RPGaDay2018 Day 13: Describe how your play has evolved

So I am running behind schedule again. I have two days to catch up and I have a post that I want to share that has nothing to do with RPGaDay.

So how has my play evolved?

It is convoluted answer time….

When we started we were terrible role players. We were more roll players than role players. Our games were lots of kick in the door, kill the orcs and then repeat.

As we grew up a bit our games became much more sophisticated, character became much more important and I think I was probably 17yrs old when I actually created a character with a personality radically different from my own. Our games were more to do with political intrigue, world spanning politics or world saving high adventure than kicking in doors to kill orcs and steal their two copper pieces.

These days with my face to face game we have sort of regressed to hack and slash. The reason being that our games are so infrequent that we cannot keep all the subtle facts of a political intrigue game in our minds in the months between sessions.

In my play by post games I play much more sophisticated characters. As one has the time to really craft your responses you can be always in character. More than just speaking with your character’s voice you can pepper your responses with mannerisms and body language. As a GM you can layer on setting details to keep the world ever present in the players mind. You can use a palette of materials and textures when describing scenes much more often that you would when describing things to a group around your table. So my PBP gaming is much more sophisticated than my gaming table ever was.

The third kind of gaming I do is solo. Solo gaming is a way of playing that takes  a lot of practice. It is really hard to start but once you get the hang of it it is great fun. My solo play has also opened up a whole raft of games systems. If like me you have shelves of games you have bought but never played then solo play is a great way of getting them off the shelf and run an adventure. I have played games I never thought I would get to play. Some games I had read and thought sounded great on the page have proved really slow and uninspiring in play. The opposite is also true, games I had dismissed as ‘not for me’ have turned out to be great fun to play.

There is also a different sort of answer to this question.  How has my play evolved? It has become ever more simple. I settled on Rolemaster in the late 80s first with the red MERP book and then 1st edition RM. Since then we added every single companion, profession and skill but then came my maturing as a GM and I started removing that which I didn’t feel added anything so I would keep the new spell lists but one channeling/essence hybrid is pretty much like another so I would skip the professions. I found the constant subdivision of the skills into ever more specific just slowed down character creation and made the characters less proficient. Originally a character may have had Medicine or Surgery as a skill but once all the skills were in the game they probably needed Medicine -> Surgery -> Ear, Nose & Throat -> Nasal -> Left Nostril and of course if the critical has blocked the right nostril the character was down to using half skill as the left and right nostrils are only similar but not the same.

This quest of simplicity is what lead to my abandonment of levels, professions and development points and the querying of realms of magic. I have pretty much abandoned Arms Law for having too many tables and so on.

So it is not just how I play that has evolved but what I am playing.

One thought on “RPGaDay2018 Day 13: Describe how your play has evolved”

  1. My play has followed the same path too. It was min/max what I’m supposed to be good at. The GM’s seemed to reward that type of PC. As I started to take over the GM seat, I started to look at the players who had been investing in other skills to round out their PC but were never given a chance to use those skills. I had a thief who took Architecture as a skill, but the GM never let him use it and he was ticked off that he had wasted points. I started to craft a storyline where Architecture would be useful on several occasions. The player had a blast and was so happy that he took Architecture. He thought is was just a boon never realizing that I tailored scenes for his PC. The net result was a really happy player who got a lot more out of his PC and a lot more enjoyment exploring the possibilities of his skills.

    As I started to get more time with the Companions, I started to look at the new skills available and tried to formulate a nice archetype that made use of a group of similar skills. Burglar with Tightrope Walking, Rope Mastery, Adrenal Balance. Cavalier with Poison Lore, Poison Perception, Use/Remove Poison, Herb Lore, Cooking. No one suspects the Cavalier of using poisons!

    I try to find a PC with a theme and a set of skills to add colour to that theme. in D&D, I just min/max because that’s all it’s good for.

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