Thursday, August 11, 2016

#RPGaDay 2016: Day 11

Day 11: Which gamer most affected the way you play?

I GM more often than I play a PC, so the easy answer here is my wife, Erika, who has played in more of my games over the past 20 years than anyone else has. Our tastes in games are very similar (and similarly eclectic) and she's never afraid to give me feedback about what she liked and didn't like about a given game or session.

But if I limit my answer to how I play when I'm not GMing, then answering the question becomes much more difficult--I've known a great number of players and GMs in the 30+ years I've been playing RPGs.

The character who I've most enjoyed playing, and one who I've played longer than most, is Trick Tillinghast, from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer game run by Katie Hallahan (now Rahhal). "The Shadowgard Files" was a high school spin-off of Autumn Riordan's "Grey Angels" series, in which I had originally introduced Trick as my college-aged PC's younger cousin. I had played Baz as pretty much me (if I had been a half-demon mage, that is) but Trick--a snarky, impetuous, lovesick musician and fencer--was a much bigger stretch to role-play. But she was a great deal of fun, and Katie did an excellent job of providing opportunities for her to shine--and to occasionally (nay, frequently) crash and burn spectacularly.  Katie is also the most patient GM I have ever had, because she put up with Trick's more obnoxious side, too, which at times alienated her from numerous characters (both NPCs and PCs). Katie always did her best to find a way to keep the story moving, and in ways that pointed Trick back to becoming a more responsible, connected member of the local hero community. Sadly, we never got to finish the redemption arc that Trick had started on at the end, because the joint SF/GA campaign was shelved for a number of reasons. But she had finally discovered her life's true calling, and was set upon the path to embracing it: fighting alongside other champions to keep the world safe, and training the new generation of heroes how to do the same. (If only her love-life was so straightforward, she'd be the happiest girl in all of Shadowgard!)

Playing Trick did a lot to define (and refine) how I approach the hero's calling as a player. Much of Trick's "Protector of the Small" mindset (she adored Tamora Pierce's Kel books) informs characters that I've played in other systems and settings since then. The most obvious example of this is my obsidiman warrior, Catcher, in my wife's Earthdawn campaign. His entire purpose in life is defending those who can't defend themselves--without any of the emotional melodrama that colored Trick's career.

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