I have another post I’m working on, but thought I’d make a quick post about this.
Played in the second session of both the hack-and-slash Exalted game and the Werewolf: The Wild West game. Not much worth commenting on in W:tWW. It was fun. My Creole accent is really bad.
The Exalted game was also fun, but I had sort of a horrible realization: The game is even more fun once you give up any pretense of serious roleplay. This isn’t to say that no roleplaying occured. We spent some time gathering information, interacting with NPCs in sort of a Diablo-esque fashion. But we had two big combats in the five or so hours we played, dropping charms, stunting, etc. And it worked.
A common problem I’ve had with games that have an involved combat system (like Exalted, D&D or 7th Sea) is that (a) combat takes up a big chunk of a session, (b) this is not helped when you’re running a roleplaying oriented game for people who don’t necessarily understand the rules, (c) not all players are typically present for a given combat and (d) I’ve had bad experiences in the past where the entire session is basically one combat with a light garnish of plot on either side.
Typically my solution has been to minimize combat, sometimes abstracting it a bit when success is a foregone conclusion. This unfortunately means that neither I nor my players get really familiar with the system making combat that much more onerous.
I’ve had luke warm experiences with games that try to go with the route “You are badasses! You can change the face of Creation!” I’ve had a lot of fun in a frankly dungeon crawl driven scenario. Hell, I’ve been inclined to try and make some of my own combos.
While this doesn’t sell me on the “system matters” dogma, it certainly leads me to think that I should reconsider how I approach games in the future. Especially ones where I’m less familiar with the rules.