Sunday, June 18, 2006

No way out!

No way out

It was a happy accident. During the play of Clayton's fantastic Aeon Adventure game, We had a chased an ancient japanese artifact across the world and aboard a japanese submarine where we tangled with the Admiral and his ninjas in order to recover the Wakizashi No Kame. Which incidentally got run through my character up to the hilt. I remembered a bit of game mechanic that would have saved my bacon 1 action round to late to make a difference.

But i digress, The admiral and his ninjas dispatched, our team was looking to recover the sword and blaze for safer ground. The scuttling charges had gone off and the ship was sinking. I was bleeding out and in shock and most of my teammates were dinged and battered as well.

There was only one problem. The sword would not let anyone pick it up. It damaged anyone who tried. implements and gloves were no avail. Having noticed earlier that the Admiral had decorations on his uniform that indicated he was of imperial blood, i coughed out that it could only be wielded by someone with Imperial blood and that we should leave it behind. At least that way we'd deny it to the Brotherhood of the Black Lotus and stop their plans.

But, Camille, who was playing my twin sister wouldn't hear of it. Being british both of us had been brought up with the whole idea of, "Well. We've come all this way..."
And while the water rose she tried every trick in the book to figure out a way to take the sword with us.

Just then a bolt of inspiration struck her. She had been wondering aloud about the Reporter (Played by Gina) who Uncle Roger had asked along for the original expedition before his untimely murder. It had seemed out of character for him to do so. In a flash, she realized why. Somehow, Uncle Roger had figured out that the intrepid reporter Tara Tucker was in fact distantly related to the imperial line.

We pooled our inspiration and did a massive dramatic edit. Tara picked up the sword which tasted her blood and then purred, "We are your servant Empress."

Then we got aboard our seaplane and hauled balls out of there.

Clayton admitted to us later that had had no actual way for us to recover the sword but that he certainly didn't mind the brilliant solution Camille had come up with. Neither did we. It was damn cool and major props to her for coming up with it.

Some days later i had a talk with Chris Stopper about this very game while we were working in the lab. He mentioned to me that it reminded him of something he and "Evil" Joe Lamothe had talked about regarding PC's.

He said. "Once players get to a certain level, you really don't have to leave them an out. All you have to do is make the scenario tight and close up the obvious holes in the plot. Most of the time, the players will come up with a better way to resolve it."

This is a cool idea and i like it a lot. It takes a certain amount of GM confidence to relax and allow things to unfold in their own way and at their own pace. a single path to the end is the sign of an insecure GM.

The more i think about it. The more i realize that being a GM is a lot like being a regulator in an Improv group. A regulator is the guy that comes on and sets up the game and moves it along. He slows it down when the laughs are coming hard and he speeds it up when the laughs aren't there. He's the one who looks for the best laugh to come out of the crowd and lets the players get off strong. He's also the guy who knows when a game is not working and moves on to the next thing. He kind of controls the action without controlling the stage. If you get what i mean.

Sometimes players go down roads they think they need to go down, and persist even though it's obvious to everyone at the table that it's boring as hell. Ever had a player stop the game cold with pointless library research? Ever see a player slow a game session to a crawl haggling over weapons? I've seen both.

And i now know the answer to all such problems.


Because everything is better with Ninjas!
Sono Finito


At 3:56 AM, Blogger trollsmyth said...

Yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!

I've been gaming this way for years, and it works great. It helps if you have a good, proactive bunch of players who are hooked into your campaign setting. But I've given up even trying to figure out how the players will succeed. It feels like being lazy, but damned if they don't do all of that "for me".

- Brian

At 1:44 AM, Anonymous Everett said...

In the final analysis, the PCs are the main protaganists of the story. It's about them, not the author/ST.


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