I am back from another great Gen Con, and I wanted to share with everyone one of the highlights for me this year.
No, I am not going to talk about the ENnies (although that was super cool).
I was in Sean Patrick Fannon’s “Savage Saturday Night” game again this year. I very much enjoy his Shaintar setting for Savage Worlds, he enjoys my ridiculous characters, and it has become a bit of tradition now that if he is running a Shaintar game that I show up and play in it.
I am not the only gnome who has been a part of Sean’s games, and this year was no exception as Kurt “Telas” Schneider also made an appearance. Needless to say with two gnomes as players and a self-proclaimed leprechaun as the GM we had a great game.
What made this game really memorable for me though was how Sean let me contribute to the story by his acknowledgement of my PC’s actions. The story for this one shot centered around a village where the outer farms were being attacked. The last raid resulted in several missing villagers and only a little girl made it back to the village proper to tell the tale.
My character was an Elven ranger. The typical bow shooting, lives in the woods, one with nature, hippy type. I played him somewhat foolish (he was a hugger), but I also portrayed him as someone deeply concerned with helping the villagers.
When our characters met the little girl and she told her story she began to cry. I told Sean that my character reached out and plucked a single tear from the child’s cheek and placed it upon an arrow head. My character then sheathed the arrow in a way that separated it from the others.
I figured that my character would do such a thing as a way to keep his mind focused on his mission: save these villagers. That arrow would remind him of the child’s suffering, and thus why he had been called to help the village.
Sean used this as an opportunity though to enhance the story. He mentioned that my character felt an energy now emanating from the arrow.
You know how one shots go. You have an encounter or two and then run into the big bad evil nemesis. Sure enough we tracked down the evil sorceress behind all of the attacks on the villagers. Sure enough there were tons of evil underlings and henchman that we had to fight our way through. Yet we still had the evil sorceress to deal with.
Guess which character ended the battle with a single called shot at the evil sorceress’ head? Guess which arrow he used?
That arrow with a single tear on the tip was one doozy of a magical weapon when my character needed it to be.
Now Sean did not have to do this, and I would have been fine if he had not done this at all. The session was nearly over, and the PCs had done very well without the need for a magical arrow to suddenly appear.
But then again, there was no reason for Sean not to roll with my character’s actions. That ranger taking a single tear from that child in some ways reinforced the story that Sean was sharing with us. Having that last shot with that same arrow take out the evil sorceress made the tale a bit more epic and fun. Every player at the table wanted to see what that arrow would do when it was fired, and by saving it for the last shot against the main enemy we all were able to enjoy a great climactic point in the story.
It took no prep work. It took no planning. No one consulted a rule book. It just took a GM willing to acknowledge the PCs’ actions.
Next time that you are running a game ask yourself “Am I recognizing what the players are doing with these characters? How can I acknowledge their efforts to enhance my story?” You may not give the PCs magic arrows (or bonuses of any kind) every time, but every now and then do something special in recognition of a PC’s actions. It might just take your game to the next level.
What do you think of my tale from Gen Con? Good tactic? Bad tactic? Let us know by leaving a comment below.