Sunday, March 30, 2014

On Last Night's Zounds Character Creation Session

Over oh his blog, +Mark Knights  offers an excellent mini-review of Zounds, the fantasy RPG by +Joshua Macy . I will be running the game Mark is involved with and would be remiss if I didn’t talk about the game a little bit as well.
As Mark mentioned, we did only do character creation last night. And, I’m okay with that. We were introducing new people to the game and familiarizing them with new concepts. Which reminds me, here’s a special call out to Mark and the rest of my players, +Keith Bailey+Robert Hanz+Lloyd Gyan+Jennifer Corniuk+Jonathan Henry, and potentially +peewee rota and others. If you’re looking back over your character, and you want to make a change, that is perfectly legit to do between game sessions. That isn’t just a house rule, but something right in the rules set. So, as Mark mention I gave him a little bit of grief over the generic, “back stab” power his character has, it’s perfectly fitting, but one of the other ideas he mentioned in his blog he might find more useful.

One thing that I really like about this game is the level of customization without having to spend hundreds or even thousands of points, doing math with some sort of archaic abacus to complete your character. It is also neat that you can make up a character in about five minutes or you can spend all week putting different tweaks and moving things around and the two characters may be very different, but still the same level. Thinking and putting more work into your character, if that’s what you like to do, allows you to draw some distinctions, but mechanically, they are no better off. And, that’s one thing that was cool to get my wife, Jennifer involved. She always comes up with these cool character concepts and ends up being disappointed. One of the following things inevitably happens in other systems:
  • She’s told “you can’t do that.”
  • “Yeah, we can do that we just need to figure it out” at which point she loses some amount of control and player agency in the character creation.
  • She is told that she must make choices—opportunity cost based decisions, if you will—where you can do this or that, but not both. Or, if she can do both, she’s not going to be great at either.

Zounds, and the whole SFX line encourages her creativity. The cool thing is, it wasn’t a matter of “how could we do this,” but rather “which way do you think works best for YOUR character?” It was a lot of fun and it’s the first game in awhile she hasn’t come back to me later and said kind of rubbed her he long way or quickly lost her interest. And, that’s just based on character creation. That’s a winner for me and, if you sit back and hear Joshua’s tale some day of how the SFX system came into being, you’ll see why it handles something like that so well.

As a note, I will be running this Sunday game and a Monday game regularly—two very different settings, but both still fantasy. More players are welcome, especially as I do expect people to come and go with it being an online game. So, if you’d like to get in on one of those games, create a character before or next session, or just learn more about the game, feel free to hit me up on Google+.