Monday, 26 March 2012

Someone I Was

Chaplain was my Gunlugger in Apocalypse World. In other games he might almost be a Solo, or a Warrior. I think that in Apocalypse World's messed up future he might even be close to a Paladin (if you really, really squint). Maybe I am only seeing what I want to see. He was a damage sponge, things just didn't connect properly. He always tried to do the right thing, but according to his own rules of what was right.

Chaplain was the first character I ever created in a tabletop RPG (I leave aside a Mutants and Masterminds game noisms and I tried to play over Facebook messages). His first action in play was to draw a gun on someone who was beating up someone else in the street. It felt right, the more that I went on, that he was just trying to do the right thing - not necessarily for himself (to profit by things) but to ultimately keep other people safe. And most of the time, him being a Gunlugger, that meant having to do something violent. When he came into contact with a Hive parasite he argued his way out of being killed, put on a pair of gloves to avoid touching others, and then worked to see how long he could survive. Along the way he developed a small amount of psychic talent (via a Brainer move upgrade), which was explained away in-game as a gift of the Hive parasite.

I hadn't read the Apocalypse World manual when I realised something very clear: moves snowball (which is pretty much the exact term in the playbook). It wasn't obvious to me when I first started playing RPGs. There was a hangover from things like Final Fantasy X and the like, that you as a player have wiggle-room, but ultimately you're moving at the MC's pace. But of course, this isn't true - and I can't imagine playing an RPG now where it was the norm that you were forced to do X at location A, and then attempt Y at location B (proceed straight to set piece C).

Chaplain was someone I was. He didn't die at the end of the chapter actually, although for a time it looked like none of the characters would survive. He came out of it worse for wear, nowhere to live, no great possessions to speak of, but he was alive, the parasite was dead, and even his friends pretty much didn't like him (although I would like to think they realised just how useful he was). I'm not sure I would take him up as a character if/when we return to Apocalypse World, but I know he'll always be there, hiding in the background, waiting to walk back on-camera and go aggro.

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