Wish #70 -- Games that Challenge You
Have you ever played in a game that has challenged you in some way? What was the challenge? Do you think you lived up to it? How did it affect other games you play/have played?
There are so many different ways a game can challenge a player. Or a GM.
Grand Affair challenges me because everyone is so amazing. The RP is amazing. The writing is amazing. I feel like I watch every word I write, and try much harder to put effort into the writing, and not just play the character. I often coast in PBEM and enjoy the RP but don't worry about whether my words are repetitive and try to think of how many different ways I can say "Dara purrs".
GA is also challenging for me, stylewise. Troupe style is new to me. I'm still a little weird (as I think everyone well knows... I tend to wrestle with myself outloud) about jumping into threads and figuring out how to get around. But I'm gaining confidence and getting it figured out.
It is also a challenge to my patience. I'm SO into Dara and Gen and Jordan that I keep checking for posts. And pouting when there are none. But as I always say, I *can* be a patient girl, and will, for good RP. *smiles*
I have been in games that challenged my playstyle, and failed out of them. I thought Patterns 3.1 was a fascinating sounding game, and loved my character, and loved the beginning of the game. Somewhere in there I realized we just weren't meshing, though, GM to player. I stopped hearing from them. It just kind of tapered off. I know there are people still in the game and I sort of wonder sometimes if the Gms think I dumped them or if they dumped me. And I realize I'm not sure. And it was back in my days of poor communication (pregnant with Ryan) and I don't know if there *is* a definitive answer to that.
I have been challenged by slower posting speeds for games that I knew were worth it. I'm not very good with real slow speeds -- I lose track of the voice in my head sometimes. Because I started out separate, AoR was slow in the beginning, and SB has had a slower rate until recently (still loving the new speed! *grins*). But I used that self-enforced patience because I knew the games and the GMs and the characters were worth it. And now both Kale and Leigh have their voices in my head and wait anxiously for their moves.
I suspect Kale, in many ways, is a challenge to her GM. Flaky, spacy, weird, not all there, and nowhere near the plot... eek!
Hm. As a GM.
I am always challenged when I run a game.
I ran Artifacts of Winter to challenge myself on purpose. It was the first game I ran that had an intended beginning and end to the campaign. It was supposed to be tightly plotted. And it was, even if it wasn't the plot I'd originally intended (13 players all saw the plot and agreed to take a left turn and go check out that shiny thing over there instead). I proved to myself that I *could* run plot.
White Wolf was my test for longevity. My first campaign that ran into years instead of months.
Rite of Passage / A Common Disaster is my successful challenge for different play styles. I'm relatively happy with how I'm handling the different players, different posting speeds (some of them never participate in the PBEM, only the FTF portions... others are direct opposites). Different goals and objectives and desires as players. It isn't easy. Some people have completely different playing styles than I do. Remember that plot thing? I'm still working on it. Puzzles? Not my strong suit. Characters? Yeah, those I can handle, and in spades.
Have I failed at that mix of player styles? Hells yes. I started Between the Lines, a fantasy PBEM run in the same world (a good 50 years later) as Artifacts of Winter. I had I think up to 17 characters at one point. Which was INSANE. I realize that now. But that wasn't the biggest problem. I learned then that just because I enjoyed playing with someone else when they were GM, that didn't mean I could GM for them. And just because I liked someone didn't mean I could GM for them.
It was a mess. I had something like 6 or 7 threads going, and of them all, only one survived (and utterly thrived... it was a wonderful thread, and to this day, will be the one I most remember that game for, despite that it had only one PC in the thread!). One limped along, and did fairly well.
The others plummetted. I would lose players periodically. Sometimes players would just disappear for weeks. I couldn't keep control of the threads. Couldn't keep control of the communication.
It was my biggest failure. I regret it. I was trying to build something,and I think there were hints of what it was going to become. But it's crumpled now and I don't think I could rebuild it. Which is unfortunate.
Still, it was a learning experience, and I apply what I learned about communication with players (especially as regards to either player or GM absence) now. And ACD/RoP, which has had it's own flaws and breaks throughout the years, has still managed to survive and is thriving again (IMO, somewhat) after everything.
