On Friday I ran the last session for my experimental game, Greymoore. I'm not going to post a session recap for the last session, as it's not as important anymore (though I will give the ending below). Mostly, I want to talk about the experiment itself, and how it worked out. For those who didn't keep up, the experiment was how would it turn out if you ran a table top RPG with the intent of it playing out like a novel. Main character, supporting cast, the whole works. So how did it go? Read on to find out
So, first off, for those who have watched the session recaps, the ending of the game was interesting. The PCs won the final battle, Liam fought his mother, Ilian dueled a dragon with magic, Rab and Malik had a final confrontation, and the forces of the world managed to pull out a victory. However, that is where the good news ends. The battle was costly. Liam and Rab both died on the PC front. Grenru was injured and unable to be in the final part of the battle. Elise, Jasa, Corin the Red, and the Dwarven King all died in the fighting as well. The population of the world was heavily reduced, especially in the leadership positions, and while the races will unite for survival it will be Ilian who is left in charge. The most powerful mage in the world, who cares too much about things, put in a position of ultimate authority. How long before peace leads to tyrannical dystopia? A question for a different game perhaps.
As for the Experiment? All in all the game was a success. There was more structure than normal in a game, but the players went with it and the bumpers weren't run into too often. The main character worked out, and everyone helped with bringing the player of it through the hero's journey. That being said, the game was not all peaches and creams. partially because of the limitations, and structure, needed for a game.
For one, the presence of a main character put a lot of stress on the player in a weird way. At times the game simply couldn't start, or progress, without that player. We knew this going in, but as that player's life became weird, the game started becoming a bit more jittery. Not the player's fault, but still something that had to be dealt with. The structure of the game also meant certain things had to happen in certain ways at times, making for a few times where I had to minimize the player's effectiveness for narrative purposes. Finally, the dice flat out betrayed me at times, turning dangerous enemies into chumps because of bad rolls.
I'm not sure I would do it again. The complications around a main character - which making for some interesting game situations - ultimately I think took away from the game. Making 6 people's fun hang on the availability of just one person. Ironically, this is exactly the case with a GM going missing, but the GM isn't usually the person who ends up having to drive 2 hours to get to a game.
Honestly not sure what else to bring up about the game. Like I said, it was fun, it was interesting. I poured a lot into the game, and it paid off. Just, at the same time, the more you put into a game the weirder it feels when you are done with it. The group is taking the next 2 sessions off (about a month) to refresh and decide what we want to do next. I'll keep you informed.