Thursday, April 25, 2013

Other People's Weird Adventures

One of the cool things about getting Weird Adventures out there has been the opportunity to hear what other people are doing with it. Even more cool is getting the chance to be a player in someone else's game unfolding there version of the world. Lester B. Portly has been doing some playtesting of his pulp game Detectives & Daredevils on Google+, and I’ve been playing sometime trumpet player, sometime unlicensed private detective, Chick Marlowe. Lester has been taking us through a great interconnect set of crime stories involving Yianese drug-dealing tongs, alchemical drug formulas, and (possibly) jazz musician cultists.

Of course, watching somebody else play in your sandbox takes a little discipline. Even if you’re okay with them making changes (which I am), you've also got to resist the urge to jump in and “help out” when there’s a question about a setting detail that comes up. It’s been interesting to see how Lester has been making it his own. For instance, he tones down the fantasy/magic aspects of the setting a bit, though I think not as much as he initially thought he would. Still, his is a bit more “pulp world with more magic” compared to my “fantasy world in a pulp era.”

Anyway. I asked him a few questions about how he approached it. I don’t know if this will interest anyone but me, but here’s what he had to say:

What do you feel has been the hardest part of adapting the world for your own use? What amount of “weird” did I wanted my game to be. I wanted to be fairly accurate in capturing the flavour of the Weird Adventures book and I played around with the idea of cherry picking ideas, but settled on running the setting as written.

Because it is a distinct setting, I had to plug some minor details that were vague and hoped I wasn't screwing up stuff in the book that I missed. There were some things from fiction and history that I wanted to use that just wouldn't fit in.

What's been the most enjoyable part of doing so? I think that sticking with the setting as written has forced me to think outside the box. I enjoyed grafting on my own take to Weird Adventures.

Has your perception of the setting changed any in going from reading about and then playing in the setting vs. running it? The fantastic elements don't seem as problematic as I thought they would be. I wanted the weird elements to stick out. The bits that I have used worked fine without the game feeling like it was just standard fantasy in a hard-boiled drag.


Jim Shelley said...

The question of how much Weird to put into such a scenario is a tricky one. I always say go with what's comfortable to you.

Nice graphic today btw!

Trey said...

@Jim - I can't take credit for that one. That's Lester's doing.

Tallgeese said...

What's it like for the setting designer and the adoptive GM when the latter begins to get your sand between their toes by starting to GM in the sandbox you created? This is a great discussion, and even better when presented from both the desiger's and the new GM's POVs. It's an issue that doesn't get discussed nearly enough,and it really deserves more attention. Well done.

Trey said...

@John - Thanks. Glad to hear it's of interest to someone else.

Chris C. said...

I can imagine it would be pretty cool to see someone else's particular take on your world, to see how they interpret it and possibly take it in different directions. That's pretty neat.

Trey said...

It is. It's interesting the things Lester wants specified that I was content to leave vague and then the things I was specific about that he prefers to ignore. It can be 90% similar to come out feeling very different.

Kaiju said...

Fantastic! I'm certainly enjoying the game.

Thanks to you both for a peek behind the curtain.

The Happy Whisk said...

That was interesting. Both the questions and someone else playing your game. Neat stuff.

PS: It snowed here the other day. Nothing stuck but boy oh boy, so weird.

Trey said...

Crazy! Spring has definitely arrived here.