magicaddict: (B&W 2)
[personal profile] magicaddict
...who didn't particularly enjoy last week's game?

Disclaimer: The game was fine - good premise, good selection of monsters, simple and direct narrative. I'm not commenting on the game design or OOC management.

But I still didn't particularly enjoy myself.

Thyrian is a nothing character. On games, he's no more substantial than Juilin was. The only challenge he represents to me is remembering his spell vocals and not cheating (failing to remember my stats correctly). Given that I get this wrong on a number of occasions (as I did last week, spending one more mana than I needed to on every spell I cast), it leaves me feeling less of a person as a result of playing him. Possibly having Eirlys present would provide an outside stimulus that is otherwise lacking, but all of the interactions he had felt staid, forced, and pretty much unnecessary. Had I handed the stats sheet to someone else and gone home, little or nothing would have changed. I don't care that he's effective - anyone with those stats would be, so the statement means nothing.

The party's combination of castings was so world-bendingly powerful with respect to the game that I never felt remotely in danger (not since Nimbus before the rules changes have I felt so invulnerable). With the exception of getting paralysed repeatedly (perfectly reasonable - I was playing a mage - but then made me invulnerable to the rest of the encounter as it is Bad Form to hit paralysed characters), nothing had a great deal of effect. I took, at most, three points of damage in a single hit, and that was to my chest, so I barely had to react, and I never dropped below half life or half wounds on any location. No fear. No danger. No risk. Unstoppable force meets target rich environment - only one possible outcome. I have fun by getting trounced, coping with adversity, succeeding in a pinch. This wasn't. This was a methodical and relentless destruction of a game's encounters by a party that wouldn't take no for an answer. I couldn't engage with it. Even IC lamenting on the abhorrence of the situation was met with a cheery IC response of "This is fun!", widely echoed.

There was a very unpleasant incident approaching the final fight in which the party become so spread out due to varying OOC ability to keep up that one section had to be paused while the the other was able to continue. As one of those pushing to move forward quickly on this occasion was one who has in the past insisted that the game stops so they can catch their breath and remain part of the game, this was irritating to me. In a society that has a culture of inclusionism OOC, using IC reasoning to justify the OOC exclusion of those who did not have the required level of fitness to keep up with them (which really was the reason for the group being strung out), also irritated me. More than a little. Then it changed, and the force so unflinchingly determined to press on at all costs suddenly insisted on not going forward any further until those behind had been notified of what was going on. What changed?

This isn't out of the ordinary - this is a variant of what I come away from most games (particularly my own) thinking. What if? If only? Why did they do that? How was this acceptable? How was that gotten away with? What were they thinking? Are they mad?

I must be missing something. If I walk away from a game no less despondent than normal when everyone else is busy singing its praises, I get the feeling it's very much on me. This is why this is here, and not emailed to the committee, or posted on the boards.

*Looks at calendar.*

Oh good - my game this Sunday.

Date: 2015-07-23 08:11 pm (UTC)
xanthipe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xanthipe
Even though it's not something under my control, I'm still sorry that you didn't enjoy Sunday's game. Likewise, sorry about the lack of character interaction; Mistral has gone very stoic again, and Thyrian didn't quite manage to hit any nerves on this occasion.

I have to admit, I can't actually remember what happened in the final charge once I got off the hill... I know we had at least one paralysed person because Warren just told me that was why Idaho wasn't at the front, but that's all.

Do get what you mean about the damage being fairly low, depending on who it hit, but I presume the idea was meant to be wearing out through sheer numbers rather than big damage (with the exception of the occasional Unholy 5 ghouls which hurt Mistral a reasonable amount). Plus the wearing down through the Diseases and the use of odder castings like the Permanent Enervate that went out. Could have been upped a bit, but as Steve said the only thing keeping most people going was that selection of buffs and it would have been very easy to tip the other way entirely.

Dunno. I guess I enjoyed it because for once I came off a game without being horribly stressed OOC, which is something that hasn't happened in a long time as a player. I could try and help you work out what particular things are bothering you, if you think it might help?

Date: 2015-07-27 06:47 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I wholeheartedly get what you're saying - there was no moral conflict, no grey areas, no conflicting decisions and, really, no stat challenge.

But I loved it. I loved it, because much of the time that I play Bregan I'm desperately trying to stay alive with a stat build tailored to one thing and one thing only, and the chance to cut loose with that stat build is the best. I enjoyed it because it was relaxing and I got to blow off some of the immense amount of steam I'm carrying around - one of the core reasons I lrp and one that has been eroded to almost non existence in recent years. The difficulties of life and the world resolved down into a really easy Good vs Evil, Us vs Them. And if it was one sided in that fight, it was because we were well briefed on what was coming and brought the right characters. A tribute to the power of information.

I absolutely agree that the same thing with a more complex character than Bregan would have generated less enjoyment.

I am left curious - did you enjoy the Praesent And Correct 36 hour? Because it had all the same issues for me as you're describing for this, in my perception, yet I perceived you to enjoy it. Which leaves me wondering what the difference was, if that was so?

