Sunday, March 30, 2014

Playing with You is a Full Contact Sport

When I started playing Dungeons and Dragons in my mid-twenties the people I played with fell into two categories: people who had played since they were eight and me. So my first games were filled with the sort of devilish intrigues that many long term games tend to suffer from as players attempted to out smart one another and the Dungeon Master at the same time. They moved quickly from one plot to the next while I sluggishly made my way through the game feeling like my feet were in quicksand.

I was robbed, murdered, and on one occasion sold as a slave to a rather large and rapey hobgoblin. I lost a half dozen characters to their plots as I learned the game and drank my weight in wine while they told me the wonders of the world they were opening up to me. I listened as they spoke and made notes on how they played. After a while I was even able to predict where they were going and how they were going to try and screw me over. Some called that time "paying my dues" but I prefer to think of it as the time when I played with a bunch of assholes.

I killed the first of their characters in the fall by lining my coin pouch with poison and not telling them. The second died when he tried to bump me into a corridor to check for traps and I moved out of the way. Sessions came and went and I dropped their characters with an ever increasing frequency - often without them knowing I had engineered their deaths.

At some point during all of this I started playing with Kid Icarus, Step-up, and Biggboy. They were fun and I didn't have to be so quick on the trigger. Hell, they never tried to steal from me nor kill my characters (unless it was really funny). So I stopped killing my fellow players for several years, and then I met the tres amigos . . .

3 comments:

  1. Now I understand many things about the way you play "against" your fellow adventurers. Probably if I had myself a "initiation" of this type then I would have done the same things.

    Instead, in more than 30 years of playing I have behind, the party in which I played or I had as master, mostly, they have always tended to cooperate, and rarely are given the backstabbing.

    However, with this I do not turn to say that there is a better way to play than another, but undoubtedly the way in which we will begin to play it ends up giving us the imprinting for the future! ;)

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    1. I don't think of my play style so much as against my fellow players as I think of it as defensive playing. :)

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