Our group was a little smaller than usual this last session. Two players got plucked away by PAX and so there were just four people for me to torment. I thought it went fairly well. I managed to dump a lot of info onto the players and did so in a fashion where they couldn’t really help but share the big chunks. I think the only thing that nagged me was one player who managed to get himself a bit orphaned. I never know what to do in those circumstances.
Had the second session of my Exalted game yesterday. It had a few logistical challenges, the biggest being a weird split in the party. Two PCs were in the “home base city,” where there was a lot of political intrigue raining down. The other four were in the middle of nowhere with an army at their back, beating up barbarians. It was pretty hard to balance out camera time between the two locations. With the one-month time-jump I’d inserted, there was a bit of strain on some of the believability for some of the NPCs withholding their master plans.
Had my first session of my new Exalted game this weekend. Went far better than anticipated. vinnydapoo has gushed about it more than once, so my head is a little big for my neck at the mo.
It’s a very tight time slot. Because of a game the night before, I can’t really start earlier than noon. And due to player schedules we can’t really run past 5. We started closer to 1 due to a couple players that were running late, so it was a tight four hours. I’d really like to try and hit the ground running next session. Let’s see how well that pans out.
There were some notable gaps in my preparation. Some players just seemeed to have a lot of lag and I really need to prep for them a lot more. ogremarco, on the other hand, was a force of nature. I really need to plan for him less as he’s just great at driving his part of the game whereever he wants. Him organizing a celebration at his house before going on campaign in the north was a fun bit of action, though the camera then revolved around his character seeking out other PCs at the celebration. The other PCs didn’t mingle too much and I was having trouble improvising events at the party.
I was also a little surprised that the players didn’t share information as much. So a few secrets managed to stay well hidden, including the prophecy that was done out loud but not shared in character.
The basic groundwork laid out so far is that the newly Exalted Solars and Lunars were back in Cherak and feeling the heavy breath of the Wyld Hunt on their necks. One PC also found out that he was a son of the Scarlet Empress and was being pressured by his Daimyo into an arranged marriage engineered to take the Imperial throne. Some of the PCs, feeling the heat of the Hunt, decided to go campaigning in early winter in the tundra to the north. By the end of the game, the group was split in two main groups. Four of the PCs were battling further north, tracking down icewalkers connected to the group that killed off a chunk of their house and slowly revealing their Exalted nature to their followers. The other two remained in Cherak to try and root out what they can there, as well as prepare for the arrival of one PCs future bride.
So, things to work on for next time:
Planning more for players who didn’t get as much camera as last time.
Rub some salt in some of those psychic wounds that some of the characters have. I didn’t get a chance to read sirriamnis‘s character quiz until after the game. Had I known, I would have had a lot more lighter fluid for this session.
Figure out what to do with the folks on the march. I have some ideas, but it involves a bit more GM fiat. We’d sort of glossed over a month but I’d like to cover some finer bits of what they learn.
When we talk about games and game design, we use a lot of occult language. In other words, I use literary terms and he talks like an actor. I talk about theme, metaphor, and plot. He talks about breaking the fourth wall.
“It’s more than just addressing the audience,” he tells me. “It’s making the audience feel as if they’re a part of the event.”
“What about the fifth wall?” I ask him.
I smile. “Making them feel that they are the event.”
— John Wick, Playing Dirty
Thought I’d open with another Wick quote. I whipped this one out a while back on my personal blog, and colomon felt that there was a flaw in it because… well, there’s not technically an audience in roleplaying. I gave my response to him briefly then, but since then I’ve been mulling it around since then. The notion was fanned a bit recently by a friend complaining about his attempts to run games for his usual D&D/Champions friends and not feeling like they roleplay much. They make their character and then they show up to be entertained. I’ve had similar problems in games as well. (And I’ve likely been that player more than once.) And talking to him about this made me think, “There’s the audience right there.”
I have a big, pontificating post about gaming in general, but thought I’d post something about the game I’m getting ready to run. As fun as the beer-and-pretzels Shadowrun game is, I’ve been wanting something… more. So I thought I’d try and get something more roleplaying and player oriented. I’m stealing mechanics from all over the place to try and see if I can empower players more (and let go of a bit more of the narrative control than I’m used to).