Well only one tale and a small snippet (or two) of actual play. It happened about a year ago.
LukeA was GM, I (Alex) was the Inquisitor and Chris was the Lackey.
The Inquisitor approaches the temple steps with the Lackey beside him. He bows his head piously and out of the corner of his eye checks to see if the Lackey is doing the same. The Lackey notices that I’m checking him out and also bows his head.
After the game LukeA said ‘If I was Chris I would have not bowed my head.’
If I was drinking at the time I would have choked on it. My response was ‘well he was just playing his character.’
As I reflected on the moment a realisation came. That meant that when LukeA played, he wasn’t ‘just playing his character.’ So what was he doing?
In hindsight the answer is obvious. He chooses his character priorities to set up an unstable situation but, and this was the bit that confounded me, he was doing it in play. Like some kind of noob. Had he never heard of role-playing? I jest but it hit home why I had troubles with certain games and why I had troubles Gming certain characters. In some games with LukeA I’m looking at his character waiting for it to ‘do’ something and he’s looking at me waiting for the bare bones of a situation so that he can ‘do’ it. Leads to kind of dull games.
I had two really big practical take a way's from this.
The first is that, as a GM, I should probably just step forward with more cool shit so I can see what a character is all about. Other people might not build them like I do.
The second is that when I build a character, I need to get what they’re about out there very quickly so it enters the shared situation. (This is so obvious in hindsight that I’m amazed it took me so long to get it).
When I made Zebediah Infinity in Ron’s Cosmic zap game. I was thinking of this passage from Ghosts of my life by Mark Fisher
In England, working class escape is always haunted by the possibility that you will be found out, that your roots are showing. You won’t know some crucial rule of etiquette that you should. You will pronounce something wrongly - mispronunciation is a constant source of anxiety for the autodidact, because books don’t necessarily tell you how to say words. Is ‘Ghosts’ the moment when art pop confronts this fear - that class will out, that one’s background can never be transcended, that the rude spectres of Lewisham will return no matter how far East you travel? Now a lot of good stuff happened in that game and Ron provided some really cool situation in response to what I was doing. Yet I would have been more satisfied if I either got across the whole class thing in the first scene or alternately (gulping in apprehension) didn’t go in with preconceived ideas in the first place.