The Awful Truth
This was the only game I played with tpau. I was less then 100% sharp by this point in consequence of being deeply and painfully female. I will walk through my experience.
1) I didn't know anything about the universe. That might have helped. There were links to prior readings, but I didn't really understand much of what was going on, as a result of my being new. Having gone back and reread the webpage, things make more sense now. The same sentences actually have meaning.
2) I had a one sentence character description before the game with a non-human style name (Guram) and a statement about being an androgynous being. This gave me the idea that I was a non-human character from a non-human realm. This is important mostly because it's very not true.
The GM explained later this was because he didn't want the risk of tainting our characters with his interpretations. A valid point, but not particularly likely. If I had to give advice to the GM, I'd probably have said that even if he didn't want to provide us information about our characters, it would have been delightfully intelligent to provide us the the blue sheet on the other characters, because getting familiar with who they were was terribly difficult. We were all the in same boat, completely confused by both who we were and who everyone else was. That sorta dragged the game down a bit.
So proceeding into the game, I got a full length character sheet which I completely misinterpreted. (oh yeah, and wicked spoilers, btw). I got the feeling my character was a hermaphrodite, hence the lack of gender in his ideal form, compensating you know, or possibly just a dreamer who can't find commonality with his peers. I played him rather shy, loving the area, willing to anything for his friends, but craving anonymity (which was in his profile). He just wants to fit in. He doesn't want to stand out, implied his character sheet, and I decided that meant even as a leader. He was supportive and friendly.
The problem was, it was supposed to be character driven, but none of us knew enough about our characters to really drive the plot with it. Also, I had hints of what I thought was a romance between two of the characters, and then that never happened, so I'm still not sure what the hint was about. It wasn't a shared secret, so, what then? We had some mysteries to figure out as well.
The game ground to a dead halt when it came to assigning a new Rose Queen. As the pathetic children (me, annA, hoppie, etc.) presented our cases to become Rose Queen, even though my character didn't want to be Rose Queen, we were handed our secrets to read. I will NOT divulge my secret, but on reading it, it became immediately obvious, that I'd been playing the character ENTIRELY incorrectly. But now I was sorta locked into the characterization, even though it made no sense. On a personal note, one of the secrets was of a boy dying of cancer. Yes, I sat in the corner and cried for a few minutes. I cried again this morning talking to Alison about it, and I'm feeling the tears again in my eyes just thinking about it now. So lets move on, shall we?
So we all presented our secrets and we pretty much all have suck lives we're seeking escape from. And the "greater" powers (earth, wind, void, and whatever else they were) "voted" but then didn't seem to accept their own vote, and then went off and deliberated, leaving everyone confused and scared of the changes. So then they picked someone and that process was never explained. And then things were magically better and the game ended without leaving me with an actual feeling of resolution. The other flower kings and queens never seemed to have a real contributing role either. I never quite figured out what they were about, even after the wrap.
The game recap explained some of the things, but I felt a lack of accomplishment. The GM assured us that as this game was about character, that was reasonable, but it felt like I let down my character by not providing him with more support and help. And there were some threads that were never picked up in this game, such as it might have been interesting to know that hoppie's character was doomed to nothingness after the game was over at some point before the game wrap. Maybe the new Rose Queen could have helped us.
--------Next game, On the Rails.......courtesy blank space here.
I loved this game until the wrap. During the wrap, I realized I had no useful plots and had gleaned no useful information and affectively took my character an entirely different way. That really killed some of my buzz.
What I did: well I was naive, and playful. I think I flirted shamelessly, particularly with the American, (whose language was so uncouth and wild, and yet so...enticing...) but I didn't mean to. It's just that when you're pretending to be interested in what ever people say and writing things down "for the book" but also for any articles I was hoping to write, it required me to be flattering and placating.
