Ninth Chapter – Ties that Bind

You want to test the limits of your friendships.  It’s really easy.  Consider the White Wolf World of Darkness setting.  It’s our world, our history but with the hidden world of vampire clans and werewolf tribes and wielders of the arcane forces.  The stories of vampires running night clubs in Los Angeles exist in this world.  At the end of the Millennium or the 20th century the Hunters were born.

I had a great idea that was built on a foundation of bringing people together and while that is good and noble, and while at the end of it the friendships still stood, it was a trial to say the least.   Ask them to put themselves on that character sheet.  Ask them to take what is them and spin it off into an alternative reality where they have to make choices.

The idea was characters that not only started with connection and the intimacy of that friendship but had passion and emotion that wasn’t created through just a one page backstory and a one word nature and demeanor, supplemented by a few merits and flaws.  Now this eighteen to twenty two years worth of personal growth, experience, traumas, beliefs and ideas that are tested, questioned and attacked through storytelling.  When you were in cjcc sure there was a lot people didn’t see but when you spend 80 percent of your free time together, you see a lot more than they think.

You’d be surprised how complicated it can be to get people to transfer their real world abilities to a piece of maybe and not learn they think highly of themselves.  Imagine trying to argue the validity of somebody younger than you, they need to have a melee skill at 4 points when that equivalency is of a swordsman that would officially be one of the best in the country.  That’s right, one of the best swordsman in the world, was filling out a character sheet in my game.  Oh the honor is all mine.

Once the game started I tried to actively take measures to take real world connections out of the equation, parents, kids and siblings were taken out of the story in a simple fashion.  What was left were the friends, who’s relationships were no more than a year or too old started arguing over what the others would or would not do in a given fantasy situation where they had gained special powers to fight vampires.   I watched an adult cry agree his character was tasered for not cooperating with a local authority that spent way too long being nice.

It’s an interesting thing when you become attached to a character of yours.  As you play them you develop them more and they are an extension of you in this alternate world.  When you ask people to play themselves it exponentially increases the difficulty to separate the fantasy from the reality.   But looking back on it and all I’ve learned since, I would do it again and I would be harder on them and I would test the limits of this social experiment as far as they would let me.

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