Experience Is Bad For You?

Hey, all, 🙂

The Shadow Of Yesterday continues to shine for us. After a rather bland start, an awesome third session and a rather bumpy fourth session, last week, we had one of the best RPG sessions I remember ever having in my role-playing career. Ever!

We stopped playing at about 2:00AM. We lingered about for a while, then Ana and I drove home, and because we live far from where we played and we’re responsible for distributing everyone, we didn’t get home till about 3:30.

At 7:30 AM, I still felt like the session had just ended, and I just could bring myself down enough to even think about falling asleep!

Here’s an Actual Play report I posted at the Forge.

Here’s a funny thing that Rogério, the GM, pointed out to me yesterday: Among those that are contributing, each player’s level of contribution to the game is seemingly inversely proportional to their experience as role-players.

There are six of us at the table, meaning one GM plus five others. Of those five, two of them are really just coasting along, playing it as if it were a traditional RPG. I think they just haven’t caught on, yet. When they do, I predict they’re either gonna dive in or give up altogether. I’m hoping for the former. 🙂

Here’s the low down on the other three, though:

  • Ana, my wife, is clearly the least experienced gamer at the table, and she has clearly asserted herself as the TSoY MVP for the group. She was the first to make a strong statement with ther character, by engaging with Key buyoff and purchase mechanics. Her character’s attitudes are clearly the driving force behind the bonds that are forming between our three characters. When the initial situation was put on the table, her character felt like a minor side character. Now, it’s like she’s in the center of the story.
  • Isabel, the other woman at the table, is a close second. She’s consistenly been the strongest provider of color and general context in the game, really grounding us into the game world and making it real for us. She too has engaged the Key mechanics very strongly, especially in the last session. But mostly, throughout the session, she’s just there! In her real life, she wakes up early and we game late, which makes for very sleepy gaming for her, and still, you can tell by looking at her at the table that she’s totally in the zone, contributing and conneting with the other players on a very basic gut level.
  • And then, there’s me. I’m probably the most experienced gamer there, with the possible exception of the GM, but of the three, I’m the only one who has to make a conscious effort to be in the zone. The fourth session, for instance, passed me by completely because of my assumption that the story was about the situation, instead of about the characters. I’ve always felt that play should be about the characters, but this is the first time I’m actually seeing that in action.
  • Even the GM himself has had to overcome a huge truckload of traditional GMing “tricks” (also called bad habits) in order to make this shine for us.

Someone somewhere in the blogosphere said that one sometimes has to unlearn how to walk, in order to learn again, in order to finally learn how to run really fast. I think we’re seeing a whole lot of that right there at that table.

But mostly, it’s just wicked fun! 😀


Edit: That someone was Brand Robins, over at Yudhisthira’s Dice, and he said it here.

5 Responses to “Experience Is Bad For You?”

  1. Elora says:

    Está a ser, de facto, muito giro!

  2. Rui Anselmo says:

    Hey João!

    More and more I’m growing jealous of your TSoY sessions!

    Also, I’d love ro read your take on coping with groups like yours (“Of those five, two of them are really just coasting along, playing it as if it were a traditional RPG.”, vs the other players). Can you do that for a possible post?

  3. joao-mendes says:

    Hey, 🙂

    Isabel, who’s been posting here as Elora, reinforces that the game is loads of fun! 😀

    Rui, yeah, although bear in mind, this is somewhat a new experience for me as well. So, I want to take in just a few more sessions and see where those two players go with this, enough that I can gather more data before I write that up.


  4. I’ve always loved to have new players in my games, and during college I recruted plenty of virgin gamers. These days, I like to say that a first time gamer has (at least) as much to teach an experienced gamer as the experienced gamer has to teach him.

    When I was reading PTA and for the first time in my gamer life trying to get a hang for things like player scene-framing and player narration, I immediately remembered a Call of Cthulhu one-shot a couple of years before where I had a first-time female gamer that did just that, effortlessly and instinctively.

    And, of course, I stopped the game, told her how wrong it was while trying not to show comtempt, and then proceed to teach her how to play an RPG right. God, how I regretted doing it… years later, it was me, trying to figure out how to play like her. Hot damn!

  5. joao-mendes says:

    Hey, Ricardo, 🙂

    The thing about the teaching, how very true!

    However, I don’t know that you should regret how you handled that other player. Ok, so maybe you weren’t teaching her how to play “an RPG” right, but you were certainly teaching her how to play CoC right.

    Still, yeah, I totally see your point. 🙂