When I look at the games I am in now, each of them has a challenge in it's own way. The energy transfer is good... so the challenges are good. Hopefully that'll keep up. ANd hopefully I'll keep learning the positive lessons.
Hormones really piss me off.
I'm trying a bit of an experiment.
Because of the fibromyalgiea, I have been taking 1800 mg of ibuprofin daily, for at least the last year and a half or so. Since I stopped nursing Ryan.
My tummy's been not so happy lately, so I have decided to see if I can go without. It hasn't been a fun 24 hours. I'm really starting to feel tha pain now. Yesterday, after having to carry Ryan for so long in the corn maze, I was a mess. Then we moved furniture all over the place.
Today was better than I expected. I think if I can get out for more exercise, I'll actually be in better shape. But trying to get there with any sort of consistency has been difficult. And it'll only get worse, as NaNo starts and I try not to drop any of the other balls flying through the air.
Maybe I just won't have time for pain. Wouldn't that be nice?
Done a couple of hours work.
Done some emailing. NOt as much as I should. Not as much as I want to.
But for some reason, I am falling asleep on my keyboard. Not entirely sure why.
Got exercise. We went to the farm and to the corn maze with Rachel and Audrey and Catherine and Steve. Boo decided he was done walking. But he didn't want to be on my shoulders. No he had to be on my hip and leaning out screaming "whazzat?".
So my arm aches. A lot.
I LOVE this song.
I am in a bizarre mood.
Maybe I should take a nap.
I promised Dani we could bake after her nap. Bought a huge bag of utility grade cortland apples. Seriously yum.
Chris is coming to the States!
*dances happy dance*
Chris is coming to the States!
*giggles with glee*
Yup, this makes me happy. It'll have been something like two years. Dani can see her god-daddy. I can see one of my dear friends. He can see my new darling son. I am in such a good mood.
Because Chris is coming to the States!
After some quiet weeks on the gaming front, all of a sudden tonight I've got a little bit of everything. WOW.
Now I just need to get all caught up! Good thing I'd dug myself out of the hole I was in with RoP and had things mostly under control! Because I've got a good bit of stuff to reply to tonight.
Okay, it's a silly occupation.
But my husband asked me yesterday just how much SPAM I get in a day. I answered, off the cuff, oh 2 or 3 hundred messages.
He was in shock. I'd say awe, but receiving SPAM isn't really an awe-inspiring process. More of an annoyance.
So today, I've determined I'm going to count my SPAM each time I empty the Junk mail folder. So this tally runs from roughly 10pm last night. I'm just curious.
61 messages deleted 6:00 AM
48 messages deleted 11:00 AM
55 messages deleted 2:45 PM
59 messages deleted 7:30 PM
15 messages deleted 9:00 PM
I am in pain tonight. A lot of pain. Some of the fogginess of being il has passed... I am now bone deep exhausted, and my back and neck feel as if I've been put through the wringer. Just sat on the heating pad and it did next to nothing for me... I can still barely move my head to lean forward. Although the muscle in my forehead has stopped leaping like crazy, which was driving me nuts earlier.
Pain tells me I'm alive. Pain is my friend. BUt gods... tonight it is SO bad... it needs to stop. I need to find a way to make this better. Someday.
It's Wednesday, and I'm mostly caught up after Albacon. Kevin cashed out the art show tonight because he was counting money anyway, and I was in the middle of something else still after Dani's gymnastics class. Email's basically caught up, and I'm happy because I've got everything moving pretty smoothly again. Yay.
Writing's still a bust. I haven't prepped more for NaNo yet. Haven't done any crits since those three I cranked out last week. I'm going to give up soon and post my October challenge piece, but I *really* wanna do a few more crits first. Maybe this weekend.
Going down to Toigo's for the weekend -- housewarming thingamajig. I'm really looking forward to it, since I'll get to see people I don't see all that often. And he's got a high speed hookup, so I don't have to quit cold turkey for 48 hrs. *grins* Besides, I'll have Kev's phone and will likely be online on the way down the thruway again. *chortles* Silly, but fun. And a good way of catching up on things!
