Thursday, March 24, 2016

What Makes A Good Player

Because I certainly don't seem to have it. Reading my friend/sister-in-law/occasional player at my table Morgan's post on being an ender of worlds in light of what happened in the disaster of the Vampire: The Masquerade game I'm a player in makes me wonder.

I have a habit of destroying games as a player. I killed off a Deadlands game by thwarting the Devil by shooting another PC. I killed off the Changeling game by shooting a child (whose dreams were manifesting in reality), the problem being that several of the other PCs were in the child's mind trying to find a more humane solution.

And then on Monday, I accidentally destroyed the Anarch population of the DC. I didn't think my willingness to go along (OOC) with the plot of another PC would kill them all off, I figured it would be a portion, but not enough. Of course, this combined with an Angel visitation, the release of a Mummy dead set (get it?) on destroying Vampires basically made DC untenable for unliving habitation.


Discussing aftermath, a couple characters, including my current one, are being retired. Perhaps killed off, but definitely not participating in the next arc. Discussing what to do next, the ST mentioned, "I thought your characters would be great NPCs, but not PCs."

And I'm wondering if that's because I've done most of my gaming as GM since 2001, or if I'm just bad at being a good PC, i.e., one that fits in well with the table dynamic and increases the amount of fun at the table. I've certainly tried to do so - but apparently I'm falling flat.

Some of this may just be the game - for me Vampire is a game about stasis and stability, and trying to either maintain it or disrupt it. Unfortunately, maintaining it is generally reactive and not much fun for me as a player; and disrupting it is challenging in Vampire because so many parts of the game are gated off due to how the power level works. If you are 13th Gen, you are 13th Gen - and your only hope is that you are recently enough 13th Gen that you have a technological advantage, because you are going to be at every other disadvantage at disrupting the power system.

Yes, there's a reason why I'm continually tempted by Diablerie (i.e., sucking the soul from a more powerful vampire to gain more power) in Vampire games. Unfortunately, in the sort of game where there's minimal down time, the social downside (having your soul stained with your sin) makes that a non-viable option.

I have my suspicions of where I went wrong with the characters, with Oz, he didn't have any distinctive skills as I tried to make him competent at everything, as I'd forgotten how harshly cWOD treats bare competence most of the time. Better to be very good at a few things, and figure out how to use those skills elsewhere. But otherwise, mostly his great sin was going to ground after being attacked randomly, kidnapped as bait, and rescued. The rest of the party went off to Fredericksburg, my character wanted to know what the fuck had happened, who the attackers were, and what he could do to get revenge on them.

The other character was an isolated anti-social Tremere who was good at what he was supposed to be good at - figuring out stuff, and horrible at anything social. I figured it would make for a good play - too useful to ditch, but enough of a hindrance trying to be social to make things interesting. And I think he worked fairly well within the confines of the arc, but perhaps too many hindrances.

I'm not sure what I'm going to do for the next arc - I'm waiting to see what comes out from the ST and I'll probably stick with a more physical, dynamic character. May even play someone who isn't a blood drinking fiend of the night as that's been an option - but that makes it even harder to figure out how to mix well at the table.

I'll figure out something, I usually do.