Taking the Reins
A while back, while playtesting Magicians of England, I had a strange experience. I got so tied up in the goals and desires of my character, that I forgot I was playing a game.
At the time I chided myself for getting to caught up in the playtest, but now I'm starting to think that I was supposed to feel that energy.
That's not a feeling that I've encountered many times in my role-playing experience. The closest that I commonly get is probably when I'm GM-ing a well set scene that is rolling powerfully towards its finale (my players can probably tell when this happens because I usually stand up and start waving my hands around in the air).
It's been a long, long time since this happened while playing a game however, and the feeling is much stronger. As GM, I have to maintain a certain distance from the fiction. I have many factors to balance, and I can't become attached to one character. When you're a player, however, you don't have these commitments between you and the game.
When I was in the moment, the game mechanics disappeared. They were still there, but I wasn't thinking about them. I was working through them intuitively. I took the reins.
That's what I want from my game: a thoroughbred machine that can take me where I want to go.
That didn't happen for me during the ST playtest (though I had a blast), but I can see that the potential is there. I just need to become more comfortable with the process that ST uses to generate its results. That's probably why I keep mumbling about finding ST "challenging", without being able to say much more. It was challenging because there was something to achieve and some effort required to achieve it.
Playing ST was the polar opposite of most of my "traditional" gaming experiences. They've been an experience of looking longingly over my character sheet fully aware that I've got a chest chock full of tools, none of which will help me get what I want out of the game.
Labels: magicians of england