Saturday, March 14, 2009

Reset Blues

As of this writing, The Camarilla is going through a reset in their global chronicle.
I am watching this horrible thing play out and as a veteran of a multi-year campus vampire game, which has gone through multiple resets and i'm going to go on record.

Resets almost never EVER fix the problems they are meant to fix.

The main reason why, is that it is somewhat rare in the first place to truly understand the EXACT reasons why you might be resetting the Larp. A lot of that comes out of a feeling that a particular scene is played out. Sometime it comes from players and sometimes from GM's. But you know, if you feel like you've painted yourself into a corner. It's up to you to fix that for yourself. Causing a reset because you're bored is like setting the house on fire, so you can toast marshmallows.

Sometimes, you might reset a game because of power creep. This is actually a valid concern and sometimes is a good reason for a reset. If you've got a game where low powered newbies can't actually hit any of the antagonists because they are so beefy, in order to slow down the power players. Then, a problem truly does exist. But in truth, Power creep can be handled in a number of ways. Capping EXP for the higher powered players is one way. Another way might be to create a hard limit on experience so that once a PC becomes a certain power level, he or she becomes an NPC. Face it, once you've garnered a huge wodge of experience to the point where nothing and no one is a challenge, you need to fade into the background. You certainly need to stay out of plots made for much younger players.

Sometimes, you call for a reset in order to fix broken rules. Naturally, this is a source for much squeaking and beeping from every single player who perceives that the rule change works against him. But that's not the worst part. The worst part is that rule-sets are like jenga blocks. There is literally no way to tell how a change in a single rule is going to affect the myriad little rules hanging off of it. It's a recipe for disaster. I should know. A re-write of Masquerade celerity nearly cost me my sanity and all the color in my hair.

Sometimes, you go for a reset, because you're going from one game system to another. Like Masquerade to Requiem. An announcement that Gehenna is really coming this time, was like unto a death knell for the game i was running. fully 40% of my players just stopped turning up. Charitably, I'll say it was because the characters were so loved that the players didn't want to see them hurt or slain. Personally, i found it all a bit chicken-shit. But that's the way it shook out.

In any case, Resets cause all sorts of stress. Rarely fix the problem. and frankly aggravate the people who are putting time and effort into building the game world.
Calling for a reset, when other people are still playing in and building in that world is a bit like pissing all over their parade.

Me. Well. I've written a book based on a character and a second book is nearly finished. These are projects that i've done because i was having fun and i wanted to share some of that fun with other players who might enjoy it. Not to mention the work that i've done making the local Requiem game as wire tight as i could. Proponents of the hard reset want to trash my work without so much as a by your leave. Thankfully, the Camarilla is only doing a soft reset. So i get to keep playing
The Pinkster. But there are a lot of Hard reset proponents out there among the old guard of players.

Frankly, it's times like these when the drama of these situations is enough to drive me into the hinterlands.