Posts Tagged ‘Gaming Chronicles’

Gaming Chronicles: The Unconquered Sun

February 4, 2019

When we were starting this campaign, we were actually just going to do one shot to test it out. We were told to pick a profession from the modern world and a flaw. We would be using these ideas as part of some quick character creation in the Fate system. That was all we were told. I had no idea what to expect from our Game Master because the previous two games had been in Science Fantasy settings. We showed up with our ideas and I was almost immediately called out for creating a character inspired by Veronica Mars. Not that I blame the Game Master for pointing it out but I felt a bit judged and embarrassed at the time. I think now that he might have actually been pointing it out in a fun way. Maybe.

The truth was that I actually stumbled onto it honestly. I had come to the table with the concept of being a private investigator. I had met a few private investigators through the lawyers I knew so I used them and Keith Mars as a template. I did not want to be a Sam Spade type of guy, I wanted to be a guy who dug in the dumpsters for a living and be called to adventure from there. It sounded like a useful profession for whatever we were getting into. The flaw I had picked (which I don’t remember) was rejected out of hand so I floundered for another one. I picked hallucinations and that eventually became hallucinations of my character’s dead father. Put it all together and I was like a male version of season one Veronica Mars. When it came time to pick a name I picked Dean Wyatt after Dean Ambrose and Bray Wyatt, two characters in the WWE who had crazy person gimmicks.

So, the first session began with our characters getting mysteriously summoned to a reading at a bookstore. The first tip that something was wrong was that it was a reading of a sequel to In The Mouth of Madness. Then the world started to be torn apart by old ones and our characters were killed off one by one by some sort of eldritch demon. That was a bit of a shock. Then we had one on one sessions with the Game Master which helped him sort our characters into classes. I got a warrior class and we were then informed that we were now champions of a Sun God in a forgotten past and that we were ‘exalted’. It was quite a rude awakening and we stumbled at first, learning how to be heroes.

In the following adventure, we pursued eldritch villains and tried to bring magic back to the modern world so that it would not be vulnerable to the Old Ones that destroyed it in our future. I tried to go a different direction from the other two fighters in our party. I chose a rapier instead of a huge fantasy-style weapon. I tried to fight with speed and finesse instead of pure brute strength. I got to pick an animal that was to be my emblem, appearing when I used magic. I got a little bit of flack because I picked a raccoon. I thought it was a fantastic choice considering my character dug through trash for a living. Personally, I have always loved the raccoon aesthetic even though my mom absolutely hates raccoons. We found out that we were actually reincarnations of heroes from the past. It was a whole thing. It was some pretty good high concept fantasy stuff that was hard to figure out in the moment.

I felt like I learned some more during this campaign but I was informed by the Game Master that I was pretty much a non-entity during gameplay. My anxiety made me fade into the background a bit but I contributed when I could. I apparently did not have enough impact on the story. There were too many times that I look back on where I should have acted instead and not worried so much about the consequences. It is a game and I should have had more fun with it. Maybe I would have had more impact on the story that way. I also kind of lost the core of my character through the adventure and became just another sword. In the end, I made the easy choice and asked to be sent back to the altered future to see if my character’s family was still alive.

The thing is, my character did have a lot going on but it was all going on in my head and not coming out of my mouth. I should have acted more instead of just reacting and clinging to a sword as my character’s sole identity. It was not all terrible but I feel like I could have done way better. I was a bit crippled by my relative inexperience and my anxiety. The good thing is that I was slowly strengthening my friendship with my friends. I considered these people friends and not just people I played a game with sometimes. This would be important when I got more comfortable and felt better about actually being in the driver’s seat. It was an important experience and I probably did not blow it as bad as I thought I did. It taught me a lot about what not to do and that’s a good thing even if I look back at that time and cringe.

Game Soundtrack:

Hall and Oates – Private Eyes

This one is a bit on the nose but it is actually one of my favorite songs. In his previous life, Dean was a private investigator. He spent a lot of time watching people in order to get to the truth of things so he could put food on his table. He was dogged when it came to finding information and he dug through people’s trash to go that extra mile.

The Birthday Massacre – Pins and Needles

When Dean’s father was killed, it deadened and hardened his heart. Living became more or less an exercise in going through the motions. When he first started to see his father, he thought he might be going crazy. When the existence of magic was confirmed, he felt like that part of his heart was coming back to life.

Rage Against the Machine – People of the Sun

We were literally playing champions of the sun, dedicated to keeping that sun shining on an intact Earth. In a way, we were raging against a machine. We were rebelling against a society that wanted to banish magic in favor of technology.

Character Questionnaire

What’s their name? Do they have any nicknames?
Dean Wyatt. His father sometimes called him gumshoe after they watched the Carmen Sandiego game show together.

