17 May, 2015

Online Tabletop Gaming

Today I intended to spend an hour or two watching a roleplaying game being played out over a Google+ Hangout. It was being hosted by +Kyrinn S. Eis, pretty similar to something that I've run at conventions before (characters with little understanding of who they are, waking up from cryostasis, we then explore the characters as we explore the world), but using her own system (something that I offered some suggestions on during the week).

In her time, it was 8.30pm on Saturday night, which made it 10.30am on Sunday for me. My wife Leah was sick, so I didn't go along to my regular Sunday LARP, and the recent upgrade to our internet has made Google+ Hangouts vaguely possible. I hadn't really participated in one before, but watching it seemed a good way to put my toe in the water. I engaged the hangout just after the starting time, and became swept away in the game, with two other players (+Ethel B and +Keith Bailey). The biggest issue I had was a sick wife at the far end of the house, so I couldn't give the game the full attention it deserved (and I apologize to the GM and other players for that). I don't know if anyone else was watching, I couldn't see observers. I also wasn't sure of the controls on the Hangouts App on my iPad, because it was literally my first attempt at using this technology.

The game system was fairly simple, and felt very freeform in places, not Australian freeform but the way I've come to understand Americans to describe "freeform" gaming. Highly appropriate for the game's premise, where meatiness seems derived from direct character interaction rather than filtering everything through dice and other mechanisms.

As the game unfolded, it became apparent that I was some kind of biomedical specialist (named Dr. Johnson), Keith was playing a fix-it man (named William), and Ethel was some kind of primitive warrior (whose name vaguely translated into "Strong Girl" if I remember correctly). The building we awoke in was collapsing, and there were a few tense moments when we encountered soldiers who seemed to be patrolling the area. The only one of us who was a combatant certainly had no idea what a gun was, so conflict seemed a bad idea. Not a whole lot more happened before I was called away, but I'd be interested to see more about where this setting might lead, and how these characters might evolve.

I'd certainly be willing to give this another chance, especially giving Kyrinn another chance as GM (or, I'd be more than happy to have her play or either of the other two players in a game I might run using the Hangout technology some time in the future). I guess my first participation in the Contessa Online RPG convention can generally be considered a success.
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