Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Tales of MaricopaCon 2013 V: My Work is Done Here.

Yes, I will get around to discussing the second Edge of the Empire game, The Edge of Despayre, but first, I'd like to tell a story about Megan.  I never did learn her last name, and frankly, I'm sorry I didn't.

I don't know Megan's exact age, but I figure her to be in her teens.  She came with her family for both days of the convention.  She played in two of my games.  Apparently, her only previous experience with RPGs was playing some iteration of Dungeons and Dragons.  She signed up to play both the Call of Cthulhu and Delta Green games.

She came into the Saturday Afternoon game with a very D&D mindset.  She's young, and hadn't played anything else.  I explained that while there are some surface similarities between D&D and Call of Cthulhu (they both use dice, don't they?), that Call of Cthulhu is a horror game, with an emphasis on investigation, and that the likely endgame of it includes some probability of character madness and/or death.

She struggled for about half the session before she began to see the differences between the two games, and really began to understand the nuances of BRP.  Unfortunately, I wound up running her through a Call of Cthulhu game (Danger Roadwork Ahead), which ended in a Total Party Kill.

I thought, great, here I am, undoubtedly the most horrible monster of a GM there's ever been.  I'm witnessing this sweet young lady trying to break out of her D&D pupal stage, and I brutally murdered her character in the endgame.  Not only will she never play Call of Cthulhu again, but she'll likely give up gaming, and take up knitting as a hobby or something equally dull AND IT WILL BE MY FAULT!

To my surprise, one hour and forty-five minutes later, she was back at the table to play Delta Green.  Who would have expected it?  By this time, she understood the system, understood the general feel of Call of Cthulhu, and really just turned loose and had fun.  Fortunately, her character survived the second scenario, and the group had a good time.

What was genuinely fun was talking to her again on Sunday morning, as I was preparing to run the Better Angels game.  She came up to me and said (and I can only paraphrase at this point) that yesterday was the most fun she'd ever had playing RPGs, and that she learned that she really enjoyed games with more of an investigative tone, where you were interviewing NPCs, searching for clues, etc., and wanted to know of some other games like it.  I took the time to point out that while many Call of Cthulhu scenarios are like this, that there are other systems that are also built around it.  I particularly highlighted the Gumshoe system as another alternative, but expressed that there were others if one took the time to look for it.

I hadn't killed her in her larval stage at other, and I'd converted somebody from d20 to BRP and others.  It felt really good to know I'd helped her learn about another game, and that she really enjoyed it.  It was the best compliment I've ever received as a GM.  It gave me a real sense, however small, of accomplishment.

If I take nothing else away from MaricopaCon, I'll have this moment.  Thanks, Megan.

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