If you haven’t read it yet, you’ll want to read through my last post about Setting and Characters, so this makes some sense. Okay, back to the action:
Since Luchinda dressed for her character, the rest of us decided to dress up too. Woody wasn’t too excited when I handed him a cape and the closest thing I had to a beret.
“Look, honey, I’ll wear one too,” said Luchinda. That worked. Now, the group is all dressed up and ready for the first scenario.
Miss Blue puts on devil horns, “I have a feeling I’ll be playing devil’s advocate,” she says. “Now, where to begin?
“I’m thinking all of you have to meet and start your quest, so let’s say that Mr. Caldwell contacted Dr. Jetland at the university because he believes he has discovered proof of knowledge of an active wormhole and wants her expert opinion. Dr. Jetland brings her Post Doc along to assist and Natalia is at the meeting as Mr. Caldwell’s body guard and to protect the evidence.
“So this first situation is the characters meeting and seeing the first evidence of the conspiracy. What will your goals be?”
“My goal will be to convince the doctors to take me seriously and help me find the wormhole,” says Woody.
“Good. Right. And my goal will be to protect him, protect the evidence and make them do it!” says Luchinda.
“My goal is to examine the evidence objectively and determine if there is any scientific basis for Mr. Caldwell’s discovery,” I say.
“Then what’s my goal?” says Teddy.
“To assist me, of course,” I say.
“I think I should do more than that,” says Teddy, “My goal will be to add some passion for astrophysics and perception to your observations. Maybe not be quite as objective.”
“Fine, sounds good,” I say.
Miss Blue says we should start on her left and go around the table, so Luchinda looks at her cards and plays the Jack of hearts. Her character Natalia Bash, goes against her nature to give Mr. Caldwell, his research, and theories a rousing introduction while attempting to seduce the new arrivals into joining their cause.
Woody, not having any hearts, plays a 6 of diamonds to introduce Mr. Caldwell’s theory that futurism of the 50’s and 60’s was actually realism from another planet found through a stable wormhole.
I play a 9 of clubs to show that Dr. Jetland doesn’t have time or patience for lofty words, but came to see proof of a stable wormhole. I see Teddy pulling out a 6 of spades. “You would want to see the evidence first, wouldn’t you Dr. Bernstein?” I nudge.
Teddy lays a 7 of clubs adding 3 to my 9.
Miss Blue smiles, I was beginning to think I was going to have to create some conflict already, but it looks like Natalia and Ottis will have to beat an 11 of clubs before they can win over the doctors to their cause.
“That’s easy,” says Luchinda. She lays a King of clubs and a six of clubs. “Natalia beats them into submission.”
“I don’t think physically beating them is going to get them to help us,” says Woody.
“Right,” says Luchinda. “I use psychological warfare to bring them to our side, making them think it was their idea.
“Good,” says Woody, placing a four of diamonds on the table. Now that they are listening, I will continue explaining my theory.”
I play an Ace of spades and a seven of spades in alignment with my Wisdom focus to get around Natalia’s psychological tricks and demand to see the pages that Ottis had told me about.
Teddy plays a Jack of hearts attempting to soften my demands and ask more nicely to see the proof.
Luchinda plays a 7 of Clubs, “Natalia still does not trust you. She guards Ottis and the evidence watching you closely, ready for a fight.”
Woody looks around the table with a slight curl to his lips. He plays a Joker. “Ottis never doubted he could convince you. He unlocks his top desk drawer, pulls out a few diary pages and clears his throat to read–”
“Just then, the janitor who had come in and emptied the waste basket pulls a gun on Ottis. ‘I’ll take those,’ he says and runs out the door.” Miss Blue looks pretty proud of herself.
“The cabal,” Teddy says.
“What? I didn’t get to fight him,” says Luchinda.
“Not yet,” says Miss Blue.
“Are you sure we’re playing this right?” I ask.
“Are you having fun?” says Miss Blue.
“Yes,” everyone offers.
“Then what does it matter? Let’s keep going and learn as we go.”
“We still have cards left for this round. It’s my turn, so let’s finish off by deciding if we go after him or make a different plan,” I say.
We all agree.
I play a six of diamonds offering that we should let him go and try to discover more clues.
Teddy plays a Queen and a six of spades to align with his wisdom focus to evade any confrontation with the armed man and get Ottis to write down what he remembers from the stolen pages.
Miss Blue pulls a complications card. An Ace of Hearts. An innocent will die. “Can anyone beat that? No? Sorry guys. As you are discussing your next moves, the man with your pages ran into the street and expecting you to follow, took a hostage. When people crowded around, blocking his path, he shot the hostage and slipped through the shocked bystanders.”
Luchinda plays her last card, a six of diamonds. “Great, Natalia should be fighting and she’s thinking. Maybe I think I recognized the man, a fellow mercenary.”
Woody plays an eight of spades to evade the doctors’ questions about why Natalia might know the gunman.
I play a Jack of hearts and Dr. Jetland makes an emotional speech about how it is now vital that we find the wormhole before a killer does.
Teddy plays nine of diamonds while Dr. Bernstein thinks long and hard about leaving his Post Doc and teaching elementary school.
Woody is the only player with a card left. He plays the two of spades. Ottis Caldwell is still hiding something and, though meekly, tries to evade.
Reviewing My Experiment
There it is. One round of play. I was surprised how much there was to think about and experience with only five cards each. Of course that pesky Miss Blue threw some wrenches in the mix. Though the story and the game had only begun, my friends had to go home and my short story has been submitted and reviewed, so I thought I’d do a quick review of the experience.
photography – The set-up was intensive and time-consuming, but fun. Any reason to pull out costumes is good for me. I found the space around my dining room table very limiting for trying to take pictures of all four actors. The windows, even with the drapes and blinds down, backlit the best angle for the full tableau. However, for a first attempt, I thought I got some interesting shots.
writing – Creating friends from my objets d-art, giving them names and backgrounds and then having them create characters was a fun and constructive way to get a story brewing. I had never really worked on meta story writing before and I enjoyed the layers of it. I enjoyed everything about the card suit meanings for set-up and though I only played one round, game-play definitely led to unique ideas, I would not have enjoyed contemplating otherwise.
the game – This is the first time I’ve tried a table top roleplaying game, so I am not the person to compare it to other games. I also doubt we played it exactly as intended and having human friends with their own thoughts, most likely would have made play more lively. However, as a writer using it as a creativity engine, I had great results. I wrote the short story for The Writer’s Games and received positive feedback on the characters and their interactions, so Full Deck Roleplaying is a proven character development tool. I also received positive feedback on my premise and setting, so overall, my intended use was a success.
Thanks for playing along. If you’re feeling stuck or looking to add some fun to your writing process, I recommend giving Full Deck Roleplaying a try.