You are here

Next Hunt, new perspectives

Adriano is remarkably good at locations and sensory impressions of play. If someone had said to me, "Sengoku Japan! Samurai and guns! With robots!" I would have groaned and likely found something else to do. But this is not that. The day our characters spent working as corpse-handlers, socializing and philosophizing, is high on my list of favorite moments of the game so far.

Previous posts about this game include Our first Hunt and Say No to something, anyway.

All right, so this is our fourth Hunt, which was begun at the end of our conversation about the third, putting us in the city of Nishinoomote on the island of Tanegashima. We're in a complex place with a complex Enigma, so we took some time to fit in rather than merely strike at a target. Also, having grown into our characters by this point, it seems to me that we're all finding opportunities to bring out this or that aspect (in this game, Keys of Humanity) based on what we find or whom we talk to. We've played two sessions into it so far, with some issues to discuss when we're done.

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Ron Edwards's picture

Here's the direct link to session 13, which concludes this Hunt, and this Hunt ends our game.

For me, we'd hit a couple of stop-points. The first is fatigue: several of the games I've been playing in had continued past my break in teaching, so now I was GMing two games, playing characters in five, teaching two courses, and soon added a second section for one of them. But even that, mad as it is, might have been possible if at least three of them hadn't started to drain me more than they provided. This game was one of these that had become high-maintenance.

I'd rather address why, or any specifics really, in ongoing discussions rather than as an essay or pronouncement here. There are a couple of general things to bring out for everyone, meaning, not the group, but everyone reading this. I wanted to play characters more and have been doing so deliberately for at least two years now. It is not fun for me to conclude and have to say that across so many groups and so many people, GMing is even more distorted and anti-play than ever.

Everyone "knows" what GMing is, apparently. It's about presenting the fun story or proto-story for everyone else to appreciate. It's about knowing, applying, "interpreting," enforcing, and explaining the rules, which typically means deciding in the moment whether there are any, or expecting them to be automated as far as the players are concerned.

The people entirely committed to these grotesque postures have it easy, as they live in a fool's paradise. Actually learning the realities of the situation is hard. Everything you were taught to prioritize as "the GM" is thrown out, and all sorts of unrealized things you were doing now become visible, many of them nowhere near as attractive as they pretended to be in the dark. ... I'm faced right now with at least half-a-dozen people, and probably more, who are genuinely suffering as they go through what I have to accept is necessary. I don't enjoy it either.

The only positive thing I can say is that GMing (using the term merely as legacy) is much simpler and easier than any of that. It's a game-specific concentration of authorities. The story-guide thing is nonsense from the start, and as far as rules go, we're all learning and using them during play, with and for one another as equals.

Karaburan's picture

Well, I'll take it upon myself to kick off this discussion. Why did you find it tiring to continue with these sessions? I recognize that it's very defensive of me, but it's something that I didn't recognize at all in the moment. 

I'd like to add something about the experience of being a GM for this game, with its highs and lows, but I feel I need to explore this point first, and how much is connected to the rest of your comment.

Ron Edwards's picture

It's precisely this sort of public textual discussion I hate. There is no way for you not to get defensive, not as long as those false GM-identity things aren't dead yet. Everything is a put-down in that zombie world. No matter what I say or do, everyone is looking for the knife in the back. I thought I was clear in the post that I wanted private conversation about anything of the sort, not a public wrangle, but maybe that wasn't clear after all.

RPG online forums and discussions are full of passive-aggressive attacks and counter-attacks and face-saving, and I will say based on extensive, direct participation, although the Italian RPG context isn't unique in this, its discourse is particularly masochistic and directionless. I can see it right at this site in the Sundered Land discussion and I don't need any more of it.

All right, here goes. It never goes well.

I described the game as high-maintenance, which is exactly what it says. Playing it took more energy than it refreshed or restored, and that effect increased as time went on. Talking about play led to more necessary talking, which although productive in many small ways, never escalated or transformed into less need for talking.

The cause seems clear to me, but I doubt you'll agree or recognize it. This is the problem: if you would reflect over time, under no schedule, and maybe watch it all again a year from now, it would be easy and stress-free, but now, under pressure, under scrutiny, it becomes all about whether you'll accept a public spanking.

... I just made a decision, typing that. No. I am not a spank daddy. This is not the appropriate venue. I will only cause harm. If you want to talk it over - recorded in case there are parts we want to share - that's the way to do it.

Add new comment