A couple months ago, I joined an ongoing role-playing campaign. We met once in August, then just had our first meeting since a Sunday or two ago. It’s set in a world the GM devised, running with a slightly modified version of the Savage Worlds rules, plus what seem like magic systems of his own devising.
I feel a little like I’m seeing how the other half lives — the half that actually plays role-playing games on a periodic basis, rather than just writing about them and thinking wistfully in between game days and conventions. Getting it all to work is even rougher than I remember. Remember I said I first played with the group in August? We didn’t get together again until mid-November.
In the intervening time, everything about the game fell out of my head. I spent that August session mostly getting my bearings. There were a lot of proper nouns flung around the table: player characters, non-player characters, places, things, deities and so on. All that fell out of my head after the session ended. So I took diligent notes in the second session. Writing things down helps me remember them without even having to check the paper. I think I’ve got it all straight now.
As one of those unfortunate souls who’s done far more talking and thinking about role-playing games than I have playing, it’s disconcerting to see how other people play or run a game. Because it never matches up with one’s imaginings. Right now I’m on the side of biting my tongue because I don’t know enough about the group dynamics to understand what’s open to commentary or discussion.
Tomorrow’s the next session. The characters found themselves in a hard spot, as often happens. The form of a decision point looms up ahead. I have a very good idea of who’s going to fall on either side of the decision, assuming I understand everyone’s backgrounds correctly. We’ll see how it plays out.