Day 45

For a bit over a year (14 months, this past Tuesday), I've been having a lot of fun thanks to a little thing I've been doing over the Internet. To me it's really simple, but it's fairly hard to explain to people that aren't too familiar with it. I'll give it a whirl.

It's a play-by-post role-playing game on a message board. That probably does not sound interesting to most reading this, but it's probably some of the most fun I've had in my entire life. I'll try to explain why succinctly without resorting to tech-talk.

If you don't know what a role-playing game is, the second link above is a pretty good way of finding out. The first lays down how play-by-post games (PbP) games work, if you're at all interested. But basically, several people scattered all over the globe are involved in this particular game. One fellow is running the show--he's establishing the scenarios, ties things together, and does all of the dice-rolling. The rest of us play our characters like an actor would play a role.

We're using a game based on the Spycraft 2.0 rules (the number means it's an updated, revised version). Like many other role-playing game rules, Spycraft is like a toolbox--you can use it to play lots of variations on the spy/espionage themes, from James Bond-ish settings to Cold War intrigue. We're playing in a setting that's pretty realistic; it's set in the present, with our characters playing mercenaries hired to do various missions. One bullet can kill, and loyalties shift like a box of sand in the bed of a dumptruck. It's very, very, very much influenced by the film Ronin (and Spartan, for that matter).

The guy running the game usually presents the scenario and each scene within to us, the players. We decide what our characters are going to do ("Warren will try to bribe the guard at the check point"), and guy running the thing will roll dice and see if it happens or not, posting the results in the "out of character" thread. Based on the results, the players post in the "in-game" message thread to describe what's happening. We're telling the story cooperatively.

All of this aside, here's why it's fun--this isn't like a video game, where you blast away at things and shut down and forget about it. We've created our characters like they're characters in a novel: they have lives, backgrounds, fears, dreams, morals (some moreso than others).

Aside from the guy running the show, only two players have stuck with the game for the whole 14 months; our two characters have bonded like brothers. The other player's character is an Irishman named Michael Fitzwarren. Michael is the brute force of the team, great with guns and shooting them, but he's sad-eyed and softspoken. He also is very easily distracted by women and charity cases, often putting himself (and consequently the team) in danger by sticking his neck out for them. My character is an aging, former Dutch professor named Warren Van Seerveld. He's the glue that ties the team together, fantastic at lending a hand (be it in a gunfight or canvassing a crowded city for a mole) and blending in. Warren and Michael have saved each other's lives more than once, and Michael's player and I have a lot of fun bantering back and forth with our characters, figuring twists in the plot out, and so on.

It's like we're reading a really good novel that we're also helping to write.

The guy running the game set up a website for our game here: it has lots of game stat stuff, which probably won't be of interest to those reading, but the "past jobs" section is worth checking out. It has all of our work posted by mission, so you can essentially read everything we've written for the past year. There are lots of typos, and you can't really tell who wrote what from the format (which was probably intentional), but I'd say check it out. It is pretty gritty, so be warned.

posted, with grace and poise, by Jason @ 10/20/2006 11:09:00 PM,


At 2:11 AM, Blogger Janet said...

guess many didn't feel ya on this topic, huh?

heck, i'm too lazy to even read the stories :-\ sorry

At 1:02 AM, Blogger Jason said...

Thanks for the vote of support, Janet.


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