Other goals for the weekend include eventually doing some food shopping and starting to cook again. Things were going well there for a little while. Now it's all gone to hell again and I'm relying on comfort food, which means eating out oriental food an awful lot. Yummy, but not great on the diet.
Okay, maybe I'm not *ALL* caught up. But I'm getting there. And now, it's time to go catch up on a little more of that sleep stuff.
Sometimes... I'll find my daughter just sitting there, staring into space. She might have a sock in her hand, placed against her toes but not yet on her foot, caught somehow in the middle of getting dressed and turned to near-stone by a stray thought that caught her fancy.
I get frustrated with her when she does this.
I get frustrated when I catch myself doing the same damned thing. Sitting at the computer, a word or phrase half typed, and suddenly the time slips by and it is elsewhen and I cannot have the time back.
It is fall in New England.
Although it is NOT New England, as natives are wont to remind me. This is New York State, and it will never be New England. But still, it is the Northeast Corridor, and whenever fall arrives, it reminds me vividly of home. And it feels, for a moment, like New England.
Crisp air and a strong breeze, brushing by the leaves of the trees and moving them at its whim. A tumultous riot of color brightens the landscape, with rid reds and golds, sharp oranges, and brilliant scarlet outlining yellow leaves.
I love this time of year. I love fall colors. The depth, the shock of the color, yet nature does not resort to flourescence. Some of the reds have a purplish edge like a drop of blood welling from a pinprick wound.
This morning it was foggy, but in small places. I drove down Bloominggrove, and as I approached the light a line of fog stretched across the field to my left, then across the road, like a shimmering barrier between me and route 4. The light changed, and I pulled forward, stopping as the light turned red once more. I was caught there, in what seemed a small surreal pocket of whispy clouds all around me. I could see clarity before me and behind me, yet my world for the moment was trapped in something not quite there. And then the light changed again, and I drove on.
I begin to feel like I will never crawl out from under the buried feeling of Albacon.
I'm behind in GA. Horribly behind -- I need to pick a place to put Dara and then PUT her there.
I'm not quite so behind in RoP. I made ALMOST all my posts tonight and if I can maintain my coherence, maybe I can finish that up. But it still has that sort of sense of trudging through molasses, which is what happens when you set something aside for two weeks and then try to find it again.
I'm behind in SSC... not quite so badly, but I'm not sure if I'll answer tonight. Maybe. *fingers crossed*
And I'm staring at my computer trying to figure out where to start and how my "to answer" list got so long. Thinking about Albacon mail I should be sending. The redesign of my site's sidebar. Writing.
Why does it feel so overwhelming? There isn't REALLY any more of it than there was prior to me taking a break and quieting things down prior to Albacon. I just got... lost inside it all somehow. Brain's moving a mile a minute on all kinds of things, and I'm not producing much that involves typing. Not even producing much in the way of hiding in plain site. I'm surprisingly quiet.
Although I suppose this says I'm not. But really, this isn't much.
I should answer things, and check them off my lists. Set up my spreadsheet for NaNo. Outline Dreamwalker. Respond to those game posts.
Find energy. After all, I'm likely to be up a while. Not like I can sleep.
Thing is, if I'm awake, why am I not AWAKE? It'd be nice if I could retain coherence as well.
Didn't get a lot of books this weekend. I got _Burndive_ and _Paladin_of_Souls_, like I mentioned before. I also picked up Barbara Chepaitis' new book _Something_Unpredictable_, which Barb signed for me. Yay! And I added _Spin_State_ to my pile, by Chris Moriarty, which is the one that Patricia Bray recommended.
I've gotta restructure the to-read pile... figure out what's next to be on top. But first I've got to finish reading Feintuch's _The_King_. Large book, sort of fat fantasy, but reading very quickly. The protagonist's an ass, but he's meant to be. I'm waiting to see how he grows and changes through the book. *IF* he grows and changes. Which is a large part of the theme it seems... honestly, Rodrigo's interesting just because he's got a temper, and he alienates those who love him. He's honest. And in being unlikeable, he seems realistic. If confused.
