Champions Now Debrief: “Fear Death . . . Fear a Frog!”

Here’s a video debrief I did with Alan and Jon about our year-long Champions Now game, featuring middle-aged heroes in Burlington, Vermont (and a few road trips to New York along the way). Tons to discuss about situations, who can Presence attack whom, crazy mystical powers, and the simple joys of jumping around and kicking people:

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3 responses to “Champions Now Debrief: “Fear Death . . . Fear a Frog!””

  1. Thanks for posting this, Rod! Very enjoyable! I love Frogger’s whimsey and appreciate your description of how you progressed from playing with familiar superhero comic book tropes (which seemed fun) to finding a distinct voice for the character. Also, I love what you did with Crash and the Zoo – both seem fun and clever! Oh, and the Wendigo Society fascinates me for many reasons, including your incorporation of the “playing Indian” dynamics that have been present throughout our nation’s colonial and imperial history. Back to fun with old superhero content, the Fabulous Four and Kirby the robot made me smile. I also enjoyed Jon’s reflection on when Joe consciously embraced that he was Uncle Death and a superhero, all in the moment as a response to Kirby’s question.

    Also, I relate to Alan’s comment about “wishing he’d paid a lot more attention to the richness on the hero sheets” so that he would have more fully honored their richness and Jon’s on-point response that it’s impossible to work with everything and that the directions in which we do go are good enough.

    I also appreciate how you all examined the aspects of the game that didn’t work for you, such as feeling like a specific NPC needed a more satisfying situational direction. Such imperfections will always be there, of course, but seeing such self-assessment coexist with your obvious enjoyment of the game and its progression is refreshing and affirming.

    There’s a lot more, but I have to run some errands. Thank you for the enjoyable video.

  2. The criss-crossing of whose Presence affects whom is great to see. It was one of my fun things while developing the game – iniiated by a discussion with Rod – and I hoped to see others discovering its effects.

    Here’s a rules reflection in case anyone is interested: that revising one’s Situations is an option more-or-less at any time. The only restriction is that perceiving it to be too soon or too superficial is probably right, so don’t do that.

    Revising a Situation, or even several at a time, is not restricted to their categories. If you don’t want Secret Identity as a Situation any more, merely find something else for those 15 points to do, and it’s gone. If you want to develop a Hunted into more flexible play-dependent relations, then turn them into a DNPC or a Psychological Situation about them, or even just find something non-relationship-y for those points to do, possibly not even anything to do with that person.

    Play often develops Situations into closures, too, in which case one might look at the sheet and say, “well, that guy obviously isnt a Hunted any more,” and change the relevant Situations as I just described.

    In all cases, play regarding that entity continues from wherever it was, but without the procedures and conceptual constraints of however it was constructed as a Situation. Again, this is elective and unrestricted.

  3. Rod and Jon provided a lot of the details from their original conceptualization of characters back when we started and I forgot much of it because much of it was NOT on their character sheets. In future, I will make notes on the player’s thoughts on the three corners. I would have been happy to play with those details.

    Also, Ron mentions the option of swapping out situations. That prompts me to be more aware of that during play. In future, if a situation such as a DNPC or Secret ID seems to be getting little play, I would consider reminding a player of the option to change situations.

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