Actual Play – My Steady Jenny (3/27/2010)

GM: Ryan Macklin
Players: Sean, Mike, Eric and Travis
System: Dresden Files

Heck yeah, I got to get my Dresden on! Macklin ran his audition game for Good Omens and opted to do Dresden, which got a few of us (specifically those who’ve been play-testing it) very excited.

We held the game at EndGame which was all around awesome except forgetting that we were in a retail story during business hours at being told we needed to watch our language (sorry Anthony).

The game was set around a group of were-creatures (Raven, wolf and wolverine) though I thought for the whole game that my character was a werewolf who just acted like a wolverine, but that’s beside the point. To Macklin’s great credit I’m sure there was some original plot involving a serial killer, but our game was all out the aspect Mike took for his team leader “My Steady Jenny” and the question he left unanswered in his novel “Will they stay together after he finds out the truth about Jenny?”

The game was ostensibly about who took Jenny and what she really was. Most of it played out, however, as juvenile college antics. Our characters were clearly more motive by our personal issues (like academic probation) than we were in being heroes and this created some tension between the leader who wanted to find his girlfriend and the rest of us who were tackling our own troubles. I was particularly happy that Mike (our leader) had two aspects that were really pulling him in two different directions: My Steady Jenny and Think of the Team.

What rocked

I had a lot of fun playing the dumb but fiercely loyal Levi. Even though he really wanted to help Tommy (the alpha) out all the time, his own life was complicated enough that he usually wasn’t much help. He also had some great moments where things went way over his head much to our collective amusement. When the deliciously deviant were-raven told him he wasn’t complaining about the “ride” last night, he thought she was talking about the trip to Circle K. And so on.

Ryan did a great job of taking our aspects and rolling with them. As mentioned Jenny became the spotlight of the story but there were a few others that kept coming up as well such as “Bros before elder gods”, “Academic probation” and the ever popular “Can’t take a hint”. In retrospect I probably should have had an aspect “C’mon Teach” considering Levi’s desperation to get at least a C- even though his teacher was a dark sorcerer.

Our character interactions were lots of fun, I think we might have exasperated Mike at times but as a whole I loved the character drama.

Ryan has a couple tricks I’ve got to remember. The one I liked the best was drawing us into an emotional connection to a character by having us all describe why we liked him so much, what was so awesome about him, and then BAM, telling us we were at his funeral. Good stuff.

Dresden, like its earlier counterpart SotC holds up very well in a con environment. You can play the game half baked and never feel like you’re missing anything. In this case we had characters that were only about 65% complete and using just the core rules mechanics and did just fine. We didn’t need any elaborate chase mechanics or nuanced stunts. The basics did just fine, which is perfect for a con scenario.

We took a very leisurely stroll through the adventure and set a pace that was conformable to us. We didn’t get much done (see below) but had a great time doing it.

What could have improved

Ryan was caught off guard in the beginning. He had forgotten some bits (character sheet, dice, etc) at work so we had to do more prep in the beginning. The result of this was that we really didn’t start playing until after our lunch break midway through. I would have been happy with another 30-60 min of play, but not sure we actually would have gotten farther in the game because most of the time our characters were just messing with each other.

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