>Icons Update – Testing in Progress, Confessions

>I ran Icons through its second round of tests yesterday, and while I still haven’t tested the combat system I think it’s safe to say that the game still looks very fun and probably fairly easy to grasp. It’s definitely very much derived from Fate, right down to the presence of Aspects, one of the mechanics Fate uses to encourage role-playing.

What I want and need to test is whether Mutants and Masterminds offers a comparable experience if it’s GMed well – and, well…

… Whether I’m capable of GMing well. I must admit to having no small level of anxiety about this. I love role-playing, but I can count the number of game sessions I’ve actually run on one hand (the list I’ve played in being only somewhat longer), and I’m genuinely not sure how well they went, or whether the players were lying when they said how it went to preserve my feelings.

Admittedly, if they were, they probably wouldn’t have been nearly as open to the idea of having another game later, but these are the kinds of things my brain thinks about when it’s busy panicking.

I’m not an expert GM, I’m just a guy who loves the game like anyone else and wants to create a positive experience for people. That’s the true story, here. I get nerdy, long winded, and overly technical sometimes, and to at least some of my readers I have to apologize for that: I know that for some people, that technical/mechanical side of things can look scary. It really isn’t, once you’ve learned, but not everyone here has learned. Not everyone here has played much in the way of an RPG, and I started this blog in a semi-misguided attempt to initiate the uninitiated.

Now, for those of you who haven’t, or who are confused when I get technical, let me ask you a question.

Have you ever tried to explain a game YOU play to someone who hasn’t played it?

Seriously, try explaining how Monopoly is played to someone who’s never seen the board, rolled a d6, or even looked up the dictionary definition of “Monopoly“? I have; it’s really hard. Try explaining a card game to someone who’s never seen the deck of 52 playing cards. Or for that matter, even if they have, try explaining the game without using the deck. . . it’s very difficult. Heck, football STILL doesn’t make any sense to me without the use of complicated diagrams, and I’ve played that.

Now, I could try and capture the essence of a game for those who haven’t played; say, for instance, I could say of Monopoly, the object of the game is to collect all the properties and make as much money as possible, but a potential player might respond with, that doesn’t sound like a game, that sounds like a job. 

In fact, I’d suggest that at some point you’d just give up and start telling people about your game-of-choice as follows:

You’ve never played? Oh, man, you’ve been missing out. We should get together sometime and play – I’m trying to get some people together on X, why don’t you come over? Bring a snack, we’ll make it a party. It’ll be so much fun! 

Which, I suppose, is what I should have gone with ages ago. Now, granted, when explaining an RPG, you can provide a few more details that will make sense to a non-player: details like, You get to play the hero of a magical world, or, we use dice. And sometimes other things. But it still won’t make a ton of sense if you don’t revert back to, come play it with us and you’ll see what it’s actually like. Leave your Master’s Degree at home, you won’t need it. 

That’s it. If you really want to understand the game . . . you have to play.

So, those of you who haven’t played, and who live nearby (relatively speaking), who know who you are because I’ve talked about this in person . . . let’s play sometime. Please, try not to be scared off by the parts you don’t yet have a context for: that’ll come through play. 
To the rest of my audience; thanks for putting up with me. I’ll continue to do my best to write for everyone, at all levels, new player and GM alike – though I may have to start tagging my articles better.

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