social jockeying teenagers do to each other, on top of being a vampire, werewolf, witch, fae, etc.? Yeah, not so much... I've never been good at the social-ing in real life, how the heck would I role-play it? But listening to people with voice acting talent/skills create characters in the messed-up little town they're in who occasionally I want to give a big hug to and tell them it'll be alright? Well, that's enough to get me to plunk down some money to check out the system.

2) Plot. I have to have plot. As awesome as the D&U folks are with characters, if they weren't driving forward with a plot and were instead just bouncing off each other, I'd get bored and have wandered away after a couple episodes. I'm certain of this because I did with the Miss Frieda's Halfway Home campaign. And I'm pretty sure I stuck it out through a few books where I didn't care about the characters in order to find out the resolution to the plot. I'll give away those books and won't reread them, but they at least get read to the end. So give me plot.

3) I will never convince anybody in my gaming groups to play this system with me. a) I don't want to GM it: haven't got a story that seems to fit, b) creating a story would take work I rather spend writing, c) you want me to keep track of how much social interaction? (::curls into a ball in fear::). My GM in the ShadowRun group has no time to learn a new system, even if they had the interest in this particular one (which I'd doubt - not crunchy enough for them), and very little interest in being a player. Yes, I have actually found a GM who prefers to GM over play. I'm so dang lucky. GM's partner also has no time to learn a new system and I rather doubt they want to revisit high school. At least one of the other players in my Thursday group is explicitly not interested in "teenage bullshit drama". And most importantly, my partner is of the 'you couldn't pay me enough to be a teenager again' variety.

4) I mean, they're right – being in our 30s is a heck of a lot better than being a teenager ever was. If a genie showed up and offered to magically deage me to whatever physical age I wanted, you couldn't get me to go younger than 25.

5) So, you know, what do I think about the actual system? I like that it is so social interaction focused and that includes sex and sexuality. It's weird how a major part of the human experience is swept under the rug in so many systems and, given my cultural upbringing, also very weird to see it featured so prominently in this system. However much sex is on the minds of the modern American teenager. 

Like I said, a jumble of thoughts

Technical Difficulties - Red Markets, The Reformers, ep. 1

A few folks from the RPPR forums and I got together to give Red Markets, the roleplaying system in development by Hebanon Games, a play test. Eventually we named ourselves 'Technical Difficulties' after the number of times Google Hangouts would just drop the audio from one or more of us. But we always had/have fun. Go give us a listen at the RPPR Community AP site - our first episode is here and I'll post links to the rest as they come out.