#RPGaDay2020 – Day 31: Experience

Well, in #RPGaDay2020 terms this is the End of Days. For me, the last post of each annual #RPGaDay event is a curious mix of feelings. There is satisfaction that so many people have been able to post each day, and that thousands of others participated to varying degrees. It is rewarding to discover each year that people find the prompts helpful, and more rewarding when the responses reveal a hint of the depth and breadth of how people approach roleplaying games. It is a pleasure to work with Dave Chapman. Dave is a kind and creative individual whose love for RPGs is infectious and fun. That he also makes incredible games is icing on the cake. There is also, of course, coupled with the satisfaction, the sense of relief that the days of August have reached their end for another year and the joyful tension of taking on the prompts each day can be relaxed. That last part, though, sparks hope that we find a way to keep people posting positively and supportively – if not all year long, then at least for August. All in all, this event is quite an experience, and one I am glad to be a part of.

Fortuitous, isn’t it, that the last prompt of this year is the word ‘experience’?

Two Great Ways to have enjoyed #RPGaDay2020

Our Ghostbusters session reaches its end. The real pizza is long gone, but the imagined pizza is still in the characters’ future as their reward for a job done and done well.

But what happened, you ask? What about the portal? What… what about Linda?

To answer that question, cubes were consulted in hope that when they came to rest their faces would reveal a number higher 20. The odds were in their favor and yet, the odds have a way of being cruel. There is a reason, obviously, for Han Solo to prefer not to know them. To aid in the consultation, three of a dwindling stack of Brownie Points were passed over to me, the Ghostmaster, When the twelve 6-sided dice for Diego Spencer’s Brains roll stopped clattering in their box-like way across the hard surface of the table, otherwise known to us as the ‘field of dreams‘, the first thing we all saw was the profusion of ones…

There is wonder, if you are open to it~

Still, when you are throwing 12 dice and looking for a 20 it is hard to miss.

When our eyes focused and the numbers assembled in our minds, the total of the roll was 21. The swings of fate and fortune can be a harrowing experience.

“Blackjack,” Lemmon’s player whispers, but though the tension crests and breaks on the beach of expectation, we smile but do not laugh. Instead, I shake my head in the negative and simply remind them that the swirling energies of the portal are purple. They have experienced that potent and portentous purple before.

Diego’s player nods and quickly snaps, “No, we do not cross the streams. Shorten the wavelength of the visible spectrum as we did for the horticultural horror show upstairs and shift the power up into the unsafe for any reason band. We’ve got one shot at this!”

I smile, and for a moment, I know we are all hearing the blast of proton packs and the destruction of private property.

Nothing says destruction quite like
Ghostbusters

The portal has its own means of fighting back, of course, and ghostly entities come streaming from the portal intent on doing harm. High above on the roof of the R&D complex the giant Vine Man thrashes and its mouth twists in the silent scream of the plant world. Dice are rolled, injuries are taken, and then…

The ghostbusters are clear to focus their beams on the swirling energies of the portal. Shooting clockwise to its counterclockwise rotation they spray the purple plasm with protons in a lightshow no fire commissioner has ever seen.

See the source image
This man has seen a lot of forms of combustion

When the screaming and shooting stops, the ghostbusters find themselves covered in purple plasm, heads ringing from being thrown back against the wall with the detonation of the vast energies they placed in opposition.

They are mostly dead, but mostly dead is still somewhat alive.

In a real silence their ringing ears will not let them hear, they turn and help each other up, help brush away the slime that clings to them – especially to Lemmon. They try not to look at the bare stone floor where there used to be a portal to some other plane… where there used to be Linda, a nice lady who turned into a bug.

As they begin to shuffle toward the narrow tunnel that will lead them back to the elevator, I describe a cracking of thin stone, like slate.

The ghostbusters whirl and see cracks crossing the floor. Stomping and kicking, they try to widen the cracks because they have seen a glimmer of green – mantis green.

Linda, still in mantis form, breaks free of the rock and rushes to embrace Dunhill.

When asked about the kiss afterward, all he would say was that it was quite the experience…

See the source image
What a feeling!

Epilogue

In Ghostbusters, experience points are served up in the form of a Brownie Point replenishment. Of course, the players are hoping to be able to amass enough of them to improve their characters, but in practice that would mean not spending them during play to save their butts.

The group is pleased that they did not have to convert any of their traits to Brownie Points (thereby downgrading their characters, and at a steep deficit) and so count the whole thing a win, though they do worry about a return of Peck.

For this assignment, the ghostbusters were awarded quite a lot of pizza from Lou’s, and a return of all Brownie Points spent in these two sessions. As the players share a recounting and recap of the job, we all have to acknowledge that they were excessively and appropriately entertaining most of the time, that they managed to stop the threat without unleashing the giant, freed Diego of his possession, and were respectful of Linda’s transformation and reformation from villain to hero. As a result, I give them a bonus award of half the average of the number each spent. It seems like a lot of Brownie Points, so I wonder if they will spend them on improvement or keep them just in case I make the next contract hard…

Questions: What technique is employed to help make the experience of play memorable and to help deliver experience points? How were past experiences and player knowledge harnessed to bring about conviction in decision-making in this last scene?

Link: As usual, but for the last time for #RPGaDay2020, a companion video will be placed below, later today.

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