October 14th, 2010

Voodoo Dolly

The Limits

So, thinking about this some.

Everyone else seemed to enjoy themselves.  The goblin market is a known threat -- you go in, you focus on what you want to get, and you don't let yourself get distracted by what you 'could' get there.  A roomie mentioned that, from playing with me, he's learned some valuable lessons for use out-of-game.  If you're aiming for something, stay focussed.  Don't be tempted by outside factors.  He says it's helped him.

So, did I go too far?  This is the 'world of darkness' I'm running.  There are risks and dangers, and not all of them can be beaten by awesome dice rolls and combat.  Some things strike more closely to home.  Some things can get lost, never to return.  All the characters wound up sacrificing something during the session -- Cat's character lost one of her hard-earned points of Clarity, and a relic which has served the group well and protected them a number of times.  Her character sacrificed the memory that she had a Fetch who actually would side with her and memories of her grandmother who knew she was a Lost and still cared for her.  That, to me, is a heart-breaking kind of loss, and tore at the heart of the character.

The thing is, in nWoD, I tend to swing back and forth.  I allow the players a chance to relax, goof around, and enjoy themselves, and then I'll later dig in and turn their lives to crud.  It's a back and forth game, and I think that's probably the best way for me to run it.  I don't want the characters dead and dismembered, I want to alternate between them pulling themselves up and seeing the silver lining, then getting dirty and finding out just how bad the nWoD can be.

The characters have their high moments -- the Lost being crowned Queen of Autumn, and the city essentially 'handed' to her by most of the other supernaturals (due to the low population from an earlier catastrophic event), then losing some of her most precious memories and an essential tool of protection.  The mage finding an archmage as a mentor, willing to provide assistance and giving him a clear view of what is to come, but being cursed by fate to suffer for the actions of another character.  The werewolf often does well, she shines for the group, but the cost is that she is the one who has to make the hard decisions, and often sacrifices her own happiness for others.

The PCs are walking into the fight of their lives -- they're facing down a true fae, in his own domain.  This isn't even the 'big event', this is more of a climax to a side plot before the big event comes.  They have a small grocery list laying out where they are going, and get to choose the path to it.  I've been trying to weigh the rewards against the threats to come -- giving them the tools they'll need, giving them a chance to catch their breath and spend a session unwinding before the next soul-tearing session.  The players seem to be enjoying it, and I've not heard complaints.

But yeah, I just had a player walk (and phone it in to do so).  Strangely, though... it also didn't seem to surprise me.  When he walked out without saying a word, and my friend called me -- I already knew what the call was going to be about.  Hell, I even predicted who was on the phone before I looked.  I think the player and I have two different views on roleplaying games -- it feels he wants the chance to unwind and let loose, without the consequences that might come from such.  He wants to be rewarded for what he does, rather than doing them because it's the right thing to do.  Morality and ethics don't come into it.

I'm a big one for action / consequence, give and take, gain and loss.  Now, admittedly, I hate loss.  I will bend over backwards to try to prevent loss, but yeah, I understand that loss happens.  Some things I'm more willing to let slide than others.  Have I ever walked from a game I didn't like though?  Well, that depends... has there been games I didn't like?

I can only think of two games I deliberately bowed out of because I didn't enjoy them.
1)  An L5R game where the GM killed my character off because I missed a session and he thought 'oh, well he doesn't want to play anymore'.
2)  A LARP where my wife's character was killed off for strictly OOC reasons in a way which, frankly, made no sense at all.  (My character was killed off a bit later as well, but that was more the straw on the camel's back).  I still wonder why no blood hunts were called (either to remove us, or to remove the vampires breaking the Traditions), but that's so far in the past now I doubt I'd ever get a straight and consisent answer.

Have there been games where I've not enjoyed a few sessions?  Of course.  I've mentioned a few here (the infamous TORG 'okay, you're getting ahead of things, time to knock your character out' sessions), and I'm willing to sit down with the GM to hash things out.

So, this is a new experience for me really.  And I'm thinking perhaps it was for the best -- our styles are entirely too different and while I've tried to accomodate some (mostly in the Mutants and Masterminds game he was in), there's only so far I should flex, I think.
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