But I didn't get any of the political information I was probably expected to try to get. They kept their secrets too well for that. 8-( What I did do was end up joining a women's movement and sucking in some other people and I got the charming American to teach us to shoot. The only thing that bothered me about this game is that people were already starting to drag from the weekend, and by this time of night, they were having a difficult time staying in character. My character felt so natural to me, stilted and formal, but a bit silly, I had no trouble staying into it, so it was strange to me that other, more experienced LARPers elected not to do it.
The characters in this game was interesting, and the players were fabulous. I just wished that I'd been more integral to the plot. But then, when I had the chance to be integral the plot I screwed it up and ended up marginalizing myself. So maybe it wasn't the game, it was me. But speaking of screwing it up, lets talk about....
--------next game: Call Batman, Call Superman, call anyone....
I probably won't go into deep specifics here, not the least of which because it's the last one of a bunch, and those usually get short shrift just on principle, but also because I know I was responsible for marginalizing my character through my own inexperience or bad playing, one or the other, and that's frustrating for me. I was paralysed (that's not a pun, BTW, although it certainly could be) by an over-abundance of information and no good method of sifting through it to find what was or wasn't important. As a result, the villains all escaped in some way or other. But the city was saved, so that's something.
This game was fun, although again, I felt like I let the character down by trapping her around the main building when she could have gone off with Wonder Girl to face the villain head-on. The problem with that traces directly to my inexperience with sifting through information and I feel badly about that. Lex Luthor who, as previously mentioned, was a sensationally powerful RPGer generally, once again took command of the situation. Again, like Marlow, a great plot that was fun to play, but that I personally felt that I didn't take advantage of the way I could have.
So final thoughts. I don't know. I'm not good at it. Hoppie is revoltingly good at it and I find that depressing. I know he's done things like this before, although as he points out, 15 odd years ago. I don't know if that made a difference, or he'd just naturally better at it. That's the down-side of surrounding yourself with naturally smart and talented people. It makes the people who have to work at it feel rubbish. Anyway, the conclusion is that I feel better having written down some of the things I saw than I did before. They asked me this morning at breakfast whether I'd do this again, and I said, I honestly wasn't sure. Alison laughed and pointed out that I never make up my mind quickly. I always like to deliberate before I come out in support or against something. It's funny, I've always been chided for my impulsiveness, and yet now I might have veered predictably too far the other way. Maybe I act quickly and think slowly.
It's just occurred to me why she who shall not be named crept into my dream last night. Because she'd mentioned that wanted to do improv with me and hoppie, thinking we'd be good at it, and LARP is a somewhat intensified version of improv, really, at base. I hadn't made that connection until just now.
Anyway, the point was that I am feeling better about things. And as Doug just told me on the phone, I'm probably always going to be harder on myself than other people.
In other thoughts, it was more cliquish than I expected. I think a good deal of that was after role playing for 4 hours, you're exhausted and the last thing you want to do is talk to someone with whom you might potentially have nothing in common. It's far easier to relax with the people you already know. Because of that, I didn't really feel like I met very many people. I did match one existing name in my universe to a face (Hi oakenguy), but generally, I didn't really meet people. That's very unusual for me, and so notable. Or rather I liked all the people I did meet, but there was no exchange of emails or ljs or anything of that nature. Everyone was very sweet, but and I know this will sound like a criticism, and it's not meant that way, I found I had to start and keep the conversations going, which again, having just done that for 4 hours at a stretch in game, was exhausting. I'm not going to say it wasn't worth the effort, because I'm sure it was, but it seemed other people had so much to talk about to other people with so much less effort then I was exerting to talk to them, that the ROI was just felt like a negative gain (if I may be buzzword compliant for a moment). I imagine that if I were to become more familiar to people and more experienced and comfortable with RPGs that some of that would go away just because we'd have shared experiences under our belts. Does that make sense?
Someone from The Awful Truth commented that hoppie and I played very well for first timers and hoppie took the remark as a sort of "well, she probably says that to everyone. She seems like an optimist" and I took it as a "Well, she means hoppie more than me." which I suppose is something interesting as a comment on our general personalities. Although he knows he was a great Puck and that he was great in At the End of the Day, which he played while I was in On the Rails.