August 13, 2017

RPGaDay Question #13

Question #13: Describe a game experience that changed how you play.

Well, this is probably what I get for not reading the questions ahead of time, as I've largely answered this back at Question #7 with my recounting my Vampire: The Masquerade experience where my Mortal returned from the dead as a Crow-style revenant.  If you've not seen interviews with the late Brandon Lee (taken way before his time) in regards to the change of perspective that comes with entering the role of a person whose life is behind them, I suggest doing so.  It's heady stuff, and the line that Eric delivers of how the little things always matter is one that a great many people need to hear.

So yeah, that game experience, of playing a character that has lived and died, returned to set the wrong things right, did have a rather profound experience.  While not all my characters are of the type to focus on the little things, I think that the more heroic-minded characters that I play do tend to focus on those little things, those small acts of charity and kindness that in the grand scheme of things probably don't amount to much, but still serve to make the immediate world around my character just that little bit brighter.

A game experience of a similar theme was one of my earliest sessions playing West End Games's Star Wars d6 RPG during my sophomore year of college, where in I played a Minor Jedi whose name I honestly don't remember.  The campaign was set in the midst of the Galactic Civil War, with the players being a band of newly-recruited Rebels that were fighting against the local Imperial presence on some Outer Rim planet whose name I also don't recall.  It was probably the fourth or fifth session, and the Old Senatorial was trying to rally locals to our cause, but sadly wasn't have as much success as he'd hoped for.  Now it's worth mentioning that before embarking on this campaign, a lot of my prior RPG experience was of the D&D mold, namely the "enter dungeons in search of loot and things to squash."

So when the big moment came to launch a raid on the Imperial regent's manor to liberate members of the local aristocracy, needless to say we were in a bind; to quote Murphy's Laws of Combat Operations, we were largely out of everything except the enemy, and thus were neck deep in the combat zone.

For my Minor Jedi, I had taken the advice of the GM and a couple players experienced with the system to put some of my starting skill points into my two Force skills, Control and Sense, so that he'd have some degree of competency with the Force as well as access to the lightsaber combat power, as well as some points in the Lightsaber skill itself.  In terms of that campaign, none of the other characters knew my character was a Jedi, only that I had some unusual abilities and hunches, coming across more as an oddity than anything else.  Deciding that the time for hiding had ended, and that if he was about to become one with the Force he'd do so in a manner befitting a Jedi Knight, my character drew and ignited his lightsaber, successfully activating lightsaber combat and adopting a combat-ready stance.  This of course drew the attention of the stormtroopers in the immediate area, with a group of them opening fire on this new threat.  The dice were certainly in what my friend Linda would refer to as "movie hero mode" and I managed to parry the attack and then reflect the blaster bolt into the lead trooper, dropping him with a single hit.  The presence of a Jedi on the field, especially one that was standing against the Empire, served as rallying point, one that the Old Senatorial didn't hesitate to exploit, and turned out to be the turning point of the skirmish, allowing us to win the day and free the prisoners.  Not a bad day's work for a half-trained Jedi apprentice.

My big take away from that was that it was indeed possible to play characters that weren't simply obsessed with purely tangible rewards, and that playing a truly heroic character, one that stood up when necessary to do what was right, was itself a rewarding experience, one that truly made playing RPGs worth it.  The other take away was that playing a Jedi was actually a lot of fun, something that's stuck with me through years of Star Wars gaming, be it WEG, WotC's various d20 iterations, and now FFG's system.

Come back tomorrow to see what I've got to say about Question #14 on the list.

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