Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Dice Are Strong With This One

I've been reading a web comic lately called "Darths And Droids", and I cannot sing its praises highly enough. 

Its premise is not a new one - it takes an existing story, in this case the entire "Star Wars" franchise (prequels and all) and presents it as though it were being played through by a group of D&D players, utilising screen caps of the films as their story panels.  There is commentary that accompanies each page in which the authors address some aspect or other of roleplaying.  They readily admit to being inspired by "DM of the Rings", which I have also read in its entirety and enjoyed super lots.

"Darths and Droids" is still in production, and they have only just wrapped up their take on the prequels a few weeks ago and are now getting into "A New Hope".  I must say, reading their interpretation of the prequel films (and their story does differ quite a bit from Lucas', though keeps some of the same basic structure) gave me a whole new appreciation for them.

I was never in the rageboner-hate camp of Star Wars fans when it came to the prequels, although I do acknowledge that they're... inferior to the original trilogy (especially "Phantom Menace").  Some things are best left as they are, but I guess if  you're going to make fat loads of cash for yourself, well I guess there are better ways to do it, but there are worse ways, too.

So yes, please do check out this clever web comic.  Come for the Star Wars, stay for their commentary on running, playing, and crafting RPG stories.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Still Around, Contemplating Games

I've been terribly lax in posting, which is probably not the best way to start off a blog.  But daily life, she calls to me, and she has demands that must be met.  Being a productive grown up is really cramping my nerd style!  Although we got in our regularly scheduled Deadlands game last week, saw some action in a Warhammer Fantasy (though not quite fantasy) game, and even got down and dirty with some Fiasco, I feel as though I'm not playing nearly as much as I should.

In short, I miss M'Colleague's D&D game which he has been running for the past year and counting.  What with our player group contending with babies, new houses, weddings, and life in general, we haven't played for a few weeks.  I miss my fabulous Bard, damn it!

Anyway, I just came across this breakdown of player types from a larger body of writing on roleplaying, which seems like something worth checking out.

The brief article linked above breaks down seven player archetypes (not characters, but the actual dice-rolling player) which should not be unfamiliar to anyone who has even dabbled in the RPG hobby, although the names for the various types may differ depending on to whom you're talking.  I personally know at least one of each of these, and I'm guessing you do as well:

The Power Gamer (Min-maxing FTW)
The Butt Kicker (Just wants to blow off steam by combatting the snot out of some NPCs)
The Tactician (That guy who just gets battle planning, sometimes eerily so)
The Specialist (Doesn't matter the system - can he play a Wuxia monk?  If so, all is well.)
The Method Actor (Role playing is improvisational theatre, a form of personal expression, dig?)
The Story Teller (Wants to feel as though she's taking part in a cinematic plot, XP isn't important)
The Casual Gamer (Has fun, but is really just along for the ride)

I am a combination Method Actor and Story Teller, which should be no surprise to anyone who knows me.  I have a background in theatre arts; heck, I even attended a theatre conservatory that masqueraded as an accredited university, and I've got the BFA to prove it!  Also, I have the 9-to-5 desk job which resulted from graduating just as the economy tanked, but at least I got to live in a fantastical art student dream world for a few years.

Improvisational scene crafting had been my weak spot in high school theatre.  Then I started roleplaying, and I really think I improved.  I became more confident in taking a character and/or situation, embracing it, and running with it.

Typically when I create a character, I'm not just stating out a character sheet.  I try to create fully realised people (elves, dwarves, cyborgs, whatever), down to the smallest detail possible.  I'm pretty proficient with accents, and will often utilise this ability at the game table to fully step into my character.  These characters become an extension of aspects of my personality, whether actual or desired - I even have a Promethean character who is the personification of my social awkwardness.  She's adorable, you'd love her.

When I'm playing, I prefer to embrace the method school of acting.  I'm not so scary into it as, say Daniel Day Lewis or Johnny Depp (to give present-day examples), but I try to maintain that character's mindset as much as possible.  I don't feel right playing in M'Colleague's D&D game without a glass of wine in my hand and my Bard's journal by my side.  The number of times I've come close to crying at Deadlands as the world is falling apart around my poor displaced Southern belle borders on the absurd.  But that's what feels right for me.  If I didn't get to that point, I'd feel as though I was doing something wrong.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get to know a character, even if I've planned out their whole history, but that's part of the appeal.  My Bard had been living in my head for months before our current campaign even existed and he hit the table ready to go; Ruby O'Flahertie's back story was easy enough to craft and get into, although it took me a few sessions to hit my stride with her; I'm still feeling out my characters in Unknown Armies and Warhammer.

What about you?   What player type (or types) are you, and why does that approach to playing appeal to you?