How old are they chronologically, and how old do they appear?
About age 26 but they appear a little older than that. Probably around 30. He works long and late hours and has never shied away from the bottle so he has put some extra mileage on.

Physical characteristics, standard clothing and equipment

Dean has jet black hair, usually slicked back instead of actually managing it or getting it cut regularly. He does shave every day since it is important to make at least a little attempt to look professional while running a private business. He often wears short-sleeve button-up shirts for mobility and laundered slacks but tennis shoes. He also often wears his father’s brown leather jacket because he thinks it looks cool and it conceals the tools of the trade. This includes binoculars, lock picks, both leather and rubber gloves, camera, and sidearm. When shunted back in time, he wears armor stylized to show his new allegiance to the sun god. He carries a short sword.

Emotional characteristics – are they prone to getting angry/laid back/investigative/ despondent etc, personal prejudices?

He is usually pretty even-tempered and investigative and curious. He is willing to put in hard work to get the job done without complaining. Who would listen anyway? He does tend to get emotional when it comes to his dad. He gets angry if anybody puts him down and he gets frantic and distracted when he thinks he’s seen him. Also, due to a couple of years of picking through people’s garbage and catching cheaters, he does not have much faith that people are telling the truth.

Alignment, motivation and character flaws/needs

Dean is Neutral Good. He understands the law but, as a private detective, sometimes he has to bend the law to get the truth for his client. Still, he has never compromised his morals for money and he wants to do good in the world. His motivation is to do right by his father at first. Then, when the supernatural stuff starts happening, his goal is to either find or resurrect his father. He needs absolution from his guilt over his father’s death. He needs to know that he did everything to make it right. This leads to him being rather single-minded and sometimes pushing saving the world down the priority list.

What were the defining moments/events from their history?

The first defining moment was leaving his father’s detective business to try to be his own man. He needed to see what he was made of. The second defining moment was his father’s death which Dean believes happened because Dean wasn’t there to stop it. This led to him seeing his father’s ghost at times. Then, he himself died and was sent back in time to a strange land and tasked with saving the world.

Do they have any secrets? Who have they told, if anyone?

He sees the ghost of his father everywhere and he has told nobody about it, managing to keep it a secret even though it has consumed him. He also harbors intense guilt about the way his father died alone and would never tell anybody that. He also keeps the secrets of his clients very well.

Where are they from? Do they have relevant cultural associations/quirks? How patriotic & nationalistic are they?

He is from Boston but he has no special attachment with the place other than that is where he grew up. He was a white guy with no single point of heritage so there was no influencing culture there. He was a bit of an entertainment geek and he loved music and movies. He is not very patriotic. He believes in the system and in people helping each other but he has no great love for the government.

What was their childhood like?

Dean hated school, hated being pinned down and being talked at. Funny enough, he loved to learn but could not stand doing that while having to sit still. He played baseball with the neighborhood kids but really only did it so he wasn’t alone. His parents were elsewhere most of the time so he found their little home kind of lonely. He was always at somebody else’s house unless the rare family dinner actually occurred.

Who are their parents & siblings, and husband/wife/significant other?

His mother was Quinn Wyatt, former secretary for his father’s business. His father was Harrison Wyatt and he was a private detective and a tough guy. They were pillars of the community. Dean was an only child and never really dated anyone.

What are their major personal beliefs/ideologies?
1. People lie and do it well
2. People are basically good
3. Evil must be punished

Advertisements

Gaming Chronicles: PlanetFall

April 7, 2018

(When last we spoke, we talked about the very first campaign I took part in The Frozen Star Among Us. Today I will be continuing the series chronicling the games I have taken part in so that I can remember them.)

When the Frozen Star ended, I had been playing with the group for months and I had started to figure out the dynamics of this tabletop roleplaying game thing. I felt like I was slowly making friends with the group and I was gaining courage with my choices. When we decided to move to the next campaign, I knew that I had to do better. My earlier characters felt more like cardboard cutouts than actual characters. I looked back at what they were and realized that they barely wanted anything beyond “to save the day”. I needed to reach back to the brief training I had in acting. It would help me focus on what my character wanted at the moment and also overall.

The new campaign was helmed by a different Game Master. This gamemaster had been a player who had previously pushed me to do better in my disastrous first character. I had thought that he did not like me but I now know that I was projecting my fears. But back then I was nervous to start a new campaign with him in charge. This new campaign was another science-fiction story. It was about people who lived on space stations who did not conform to society and were banished to an alien planet as a prison colony. This was immediately an exciting idea. My character would have a life before and after his fall from grace.

