Monday, November 15, 2010

Committee for the Exploration of Mysteries

The most recent episode in the ongoing scenario in my Uncreated campaign finished at the end of the evening's session last night. I love it when an adventure's conclusion gets timed that well. But it's not all perfect.

I thought at the end of an adventure would be a perfect time to switch to something else for a bit, to make the little dabbling in storytelling games I've been wanting to try out. Plus if I have to spend some time preparing an adventure, and it'll take some time to prepare this, I can't be doing both at once. However, our next session is only five days away, and I'm not sure I can be fully prepared in time.

What's worse is the session is only a few hours long. I was hoping to have a good five, six hours for the first time, so we can do one full story, without being rushed since we'll all be figuring out our way (I've only played the game once).

Despite these limitations, I think I'm going to go ahead with it. If I try to prepare the next adventure for Uncreated I am committing to running it for a while; I'd rather not interrupt it once it's underway. So if we try this and then take a while to get going, then we'll only do part of a story and end on a cliffhanger, then finish it in a second session.

I think the Committee for Exploration of Mysteries will be a good choice for a first try at a storytelling game. First, unlike some storytelling games, it doesn't depend on the players being assertive all the time, but gives them nudges about the times to speak up, the questions to answer, the decisions to make. That'll make it a gentler transition than something like Ribbon Drive, which really demands the players to be confident, comfortable, and eager to throw ideas out all the time, and offers comparatively little in moments of prodding them into it.

And second, it's a genre that is not only intimately familiar but also comfortable and engaging to all of my group. Some of the games I had recommended when I asked for a good "first" storytelling game were in genres that one or another of my group find less familiar or less appealing, like horror or cyberpunk. When I'm concerned about encouraging them to be assertive with their ideas, it's likely to be easier if they're comfortable with a genre and all its tropes.

On reviewing the rules I am tempted to drop the same elements that Charlton dropped when he ran us through the game at Carnage 12: the rules about beverages (and how they're used to time certain game elements), and the timer you have to count down scenes with. The former is an unnecessary complication, and the latter is unneeded pressure. We might try again with them at some later date if things go well.

Now I just need to make sure I have all the stuff I need, the time to read the book thoroughly and make notes, and a sense of confidence about all of it enough to guide my group through our first session. And if I decide that I won't be ready in time, I'll have lost time I need to prepare the other game I could be running. Maybe I should have found a way to pad out the previous adventure one more week?

No comments: