So I had the chance to play the Pool with a couple of excellent roleplayers this past weekend, and it helped spark some thoughts for me. Let me describe a particular moment from the game, and then how I applied a lesson from it to a wider context.
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Our game of The Pool continues, following the events of the great galactic peace meeting as seen in Galactic peace Pool. Here's what we decided to do: to play each of the three established player-characters back at his, her, or its home-world, afterwards.
Yes, the title is clickbait. It's merely a pun on the game we're talking about ... or does this topic turn out to address the loaded role-playing hobby term after all? You decide.
We're playing The Pool, with me, Hans, and Christoffer. The setting I've offered comes from my presentation materials at Kulturnatten a couple of months ago, using Dust Devils at the time. I was born in San Diego, and although our family soon moved to the Monterey Peninsula, I've sought to understand the history of that border and the SoCal/Baja region.
Into another game of The Pool, this time with Jerry, Renee, and Helma. I've been prepared for this one for a long time, with a lot of accumulated images. You'll spot the particular sort of pop science fiction right away: tons of implausible aliens as stand-ins for human concerns or outlooks, a completely transparent political moment, and an attempt to be one step beyond what current TV/film tech can currently do, visually.
When it comes to my priorities as a roleplaying practitioner, the enthusiastic, zestful exercise of narration authority may be my #1.
This is the single most brutal post I have presented or perhaps ever will present at Adept Play. So I’ll start with all the good things.
The exchange between me and Ron about stakes setting has been on my mind, and perhaps because of that I have been extra attentive to the presence or absence of setting explicit intentions and stakes in my current play. I've been playing a game of the Pool with two players (George, from my Legendary Lives game, and his brother Ted, who has never played an RPG before).
If you were following the development of Champions Now a while ago, you may remember the memorable game played at the Gauntlet which I adapted into the examples in the game text (Values and family, not necessarily family values).
So I read Ron’s work talking about and analyzing the Pool, and the game itself seemed to me to be elegantly and brilliantly designed, with a kind of simplicity I find really appealing. But I never had a chance to try it, so I was thrilled when some kind people were willing to play online. We decided to use the Anti-Pool, and added a variant rule where other players could help out on a roll.