Monday, February 13, 2012

Secret Warlock: Rules behind the World

In retrospect I really should have known better

I’d like to revisit the encounter with the Gaood, or evil tattooed fairies for this week’s post. I really enjoyed this encounter. I have made this character to be a Lord of the Winter Fey, so any time I get to incorporate that aspect of my character I really feel rewarded for bringing it to the table. The last time I was that excited I used the fact that I was a Lord of Winter to show an icy room who was boss. One of the best things about my DM for this game is she actually uses the background and personality information I give her in the game. I’m very happy with this because so often my DM’s have asked for background and then ignored it. I know I am guilty of this myself on occasion. I think using your characters’ hard work is better reward than any amount of mechanical bonus, not that I would mind a mechanical benefit. One more thought on this and then I’m moving on. I think all the 4e haters who say it’s all about combat and just a tabletop MMO should play with my DM. It might change their minds a bit.

I said I enjoyed the encounter, and I did, because I got to put on my Winter Fey Emissary hat and try to negotiate with the Evil Tatooed Fairies.  When we first ran into them they claimed to just be after some fun, and not to know who the Gaood were. Some of the other players believed them, or appeared to, but I had a feeling they knew more than they were letting on. In fact, I became convinced they were the Gaood in disguise. I enjoyed trying to convince the fairies to aid us, and I really enjoyed showcasing my supposed knowledge of the fey. All of this brings me to the part of the encounter that was frustrating, and to the point of today’s article.

The Wizard I wanted to be before
I have become a huge fan of Jim Butcher. I started reading the Dresden Files because of the SciFi Channel show. I loved the show, and I love the books it was based on. If you haven’t read them or seen the show you should check them both out. Harry Dresden is the Wizard I want to be now. I don’t want to spoil the series, but there is a pretty large focus on Fey creatures, particularly the Winter Court as the books go on. A lot of Aramil is inspired by the Dresden Files, and my understanding of how the world works is based a lot on how the world of the Dresden Files works. To a large degree I am playing Aramil as if he were a Winter Court Lord in the Dresden Files, and my expectations of how the world works is based on that assumption. The problem was I don’t think my DM was working from the same set of assumptions.

When I talk about the rules behind the world I don’t mean whether you are playing 3e or 4e or DnDnext. I am talking about the basics of how the world works. For example do the laws of contagion and similarity apply, or is there some other basis for magic? Does knowing someone’s true name give you power over them? Finally, most important for my character, how do the rules of hospitality apply when dealing with evil tattooed fairies. As I said my understanding of fey creatures is inspired by Harry Dresden with a pinch of Shakespeare for good measure.

Fuego! Evil Fairies!
 I am sure part of the problem stemmed from the fact that they weren’t actually fairies, but I was very disappointed when they acted in a way that I wasn’t expecting. I took pains to make an agreement with them that left little wiggle room, and I insisted that they declare us guests which in my mind would have given us some measure of protection. Even though they were not fairies I was very surprised that they would betray a guest, particularly one highly placed in the Winter Court. So when they started making my friends dance while I played the dirge, and when they turned my dirge into a disco I called down the wrath of winter on them. I was very upset and I am planning on getting sweet, sweet revenge on them in the next session, but the entire situation could have been avoided if I had a discussion with the DM regarding my expectations for how the world works, before I acted on them.

Whether you are a player or a DM I encourage you to examine your assumptions. Go ahead and have a discussion about some of the basics. Having a deeper understanding of the rules behind the world can help your immersion, and lead to a richer game experience. I imagine we would be fighting Evil tattooed pixies tonight no matter what I had done, but I would feel less a fool if I hadn’t made such a thing of them making us guests since it didn’t really seem to matter. Until next time remember don’t let your DM tell you no. It’s always, “Yes and…?”

No comments:

Post a Comment