triskellian: (dice)
[personal profile] triskellian
Two weeks ago I went off to the frozen north (Derbyshire, still covered in serious snow drifts) for a week with a bunch of fine roleplaying friends. I played three great games, ran one which seemed to work fine, ate some great food, drank too much fizz, and had lots and lots of fun.

Don't Waste Your Life was [livejournal.com profile] smiorgan's post-high-school, partly Breakfast Club-inspired, version of Don't Rest Your Head. As far as I can tell, DRYH is about staying awake as long as possible while going slowly mad, because if you go to sleep Even Worse Things happen. We each had weird magic powers, selected by means of an envelope with a key word on it. Mine was goblins. It's amazing how many different kinds of problems can be solved with the application of a horde of evil, ravenous goblins.

Generation was [livejournal.com profile] ar_gemlad's tabletop Paranoia version of the current RPGSoc society game. Generation ships and Paranoia are a perfect match, both encouraging blind trust (or distrust) of The Computer, and both breeding weird and wonderful conspiracies. We… sort of did the Computer's bidding, and sort of saved some people, and a good time was had by all. And my character was named after the knitting pattern I wasn't working on because the yarn hadn't arrived in time.

Graduation was my game, a sort of loose sequel to the one I ran at OxCon last year, set in the same world about twenty years later, and from the other side of the major divide that characterises the world (roughly between people born before or after about 2000). Its end point was a moral choice which I intended to leave fairly open; the players were obedient citizens of the regime, did what they were told, and received promotions as a result (although [livejournal.com profile] chrestomancy's character voiced discomfort with the party's choice).

Lost Souls was [livejournal.com profile] chrestomancy's Tarot game, of dead people wandering in limbo and being recruited by an angel to catch an evil spirit who had escaped into the living world. The system, based entirely on Tarot cards (we each had a deck) was really clever, we had fun possessing the bodies of innocent passers-by, and we saved the world. (Spoiler tags inserted because apparently he's intending to re-run it.)

Then we ate all the leftover food, packed up, and came home. We spent about six hours at home, which I mostly spent winding the yarn which hadn't quite arrived in time for the first week away, so I could knit it during the second, and then set off to the wilds of Oxfordshire for a week with a different bunch of fine roleplaying friends. I played two great games, ran (the same) one which seemed to work fine, ate some great food, drank too much gin, and had lots and lots of fun.

I ran Graduation again, to a completely different outcome. This time, while the party were mostly deciding to defy the regime and save a group of NPCs, [livejournal.com profile] zenithed decided that wouldn't do his future career prospects any good, and ran off to turn them in to the authorities, and the way the timings worked out meant that the 'traitors' failed to get away in time, so it ended with one character praised and promoted, the rest shipped off for punitive training. This was the first time I'd run anything twice, and it was so much fun to see the different approaches throughout, not just in outcomes. It was especially pleasing that, since the game was intended to offer a moral choice, the two parties chose differently, each with one dissenter. Mission accomplished :-)

It Takes Two Baby was [livejournal.com profile] robin_adams' game of two-players-to-each-character, which he's apparently been thinking about since university, and was my favourite of all the games I played over the two weeks (partly because I hadn't seen him for a really long time, so had no real expectations of the game, whereas all the others were GMed by people whose GMing I've enjoyed before). But the real excitement here was that each PC had a dual nature. 'Werewolf' and 'Jekyll and Hyde' were the examples suggested; the players ended up with a girl possessed by the spirit of her dead grandmother (me and [livejournal.com profile] frax), twin Ukrainian gangsters, inhabiting the same body ([livejournal.com profile] smiorgan and [livejournal.com profile] jakemalone), and a 12-year-old boy and his imaginary friend ([livejournal.com profile] zenithed and [livejournal.com profile] al_fruitbat). It was terrific fun both to play, and to observe the others playing, and the system for managing the dual personalities was great.

And then immediately after the game ended, I came home, to spend three days alternating different kinds of work in a way that I found surprisingly confusing and tiring.

On Monday, I went to the London Book Fair (publishing industry trade fair, rather than books-for-sale) with [livejournal.com profile] secretrebel, and spent all day walking around the stalls criticising their design and bumping into people we knew.

On Tuesday I went to work to do the day job, feeling confused about which hat I was wearing, and continually telling people I was technically still on holiday. All I actually achieved was to clear my email backlog and make some plans for future work, but at least it will make it easier when I 'properly' go back.

On Wednesday morning I taught some undergrads about amateur digital publishing, and then went home to pack, do a food shop, and then back off to my parallel life as a person on holiday, where I spent the afternoon playing endless games of Dominion and making two different lasagnes.

And then it was the last day of the roleplaying holiday extravaganza, and I played my second go at A Taste For Murder, which is one of those 'new and trendy' GMless prepless games, set in a Poirot-esque 1930s English country house where the players gradually built up motives for murder, then someone died, and then we gradually refined those motives until we knew whodunnit. It turned out to be a double-header of me and [livejournal.com profile] ealuscerwen, in that we didn't know if [livejournal.com profile] inskauldrak was already dead of her poison before the gargoyle I'd pushed off the roof hit him. The best part, though, was that her motive was basically that he'd dissed her pie-making.

And now I'm home again, and it's a normal weekend, and by Monday I have to remember what a normal week looks like in order to live it.
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