Yesterday Mr. Geek Girl What Rules and I ran the Story Games Lounge at Emerald City Game Fest yesterday. ECGF is a free gaming event in the Seattle area. They usually get somewhere between 100-200 people. Yesterday’s Game Fest was at the Northgate Community Center.
I spread out the indy games we brought with us and hung out until I could sucker some folks in to playing some games. I got four guys to jump in for a game of “In a Wicked Age“, with a fifth joining partway through. Since one of the players looked to be under the legal age of consent, and there were other children about, I informed them we would not be using the “Blood and Sex” oracle. So we used the War oracle. I’ve never had a bad game of IAWA, and this was no exception. Even Mason, who’d never played it before, got into the spirit of it, as did Denisson (Sorry if I’m spelling it wrong). Andy, Dave, Jackson and I had all played it before, but it was the first time I’d ever tried running it.
What you do in IAWA is that you extrapolate characters from the oracles you draw. We began with the deserted campsite of a travelling army recently abandoned, the ghost of a tyrant king strangled by his daughter, a demon of atrocity bound for a thousand years who senses a minute loosening of its bonds, and a speaker of ancestors with messages from the dead. Our list included the army, the demon, the speaker, the ghost, his daughter, the ghosts of the ancestors, and probably a few others I can’t remember right now.
Andy chose to play a wounded soldier abandoned by his army because he could not keep up, looking for a place to hide. Jackson played the dead king, Andy his daughter, Mason the speaker of the ancestors, and I played everyone else until Dennisson joined us and took over the demon. And in spite of my insistence on not using “Blood and Sex,” Andy’s character still wound up raped by the demon.
I had a few moments of uncertainty with the dice mechanics. The problem with IAWA is that the text explaining the dice mechanics is less than clear, and the examples don’t help as much as I think they’re supposed to. It’s a viral game, really. Most people who play IAWA learn it from someone else who has already played it, usually with Vincent or someone he’s played it with. It isn’t real intuitive at least to me. But we muddled through and had one hell of a good time with it. Being as I have played it with folks who know the dice mechanic, I think I need to sit down and really study the text, maybe take some notes on it. I don’t think it’s unlearnable from point zero, just that it isn’t written in a way that jives with my brain. That said, the game itself is amazingly fun and the oracles are incredibly evocative.
After the break, I ran the Keep again for Kingston, Mike, John Bradley and Denisson. For the first time no one took the Blacksmith’s son. We added my friend Kate when she showed up about midway through the slot. The original four were the only ones left in the Keep and created a plan for destroying the Keep as it was breached and fleeing, which involved falling into the midden pile and setting the Keep on fire on their way out. Everyone had a hand in destroying the big bad guy, and I hope got their moments of glory.
I think this game highlighted, for me, a problem with my gm-ing style. I’m too nice. I have a tendency to let players get away with stuff that maybe I shouldn’t, such as re-writing what they did before they left the Keep. I finally got to the point where I’d leave it up to a die roll, even yes, odd no. And really, maybe I shouldn’t have. I also have a tendency to fudge die rolls when I’m rolling too well. Mostly this is because I want them to have a good time and to succeed. After the Keep and after the LARP last weekend, I realize that I could stand to be a little more ruthless as a GM. Particularly after last week’s LARP at Ambercon.
I did have a fantastic time running and meeting folks. I also made some new friends and got some Transporter 3 swag. For those of you who may not know, any movie in which Jason Statham removes the majority of his clothing is a good movie.
So, for those of you who I promised I would have the info on next week’s Meet-up for, here it is:
Saturday, November 22 at 11am the Wayward Coffee House on Greenwood. Bronwyn who owns and runs it is made of pure awesome, and even if you can’t make the Meet-up, you should stop in and say “Hi!” at some time.
I’m going to close now and watch the awful mummy movie on Sci Fi right now. I’m feeling a bit poorly, and I think horror movies and soup on the couch are just what the doctor ordered. Oooh, someone just got beat up by gauze! Yay, bad movies!!!