And the basic merge has begun. I've imported the entries from the Voices into the main blog now. I'll be deleting the Voices blog once I've got all the links onto this sidebar. I think i need to find a new way to organize the sidebar, and I just haven't gotten that quite yet. Soon, soon... but maybe not today. I should probably give poor Kev's phone a rest shortly.
It is Friday night, and we are in our room at the hotel for Albacon. Yay wireless connectivity, and yay that Kev's access is UNLIMITED. *grins*
Dani's out... utterly unconscious. Kev's falling asleep. Ryan, on the other hand, is bouncing in his bed still. Pacing around the crib and doing anything he can not to sleep. So I'm obviously not sleeping until Ry falls asleep. Which is rather a pity, since I'm exhausted.
The hotel seems pretty cool so far. Different, that's for sure. I still want to go horseback riding tomorrow, but I cannot take Danielle -- she is too young -- they have an 8yr old lower limit. She's not happy about that.
Kev bid on a piece of art by Marianne Plumridge, which is cool. I put _Burndive_ and _Paladin_of_Souls_ on our pile for Larry's. And Trisha Bray recommended a book which I need to add to the pile tomorrow. *smile*
It's been a long day, and tomorrow will be long as well. But knowing there is wireless signal in the art show makes a big difference. *grins*
We're off to Albacon this weekend. I am hoping to have 'net access, but there are no guarantees. *fingers are crossed* On the other hand, I'll also be busy, so I doubt I'll be blogging much (although I've saved a file for the latest Game WISH since it's co-GMing and I am so very definitely going to be answering that! *smiles*).
So have a good weekend everyone!!
I am considering axing my Voices blog (which feels weird to me since the whole concept of the Voices in my Head is just SO me) and merging those pieces into the main blog, and also putting the character links on the main sidebar. I'm half afraid that by bringing in gaming and writing to one place the amount of links will be too huge. But then, I talk about gaming and writing regularly between here and LJ, so it makes a sort of sense as well. And then all my Voices won't be so hidden so far down in my site, and maybe get a little exposure. *smiles* It also just plain seems a little like more logical organization.
Leigh, from Jvstin's Strange Bedfellows, finally has a Trump of her own. The model is Laura Prepon, and handily enough, she was even dressed in the House colors and I didn't have to do a bit to change it other than making it look drawn instead of photoed!
The only bummer is that it is missing the braid Leigh is currently wearing, having shifted her hair to the right color so that her braid is her pride in her House. *smiles* But that was just WAY too much work to entwine a green & purple braid down the side of her face. So her hair can just stay all red for the moment.
I ended up getting two crits done yesterday, and just finished one up tongiht (which I am desperately hoping is coherent, because I'm not so sure *I* am just now). I read this story yesterday, and found it so chilling and full of hope at the same time that it really caught my attention and fascinated me. So I had to go back and crit it tonight.
Audrey had some comments on my children's story. Rachel didn't like it. The imagery was just too weird for her, and Audrey thinks maybe the audience should be older than I thought. I'm still not sure. I think what I really need are sketches to go with it (I'd intended it to be an illustrated book for 5 year olds or so) to see if that makes a difference. It is meant to be told with the pictures.
Dunno. 4-7 more crits and I can put it up on the site. Then we'll see what other adults think. But mostly, I need to get it read to children.
Oh, that was the big complement, though. It reads really really well aloud. I know there are a couple of places where the cadence falters, but I *did* get a cadence going and it reads easily. And I'm really, really happy for that, since that was one of the things I was striving for!
I did a crit! First one in AGES. Um (looks at spreadsheet)... first one in a month and a half. The last one was right before I went away to Worldcon. Ugh.
I've been trying to crit all week. I have been having a lot of trouble getting into things enough to review them with any coherency. And I'm not sure that this one came up as coherent. I was reviewing Chris, so since I was reviewing a friend, I let myself go with a little leniency and just sort of babbled away and was drop dead honest (not to mention a little weird in the middle of it all).
I need to find more to crit. 7 crits, minimum, preferably an even 10, before I'm allowed to post again. Gods this is gonna take a while! But I used to average keep about 13 online at one time, and I need to get back there!
There exists a possibility that the Cubs could play the Red Sox in the world series... would the world end? Or would they somehow both manage to lose?
