Had a couple thoughts that have been bubbling up regarding the gaming aspect of roleplaying games and how that indirectly ties into Amber Diceless.
Here’s a quick rundown of the state of my gaming, mostly focusing on the campaign I’m running. It’s been several months since I did one of these and things have kinda changed.
Hey, only took me a couple months.
April 16th-19th, I flew out with the special lady friend for four days of roleplaying at the 20th anniversary AmberCon US in beautiful, scenic Livonia, MI. For those who haven’t attended one, these cons are relatively small (ACNW and ACUS have 80-100 attendees each year) and lack some of the features you see in larger cons. Like a sprawling dealer room and such. Instead, it’s just solid gaming from Thursday night through Sunday night. And by gaming, I mostly mean “roleplaying.” Like serious, immersionist, actor-stance, honest-to-Buddha roleplaying. There’s a bit of indy gaming that goes on. Fringe weirdos like Amber players tends to have some overlap with the indy game crowd. But there’s also some people who staunchly hate indy games. Especially the story game, roll-for-narrative control sorts of games.
The con definitely has a different feel from ACNW, which is the con I spend most of my time at. It was started by Erick Wujcik himself and has about seven years on ACNW. The median age often feels older. It seems like there are more ongoing campaigns than there are at ACNW, some of which may very well have started in the early years of the con. This is, and has been, the major stomping ground of many of the people I got to know through the old Amber Mailing List. When I think “Amber Community,” I think of this place.
Commentary about games I’m in right now. Thrilling!
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.
This Saturday I had my crazy double feature of gaming: dungeon crawl style Exalted followed by Werewolf: The Wild West. Commentary behind the cut.
[I’m made of dumb. I originally friends locked this. D’oh. Force of habit.]
Some thoughts on the first session of D&D, plus thoughts on the upcoming Werewolf: Wild West and Exalted games.