4/25/2016

Published on 4/25/2016 Written by 1 comment

Roleplaying Blind


To clarify, this post has nothing to do about playing a visually-impaired character, or playing a game whilst being visually-impaired yourself. In retrospect, it was probably a terrible idea for a title.

Sometimes it's nice to have no idea what you're doing.

On Friday I went into a game with a nearly complete blank slate. As I've said in the past, it's very unusual for me to play in a game (instead of game mastering), so when a number of my regulars couldn't make it to our Star Wars campaign, I quite happily agreed to let one of the players run a game of his own. It meant a change of pace for everyone and a bit of a break for me.

The game was a homebrew D6-hack based on JS Morin's "Black Ocean" series of novels. I didn't know the system (it was the GM's own invention and his first time running it) and I've never read the books, so I had absolutely no knowledge of the setting. I had made my own character with the scant information he was able to give us just before the game, but I had no idea what most of my skills or abilities did. I was going in completely blind and flying by the seat of my pants, and I loved it.

It helps that this series can best be described as "Firefly" with crazy space wizards.
Or at least that's how
I was playing it.
Usually (like, 99% of the time) I'm the GM, so I've always got to do some amount of prep-work before the game. Sometimes, with games like Dungeon World or Made to Suffer it's minimal, but other times it takes hours and hours to get ready. My Star Wars game has been like that lately, with me creating tons of background info that will probably never see the light of day. Fourth Edition D&D used to take me days to prepare for a single night of a couple of encounters. So for me, to go in with no prior knowledge or time to prepare was a total thrill.

Maybe a lot of players actually play like this. I've certainly run into plenty of folks who lose their character sheets between every session and have never read a rule book in their lives. But for me, I like to know what's going on. I prefer to play in settings that I'm familiar with for that reason, but even if I don't know the background, I still spend as much time as possible going over the rules and the system beforehand. How crunchy is it? How lethal? How does it reward roleplaying? What kind of cool and unique mechanics does it have? This time I had none of that. I was playing a gravity- and reality-manipulating space wizard with a "General Wizarding" ability listed on my character sheet, and I just wanted to see how much mileage I could get out of that.

GM: There is no spoon.
Me: No, it's a spoon. *rolls*
GM: Okay, fine. It's a spoon.
It worked because the GM and both players all knew each other well, and everyone played off everyone else and just kind of rolled with everything. I'm sure both players (neither of us had read the books) were making a mockery of the setting at every turn, but the GM let it slide. The other player ran a chemically-enhanced supersoldier fratboy who was just "bro-ing" out all over the place (alternating his time between masturbating and working out, he was still a way more useful member of the party than I was), and I tried to do whatever shit I could think of with my magic and the GM shoehorned it as best he could with only a few small exceptions. I'm still disappointed that while I can project an entire spaceship into the Astral Plane to travel faster than light, I can't conjure a couple of tropical fish out of thin air.

He did allow my "I turn into a box!" though, so I can't complain too much.

I typed "Illusionary Box" into Google Image Search and I keep getting pictures of this bullshit.
If anyone is interesting in reading up on the source material that we surely butchered, you can check out JS Morin's website right here. It actually sounds pretty cool. Any blurb that starts with "In the year 2254 gravity was officially declared to be magic" and goes on to describe the first interstellar space ship as "shaped like a hand giving the middle finger to science" is okay in my book. I'm probably going to have to check it out myself.

If JS Morin is reading this, then I am well and truly sorry for bastardizing your work.

If Jason is reading this (who is honestly probably the only person who is), then I'm sorry for being a goofus and screwing around and I hope you'll run us through a game again some time.  And hey, if you still have posting privileges on Rule of the Dice, throw up the rules for the world to see. Maybe next time I'll have half an idea of what I'm doing.

1 comment:

  1. I'll see if I can get some time to put a post together in the next few days. I will say that for not knowing the source material you guys did well and really didn't muck about too much.

    ReplyDelete

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