Thursday, August 9, 2018

#RPGaDay 2018 Day 9: How Has a Game Surprised You?

Gotta admit, Day 9 of #RPGaDay hit me for a loop:

"How Has a Game Surprised You?"

Let's be honest, I've gamed long enough that I have a general idea of what I'm getting into when playing a game.  So, outside of me discovering  that T.I.A.R.A.  (Toddler Interactive Adventure Resolution... Adventure!) that I ran for my kids was in fact, a stripped down version of a Savage Worlds when I first read those rules, most of the last two decades has been par for the course.

Of course, there was the post-high school realization.

Nobody interpreted Vampire: The Masquerade like I did.

It's 1993-94, I'm back from Basic Training and AIT for the Army Reserves, and have fallen in with the gaming group at the local community college.  With a 40-hour job as a dishwasher, I have some spending cash and one game I grab for the cool cover is Vampire: The Masquerade.

Now, I'm far from the classic angsty goth Vampire fan that was and still is attracted to the game.  Heck, even as teenager I empathized more with the adult Rabbit Angstrom of the Updike books than Holden Caulfield, but reading the setting of the main rulebook, I thought I understood the horror of actually being a monster, the psychological toll that must take place when one is unwillingly turned into one.   I was down with the solemn gravitas and whispers in the hallway of the machinations within the Camarilla. 

I honestly equated the first read-through to reading Sandman #6 and getting blow away by that.

The harsh reality?  I can't really say I have ever played in or observed a game that comes close to the psychological horror or true angst of what I read.

Outside of a few nice political games, most games (local, convention, or even at Origins) seem to turn into Pale-skinned murderhobos pretending to be superheroes.

And even in the cases where players are the classic stereotypes and you would expect they would at least go through with some of the motions to recognize the horror in the game, the storylines turned into something that makes Twilight seem like the greatest story of a generation.

At this point in my life, there's no appeal for a game like Vampire, although I might be interested in a nihilist-filled game of The Big Lebowski.

1 comment:

  1. You hit the nail on the head with White Wolf games in general: the games played don't seem to be able to replicate the emotional horror of what it is like to become a horror itself. Murder-hobo superheroics is an astute observation to how it appears to be played.
    Heck, when I was at Gen Con, back in 2009,and Geist was launching the White Wolf people (including the writer of the game) described running the game as basically murder-hobo superheroics. I still purchased Geist due to the horror themes of facing mortality and the finality of ceasing to exist. The written books are wonderful for creating a mood for me, yet I'll never play them because I don't think I could have a group that could enjoy playing such a thing without devolving into said hobo-ish tendencies.