Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Drunken Dragons #3: the Bard

For Christmas when I was 5 Santa brought me a big cardboarrd box covered with Marvel superheroes and it was filled with 100 random-as-hell Marvel comics, it was some kinds of Sears thing I think. In that box was a single issue of Groo. It took me a long time as a kid obsessed with Spider-Man and stuff before I made myself read Groo one bored afternoon but man am I glad I did. I love that crap and when I got older and rwad more of the stuff Groo was lampooning I loved it more.

Flash forward and I'm staying over at a friend's house watching movies and playing video games and crap. "We should plau Dungeons and Dragons." "Uhhhh okay.:"

Understand I was hesitant not because I thought the game itself would be immoral or endanger my soul but I went to a Christian school and THEY thought that and would expel me if they ever found out and I'm still naive enough to be paranoid about that so whatever. But I agree and he invites over another friend I've never meyt to be a thief.

"What do you wqnt to be?"
"What CAN I be?"
"Well there's like a barbarian, there's like a wizard, you could be a cleric which is like a priest and stuff"
"So it's all just midieval things?"
"Can I be a minstrel?" Because that was different and was something from mideval stuff I knew a little more about. I say that but my only point of reference was Danny Kaye and the above comic.

They looked at each other and said :Uhhhhh sure but there;s also all this..."
I considered their suggestions but played a bard anyway. So now we're character creating.

"This stat means this and this stat means this and this stat means this..."
"Every one of these is important, I can't put low numbers in any of them!"

I was a murderous minstrel. I bought a lot of throwing knives and a lute and built a compartment for another secret knife into my lute. The guys: "That might ruin the sound." "Yeah but it's a great idea so let's give him some xp for it." I'm winning!

Then I write down equipment. "Just write down 12 things from this list." I make sure I have rope some empty paper for making maps, some chalk for making maps, and a spyglass because making maps. I had the importance of maps impressed upon me.

I named him Farciat Edward. BTW character creation SEEMED to take forever and so did the DM's adventure prep but that may have just been my attention span for something I was reluctant to do.

The adventure found us wandering around the forest and encountering a bunch of gas spores. I fell down a lot and nearly died a lot and couldn't hit for shit but luckily each gas spore had a healing potion in it so yay me. Night and day passed and we kept getting more lost. My maps weren't helping either.

I did not understand this game. It was explained to me that it was a storytelling game so I encouraged them to write me out if I stopped being fun.

2 things kept happening: I kept marking trees with my chalk to help us navigate (they gave me xp for that idea) but the marks kept changing...they were still there but they were different and un-useful. Also once a night an old man with a lantern would appear and berate us for being in his woods. After three nights of this I told him off. I got XP for that.

For the complete picture of this understand that they had One Of TYhe Guys on mute on tv in the room so we could eventually see breasts. Or maybe that was the second time we played...? Anyway the game ended no second session. Like a year or two later when I was over we tried playing again and we found my old character sheet and I was him.  At one point the game stops for a "Holy shit seriously?" moment when my character had a spyglass on his sheet still. Didn't help me much.

That second time it was a house where it was day inside and night outside. Seasonal weather crap too. I got annoyed at the DM (the thief from befre) when he tried to herd me into the tavern early in the game when I said my guy wanbted to stay outside and keep watch. We got less done in that one.

This was my RPG experience until I did a little bit of Marvel SAGA on IRC, testing it out to see how it worked. We never pursued it but I was Cyclops and I didn't have a handle on the rules but let me tell you i played the CRAP out of Cyclops.

Anyhow takeaways from that experience:

-I wish I'd known enough about the game to know what I was getting into. Reading through the books would have been fun, or doing anything but just flipping through them a wee bit.
-Similarly I wish I'd listened to them and not been a bard because I bet I would have had more fun.
-I liked that they liked when I had good ideas. In some respects I look back and see a kid who plain did not get it but sometimes I think about those games and think I...."almost got it" to an extent that helped more than getting it just a little would have helped. If that makes sense.
-They were very forgiving and responsive and smart and engaging and permissive DMs, sometimes looking back things seem railroady but that's probably just the color of memory and my discomfort at the time worried about Jesus Police tearing down the wall.
-Breasts are cool.
-For gods sake do SOME prep beforehand...have some shit in your back pocket and a few quick prep tools you can rely on if nothing else...and let your players know their options but don't let them spend more time on their character than an SAT. Every minute you're worried as a player or gm about getting something RIGHT is a minute you're doing homework instead of playing when you sit down to play and that's WRONG.
-Be mostly open to new players and new things and new ideas and new everything because who knows where it will lead. Be inviting to these and give them ground to flourish.
-Gas spores are basically terrible. "There's this thing you don't know what it is because it's just a D&D thing, but it's the kind of thing that sounds like I made it up on the spot in like 3 seconds to screw with you, but it's actually super scary and not even a little silly. BUT THIS ISN'T THAT THING, this is a second thing you don't know or care about, and it's some kind of cancer pinata."