Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Life is Strange, part 2

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I'm on episode 2 of Life is Strange by now and I'm getting to know Chloe. She can be manipulative and she will get me in so much trouble, but I like her a lot anyway. I'm still chewing over my decision to tell Kate to go to the police, but really, not going wouldn't have made things any better. None of the options were good there.


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The game really does a great job of capturing the feeling of being between teenager and adult. Adult maybe on paper and maybe to anyone who asks, but inside you're still trying to figure out how stuff works and wonder when you will just KNOW how to do all the things adults are supposed to do.

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Saturday, September 3, 2016

Shadowrun: On Co-GMing

I GM a Shadowrun group for a campaign that is the baby of one of the current players. He and I GM together, but right now I run all the sessions and he's playing and doing some of the planning with me. He also has stories that run in the background, so to speak, that I don't know about, which is usually fine with me. But the other day I got blindsided by one.

We were doing a Play by Skype with another player, between Fog and Kiki, who are in a relationship that is a bit rocky to say the least. Fog is a full PC, Kiki is an NPC/sometimes PC. They fought and Fog took off for some time to think. Kiki went back home and then just disappeared. Nowhere to be found.

And I was like: WHAT? I had no idea this was coming and my brain went into overdrive, trying to calculate how this would impact the stories I had planned. Since Fog is a fairly central character to the group and his freaking girlfriend had just dropped off the face of the earth, the impact would potentially be huge. I asked, as the GM, what had happened to Kiki in a private chat and got a glib 'I don't know' as an answer, which I know to read as: 'I know, but I'm not telling you'. And I lost it, I was so incredibly pissed.

I mean, I'm totally okay with not knowing the reasons behind this. But I am NOT okay with having such a bomb dropped on me out of the blue when I do a lot of work of planning how the campaign is going to go in the long run as a GM. This had the potential to mess up my plans big time and it came from my co-GM. I seriously don't know why he didn't just tell me before. We usually do that for stuff we have planned, even if it's just: 'yo, this thing might happen, just a heads up'. In the end, we talked it out and we're good. The way this plays out is that the group won't be able to find Kiki anyway and I can just handwave her disappearance and the search for now. It will come up again, of course, but it's not derailing everything.

The reason why I was so angry was not that this might have overthrown all my planning. That's basically in the job description for any GM: plans won't survive contact with players. I like this about GMing. But if you have a co-GM, do not drop something like this on their head without warning. It's not necessary and disrespectful of the work they do. Much better to share and come up with a way to fit the story into the campaign together.