Friday, January 9, 2009

Last night's game: Some observations

I played with five girls last night. Two of them were costume design students, two were fashion design students, and one was a film student. All were first-time gamers. Three of them really seemed to enjoy the game, and two of them could give a shit.

Observations:
  • It was more helpful to walk people through the character creation process without the book. That let me "grow" their character with them, and they could simply tell me what the character was good at. Basically, I half created two of them organically. Two others, I basically handed the book and tried to hold their hands. I think that they found all the terms and options paralyzing and that may have affected how they enjoyed the game.
  • I run a violent game. Thing is, I don't even think it's particularly violent by game standards - there's guaranteed to be a couple fights every session, usually including a "boss monster" of some sort. However, it would be better to start future games with new players with a couple skill challenges or traps in order to gradually introduce people to the rules.
  • Following up on that last one, maybe I should make a stronger point about the skillsets characters have. I should make it clearer that they need one way to directly injure opponents or they might get frustrated. One of the players had a gnome witch; while a cool concept, I didn't really spend a lot of time with her developing the character and I should have allowed her to pick another Power or given her some kind of magic herbs or something. Her powers were all support oriented - Fly, Armor, and Healing.
  • I got very sick after three hours of play and the game kind of ended when I developed an incapacitating headache. I think the very rich seafood alfredo that the host prepared, the godawful waking hours I've been on (4 PM - 4 AM, lately), and the fact that one of the girls is someone I'd like to date may have contriuted to the tension and self-consciousness that could have caused that.
  • Positive things: I've been learning to really work with character concepts. One of the players wanted to be an elephant-man, so I whipped up a race and she made an Eastern inspired "olifauntus paladin."
  • One of the girls actually startled me with her enthusiasm. She got there late and I didn't even know she was coming, so I handed her a pregen I'd made for another game. Not only did she pick up on the rules quickly, she took glee in describing her actions, giggled when her character felled a foe, and always looked at the board for options.
  • Both the costume grads really got into their characters. One of them was the paladin, the other a morally-ambiguous necromancer. The conflict those two in particular had was fun to observe. They were also keen to ask question about the rules, their options, and possibilities.
  • My bad: I should have allowed for more noncombat solutions to things. However, I had planned for another two or so hours of play where the group would be able to use their interpersonal skills and engage in a little bit of trickery - I just wish I'd opened with it.
  • My bad: A cold opening was a poor choice.
So. I hope some of you find this helpful. Leave comments below.

6 comments:

Skycast said...

Well, except for the getting sick part, all-in-all sounds like a successful night of gaming. Especially with newbies in the mix...nice.

Skycast said...

Oh yea, what setting did you run?

Theron said...

I ran a setting I call "Sun and Shadow." It's a typical fantasy setting without any unusual twists. The major hook of the game is that all the PCs actions have consequences, something I drive home as often and harshly as possible. It's a morally ambiguous setting that leads to some interesting characters.

I'd like to publish it someday, but I don't know any publishers really.

Skycast said...

Actually, you know one now! :-)

Send me an email...skycast-at-mesanetworks.net

Theron said...

Sent you one.

Skycast said...

Crud, sorry about that...use skycast-at-wilddie.net