#RPGaDay Day 10: Surprise!

Today’s #RPGaDay Question:

What has been the largest in-game surprise that you have experienced?

Until just a week ago, to answer this question I would have related the very moving and surprising story of one Victor Chevalier, a Knight of the New Knights Templar in a Shadowrun campaign set in a fallen and fractured 2057 Europe.  Instead, however, I will be sharing an experience that is still ongoing at the time of writing, and is still proving to be very intriguing and frequently surprising.

I have been teaching a class focused on writing. That is nothing new, but one thing that is a little less common is that this is one of the few opportunities I have to focus on creative writing. To facilitate that goal, I have been incorporating gaming sessions into the classes. The lessons are based on what happens in those sessions. What makes this a little more unusual, is that I have enough time to have the students run the sessions, not just play in them.

Where this has returned surprising results is in their interpretations and modifications of the simple resolution system I provided and modeled for them. With a single session of play under their belts, random members of the group have been selected in each subsequent class to run a session based on a brief round of collaboration about genre, and characters. They have to create a setting and find a purpose to inspire their group of players within a short time limit and then run a session for at least an hour.

As expected, they took to it with great enthusiasm, and even the quietest have shown what I myself experienced the first time I ran a game – the words and imagery come from somewhere, and the players eat it up. The smiles and the signs of pleasure as the positive response is demonstrated throughout the session have been a treat for me to see.

What has been a surprise is how they have reinvented nearly the full spectrum of systems in our hobby within a few classes. They invented opposed rolls, they invented the ‘auto-success based on skill,’ they have invented the macro view of Microscope, and the moment-by-moment detail of Mythras. Given simple tools and the complexities of resolving action in their games, these proto-GMs have almost to a person taken to making Rulings and getting on with things. Most of those just do it, with no feedback from me required. A few ask me what I think of their solution. The smallest number ask me what they should do, if they notice a problem or lack in their rules knowledge at all.

That inventiveness, and the breadth of it, has been both surprising and incredibly rewarding, and I do not want this class to ever end~




Tomorrow’s Question:

Which gamer most affected the way you play?

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