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##EDIT: Have since learned the reason for the "save the day" sort of action. The ST didn't realise someone had proxied their character to them when the player left until another player said "Remember when X left and said 'You know what I'd do'?" -- so that was the "CYA" of "Well, can't kill anyone because the proxied PC would have been healing". I'm still not happy, but have spoken with the ST, and we've agreed to disagree, more or less, on the handling of it all. They understand my POV, I was mostly right on theirs.

So, last night I played in my first Changeling: the Lot game in a new Domain. New ST, new players, whole kit & caboodle versus what I'd played before. And something about last night's game still... sat wrong with me, and has been gnawing at me since, and I need to see if anyone else feels the same way.

Last night, a group of 5 (my PC included) went up against a group of 15 nasty critters. I don't know their sheets, I'm going to assume they were created with Night Horrors: Cam Edition rules. One PC goes off and separates from the 'pack' so as to pull a weak link from the pack of things we were fighting against--brilliant plan, 100% OK with this. The other 4 of us fight, and eventually 2 PCs go down after taking down 4 or 5, I think, of the things. Combat continues another round, another PC goes down, another round, another PC, until only the one who took care of the "weak link" is left (needs the sample antagonist in order to further plot).

Then, a character shows up (mine was up the longest, and evidently saw him just as he was coming in) who wades into the fray, eliminates the last bunch (we were down from 14 to 4 or 5 at that point) and then heals those who were down, while taking significant damage themselves, and then "help comes and we're all OK" after getting healed back at the Freehold, and the end, and stuff.

Here's my problem. Later on, the STs were chatting with the players, saying "Yeah! We were hoping to enforce the theme of the season: 15 giant fucking wolf-person-things, with more on the way: GO HIDE." And the Summer and a combat-y spring... didn't. And I'm not sure if the ST copped out by having the "save the day" PC show up--his own--so that PCs wouldn't die. I think I feel like I was... robbed, somehow, because if the game were dark... if run according to what I think theme is, and should have been... the PCs should have died. I think the ST was being charitable and not killing characters (particularly mine, since it was her first game), but I think I'm oddly UNHAPPY about the fact that he didn't.

I feel it would have made a significantly more poignant point for the PCs to have died, I think. THIS is why Winter has power--THIS is why the Court is valid. The Summer and Spring may be, on occasion, hotheads and leap before acting--or not realise the scope of precisely what they're dealing with. I think I feel that what the ST did was charitable and kind, but NOT the best for story... NOT the best for the plot... and didn't necessarily enhance the game by allowing the PC survival. Had I been running the combat... I don't know what I would have done. I would probably have killed the PCs.

To be clear--my issue is not with the STs own character 'saving the day' because it wasn't a case of "I save you all and take the credit and now you owe me favours, muahahahahahah!"; I think it's because the ST's PC was the only one who could even possibly have been in the area, and who could have fought AND healed the PCs. I can, logically, see the reason the character came in. However, I'm also of the stance that if you are the ST... your PC should NOT be coming into game, PERIOD. There were various hints of 'could-have-been-CoI' with this; nothing big and DA worthy, but could have glanced the lines, and I'm just a hardass of the stance that you shouldn't be playing your PC, in any aspect, in a game you are STing unless your PC is exclusively present to hand off a Domain+ plot that had a set method of introduction and that PC is the only way it could have been introduced. Maybe I'm too much of a hardass on that, but... that's my stance.

Do people understand where I'm coming from, or am I just being unreasonably weird over this? Any thoughts? Folks who may ST--either in the Cam, or any other game in general--how would you have handled the situation? I'm curious to see what others would have done.



