Thursday, July 24, 2014

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Play Test

So far in July, I have run three play test sessions of my work-in-progress fantasy campaign.  Things have gone pretty well.  As I am writing the world, I am making it system-less, but when I run the game we are playing Savage Worlds.  I am trying very hard not to think too hard about game mechanics, but when I do I try to relate game concepts into SW Edges, Hindrances, Powers, and Skills.  Most of the concepts should easily transfer to other systems without too much heavy lifting.  I will, of course, leave that up to anyone else who ever runs a session of it, should that ever occur.

Each session has had three players, but not always the same three.  I have been fortunate, so far, in that I have had players almost no gaming experience and those with decades of table play under their belt sitting down for these sessions.  It is good to get both perspectives, and something each player has done has provided useful feedback, even it the player did not know it at the time.

One of the best results of this endeavor, however, was to see my wife dust off her dice bag and play in two of the sessions.  Gaming was the first interest my wife and I had in common, so it was a bit of a downer when she decided to quit playing a few years ago.  Her primary reason for quitting stemmed from our central game group's heavy concentration on the political intrigue inherent in Legend of the Five Rings.  L5R (at least the first edition of it) is a great game, but what interested most of my players at the time was not my wife's cup of tea.

I was admittedly a bit surprised when she accepted my offer to play in the first playtest session.  I probably shouldn't have been.  She has been very indulgent of my hobby over the last twenty years even when she was not a player, and I presume that she was humoring me.  When she began pouring over the playtest characters and latched on to the goblin rogue, though, it looked like she had an actual interest in the character.

As it turned out, this character is one of her most memorable.  In a four hour playtest, she managed to instill  more personality into Reggie the goblin than any of her previous characters.  Reggie was an enthusiastic, if not altogether successful thief.  More importantly, my wife seemed to really enjoy playing her.  Enough that when I started working out the second play test session, she was eager to play again. In the second session, we learned that Reggie was deadly with a crossbow, loyal to her friends,  and whisper quiet when left to her own devices.  Of all her positive characteristics, however, my favorite is that Reggie might just be the right goblin for the job of getting my wife back to the table again.  

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