Choosing Wisely

English: Slum in Glasgow, 1871

I generally approach Monday nights with a creeping sense of dread. Don’t get me wrong – I love gaming night. I also enjoy the whole business of gaming. What kills me can be the uncertainty about whether I actually will GM or not. If I do GM, what size group will I have and what sort of game would they prefer to play.

I try to do what prep I can and have a drop-in game or three in my back pocket – but that does not come without some forethought. I like to think I can improvise without any prep at all, but that simply isn’t true… I need to have a grain of something to work with and the energy to do something with it.

I was tired last night as I took the reins of gamemastery for the weekly session, stepping in after the unexpected sickness of the planned GM.

I decided to play a Fate Accelerated version of Arclight Revelation Tianmar, Victorian steam mecha versus the Red Weed.

I think it all started well with the description of the setting, which I think throws all kinds of hoops in the player’s direction, but then I had a choice between describing their foe thus:

You find the village beset by creatures of bestial frame, their filthy, blood-encrusted black-white fur hanging loosely off their skeletons. Blood-tinged froth drips from their slavering lips, behind which you see long sharp teeth, stained and broken. You spy a twisted intelligence in dark animal eyes, a tortured malignancy; feral, riddled with rage and pain. Red weed grapples and entwines the beasts emaciated limbs, piercing the flesh, pulsing with a hideous alien life force. The weed-construct growls and levels a weapon at you, a silvery, box-like device you recognise as a Martian lightning cannon…

OR

You find the village under attack by mutant weed badgers with guns.

I did not choose wisely… I don’t think the game suffered horribly, but I had envisaged the badgers with some measure of horror in mind, not comedy. The blunt and flavourless description did nothing to help or reinforce the intent. I let myself down just a bit and I regret that in retrospect.

I may have to find myself an alternate go to system as well as I’m not convinced I’m grokking the Fate system. Maybe I need to play a few games to really get to grips with it.

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