17 May 2011

I Am a Spoiled Gamer

I don't write enough about the games I'm involved with. I should write more about them, though, and this is why: I'm spoiled.

Today, I'm going to talk about the game I'm in using Mage: The Awakening. The game is very deep - it takes place in turn-of-the-17th-century Prague where we're all courtiers of the Emperor. The character I chose to play, in particular, was a war-weary older soldier named Ernst who has essentially been put into a more administrative role in the court. He's become deeply religious in his old age, and thus sees much of the world through this prism. This, of course, means that this cabal of Mages he has fallen in with are very foreign, probably heretical, and definitely out of his element.

To fast-forward a bit, Ernst has been awakened as a spirit mage, and this creates an extra balance between the spiritual world he knew before, the spiritual world he knows now, and the physical realm that his experience has been up to this point. This creates a lot of interesting and problematic situations for Ernst - he ends up being very reactionary as a rule, and I tend to play all my role-playing characters as somewhat paranoid. A lot of this came to a head last night, and this overview of the evening largely covers a lot of the details as to how it went down. The short version is that Ernst was put in a position specifically to counteract this, and some poor decisions combined with poor dice rolling ultimately resulted in the demise of Ernst. I was, however, able to rescue my soul at the last minute (which may have/probably resulted in my timely demise anyway).

In that the session was wicked cool, it's great. Even with my character dead for the moment, I'm not upset. In a lot of ways, it had to happen, and Ernst will be better for it as a character, and I'll be a better player because of it in the game. As I drove home last night, though, it really made me appreciate this game and the games I'm in generally speaking. With the exception of my first exposure a few years back before I got into gaming with the group of folks I'm with now, I've had some of the greatest storytelling experiences, deepest games I think I could be exposed to. In the event the people who run my games ever stop, I don't know what I'd do for my role-playing fix because I already feel like I'm among some of the best.

This is a post in part to praise those creating the games I'm lucky to be involved with, but moreso for those reading this to be appropriately jealous at this embarrassment of riches. This is a game that sticks in my head and won't get out, and one that I have not appreciated nearly enough from time to time. It always keeps me guessing and really keeps me wondering what's coming next. When I think of the books I ultimately enjoy as my favorites, of the more passively-oriented video games that I'm drawn to, it's the type of entertainment that keeps me guessing and keeps me wanting more. And while a previous version of me would be jealous that I can't come up with this sort of universe, current me is simply glad to be part of it.

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