I started to try and figure out who I was going to be. I started with how my character fit into the society on the space station which would also shape his role among the other player characters. The background information we had been given had mentioned that the planet was littered with alien technology. I thought I could be useful as a repairman, a guy who worked in an appliance repair shop and fixed things people brought him. This was later shifted to being an engineering worker as our world changed and we reimagined the space station a little bit. So what was the fatal flaw that got my character banished? I knew that he was a good guy. To support his family, he had started to fight in an underground fighting club and he had been arrested when it was raided.

Later, as we played more and I thought about it more, I came up with more of the backstory. He and his sister had been orphaned when their parents died of a drug overdose. He was the only one captured in the raid because he lost the fight and was knocked unconscious. He was deeply troubled by being banished to the planet because his little sister had been left alone on the station. He felt that he had been betrayed by the government that he had respected but he also felt that he belonged down below. All that was left was a name for my character. I decided to name him Phillip Brooks, stealing CM Punk’s real name. This started the trend of me creating characters with pro-wrestlers’ names but this one was the most egregious.

On arrival at the planet, my character teamed with a ragtag group. There was a thief, a computer programmer, a fashion designer, a mad scientist, a religious zealot, and arms dealer. (Later, the arms dealer was replaced by a soldier). Not long after getting to the camp that would be his new home, my character was propositioned by the mad scientist. It was mindless, meaningless sex but it was a comfort in the new situation. Later, on an expedition to explore their surroundings, the group found foreign berries. Before the scientist could taste test them, my big strong character volunteered with the belief that he would survive. The berries were basically a strong narcotic and my character became an addict. Phillip became angry and sullen and eventually, he nearly died. The scientist saved his life, bringing him back from a coma.

The combination of her saving his life and their brief sexual encounter made Phillip want to protect her. That became my character’s prime directive and he often hung around her, making sure she was safe and practically became her pet. He became dedicated to proving that he was actually a good person and that he was not the monster that he had become. He wanted their community to thrive even if he and the rest of them probably did not deserve to do so. Along the way, they fought the planet’s natives who were strange cat people who may have had good reason to fight the new invaders. The group also discovered a race of sentient trees which were later used as part of a water filtration system for the camp.

In the end, Phillip and the party were sent out on a mission to reestablish contact with a mining operation in the mountains. Phillip was starting to feel better about himself and when they arrived, he was pointed toward a busted radio. The radio was the reason that contact had been lost. Given the opportunity to fix something electronic unlocked something in Phillip and for the first time in a long time, he felt happy again. Unfortunately, an explosion went off in the mines where the rest of his party was and we left the campaign on a cliffhanger on whether everybody else survived or not.

This game was my first experience with the FATE system. For those who do not know, the FATE system is an attempt to simplify the usual D20 system of play. Players role four six-sided die with pluses and minuses on them. A failure on a roll would be mostly negative dice and a success would be mostly positive dice. There were also many skills that characters could have. In addition, characters had abilities and character flaws that responded to “fate chips”. These chips were used to help to reroll or alter rolls to succeed where a player might have failed because of a bad roll. It was an interesting system to learn and, so far, it is the system we have used the most in our group.

Game Soundtrack:

The Pretty RecklessHeaven Knows

I still think this is the perfect song to describe the ragtag group that Phillip became a part of. They were a group of criminals and misfits (for the most part) and they probably all deserved the punishment they got. It was best to just own it. It also described Phillip’s guilt at being banished to the prison planet in the first place.

The Pretty RecklessMy Medicine 

I heard this song and I instantly thought of Phillip’s battle with addiction. He thought he was eating some berries that would at worst make him feel ill but ended up an addict like his parents had been. He felt so hopeless.

Avenged SevenfoldBat Country

This was one of my jams during the time that we played this campaign and it just seemed to reflect where Phillip was. “Too many doses and I’m starting to get an attraction”, “My hand is on the trigger”, “Nobody can save me”, and other phrases just seemed to reflect who Phillip was becoming from the addiction. But what really sold me is the quote “He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man.”


Adventures of a MathBrat

Random Things I Find Energy To Blog About

Boccob's Blessed Blog

A gaming blog with an emphasis on D&D 5e

wolfenoot.wordpress.com/

No Hate Only Snootboops

As Told By Carly

The Ramblings of a Geek Girl

kalpanaawrites

poetry, fiction, essays

Beyond the Flow

A Survivor's Philosophy of Life

Silvia Writes

Life is a story. Might as well write it.

An Artist’s Path

A space for creative seekers.

The Bloggess

Bizarre thoughts from author Jenny Lawson - Like Mother Teresa, only better.

Silence Killed The Dinosaurs

Comics, Stories, Dinosaurs, Cats

Daily (w)rite

For lovers of reading, writing, travel, humanity

The Empire of Carane

Where fiction comes to life

DMing With Charisma

Stories, Reviews and Opinions!

%d bloggers like this: