Once again, it is 1 am, and I’m finally sitting down to make my report. I am so tired. And oh my god do my feet hurt. And oh my god am I glad that I wore a corset tonight. Talking to a room full of super-excited players for 6 hours and trying to keep their attention has the potential to completely destroy my voice. The corset helps with projection, which helps with not loosing my voice. To continue my epic costuming, tonight I was “Lady Midnight”, which as with my day outfit, means nothing to anyone else, but is a reference to a game called “Court of Masks.” Lady Midnight is sidhe fae. I had a black and silver skirt, a sliver and black corset, and silver and black mask, and vampire red lipstick. I thought I looked pretty awesome. But as usual, I didn’t manage to snap a picture. – I did get stopped for someone to take my picture when I grabbed lunch in my saree though. That was surprising.
On to more important things! The larp was a smashing success. We had 18 people turn up for a game that had 15 full characters, and an indeterminate number of NPCs. Like last night, we had lots of people who had larped before. I in fact had only 3 newbies. I was really happy about this since the Neptune’s Ball is a much more mechanics heavy game than Katmeers, and benefits from having experienced players in a many of the roles. Not unsurprisingly though, this didn’t really make casting any easier. It is still kind of close your eyes and toss packets at people and hope things don’t go terribly.
Which they didn’t. They went brilliantly. For those of you who have played, [spoilers, highlight to read], a ceasefire was signed, which is a first in terms of outcomes. In the first two runs, a peace treaty was reached, but this King Triton was having none of it from Prince Jared. Mirage got her glow shell (in like the first 40 minutes of game no less), became Pacifican royalty, and married her Princess Adriana. Sebastian proved his lineage. Pearl stayed perfectly hidden. And Willow… well Willow and Ariel didn’t have such a great (in character) time. Willow exploded, because the other magicians weren’t able to seal her in time, and Ariel got the wishing stone at the last possible second in game, and then wished for everyone to have their happy ending. Which didn’t actually fix anything, it just made everyone feel better about it.
What I wish, more than anything right now, is that I could cast people ahead of time. Especially some of the more complicated characters, I would dearly love to give people more than 20 minutes to read through all their stuff. Everyone did a great job with the tough problem of not enough time, but still, players and characters would benefit from a little more time.
It is my hope that eventually – maybe even in the next 2 years or so, I’ll build up enough of a following, that when I put out the call that I’m running a game, I can get people to sign up ahead of time. It would be great to put the rules up online somewhere and direct people to look at them before hand. Although, if I keep bringing the same types of games to Con, people will become familiar with the mechanics independently, and then we’ll have shorter rules sessions. At minimum, it would be nice to set up like the Masquerade does, and have a session earlier in the day where we do rules and packet hand out. Of course, there are downsides to this, like some players having substantially more time to contemplate their characters than others, and you loose the last minute spontaneity of people poking their head into game and saying “oh, what’s this?” Still I think it would be less stressful overall, and lead to a better experience for players.
We had to make the tough call tonight, part way through game no less, that we wanted to run a 3 hour game not a 4 hour game. The players were just burning through content so fast, we had to do it. I know our players felt rushed at the end, but it is part of the intent of this game that there just isn’t time to do everything. You have to choose. And those choices have consequences. I hope our players can forgive us eventually, but I know we made the right choice. Everyone was fading by the end -it’s an intense game, and it was late-ish for a con by the time we had finished wrap up. And honestly, there was not another hour’s worth of content in game. It’s true that some plots like [spoilers] Willow’s burgeoning magical powers probably would have been resolved given more time, but that’s the consequence of [spoilers] Valerian, Sebastian and Pearl all de-prioritizing dealing with her.
Overall, I’m really happy with the way both games went. People enjoyed themselves. People have expressed interest in playing more games. And now, I’m thinking that maybe it is actually possible to run games independent of the SGS. If I started doing that though, I suppose I’d need a name…