It's been a long time since I've done a GameWISH. A damned long time. But then, I'm slowly pulling myself back out into the world and blogging community and talking and thinking about meta-gaming and all. So I'm thinking... and writing... and as always, rambling.
This week, Ginger asks...
How do you tell stories in your games? Are there character stories, overarching stories, and/or other kinds of stories? Could you tell a coherent story from games you’ve GMed or played in? Does it matter to you? Why or why not?
When I GM, and when I play, I tend to focus on character stories. Which so far, seems to be a thread in the responses I've read. *smiles*
My first Amber character belonged to a campaign that just sort of ended, mid-thread. It drove me nuts. I didn't feel I had any resolution for the character. She'd been through hell and back, and things finally fell apart. She never had a resolution in game, but after the game I found myself talking to Toigo because I wanted to think about what would happen in the future between Jenny and Jynx. We talked, came to a point of agreement between them, and Jenny finally settled down in my head.
I couldn't play her at ACUS until that point. I needed her to have a story before I could take her out and put her in another game.
Some characters have stories that come to a conclusion that means they'll never fit in elsewhere.
Still, that's not the question, and I'm doing that rambling thing. Let me switch to GMing.
I run character oriented games. I've always done that, developing the plot through the actions of the PCs and NPCs, moving the world according to their desires. When I started AoW (Artifacts of Winter), I told everyone it was my first attempt at a tightly plotted game. I had a concept. I had a goal for the dozen players. I knew where things were going.
Needless to say, they blew that out of the water. In the first few sessions, two characters (Chris & Josh) met up with two kids (Tessa & Ben) and decided they needed to rescue them. At that moment, the plot I had planned became secondary. The interaction of the characters, and the way Chris & Josh saving these two affected Blackmoor, changed everything. The plot was still there (and still rather important). But the story was told around Tessa. And it became this amazing powerful story that I am still vaguely in awe of, and refuse to take credit for... it belonged to the players. So many things happened, so many stories came and went and resolved all because of who the people in the story were. One fell in love with a goddess... which changed how the world ended (or didn't).
Were they stories? Yes. Each one came to a cnnclusion of some kind. I made sure of it at the end. I remember the sorrow at the end, to say goodbye to that cast of characters. The NPCs still live in my head. I still wish I could write it as a novel, but know I could never do it justice.
Does storytelling matter to me? From the character perspective, yes. Do I care if there was a plot and we saved the world? Nah. Not important to me. I care that something happened, that was important, and that my character and others made it through. I care about what happens to the people. But that's my style.
I'm trying to keep RoP character oriented. I need to know the hooks, need to know what drives the characters. There are plots, yes, although a good half of them are caused by the chaos inspired by one particular PC. *laughs* She, alone, is a hurricane waiting to happen. Which is wonderful for me. And I am anxious to tell her story... anxious to see how it plays out. Yet most of this game (for all the characters) has years and years of play ahead before storylines are resolved. I hope to hell I'm up to GMing it and keeping energy up for that long!
Story of some kind must be important. There must be a reason to want to play. A driving reason to find out how it comes out in the end. Something that keeps us coming back for more. That is the story. What KIND of story it is, depends entirely on the player and the GM and the chemistry between them. Me, I'll just keep searching for character oriented games and having a blast.
The hardest part, sometimes, is that this isn't a book. I can't flip to the last page and read ahead and find out what happens. We have to play through the story to get to the resolution. And there's no one path there... so many options, so many ways the story could go. Which is wonderful and frustrating all at once.
I like to say I'm patient.
I usually lie.
Well, I've decided. I'm going to NaNo again.
What is NaNo? Other than insane?
NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month, which is November. During that month, thousands of people around the world will try to write a 50k (or more) word novel.
Me, I'm just going to crank ahead on Dreamwalker. My goal is to add 50k words to it. It already clocks in close to 20k at the moment. It will be around 100k when it's done. So this'll be half the novel for me. Which will be good.
Will it drive me insane? Yes. Will I need to push to do it? Yes. Will I give up gaming to do it? NO. I will find a way to write and still run games. I need to run Mask and get that moving again. I need to get RoP moving again at Albacon. So I will do that.
