Friday, June 28, 2013

The Quiet Year: My Improvised Experience

I don't actually know anything about Metro 2033 or Metro: Last Light. They have some good songs on their soundtracks. Also check out Venice Vices and Metro Blues.

Hey there, the eve of Go Play NW! I'm excited. And so, in the spirit of relaxing and preparing, I went to Story Games Olympia to play even more.
I might have forgotten to check the Meetup page though, where it basically said that none of the regulars were probably gonna be there. Whoops. So there I was, and with a couple newbies who'd mostly never played RPGs before (minus one gal who'd been once before and played Monsterhearts, but that was her only other experience).
Here's a note: I've never hosted Story Games Olympia before. We've always had at least one of: Ross, Morgan, Jackson, Robert, Orion. So this time, with no regulars, I guess it fell to me. I made the best of it - I kinda forgot to mention The Veil, but our game generally didn't go anywhere near uncomfortable territory (unless you are made uncomfortable by squid-hawks or radioactive zombie fish), and I WAS watching for any discomfort and didn't see any. We also didn't have a pitch circle, per say... Mostly because I had no supplies.
I had come to play. I wanted to play a game and not GM something because I was gonna be GMing Saturday night, and so I hadn't brought any stuff. No dice. No rules. Blank slate. And so, when I ended up being the only person who had ANY rules knowledge to actual play a game, I had to start improvising. Of course, you already know what I played from the post title: The Quiet Year.

I didn't have much choice. The Quiet Year is the only game I know well enough that I can run it at the drop of a hat and is easy enough that I can explain it quickly and easily to complete RPG newcomers. It does, however, have a few requirements.
It needs the Rulebook. I did not have the rulebook.
It needs playing cards. I did not have playing cards.
It needs paper. I did not have paper.
It needs dice. I did not have dice.
It needs some quantity of tokens. I did not have tokens.
So I pitched the game anyway.
It needs a pencil. I managed to actually have a pencil. Whoopie.
The required a little scavenging and alteration. For one, I had no chance for tokens, so I just axed Contempt Tokens from the game. They don't have rules impact anyway. I downloaded the PDF on my phone (legally, since they were emailed to me during the Indiegogo campaign). I asked the coffee shop in which we meet if they had playing cards and fortunately they did (if they didn't I was probably gonna use a randomizer online for card draws). Also I'm gonna plug that coffee shop, Burial Grounds Coffee, for being amazing and friendly and serving some damn good tea. Anyway, I then asked the patrons of the shop if they had any paper and someone had some notebook paper and let us have a piece - it might be lined, but god damn it it's paper, works for me. I had another small piece of paper that I used to track projects since I had no dice to count down with. And so we played, on lined paper with regular playing cards as I passed around my phone with the card questions on the screen.

And it went well I think! Here, check it out:
Click for full size. This is a better picture than I expected, it got my project sheet's corner, the cards, the map, and a bit of my index card with the Resources on it. The whole Improvised Quiet Year experience right here.

So, some cool things. It's another Dead Port! I didn't come up with it, we had the suggestions tossed out of "By The Sea" and "Abandoned City" so we put them together for a port! Still, I tried not to recycle my previous ideas, other than the half-sunken cruise ship (that we didn't explore). We had an abandoned pirate ship still floating and a haunted lighthouse. We had resources of "Drinkable Water," "Food," and "Fish" as scarcities and "Skateboards" in abundance (for transport and all). Through the game interesting things happened like having no children in the whole village, Priscilla the Dog Whisperer (aka the Charismatic Young Girl) tried to negotiate with the rabid dogs and 1/4 of our hunters died and another 1/4 became the dogs' pets, but it was peaceful. There were Squid-Hawks (table-sized hawks with 10-foot tentacles and wingspans that were the region's apex predators). There was a radioactive fish processing plant that exploded and made the biker gang radioactive and also the fish reanimated and were radioactive. Also the bikers had radioactive fleas that turned one of our warriors into Flea-Girl who was like a superhero. We allied with the ghost by trading it our divinely-glowing dog food and there was a talking crab who was the intermediary between our community and the mermaids. There was a hurricane, and a prophecy about how this place was the origin point for the end of the universe. There was a wizard who could grant three wishes who died before we could use any of them. We found some glasses loaded with Google Glass. We castrated a pedophile and then threw him to the bikers.
That's the highlights I think, in no particular order. It was pretty freakin' crazy. I was quite reliant on the principle of "you don't need to be creative or witty or whatever - just say what sounds like the obvious thing to you because it might not be so obvious to everyone else," so there was quite a few off-the-wall ideas.
Very, VERY different from my other abandoned port game. Very cool, and the improvised solutions worked decently. I'd like to thank Leo, Tash, Alli, and Rowan (hope I spelled those right) for tolerating my on-the-fly game solutions, and I really hope you enjoyed yourselves. I'd love to see you again :)
The Quiet Year really is a great game for operating under those conditions. Also thanks Joe for having my other Dead Port AP linked on the official Quiet Year page, it's been a nice view feed :D

So GPNW is tomorrow. And Saturday. And Sunday. I am about to talk for three more days in a row and maybe sleep in my car to save gas money :/
Sunday Songs will be happening on time, but there will be no Pixel Art Lesson. Later!

End Recording,

No comments :

Post a Comment