some gaming group observations

Rabid followers of this blog (if they exist) will notice that I haven’t delivered on my prediction of more BoL stuff following last Sunday’s game.  It’s totally my fault, but in my defense we ended up not playing — illness, taxes and real-life conflicts claimed three of my players, so we’re forced to re-schedule for sometime in April.  Bummer…  I had a nice chat with BB over dinner last week, we had a chance to geek out and talk about games and stuff.  We got to discussing the dynamic of our group, which yielded some interesting nuggets.

  • The other folks in our group, who range from mid-30s to mid-60s, are relative neophytes to any kind of RPG, be it analog or digital.  This has impacted the way they approach the game in many ways, but one of the most noticeable is their attitude towards treasure and experience in D&D/LL/WB.  Their search for in-game rewards have little to do with meta-game concerns, but are outgrowths of their characters’ needs and circumstances.  I think this is because, not having read the rulebooks, they don’t really know any better.  They  haven’t been seduced by the desire for high-level powers or the uber-powerful magic items they read about in the DMG.  Not once with my current players have I been asked about leveling up, a stark contrast to previous groups of veteran tabletop and video gamers.
  • These players seem to prefer Star Wars d6 and BoL as systems, perhaps due to the need for fewer types of dice and fewer types of chance operations.  I’ve learned that I can’t underestimate the ability of someone to mistake a d12 for d20, or a d8 for d10.  Longtime D&D players (such as BB and I) could probably identify polyhedra in our sleep and when the DM says “you hit, roll damage” all the steps are ingrained — the die type, add strength bonus and other damage modifiers.  I know it’s tantamount to OSR heresy to praise “unified die mechanics,” but there’s something to be said for not having to remind a player for the fiftieth time which die to use for what…
  • BB and I excluded, our group is also relatively unfamiliar with fantasy & science fiction literature, especially the older, pulpier fare that I find so inspirational.  This has been a mixed blessing.  On one hand, I can freely borrow bits and pieces from books I read without having a player say “hey, isn’t that from [insert story]?”  However, it can also present an extra level of challenge when running a genre-specific (i.e. sword & sorcery or sword & planet) gameif the players aren’t familiar with the general atmosphere and tropes of said genre.

I love my group, with its quirks and dynamics. I just wish we had more time to play…

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