But I also need a goal to strive towards for the novel. I had originally planned on two chapters per month and being done by the end of the year. I obviously didn't make that, since I'm not quite done with chapter 4 yet. But maybe, just maybe, I can get myself a good bit further.
1. Laundry (3 loads minimum)
Update 3:30 pm -- first load in dryer, second in washer
Update 6:00 pm -- second load in dryer, third in washer
Update 8:30 pm -- third load in the dryer... which means I'm mostly done
2. Apple cake
Done and cooling...
3. Cheesecake brownies
In the oven
Update 3:30pm -- cooling
4. Chocolate rice crispy treats
Update 6:00 pm -- Done, cut up, put away
5. Apple pie
Update 3:30 pm -- Cooling
Update 8:30 pm -- and it tasted yummy
9. Update blog links
Update 8:30 pm -- Done on blogrolling, and linked into Places to Go. At least, it's a partly updated list. It's not quite right yet. But it's getting there. Now I just need to find a way to make it into something more like the LJ friends page to make it better.
10. One crit
Update 8:30 pm -- For some reason I'm having a hell of a time picking pieces to crit. It's hard to get back into the groove after so long out.
That's a long list... maybe writing it down will make it all happen. (yah, right!)
Update 6:00 pm -- The kids are eating dinner, and I am in major pain in my back. Which is so not good. I'm tired too. Somewhat in a pleasant way, except for the kids throwing thing at me aspect of it. Dinner's on the stove (soup) and the salad's made. Ryan's going to bed soon, which is good -- maybe I can eat dinner in peace. I think I'm giving up on the rest of the baking for the day. It's just not going to happen. I'm spending the evening on my couch.
Well, it wasn't exactly INTENDED. But the dining room table has gotten... um... wobbly. The chairs have been in rough shape for a while. But the table itself is now ready to fall over. It wobbles when you touch it, let alone lean a little on it. Eyuck.
So, today we went shopping for a dining room set. Table, chairs. Something that could be a decent size (42x60 or so closed) normally, but expandable to BIG when we need it (at least 80" long, if not 90").
We found a mission oak table we both really liked. My description of it is a sushi block on tall legs. Nice, neat, square. But not Ikea smooth. Very nice, semi-rustic. Very us. Very very us.
There was a more rustic farmhouse table that I just loved (it had two leaves and went all the way out to 108"!!!). But it was just too expensive. Some year in a different house, maybe. The table we did pick out is very adaptable and would go well in many different settings. Which is good.
Dani was cute. She has a very good idea how our family simply expands sometimes, to include well, more people. I was talking about Thanksgiving, since we sorta need to do this before then. But she kept insisting it is for Christmas Eve, because that is when her Aunts and Uncles are there, and that was the important time to make sure we had a good table to fit everyone for.
I have determined that my brain has always been as cracked as it is now. I was listening to a tape I started to make when I was 18 (half a life ago almost!) titled "Love Theme from an Autobiography". Assumably, I found these songs romantic.
Some definitely are. "As the World Falls Down" from Labyrinth has always made me melt. The original "I WIll Always Love You" by Dolly Parton...
That one starts me noticing a theme. Of love songs that involve leaving. Of love songs that are unrequited. Or secret. Or incredibly depressing beneath the deep emotion that is also there.
And these was the tape of romantic songs I created. At 18.
I think I have to do the other side of the tape now...
FAC has a new policy -- IM only for business, and only with standardized names. This isn't a bad thing, since they are also recording everything we say over IM. So from now on, I will be offline during the day.
Catch y'all off-hours.
[to be repeated on LJ, for easiest dispersal to as many people as possible]
I am just bouncing off the walls right now, waiting for tonight. I am going to a concert (Mary Chapin Carpenter, Shawn Colvin, Dar Williams...) with Josh & Liz. Dinner first at the Pump Station (which I have never been to yet). So I am very very looking forward to getting to spend an evening with friends, as an adult, and a lot of relaxation.
*happy little sighs*
I'm just trying really hard NOT to think about all the laundry and other stuff that will still be waiting for me when I get home, and will need to be done before bed. *groans*