( 9 comments — Leave a comment )
Dec. 20th, 2009 03:22 pm (UTC)
No. I'd feel robbed, too.
Dec. 20th, 2009 04:07 pm (UTC)
What it comes down to, I guess... is that it's not just... me feeling robbed. I think the entire _venue_ was robbed, by what happened, and I know it wasn't done out of malice... but out of charity because he didn't want to kill PCs. And that's the part that's sticking in my craw.
Dec. 20th, 2009 04:13 pm (UTC)
The proof in the pudding will be what the ST does now. Obviously, there are some things that aren't gelling between the game he wants to run and the game the players want. If he makes an effort to adjust the game until everyone's somewhat happy, then he learned from this mistake and that's a positive thing. If he tries to shove the game he wants down his players' throats, he will eventually kill the PCs and face the wrath of playerbase. The fact that he was desperate enough to pull his own PC in to try and avoid that fate (which is, good intentions or no, absolutely not allowed) says he may be able to learn from it.
Dec. 20th, 2009 04:28 pm (UTC)
I've seen a variety of STs, though, who use their PCs to do things like that--they never want the "main role" or to use it for personal gain, but to facilitate aspects of plot. I still think it's absolutely the wrong thing to do... your PC should go off and not be seen or heard from except in downtimes or scenes administered by your superior while you are STing that venue.
Dec. 20th, 2009 05:12 pm (UTC)
He played his OWN character in a game he was running?

He then "saved the day" with said character?
Double Ugh.

That is a game I'd run for the hills from. I've always been very down on the idea of ST's playing PC's in their own games. In Chicago, we had an unofficial sanction against.

Occasionally, the DST would run games so that the VST could get in on some local play and domain vs vss level storyline, but otherwise it was a huge no-no and one I think really is the best idea for all involved.
Dec. 20th, 2009 05:22 pm (UTC)
As I said (or maybe not as clearly as my brain wants to think it did), this was less "save the day to be cool", and more... "save the day to avoid what would have undoubtedly be 5 PC deaths". He wasn't doing it to be cool or to get praise/awards/etc, but to avoid having 5 players lose their characters in a combat scene. The PC had reason to be there (without going into complicated story, I can say that if the DST or elsewhat had been running the scene, the VST's PC could have shown up and I'd've been OK with it), but...

I guess what it really boils down to is that the ST probably (I need to talk with them again) just wanted to avoid the PC deaths, and was able to do so through the use of their own PC. I feel that the actions left the game worse off--not necessarily because of whose PC it was, but that ANYONE was able to get there and... make this a "consequence-less combat."

But... yeah. I just really frown on STs playing their PCs in their own games unless things are moving around at a point where the PC will not get involved in anything--and then everyone should respectfully allow the ST to excuse their PC from the scene so they can administer their duties. I've seen NYC do that a few times fairly well, but... really, I just... don't like the practise.
Dec. 20th, 2009 05:38 pm (UTC)
Oh no, you were quite clear. I mean-- that he was attempting to prevent player grief vs get accolades, but for me that really only redeems it so much.

Everyone makes mistakes and perhaps he backed himself into a corner with how powerful he made the NPC's which just goes to poor planning, but by using his own PC to rectify the situation it really just makes it clear there are no IC consequences of any measured sort.

I applaud you for attempting to be both diplomatic and understanding though and hopefully you all can work an conversation with the ST/s involved so it is a balanced and fair game all round. Both in the sense of not having PC's potentially get slaughtered every game, but also that ICA=ICC. *grin*
Dec. 20th, 2009 08:58 pm (UTC)
I don't care if was trying to "help." You don't run your own PCs in scenes. Period. End of story.

As well, it's the World of Darkness. Stepping between the players and that darkness is a bad thing (tm).
Dec. 21st, 2009 12:12 am (UTC)
From an ST standpoint, I can sort of see the 'oh shit don't let them die!' view. (Not that I would have had my own PC involved in the first place, but that's a seperate issue.) I can see it where there was an "oh shit" because they forgot someone's proxied PC and those actions.

However, there is a line that MUST be walked. If the characters were 'saved' then there -must- be other consequences. But really, as long as they went in willingly, without railroading or coercion and they bit off more than they could chew? An ST and the World MUST have teeth.

Without it, we might as well play the My Little Pony LARP.
( 9 comments — Leave a comment )