Monday, February 6, 2012

This week, on a very special From the Ashes...

So last Wednesday our Pathfinder game failed to materialize so Ark's son, aka The Boy, asked to try his hand at GMing.  Taking the Rules-Light approach with Labyrinth Lord, it was a magical night, filled with surrealist marvels.  Highlights included the goblin chief with plate mail skin swinging a 12 foot long club, a dragon ripping the top off of a mountain, and a case of mistaken identity when a group of friendly NPCs were mistaken for... something hostile, and slaughtered.

The bit that stuck with me, though, was at the end.  In the climactic battle, Ark's character went toe to toe with a dragon, who unleashed a ferocious breath weapon, and Ark's character... died horribly.

Now, a friend once told me that you can tell alot by a person by the way they roleplay (a concept which worries me slightly as I think back on some of my own roleplaying experiences).  If that is true, then I think it goes doubly so for they manner in which they GM.  How they roleplay shows how they interact with peers, how they problem solve, and how they deal with the immutable.  How they GM shows how they deal with being the immutable themselves, and dealing with others from a position of power.  Are they a "Blue Bolts From the Heavens" type?  A Monty Hauler?  A Power Playing Mary-Sue-er?  I think this speaks to their inner self, which is what made what came next as touching as it was.

Ark, having just been roasted by the dragon, shrugged his shoulders, put his character sheet away, and announced, "I'm dead!".  The Boy's brow furrowed, as he realized - he had just killed his Dad.  Well, really, he had killed an avatar of his Dad's will projected upon the screen of his own imagination, but the distinction was a bit too fine.  "No, you're not dead!", the Boy proclaimed.  "But yes, I really am!", replied Ark.  The Boy twisted the rules into knots, trying to keep his Father alive.  Back and forth this went, until our time was just about out.  Our third player attempted to bribe the dragon by offering up several of his magical bastard swords, but the dragon, having lost it's taste for adventurer flesh, wandered off.  Similarly, the Boy and his Father wandered out into the night, the Boy's brow still furrowed, glancing worriedly up at his Father as they left.

My cold black heart was warmed.  It's easy to become callous towards the deaths of PCs, and seeing it through the eyes of a child was quite an experience.  He's a good kid - a credit to himself, and his Father.

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