Friday, June 25, 2010

A Game That Stays With You

Yet another Dougal post.

Although it's not so much a post about Dougal as about the game in general. This game is different from any other game I've ever played. The thing is that, although roleplaying games are often spoken of as "interactive storytelling," the roleplaying aspect is often fairly weak. The mechanics of the game get in the way, the players get bored or silly, or else the game develops into some sort of contest between players and GM.

Out of six players, we have four published authors, so there's a lot of story being developed and a lot of roleplaying and emotional involvement. I've had emotional investment in characters before--I was devastated when Digger died--but I don't know that I've ever been so emotionally involved that the character's experiences were still affecting my attitude two days later.

And I'm not the only one. Another player is having dreams about the game. Another got kidnapped and ended up getting a special short story written by the GM about her experiences while a prisoner. Players are making binders of game info, sourcebooks, character backgrounds, character portraits. The superhero game was fun, but the Atlantis game is getting deep.

Sargon the GM mentioned in a LiveJournal post once that I always have "an agenda that is weird, but entertaining to watch unfold." Part of that is due to my character. Dougal is smart, but he's not clever. He can figure things out, but he needs time to reflect. So I would be driving home from a game, puzzling over clues, replaying scenes in my mind, and I come to a realization of what I think is going on, or figure out how Dougal would react. And I would walk in the next week prepared to spring that on the game at the right moment--a speech about my plans for my future career, or a speech about my speculation on the identity of our enemy, or my epiphany that we are in hell. Played in Dougal's personality, something he has figured out over time, not done as metagamey table talk.

I didn't want to dominate the game, but I wanted the game to have dramatic interpersonal moments. And what was really cool on Wednesday night was that we had another one of those scenes, one player character springing an absolute head-spinning surprise on another. And the best thing was that it wasn't me this time. Everyone is stepping up, and this is truly a level above just about every game I've ever played.


Bat-Cheva said...

*chortles happily*

I do hope we shall all find out what Smeaton was up to, though I do have my suspicions. *grins*

Anonymous said...

Yes, I want to know what our Mr. Smeaton is up to as well!

And the dreams are spreading. Matt had two this week himself.

TheyStoleFrazier'sBrain said...

Up to? That makes it sound as if there's some secret agenda or something. I was simply off having a secret exchange of notes with the GM, nothing suspicious or sinister. I certainly wasn't bargaining with some hydra goddess who had managed to track me down or anything. Nothing of the sort.