Now playing

30 April, 2008 at 2:37 pm (actual play) (, , )

I’m playing in two games right now; Thulen‘s victorian game (he hasn’t written down any actual play yet; I hope he will) a Nobilis game set in Star Wars universe, GM’d by Ukkostaja.

Good and poor play

I’ll be judging my own play and that of the others; by “good” play, I mean creating and grabbing story opportunities, doing things, being entertaining an so forth. By “poor” play, I mean being a wallflower, turtling, not interacting with other participants, and so forth.


Cast of players: Me, wgaztari, ksym, Ari (with no web presence that I am aware of). Ari is new to the group, but has roleplayed before. His integration was quick and painless.

There’s been two sessions of actual play and one of character generation and prelude-thingies. I am slowly getting used to the game. Next session will probably be genuinely enjoyable; the end of the previous was good, but beginning meh; the first one was indifferent. This no fault of anyone else; wgaztari played exceedingly well in the first session and okay during the second; Ari is overall a good player, and ksym has been doing well, though his character is quite different from the others; he knows magic and uses it, and is the only one who does.

I seem to always play pretty poorly for the first session or two. Maybe it is anxiety with the group, maybe with the playing style, maybe with something else.

There’s been robberies, a smidge of intrigue, meeting worthy opponents, but not yet truly engaging them. Oh, and the end of the last session was when ksym’s character threw my char with a sword. Hit or miss; not determined yet.

SW Nobilis edition

Cast of players: Me, Thulen, possibly pickaboo, and even opusinsania paid a visit (I made a guest appearance as a crazyish NPC in his game just the other week; didn’t go very well, but was enlightening). Estimated play time remaining: Session to three.

For some background: Nobilis is a roleplaying game in which players are Nobles, something like gods or demigods. It is diceless, but has a definitive economy with miracle points used to power all sorts of things. Like Amber diceless, but more structured and characters are more exotic. Mine is a Noble of light, with a special ability called elemental form: Can turn into light at will. Convenient.

Thunderer’s game mastering style seems to be that there is a definitive plot that will happen, more-or-less as planned, but the way it happens is up to players. (Also, if we build a mess ourselves, that’s a bonus.) Basically: I don’t try to get any enjoyment from story-crafting; using the rather formidable powers that nobles have is the point of the game, as far as I am concerned. The story happening around that is a perk/hindrance, depending if it adds new stuff to play with or involves boring puzzle solving or following clues to wherever. (Actually, I just suck at puzzle solving and following clues, and hence find them boring, and hence suck at them, …)

Thunderer (Ukkostaja; direct translation) also built a cheat sheet for the price of using miracles, given the miracle level and character’s relevant attribute: PDF.

Interesting is the fact/impression that I got used to Ukkostaja’s game more quickly than to Thulen’s, despite knowing the latter better. It may be the smaller group of players. I also think that having formed a clear picture about the way Ukkostaja runs the game helps a lot. This picture might or might not be accurate, but it is clear. I am not yet quite sure what I should actually be doing and enjoying in Thalin’s game.

In other news

Eric has an idea for something like a custom roleplaying search thingy. Maybe something like Mahalo. I’ll be helping along in whatever ways I can, since the idea seems interesting enough.



  1. chattydm said,

    Actually, I just suck at puzzle solving and following clues, and hence find them boring, and hence suck at them

    That’s defines me as a player in a nutshell too.

  2. Bob Younce at the Writing Journey said,

    For me, as a player, I have to be involved in storycrafting. Maybe that’s why I’m usually the DM. I like it when the DM at least gives me the illusion that my story choices are making a significant difference.

  3. Tommi said,

    Greetings, Bob.

    As a player, my default is to get involved in the story building, but I can also play in such a way as to not do that. Not quite as a satisfying, though.

    I’d rather not have an illusion of my choices mattering, because if I do and it is broken (and it will be), I won’t be able to enjoy that game anymore. Possibly not any game run by that GM. Tell me what I can and should do in the game and I can at least try to play in that way.

  4. Opusinsania said,

    “didn’t go very well, but was enlightening”

    I agree but what did you learn?

  5. Tommi said,

    Hey Opusinsania.

    Things I learned: That entering a group you don’t know at all and trying to function there is like working blindfolded, especially if the GM gives you a lot of power. (I would have been fine making all those calls in a group I were somewhat familiar with, but in a strange group, not fun.)

    When taking an antagonistic role it would also have helped to know a bit about the abilities of the player characters and how meaningful they are; in this particular case, the charisma of Vepa’s character was something I had and still have no handle on.

    Further, and this I did not so much learn as had reinforced, I have the nasty adjustment period when it comes to new group and games. It can be explained by shyness and general orientation. There’s also the fact that I do not and did not know where the fun of the particular game comes from, so I had no direction to go to. (This is actually the first point expressed in different words.)

  6. Opusinsania said,

    That is all true.

    The whole game is a bit of a guess-work, as I have only played with one person in the group extensively and had very few or no games with the others. What this means is I have no idea what they want or how should that something be offered to them during the game. This being a monday-game, I have little or no time to actually discuss these things with the players.

    I know what you had to play was probably very demanding, but I hope you had some fun. You had a difficult task, but you coped, and that is all I expected and hoped.

    This was all useful for me, as I had more time to see what the players were doing, when you were doing all the work. What I learned was that I need to pick up the pace of the game and probably introduce more action. (Next session: ninjas & uzis.)

  7. ksym said,

    >> ksym has been doing well, though his character is quite different from the others; he
    >> knows magic and uses it, and is the only one who does.

    Yeah, and it’s kinda hard since I am trying not to use it too much since wzgatari does not like magic and mayhem :p

    I am more into actions than words, and since this Victoriana-campaing is very dialog oriented I have found myself lacking in interaction skills many a times. Also my natural impulsivity has a negative effect on in-game social interactions making them ill-styled, which is bad considering this campaign is all about style :D

    Also I did a ‘poor’ playing decision by doing something very unexpected, as trying to intimidate the enemy faction to act. Thus the GM made my character drop into Thames river. Ouch. Well i was kinda bored and wanted some action.

    But maybe this suits to my character no? I am starting to get the feeling that my character is an “anti-hero with ill luck”. I like the concept at least :)

  8. Tommi said,

    About dialog: Thalin and Ari are actually confident at it, others less so. I won’t comment about the actual quality, but suffice to say that enthusiasm compensates much.

    About magic: If I were the GM I would have seriously discouraged a magic-using character. Thalin made his choice and now the game will have to live with that. Also, the victorian game is much less of a mindfuck to wgaztari’s sensibilities than my fantasy games are.

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