#RPGaDay 2017: Day 7

Question 7 is a big one, and it arrives on a Monday, so now you know for certain that #RPGaDay doesn’t fool around; it means business. With that in mind, let us rouse ourselves to full wakefulness and wade in, fists swinging.

Question 7: What was your most impactful roleplaying game session?

Hopefully, people have had so many that it will be a feast of choice. Obviously, each person must decide for themselves as to what impact will mean. For some, perhaps it will be emotion of some kind, for others it might be a personal revelation, or a strong sense of bonding between players. For still others it might be a great laugh on a dark day. As always, the choice of where these prompts lead is in the hands of those who respond to them.

Get on with it, you promised brevity!

I among those for whom roleplaying games in general have had a great impact. There have been many sessions and even campaigns which have left a deep impression on me. From D&D and Call of Cthulhu games in my early years where I learned the real power of words on minds through the window of imagination, to the teasing dance of metaphor and innuendo in many Worlds of Darkness. Gaming in its many forms can make an impact upon us.

For this year of #RPGaDay, the story I wish to share is not one that had the strongest impacts, as I have shared them in previous years, but one which had a strong and memorable impact nonetheless.

Around the time that Mage was first released, a few people in our WoD group were starting up their own campaigns, either independent ones, or ones linked to our all-inclusive Chronicle I ran for six years. One fellow took on the challenge of running and further developing Chicago by Night and I made sure that I took the chance to play in it.

That group slowly grew from a few players to quite a large ensemble, and when I joined, I was not sure I would be able to be a full-time and regular player. To reduce the burden of that on the GM, I chose to make a primarily support-oriented character that could be dragged into things or who might bail on things at a moment’s notice, with little need for justification. I wanted to explore some things that I had not had an opportunity to play, yet, but I knew that if I was able to be a full-time member of the Chronicle that I would want to play a character closer to my interests. There was a sense that this support-character might have only a short while to spend on unlife in Chicago.

Two things struck me about this character early on. The first was that I really liked how his sheet inspired me to play him, and the second was that he was tapping into a sense of frustration and disdain about the world and society that I had not become fully conscious of at the time and had never articulated in conversation. When playing him, those ideas flowed easily and led into some memorable roleplaying which the thin metaphor of anarchs, caitiff, and coteries versus the monolithic and oppressive Camarilla of the elders could never fully mask.

Once his run in play came to its seemingly inevitable end at the end of the short temper of Tyrus, I found that the attitudes and challenging questions which came so easily to my lips in the game, were surfacing more and more often in my day to day life. They drove me to expand my reading, talk more politics and history, and consider consciously what had been digging at me unconsciously for many years – namely, the illusory divisions we make and reinforce between ourselves, then teach until they become solid facts in those who come after.

As a result, among the many sessions of great roleplay to which I have been able to contribute a part, I feel I owe a lot of who I came to be to a short-term character embraced by the Samedi, forced to live a day-to-day, hardscrabble existence, and forced more brutally onto a different court, and forced to play by different rules than those who had the fortune to get there first.

In particular, scenes where the Anarchs found themselves pressured into aiding one Elder or another versus another Elder for reasons that would never benefit us, and most powerfully, a final rage-fueled speech, which no one but Tyrus heard, that poured out of the character through me, – an act of defiance which combined a peculiar blend of trauma and victory which drove that half-mad Gangrel to snuff him out.

“If you cannot stand what I represent, then end me now, or know that I will be the face of your New World.”

Considering he was Samedi, that is saying something~

Day 8: What is a good RPG to play for 2hrs or less?

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