Describe a tricky RPG experience that you enjoyed
A tricky RPG experience I enjoyed came from a time before I was aware of any story games, which I assume were possibly in their infancy at the time. I wasn’t aware of any safety mechanics or anything at all along those lines.
I was running Buffy: The Vampire Slayer: The Roleplaying Game, set in Brighton. I’m a big fan of Buffy, of trashy teen drama, but I never expected to see it at the table. Buffy was a massive change to the way I run games and viewing them more like television episodes, with one monster a week and a general plot leading towards a Big Bad.
One week, there was a werewolf convention on the Brighton seafront. In my version of this world, werewolves were pack creatures so of course they had a general convention to discuss werewolf things. The previous generation’s Scooby Gang had dealt with the convention before, so they dealt with the adults while the players dealt with the daughter of the lead werewolf. Beth was a terrible person, looking for fun (trouble) at any moment. The group’s nerd, Jordan, was instantly smitten. The group’s jock, Quentin, was also smitten. They followed her round as she got into scrapes and risked breaking the pact of the different werewolf tribes. Despite being an NPC, the group clicked with her enough that I had to bring her back for a couple more appearances. The love triangle was brilliant and terrible, as painful and lacking in any actual finesse as a real teenage love triangle would be.
In the finale, Jordan and Quentin finally confronted Beth about her affections. Beth gave the most perfect, horrible letdown talk to Jordan. I felt bad acting through Beth’s part in the story. Steve Two looked heartbroken as Jordan, a character who’d suffered a lot through the campaign. I’d had versions of this talk and I can only assume Steve Two had as well. It was raw, awkward and fantastic. There’s a thing called ‘Bleed’, which I was introduced to by the wonderful Kate Bullock talks about on The Gauntlet’s podcast. This was definitely our first experience of bleed at the table.
I had plans for the sadly nonexistent season two, where Beth would get into werewolf drugs and try to drag the straight-laced Quentin in with her. I had an NPC Jordan might get interested in, who I would kill and turn into a ghost, because literally everyone but him was a monster in the series.