So yesterday I spoke about our game of The Watch. This was our kickoff, where we got to create characters, clans, and even our great enemy, the Shadow, in its broad strokes. Edmund, Dani and I had all played in Bryanna’s playtest games last year but Fish was new to the setting.
I felt much more relaxed about a friendly series set up for love of the game than I did about the playtest. I love playtesting and I try to give useful, constructive feedback, but I tend to tackle it as a more goal-oriented, must-meet-scope-and-deadline task than regular games. Yesterday I felt free to explore the setting and work on the detail of character relationships, unpressed by deadlines.
Gaming via VoIP has its technological and emotional drawbacks, but it does let you assemble the most wonderful gaming groups that could not possibly meet face-to-face, and it allows the use of nifty tools in real time.
For example, in our online games we usually prepare a Google Drive folder or other sharing point, and collectively take game notes during the game. Yesterday was no exception. You can also look for images of people, places, and objects right when they’re mentioned. Our GM Bryanna is very proficient with Roll20 and sets up great sites with backdrops, maps, character tokens, counters, card decks, etc.
We opened with a discussion of everyone’s comfort level with varying levels of darkness, violence, etc., and the use of the X-card, followed by a brief tour of the game’s themes and tone, and the Roll20 tools.
We then discussed the Shadow, our Sauron-equivalent, and basically what we’d like to punch in the face the most for this . From the options available, we picked:
What the Shadow Is :
What the Shadow Wants :
Pervert the land and all its creatures
Submission without resistance
What the Shadow Does :
Turn women into objects
Crush autonomy and grind down the willful
The Shadow’s Servants:
Men twisted into unnatural creatures of war
Cogs in a devastating machinery of war
The Shadow’s Moves
Terrify its opposition
Attack en masse
Make you doubt yourselves
Snuff out ambitions and dreams
Corrupt memories into twisted facsimiles
We made four characters:
- Otac the Bear, our Corporal; from Clan Toltho, known for their crafts folk and farmers (Fish); and three Wardens:
- Reule the Spider; from Clan Dothas, known for their mystics (Edmund);
- Papho the Lioness; from Clan Richti, known for their nomads (Dani); and
- Teyka the Wolf; from Clan Molthas, known for their rugged mountain folk (me).
We asked each other questions and established our characters’ relationships, generating a good deal of setting seeds in the process. Here is a relationship map I made today on Google Draw with what we generated yesterday; there is actually much more detail in our campaign notes, but I like visual tools. Relationships can be edited on the fly.
We then fleshed out our clans, and discovered more secrets, ties, and rifts! I think this is shaping up to be The Lord of the Rings + The Black Company + Fury Road.
Credits: Cover of The Watch by Claudia Cangini. Relationship map’s background image CC-BY-3.0 by David “Deevad” Revoy, obtained from Wikimedia Commons. Picture of Otak is actually of Photo of We’wha, a Zuni Lhamana,CC-BY-3.0 Wikimedia Commons. Picture of Reule is actually model Nicola Griffin, demo’ing the Winter 2015 collection for Caterina Wills Jewelry. Picture of Papho is actually of a Hawaiian woman with face tattoos, Getty Images. Picture of Teyka is actually of actress Zhang Jingchu in “Jade Warrior,” 2006. Picture of Miri is actually of a Tibetan girl, copyright Adele Stoulilova 2010. No copyright challenge intended.