Sunday, April 02, 2006

Small is power

Being socked up with my show, I've had little time to game. I miss my weekend game of Demon: The Fallen and my weekend Vampire Larp. I can still get in a little Spycraft 2.0 but otherwise, I got to be jonesin.

So, I did something, I swore I would never do again. I got into a chat based game.

You must understand. I had a real bad experience with chat games. And in truth, the main reason why i stay away, is that I am something of a hermit and NEED an excuse to leave the house every so often. Gaming and Acting are my main social outlet and without an excuse to go out and be around my friends, I fear that I withdraw further and further into my self. God knows I'm self absorbed enough. So, I like a nice social game.

This is not to say that a chat game can't be social. If all text-based pouncing and snuggling is anything to go by, These things can be very social. Whole communities can spring up in the digital world. And some of these communities, can be quite tightly knit. I hear stories on occasion of people in far flung corners of the world, banding together to help someone pay for horrifyingly huge medical expenses.

Good is loose in the world. It's just running fast and keeping low these days.

But like i said, I had a bad experience with chats. Now i'm not gonna name names. Although i sometimes do. All i can say is that i got really tired of power players trying to rope me into elaborate forms of character suicide and then beating the crap out of me when i said I wasn't keen on it. I also got tired of hearing storytellers crabbing about " Nobody is following up on the plot i've been dropping" Only to discover that the guy was only dropping this "Plot" at 4 o'clock in the morning (Relative server time)
Tip: things on a chat take about 3 days or so to filter out to everyone, and sometimes it won't happen even then. Don't be a whiny ass.

I don't even remember what the final straw was. I do remember telling a large number of the storytelling staff exactly what they could do with their game in nauseating detail. I'm not a big believer in burning a bridge while i'm still standing on it, but it seemed that the occasion called for it.

It just seemed like the idiot-to-player ratio was tipped too far in the bad direction.

So like I said, I had a bad experience.
But. I was jonesin...

So I tried one out.
And i liked it.

It's a good place. Been on it for a week and change now and have yet to run into someone who was a real jerk OOC. (Although, the IC jerks are a real piece of work...) And it's kind of nice to be able to play an undead scooter trash/ warrior-poet without having to leave the house, or indeed, put on pants.
In fact, i could probably write the definitive book on pantsless gaming...But i digress.

So there are a couple of things that i'm picking up on, that i'd like to pass onto you.

1) Small is powerful
A lot of people place a lot of stock in the success of a larp or chat by the size of it. Unfortunately, this kind of math doesn't really fly. If you have a game with 30 hardcore and dedicated players. You have a successful game. If you have a game with a hundred people and ten of them are fucking it up for the rest of your players, then you don't have a successful game. The more people you add to any game, the better the chance that you'll add some well-meaning fuck-head or some slick jack-ass who gets by your jack-ass radar.
This is not to say that you can't let your game GROW, but it's better to grow slow and WELL.

2) There will be a lot of acronyms for things:
There just will be. Some of them will be universal internet speak. Others will be more homegrown. You might consider taking notes.

3) You will meet a number of frustrated novelists on the path.
Some of them are more bitter about it than others. Some are more in your face about it than others. You have to make allowances for these people. and by "These people" I mean, guys like me.

4) You will at some point inevitably tell your biggest secret to the person who can most harm you with it.
Well okay, maybe that's just me. But expect to step on your dick at least once or twice.

5) Everybody is a beginner at some point.
People forget what that's like. Don't be those kinds of people. Those kinds of people are Assholes. Being an Asshole is not necessarily a bad thing. As long as you're the RIGHT kind of Asshole. The "right" kind of Asshole is an Asshole with Class. Assholes with Class don't fuck over newbies. and they never forget the people who fucked them over when they were newbies. This "fucking over" did not happen in the new game. It was a pleasant change.

6) Larps and Chats go together like chili and hot dogs.
At least now that the tabletop system and the larp system are closer together. It seems as if you could build a fairly cohesive game both online and off. I am going to look into it a little more closely.

The name of the Chat is Wanton Wicked

It has a chat for vampires set in New Orleans (Post Katrina)
It has a chat for Werewolves set in Denver
It has a chat for mages in Boston (There are a LOT of Mage players)
And there is even a cross game chat set in Seattle.

Getting a character sanctioned is a little more byzantine than i'd like but if you read the rules beforehand you should make it through okay.
It may not be your cup of tea, but i like it. and you might too.


