Monday 13 August 2018

#RPGaDay2018: Day 13 - Describe how your play has evolved

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When I first saw this question, my firstthought was "my play hasn't changed that much" - the first games I played in were immersive, ongoing campaigns where I was complimented for my commitment to the world and the layers I brought to the character. I love acting and storytelling, but am not very good at taking on a character written by someone else or at editing a story by myself, so roleplay suits me.

There have been changes: uni was the peak of my roleplay experience in terms of number of games: as well as long term campaigns, I played in one-off games and short campaigns, and had the time, energy and opportunity to be playing in multiple sessions a week. It was amazing and I miss it. These days, I play weekly most of the time, alternating between 2 groups each alternating between a range of long term campaigns. It's pretty good, but inevitably sessions are cancelled from time to time as real life gets in the way, and when you're effectively playing that game fortnightly, it can feel a little sad (don't get me wrong: the biggest reason I'm not playing more frequently across a week is that circus is going really well and I love that. I guess I wish I and my gaming buddies had longer weekends).

Other changes have been the amount of notes I take - I used to take very few, able to rely on my memory with pretty good accuracy. As I've got older (and the fibro fog more persistent) this hasn't been possible, and I've needed to take notes. I used to be in awe of the players who could detailed notes while still fully engaged in the game: now I am that player: that's where most of the detail for my game write-ups posted here comes from. Blogging the games is new too, and something I really enjoy (even if it takes me a while to get started).

The biggest way my play has evolved is in the type of characters I play. While I've always played occasionally outside it, especially when I was at uni I settled into a comfortable habit of playing kind characters, often healers, who wear their innocence like a kind of mental shield and are generally insatiably curious. Kella of the Final Fantasy-inspired game, Kirri from the uni LARP ('Aberddu Adventures'), Plays from Werewolf, Svetlana from Pathfinder and most recently Ragna from Mage are key examples of this archetype. Compassion over conviction, to look at it from an Exalted point of view (although Kella, at least, had very strong conviction). They're young - generally late-teens, certainly not more than human-equivalent early 20's - they're kind, they often have a little magic and a slight trickster side them (Plays was technically a Theurge, but we decided it must have been a very thin crescent to explain her Ragabash tendencies), but their biggest feature is that child-like nature. They can all, with varying degrees of success, be mature and serious, but they at least come across as very innocent. It's a true part of their nature, but for Kella and Svetlana in particular it is more of a shield than the extent of them, and Ragna's learning to apply the same. For Plays and Kirri, they didn't have as strong a mature side and were dominated by their innocence.

I deliberately moved away from this with Chrissie, as mentioned the other day on "how gaming has changed you", and worked to play someone firmer, someone who doesn't pry (however innocently) into the lives of others; someone who's a clear leader. That flowed into Taji - she regained a lot of the curiosity (what can I say? I enjoy playing curious characters. It's a good way to explore the game world), but lost some of the kindness (I'm hoping to start building it into her; the game's at a point where I think she has enough people around her who matter enough to her who are kind and compassionate to justify it), and is definitely not innocent (well, until it comes to love and sex, at least). I'm enjoying playing these characters, and have found I enjoy playing that maturity more frequently more than I expected. It's given me more confidence to explore different character traits, though I also draw from experience of characters that didn't work so well, or characters that I haven't enjoyed playing alongside: I will always, now, try to play a character who can be a good team player (though not necessarily making that their defining feature, anymore), but I'm also quite happy to take the lead. I enjoy mothering other characters - I can see this being my next progression!

What about you? Don't forget to add a link to your response below.