Tales from the Gazebo – Storytelling With Spirit, Part 2

Storytelling With Spirit, Part 2
By Cape Rust

In last week’s exciting episode we learned that Cape’s gaming group had fallen into a rut where their hobby had started to feel like a job. Compound that with an outstanding GM who was too busy (and sleep deprived) to be able to run the weekly game and it looked as if our heroes were headed toward doom.

Unlike past weeks our GM got notice that he would have to work Saturday on Tuesday. This meant my backup game was a go. I contacted one of the other players, who is into fleshing out his characters like I do, to talk a bit of shop. After getting word on my backup plan he went out, got a digital copy of the Spirit of the Century rulebook and started coming up with a character concept. Spirit of the Century is designed for fairly quick and interesting character creation. The rulebook goes so far as to say that it is a game designed for short term episodic adventures. I knew my adventure idea would take more than one session, and after talking to this particular player, I knew this would be a great game.

After a lengthy discussion about this character concept, I knew I had to really improve my plans for this game. As we spoke, I made some mental adjustments to the game plan and had a great idea. Because SotC was a new game for our entire group, I decided not to solicit as much input from my players about what type of game they wanted as I normally do. Because this was a backup game that might go a few sessions at best, I figured I could get away with it. I decided to use his Character Kai(ser) Crimson as the baseline character for the rest of our group. Not completely fair to the rest of the group, but he did get the book and start the process first.

Based on the fact it was Tuesday and our game night is on Saturday, I had quite a bit of preparation ahead of me and not much time to do it. I have to admit that at this point, I had not even read the entire SotC rulebook, so I figured that was first on the old to-do list. For those of you who have never heard of SotC I’ll give you a quick rundown. SotC uses the FATE system (thank you Evil Hat Productions!) and FUDGE dice. It is a storytelling game set in a pulpy post WWI (The Great War) where the characters are all members of the Century Club. The Century Club is comprised of people who were born on the first day of the turn of the century. Their special birth date has gifted them with special powers and abilities. So imagine a pre-depression world where jet packs and zeppelins fly side-by-side; where the dreaded Gorilla Kahn and his gorilla minions wreak havoc on their surroundings. This is a world where the good guys are good and the bad guys are bad, really bad!

As you can imagine, the next few days were a fury of finishing the core rulebook, downloading pictures of in-game locations circa the 1920s, developing a good pulpy storyline and purchasing a few extra electronic copies of the game so my players would be able to reference their powers and abilities. I stayed awake late at night thinking about what abilities my villains would have and what I could do to make the characters really hate them. I listened to several episodes of The Gamer’s Haven Podcast, that had actual play sessions recorded, to get a better understanding of the rules. By the time Saturday rolled around I was as ready as I thought I could be. I even borrowed my wife’s Kindle Fire so I would have plenty of copies of the rulebook on hand.

Saturday rolled around and in what has become typical for me, I awoke much earlier than I should have, keyed up and ready to run my game. I went back over everything I had come up with so far, completely changed my plans, then decided to stick with my original idea, you know that old routine. At about 3:00 in the afternoon I got a text from my buddy who was playing Kai Crimson, apparently he had received a text from our other two players (married couple) saying they might be able to make the game. I was pissed! It’s one thing to put a ton of work into a visual aid for a game and have your players completely bypass the area you placed it in, but to have them bail on your entire game, well that is a different story. I was furious, with GM indignation! I had already turned down other non-gaming opportunities on that night to run the game. In fact, my wife and children were going to a friend’s house and I would be stuck at home alone. Rather than going ballistic I called up my one loyal player and we grabbed some food and went to a movie, went back to his house and played some Sentinels of the Multiverse. By the time it was all said and done, I had calmed down and we had a great time. But to say that I had no resentment would be a lie. I couldn’t keep up this gaming drought, what could I do?

Will Cape ever get to game again? Did he waste his time preparing the Spirit of the Century game? And why is he calling this series Storytelling with Spirit? Stay tuned.

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