At 1:43 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

.....Ah, I had wondered where you had gone. Umm. I can certainly understand about the online RPG thing! I believe the correct "Forum-definition" is "troll." (according to Wikipedia, surely the most accurate encyclopedia in history, a troll is someone who comes into an established community such as an online discussion forum, and posts inflammatory, rude or offensive messages designed to annoy and antagonize the existing members or disrupt the flow of discussion. And so you have it.) Chances are, one of these trolls will be a great friend of the almighty Moderator of the site.

.....I watched my poor wife work her little typing hands and imagination off at several WOD-influenced sites, including the infamous San Diego by Night site. And other than pick up a few offers for "cybering," (Wikipedia it...), none of her ideas ever made an iota of difference to the rotating littany of moderators of the site!

.....One of the major storylines of the site was that some crazy Malk (isn't it always?) was trying to destroy the Masquerade by leaving obvious vamp corpses and childer all around. My wife's contacts even had a garment in possession that had last been worn by the Malkie in question. My suggestion to her was to use her copious Animalism powers to keep the rats, bats and birds of the area alert for that scent.

.....Alas, it was destined for the pet troll of the month (a D of Cack!) to figure it all out, and not a single mention for the intelligent gangrel who enlisted multiple sources to nail down the profile of the perp. Said daughter then single-handedly mind*reamed the Prince, Primogen, and all allies of any sociable players, re-branding them all as unhelpful, bitchy copies of the D of Cack herself. And then the site administrators whined about the lack of traffic thereafter...

.....The chance of any chat-based game certainly relies on proper screening, and unfortunatly, someone in charge has to read and rule on ridiculous posts promptly. And I always considered the Central time zone to be pretty "central," but it seemed that most storyteller action took place after 2 AM. Some of us don't work night shift!

At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Acid Reign said...

.....And I do understand about local games going "poof!" My favorite Werewolf game is on hiatus, due to the ref working 6 days a week at an Alabama liquor store, and my long-time Dungeons n Dragons game I've played the same character in for twenty years has not run since January. I'm currently getting my gaming fix from a guy who's running a classic "Morrow Project" game. And I'm pretty lousy with modern army tactics... And I'm stuck with other players that LUVVVVVV! to waste ammo, and run off headlong into unknown situations without backup!

At 12:41 AM, Anonymous Exrandu said...

Welcome to WanWic. I haven't RPed with ya yet, but you seem way cool. I totally agree with 90% of what you just said. WanWic is an aberration of mostly competent, friendly players in a world of morons. I don't mean to sound elitist...just realistic.

At 9:42 PM, Blogger kinesys said...

Thank you Exrandu for your kind words. (Although, now i'm curious about the 10% you don't agree with.)
I am having a good time at WanWic and hope to sedn you folks some fresh meat.

And Let me simply say this to you about your wife's story. I felt like someone was walking across my grave when you told it.

Although DoC can be great characters as long as they aren't in the hands of players who are too precious to live. I've seen a few good ones, but usually when someone says to me i want to play a Malkie, a ravnos, or a DoC, that's strike one.

At 10:29 PM, Anonymous Thinksmeanactsnice said...

As the aforementioned wife, let me just say that I LOVE to game! I no longer do chat style gaming because, 1.) Ideas about dealing with story lines were not followed up on or acknowledged.

2.) Real storylines were few and far between and I don't want to write my own or run a game at this time. I want to play! *smiles*

3.) Too many people think that white wolf is about the players back stabbing each other instead of working together. I don't care if that is or is not the way white wolf sees vamps, the only strength a coeterie has IMO is to work together. You are always going to be accused of doing stuff by NPC's greater than any one of you after all.

4.) Those types of players tend to carry said back stabbing outside of the game and destroy sites then make their own sites hoping to recruit from the players they just screwed over in their capricious and greedy maneuvering.

5.) Oh, wait, they are nice "deep down" or "in person?" Oh well that's different if you are dealing with them in person I guess. Well, I'm not willing to "dig deep down." It's not my job to find thier inner "angel." I would rather see them drown in their own deceptions.

Personally, I want them to play and play hard but NOT screw over the other player characters. I have had characters literally tortured into hell and been fine with it because behind the scenes I knew what was going on. It's not that I can't play and handle hard core stuff.

It's just that I don't suffer little back stabbing twits lightly, particularly when they tear apart a site that I was managing to enjoy a great deal. To them I will simply say, "You'll get yours eventually, and I hope I'm there." *Smiles sweetly and growls with hungry anticipation.*



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