RPG a Day 23: Memory

A couple of times in RPG sessions I’ve laughed so hard I drooled, or choked, or couldn’t breath. Once, I laughed so had that I lost short-term memory. I was processing what my players were saying, and replying to it, and everything I was saying seemed to make sense to them, but my mouth was on autopilot.

I’ve got a few top memories. There’s that one, where I needed to breathe but I couldn’t stop telling them what was going on, because they were in the land of Eternal Opera, playing an investigative game, and the exigences of CSI: Grand Opera House are… special. It was an absolutely vital plot point that they go count the elephants, because the giant pool of blood beneath the single murder victim had to have come from SOMEWHERE. There was a baritone involved, and the fake moustache had a fake moustache.

Later there was a show-down on a rickety stage over a long drop, and the players were rolling dice in a competition to see which one of them would be the one left dangling at the mercy of the other. It was opera. Of course they wanted to be the one in the spotlight, and of course they knew that the spotlight had crosshairs.

Then there’s the time that without me even stage managing it, the players summoned an air elemental in the room where the harpies with the magical poo-throwing attack were holed up, and they were literally present when the shit hit the fan.

Then there’s the time when three of the PCs in the Pendragon game were all at each other’s throats about the beautiful woman lying wounded after a raid, but we agreed that we should show her, the greatest treasure, to our mutual boss, and the GM said, “You’re going to make me roll this in public, aren’t you?” and then he burst into laughter and said, “Crap.” 17/18 on a new passion, and it was the best thing that could have happened.

There are a lot of those times. There’s the time we let that boss down, and swanned off to a war that took all summer and left him in the lurch. There’s the time we were playing through the same timeline as we’d been through before, and we met our own characters, and my previous character trounced my current character, and that was the only way it could have happened.

RPGs have been a mutual meeting of friends for me, for twenty years. It’s the people that make it, and it’s the characters that allow it to happen. They’re bound up together, making memories possible, and making memories.

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