Day 79: Fairies and Frailties

October 14, 2009

Yak, Connor, and Aiden have completed their frantic and brilliant quest – Echo Park is safe, the wraithdragon imprisoned, and the families restored to something like prosperity.  That game was really cool, and it included my favorite session yet as a player.  Highlights can be found at John’s blog.

But I’m going to talk for a second about the stuff that we wouldn’t highlight.  My back is sore and it makes me critical, so here’s the stuff that we need to work on as players.


Peter takes a while to get into a character – he mentioned as much after one of the games, and that’s why we’re looking at doing some longer-arc games.   I think Peter would be better served by a slightly more character-focused character creation, where we specifically took a few minutes to think about how the character acts and thinks rather than just jumping into other elements of the character’s situation.  Mouse Guard may be illuminating, with its Beliefs, Goals, and Instincts, and I also think Peter would be well-served by games that deliberately bring in more tensions with characters who relate to both Peter and another character.


Mike is awesome, and Connor had a fabulous character arc where he went from stuttering, brilliant background faery to charging up the dragon’s back to poke it in the eye.  Mike is really great to game with because he really follows the cues of the people at the table, but he should feel free to get more up in our faces and lead or make trouble for us.  This might be because he’s played alchemists, quiet gay bartenders, and helpful house elves. Now I’m dying to see Mike play someone who is really assertive – like a screaming Barbarian or a vortex wizard.


John did an awesome job GMing, especially since this was the first time he GM’d something that wasn’t strictly prepared with a follow-the-leader style of play.  The game was awesome, especially the second session, where stuff really started to happen.  John’s biggest issue was pacing – and I think we saw that the most in the difference between session 1 and 2 vs. 3 and 4.  The game was sweet, and the fiction held together nicely, but I did find that we felt a bit lost in session 3 and parts of 4, and we rushed a bit towards the end of session 4.  This stuff is massively wrapped up in fictional details, and of course it’s as much me playing a horn at the wrong times.

So I suggest a techniques for John treats the session as an episode, or as a part of a miniseries.  That means trying to kick the situation in the junk at the beginning of a session, and right at the very end, rather than waiting for the fiction to offer an opening. If the situation is already volatile, then set something off, and if it’s not volatile enough then bring in the players to write new kickers.

Generally, though, I just want to play in John’s Sorcerer game.


As for me, I’m a HUGE spotlight hog.  I really get enthusiastic and jump around, to the point where I start making the game “about” my character, which isn’t cool.  I try to pull back, but honestly I know I’m too loud and too in-your-face with my character.  I get frustrated when things aren’t moving, and I like to take control – even if that means punching a wasp’s nest.  Sometimes that’s cool, and I think it worked in the last couple of games – but I don’t pay attention enough to whether or not it’s cool.  I also have a hard time with characters that are supposed to be laid-back – basically, they’re not.

Also, I think I’m some kind of authority on how to play RPGs.  That’s gotta be frustrating.


2 Responses to “Day 79: Fairies and Frailties”

  1. Mike R. Says:

    It’s funny, because that’s exactly the same critique I’ve encountered a few times in my improv classes. Perhaps in our next campaign I’ll try to play someone more assertive.

  2. Johnny Oneiric Says:

    Agreed on your assessment of me – and of you. Your all-in style of play is a double-edged sword: it makes for a great game, as long as somebody (you or the GM) remembers to moderate your enthusiasm and let others have the spotlight too. Sometimes you did, sometimes I did, so it worked out well overall.

    As for me, I could sometimes feel when the pacing was on and when it was off. Thanks for giving me some tips that I can use for next time!

    I was totally impressed with everyone’s ability to think in-character. I could tell that you were all thinking “what would my faery do?” Conor was suitably timid, Aiden was ummm ‘uncomplicated’ in word and deed, and Yak acted from the gut with a love for mayhem. Me, when I’m playing, I tend to think like a _player_, as in “what should we do to solve/win this situation?” Too many years playing in step-on-up games. So, kudos to you guys for really inhabiting your PCs.

    Ry, I hope your back is feeling better soon — for all our sakes 😉

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