Tuesday 2 August 2016

#RPGaDay2016 - Day Two: Best game session since Aug 2015

Yesterday's question really lulls you into a false sense of security, huh? This is hard. I can think of some phenomenal games I've been in, but I think they all happened earlier than last August... That's not to say I haven't had some great games this year, but none of them have given me the emotional wrenching that tends to make a game particularly stand out for me.

The four games I've played this year have been Pathfinder (Interlude), Deadlands, Exalted and a homebrew sci-fi one-off

Pathfinder (Interlude) is the story with Jvala, and I've never managed to inhabit her skin (nor she mine) the way I do with Svetlana, so, while the stories have been good, I've not had that connection I need to have a moment that will stick (although, there was that one scene in the maze when we all started hallucinating and Jvala went back to that place she accidentally burnt down in her backstory - where she got Flash from - only this time she saw the devastation she left in her wake. Only, I think that happened earlier than last August. That's one problem with long-running games: the episodes merge!)

Deadlands is only a few sessions in. There's been moments that have struck me - and you can really see Husbit's improvement in GM'ing, which is exciting - but we aren't far enough in.

I loved Rowan's cyber-doggie game at New Year, but for me a game like that - that wasn't about character development - isn't the kind of game that can be my best session.

So that leaves Exalted. A lot has happened since that opening session that's the only one I've written up so far (so much heartbreak to bear through!). Kito and Taji are now 19, and a new player joined us in the last session - and seems a good fit.

One of the things I'm proudest of in this is the way my portrayal of Taji has matured as the character has aged - I think this owes a lot to the work the GM put into helping us build a very strong connection with our characters in those first few sessions. I thought I'd miss child-Taji, but I'm finding I really enjoy young-adult-Taji.

Oh, and there's been some real heartache and amazing moments in this game. It's just really hard to remember what's happened in this last year and what happened earlier. But there's one recent moment that was powerful and I think will stay with me for a while!

Kito and Taji were put into the Realm's army to keep them out of trouble... They've done well there and been given command of a small unit. Their first mission was to discover why an outlying farm had become uncontactable. They got there and found a series of rice paddies that reminded Taji of her childhood. Everyone seemed peaceful and productive, so the group approached the gates. She wanted to be honest their approach, and overruled her brother when he suggested sending in a stealth unit - a decision she regrets with all her heart. They approached and she asked to speak to the leader of the Hold. The guards refused, and opened fire with a magical ballista - and in response her unit wiped everyone out. Every single man, woman, and child, because not a one would surrender. It was a great character development moment, because she now holds those deaths as her responsibility - the great faith she had in herself (and the Conviction I'd recently spent xp on) wavered. Powerful friends have helped her deal with the guilt, but there's now doubt beneath the surface: she hides it well, but she's maybe finally discovered a need for caution in action; she's finally discovered she's not always right!

It's been fun to play someone with so much self-confidence and so little self-doubt, so it'll be interesting to see how she handles this.

Edit: huh. Looks like we've been playing Exalted less than a year, which is craziness! Feels much longer. But that means I could change this to some of the early sessions that were very, very powerful. We started, as you can read in the link above, in a very idyllic childhood that went very dark very quickly, and those first 3 sessions - the first where everything was lovely and happy, and the next two where we found out it wasn't and then had to deal with it - are probably actually the best sessions of the past 12 months.

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