Part 1

Date: 2015-07-29 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
I appear to have been saying the wrong things, then. I was very pleased with the lack of moral conflict, delighted that there weren't any grey areas and relieved that there were no conflicting decisions. The presence of these things regularly ruins my fun - they're not a challenge, they're a nightmare to be endured under the disdainful and disapproving eye of those around me, so I can hopefully do something I can enjoy later.

As I said, I had no problems with the game. The game was fine. To me, it was (as I increasingly find) the players who caused me the problems. It was me who created a largely two-dimensional character purely to be effective stats-wise, rather than concentrating harder on the personal aspects of the character and giving myself a more rounded experience. It was the players who chose to have their characters string out the party behind a mask of IC justification, despite knowing the OOC consequences and deciding not to bother with them because they can get away with it IC. It was the players who chose to have their characters ignore the plight of the souls formerly inhabiting the bodies they were smiting, and describe it IC as fun. The players (in which I am most definitely included) made it less fun for me.

I saw little moral quandary during Praesent and Incorrect (though I am not sure if this is rose-tinted memory on my part), so having disagreed with your perception of my perception of the last game, I agree with your perception of this one. The two areas I spotted were the two most unpleasant ones of the weekend for me:
The Lord treating his subjects poorly as introductory flavour was unpleasant, as I was expected to come up with a standpoint that I fully expected more than half the characters present to disagree with (some because they genuinely didn't agree, others on principle, others for a laugh etc).
Ketch's behaviour was easily my most unfavourite part of the mission, because it left me with nowhere to go - physically stopping him wasn't an option (that would have been brutality towards a Kingdom citizen/oppression of religious freedom/disagreeing with a character played by Dave/others), he wouldn't listen to reason as he was satisfied in his own belief, and I perceived no agreement with my low opinion among the other characters, so felt that any attempts to do anything would be met with more than 50% resistance once again.
The rest of the weekend, by contrast, appeared to me as a puzzle that everyone was largely trying to solve, and on which they were willing to work together to achieve as successful a conclusion as possible. We puzzled it out together, moved through the plot and were successful in the resolution. I didn't make that many bad decisions over the weekend, as it was hard to argue that there wasn't a fairly obvious right answer. As long as we picked that one, it was pretty much going to flow as it should, both IC and OOC. I did enjoy it - I consider it one of Gerrard's better performances, and (entirely independent of him) the level of cohesion within the party was excellent. It felt as though it was taken seriously IC, with consideration for the potential IC consequences and realistic responses to them. It is probably the last time I properly had fun on a game.

Part 2

Date: 2015-07-29 12:09 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
It is what I see as the absence of this - what I see as a lack of consideration of IC (or worse, OOC) consequences, lack of thinking about the IC (or worse, OOC) implications of what is being said or done - that I find removes my fun. Actions are taken that shouldn't be gotten away with (legally/morally/guild-based restrictionally), but are because 'they're characters' or 'it's IC', or 'it's a laugh' or 'oh, it's not important, stop worrying' or 'dubious yet sufficiently murky justification no. 312', and it irritates me, as they should be pulled up for it but no GM is going to, because that's not fun for the players in question (and may indeed be fun for other GMs - I don't know). A case in point would be the Pirate Island 24hr, in which 'light-hearted' was used as justification to ignore a laundry list of deadly serious IC risks to the wider populace (I don't think the GMs effectively considered the implications of their plot in this regard) and to each other, and what I perceived as the lack of consideration of these by pretty much everyone else present (or considering them and subsequently going 'meh, I'm having a laugh instead') consequently represented the least fun I have ever had at a LARP.

They'll go on getting away with it, because this represents the majority view. There are more of them than there are of me, so cramping their fun so I can have mine is unfair on the majority. As mentioned, I am acutely aware that the person who has to deal with this, and possibly change to accommodate it, is me, and my opinions, rather than anyone else and theirs.

Re: Part 2

Date: 2015-07-30 11:39 am (UTC)
xanthipe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xanthipe
Something to bring up at the GMing forum, perhaps? I know it's a way off, but if we can encourage people to start enforcing IC consequences as GMs during games as well as between them it might help sort this sort of thing out again. I know that there's been a few games recently where the NPCs have effectively felt hobbled when dealing with player obnoxiousness, and it is a persistent problem between players as well.

I admit I am resisting asking some pretty pointed questions right now though, but only because I know you'd be willing to have taken the IC consequences if I'd had the balls as a player to hand them out.

Re: Part 2

Date: 2015-07-30 12:07 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile]
Had she left him dead on the hillside with a couple of stab wounds in his neck, I'd probably have thanked you.

Re: Part 2

Date: 2015-07-30 01:11 pm (UTC)
xanthipe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xanthipe
...the sad part is I can't actually work out which combination of characters you're referring to.

Re: Part 2

Date: 2015-07-30 01:10 pm (UTC)
xanthipe: (Default)
From: [personal profile] xanthipe
Thinking about this some more, at least some of it is because, on the whole, people want the game to continue, ideally at least vaguely in the direction that the GM wants. As a consequence, consequences aren't what they should be, and thus it's okay to behave in particular ways. Likewise, getting IC consequences for actions is very difficult and GM dependent (never mind the CRs), so there's no enforcement there either.

If you can't make the next forum when I arrange it, prod me about this? It's worth discussing properly.


magicaddict: (Default)
Doug Millington-Smith

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