CLASSES OF PLAYERS (What to expect)
These italic sections refer to actual incidents of my life in role-playing. The names of all other characters and players have been changed to protect their privacy…except, of course, for me. Now, I started life as a Slasher in AD&D. When I moved from that onto others like Star Wars and Robotech, I drifted towards creating personas and the need for weapons fell. I have player every game imaginable. Mostly, I refereed most games but I played a few times to. One instance, I came as a Role Player but since this was my first foray into GURPS, I found my character (an ex-cop) overwhelmed by gun toting cyberpunkers. After more than 4 months of falling behind in the group. I changed my character and turned him into a hitman who could hold his own with the others. The first moment a PC drew his weapon on me, we rolled our quickdraw skills. While his gun was being drawn from the holster, I pulled back the hammer on my pistol in front of his skull. The game folded a month later…but I had my moment…
Derrick and I knew Bill’s mech game didn’t require much role-playing. Derrick and I role-played together for almost a decade until this point. We often would goof off together in our characters (whether they liked each other or not). Also experienced designers, our Mechs showcased a pinnacle of construction. After two hours in the first session, our mechs found themselves surrounded by twenty large opponent machines demanding surrender. Our simple answer came in a barrage of missile fire. Two hours later, after a nonstop mech fight, Derrick’s and my mech were barely hanging on. I lost all but one weapon and Derrick pummeled a mech to death with another opponents dismembered arm. However, we defeated them. The game came to grinding halt. The GM assumed we would have surrendered. The story required it…Bill never refereed to Derrick and myself again. Well…he should have known Derrick and I have fought greater odds in other mech games and won.
When I joined Doug’s game, I could have designed a killer mech with one eye closed and both hands tied behind my back. After all, I created Conestoga a year earlier and built no less that 20 different designs for that game. The Mekton Technical System was like a Bible and I could quote scripture with the best of them. I also liked role-playing and created a combination that both worked well in combat as well as a personality I was itching to try…an ass. I always played the nice guy…but I wanted to try a jerk for once. The other players had some experience but the group suffered eventually from not one but from EVERY single conflict I list later in this essay. In combat, of course, while the inexperienced players banged away with mechs with six or seven different guns (the first sign of a novice), I racked up as many kills as the rest of the group put together. However, my personality became unpopular and since most of the group couldn’t disassociate me from my character, I found myself on the street within three months.
Jack sat in my Terminals game, without speaking, for more than two hours. Derrick and James, totally in characters, controlled the room at the moment. The crisis dealt with Derrick’s son controlling a fleet of not so nice enemy spacecraft and James having the capacity of killing Derrick’s son. The other three members of the group tried to ease the situation. I turned to Jack and tried to get him involved. Mouth almost gaping and eyes wide, in shock, Jack replied, “I have absolutely no idea what to say.”
In episodic gaming (a series of adventures rather than one long story), a GM can tailor each episode to use the skills of certain players. If the reverse happens and an experienced Role Player joins a bunch of rookies, disaster awaits in the ditches in case the game should veer too far. Often enough, the PC is assumed to BE his/ her character and any little character fault is mapped onto the Player. If joining a group of novices, the experienced Role Player should create a nice guy…seriously; otherwise you risk being kicked out of the group for being an ass. As for the novice Slasher joining a Role Playing group, try to tone down your Rambo mentality and work on some eccentricities of you character that are not gun-related. It may be difficult…give it a try.
Joe was a Slasher in my Pathfinder game, but not an experienced one. He bought all his weapons from the High Tech Supplement from GURPS. However this setting utilized a tech setting from Ultra Tech (My Pathfinder game before I modified the game system to match my needs). When Joe started pulling out his weapons, getting hard to showcase what he had to flaunt, he fell back as an experienced role player, Craig, yanked out his x-ray laser and minced the enemy in no time. Soon, I had to bring everyone to the same level…down unfortunately, to even the playing field. However, the game was story driven and gunfights were few and far between. I encouraged Joe’s character by giving him a great conflict…he was a spy. When his dark side came out, Joe’s lack of efficient Role Playing skills proved detrimental and instead of coming clean or perhaps growing his character to understand the plight of his comrades he just betrayed, he pulled his gun and tried to escape…on a spacecraft…less that two football fields long. Five against one…not so fair. Joe was ‘cuffed and placed in a cell. Never once did he attempt to offer amends, instead trying more ways to sabotage the ship. He wrote me notes on which of his devices in his quarters were rigged with explosives. When the seasoned Players searched Joe’s belongings, they didn’t bother studying what he had, they simply “spaced” everything he owned into the deep. His personal spacecraft? Ejected as well and towed behind in case it was also rigged. Disarmed, Joe became quiet and anti-social. Unable to win the groups trust again, the character left. Joe tried later with a new PC. I allowed the group to “interview” this new character…low and behold; it was the same type of character. Joe walked out of the game and was never heard from again. The high point for me, and what made this incident fall into the “good memories” department, was that all I needed to do for four full hours was watch five role players completely sink into their characters with no input from their GM. It was like releasing a bird and seeing it fly.
When I played Martin’s fantasy game, I was among
the age majority, between 25 and 30. We all knew each other and role-played
well. The concern came from three other players. Divided straight
down the middle. Three were circa 25 years of age; three were circa
18 years of age. The lines were drawn. We never came to blows
in the game but whenever older players became cynical and annoyed, it never
directed itself to any older players. With age comes experience.
Jason and I played in a Cyberpunk game with three much older guys, above
30. Two of them held bachelor degrees. Suffice to say, the
GM never tried to dumb them down nor did he try to keep us on the same
level. You can imagine who made most of the decisions in that game…