‘This will get complaints’
That is my general thought process when i write something for Hades. I genuinely spend the weeks running up to Hades terrified i have crossed a line. I actually asked a friend ‘Does dealing with the use of financial slavery in the sex industry cross a line if i use it in a game?’ I mean i only ask people who will enable me, but the thought is still there i suppose.
Well that or worrying that the spectre of nihilistic existentialism is probably not going to make the most charismatic villain.
‘Woooooo i’m the works of Sartre, fear me.’
Not that terrifying, unless you are a first year philosophy student with an assignment due or in your mid forties staring down mortality.
So the second Hades ran, it ran well i think, so i may as well put my thoughts down.
Straight off the mark i have a fantastic crew and players. The thing would not work if they didn’t get it. The crew is amazing and as a writer i’m not so precious that i won’t just let them make stuff up. It works. I trust them. Some of the encounters that went out were just crew riffing off stuff the players did and more importantly Saturday night there were crew suggesting encounters based off what they had seen or that gelled with the world and the things in it for the next event. One idea left me blown away at how clever it is.
I think this organic growth is really important to the game and has changed my attitude to writing, the next one will be more collaborative. Previously my attitude is i’m writing it so if it falls over it’s on me and if it works it’s on all of us. Certainly the creativity in the crew room was amazing and felt as if anyone could just pitch something without anyone being rude, but also i could still say no and no one would be offended. It was almost as if a bunch of adults were collaborating.
And to be clear some stuff didn’t work, or at least not the way i wanted. One bad brief by me was very noticeable. The cool thing is i know that’s on me and i know how to fix it. That along with some narrative and tonal issues stemming from incomplete new ideas meant that i need to now build and scaffold around them in the next game.
I am pretty fatalistic in my post event analysis, not because everything is awful, but i think it’s very important to acknowledge what you need to improve rather than brush it off. I’m always faintly amused when people say stuff like ‘it’s the players’ or ‘crew didn’t do it right’. Rather i see it as poor briefs and not enough signposting to information. After all people can only work with what you give them.
Huh just read back over that lot and it reads like everything was on fire. Actually, other than the toilets, everything was incredibly smooth. It ran well and was a good game (I say that now, but i didn’t count the players or crew off site so one of them could be dead in a bush…) That’s down to an amazing team of crew that carry zero drama, work hard and are trusted to just do stuff while i flounce around being a creative.
The next bit that will be important is the feedback, i like feedback. It helps me develop stuff. You kinda have to be thick skinned and be able to say to yourself ‘well that’s what i wanted from the game and will stick to my vision for it’ but it highlights important stuff you may miss. Maybe that’s the teacher in me. Not all feedback is valid. For example if running a fantasy game the feedback ‘needs more spaceships’ is probably not something you are going to use. However for me it highlights stuff i might miss, if the game is running along the lines i want it to and stops me from assuming that i’m right about everything.
I mean i am right about everything, but it’s nice to pretend to be humble. If you assume feedback is constructive criticism you are all good.
All of this sounds like hard work, and on one level it is. It’s really hard graft to run games. But it’s not bad hard work.
The reality is i’m bloody lucky. I get to write and run games. I get to pour out what’s in my head and other people act it out. I get to have an idea and put it in a field. You can’t really complain can you? I have people who come as volunteers and crew for me. How cool is that? I have people who pay money to make events happen and want to play in the thing what I made. I mean that’s amazing isn’t it? I mean how many people in the world actually get to say that? The idea that crew or players are a burden seems alien to me. They are literally giving me an opportunity to do something I couldn’t do without them.
Mind you that might be because I’m running small stuff i love or it could be because I would actively discourage people from playing if i felt they wouldn’t enjoy it. I mean Hades may not be for you, certainly the low combat, minimal rules and heavy emphasis on role-play is not for everyone.
And that’s okay. There is no perfect lrp that will fit everyone, I mean it’s okay to have lammies, it’s okay to have complex rules. As long as it works within context of your vision and logistics. I mean everytime i see a lammie i want to engage in Saw like torture games with narwhales, but that’s my issue.
That comes back to not everything is for everyone and that we need to acknowledge that and take personal responsibility for it. Recently i was vaguely contentious in saying that bigger games are not necessarily better and that it was better to stick to your creative vision than change to chase numbers. But then i’m a monster that doesn’t think that every game is for everyone and that trying to be Empire or CP isn’t necessarily good unless you are Empire or CP.
So once that’s done it’s time to write the next one with a slightly bigger player number New player tickets after the old players and invited players have decided yes or no). But before then i need to put my feet up and plan the next project. Something something sci fi something something.
I’m proud of Hades, it’s a good game, it works. It’s not for everyone. But what is?
But I’m prouder of my crew that makes it happen, who leave me in awe. I’m prouder of my players who bring it to life. Because to be proud of Hades it means I am proud of the people that make it happen, they are so intrinsically bound up in the experience of making a game that it would be arrogant to not acknowledge that.
Like i said before. Good games run off good crew and players and I just need to do my job right to provide the tools, story and support for them to do it.