WARNING: D&D and Tabletop RPG jargon ahead!
I’m part of a tabletop RPG campaign that has been running over 13 years – it’s a great group of people and we each run three characters so we can pick the party that works best with who can show for any given session. These guys are practically family at this point, and we get together just about every other Sunday to immerse ourselves in the Iron Kingdoms universe (https://privateerpress.com/iron-kingdoms – it’s the RPG world for the WarMachine miniatures game) and have a great time.
Recently all three parties were about to engage in MAJOR combat – like… life or death, we’re all fucked, “This is how we die, boys” combat. Then one of our main players was assigned overseas for a few months! We found ourselves playing other campaigns, because there was just no reasonable way to continue until he returned to us. Finally 2018 rolls around and just about everyone shows!
This is exciting, so we all take a deep breath and dive into the scariest of the combat situations while we can. Ultimately my character is the star focus of this one – it was a trap laid for him – and the dice were on our side that night. We’re demolishing the enemy, my character comes to grips with a major issue he’s been dealing with and resolves it (he happened to be possessed by a dark goddess and was transformed into her Avatar for quite a long time at this point… super awkward transformation for a teenage boy now wearing the body of a very sexy woman). Just before my character permanently became an NPC and no longer playable due to her ascension onto the mortal plane he finds what he needs to do to stop the process and turn the tide on the pair of gods trying to manifest. Alright, this is totally going to Flynn’s head in the long run, but for now he’s just glad to be himself – physically and mentally, again.
And in that moment, with the things he had to invoke, the changes he’s been through, he’s suddenly made some very deep realizations. Including the fact that “the long run” is something he never thought much about, but when he does look back he sees that his girlfriend has been the one to support him enough that he was able to regain himself, and in the future he wants her to continue to be there – he’s not used to anyone wanting to be there for him since his adoptive father died. Bolt of lightning, moment of clarity stuff. Now he’s got some serious plans to enact, especially given that he is at heart a street urchin and she’s the illegitimate, but still noble, daughter of the King of Ord.
Whew, heavy stuff. Next game, we have almost the whole crew again, yes! So let’s take on another of these massive combats, and we’re going south where my Gunbunny-Khadoran (think Russian Empire/USSR power and you’ll have an idea of Khador) is part of what was supposed to be a stealth rescue mission. Until one of her compatriots overstepped and decided to impersonate a god, publicly call out a personage of the church, and generally paint a large target on our group. Now we have to destroy a Warjack (semi-intelligent steam-powered magical giant robots), rescue the engineers that were kidnapped, complete an assassination, recover the plans we were searching for, and not to forget… just survive! Sure enough, the dice weren’t as clearly on our side, but with some risks, some cautious plays, and in my character’s case a LOT of bullets. Finally we defeated almost everyone, except our target who we were in pursuit of.
Thanks to the one that blew our cover we not only located the target, but instead of having to kill him we recruited him to our side (“Step wrong and I put bullet in your skull, da?” was my character’s warning), so as frustrating as that was, we came out way ahead. Did I mention our team of calvarymen and their bard stole the equivalent of the Popemobile and wrecked the town with in on their way to escape? It was a great session, but my character, Ivonna, is incredibly frustrated, especially with her compatriot.
Ivonna has been a mercenary for a long time, and her two ways of blowing off stress usually involve gun-based violence or sex. Since the combat is over, and she’s pretty sure it’d be a bad idea to hurt the party member that caused much of her stress, she is on the boat back to their base making specific plans to roll into town and find a willing sailor boy. “Is good choice, they sail away when done with them.”
From planning the rest of his romantic life to the most casual hook up she can arrange, it’s kind of a mental whiplash for me. Normally Ivonna is the responsible one and Flynn is as flighty as they come. How the tables have turned this time around.