Sunday, 27 September 2009

My Darn Ex-Wife

(distinctly inspired by this)

Space is big.

Duke County, Alabama, where the lot of you have spent the majority of your short Earth lives, is considerably smaller. However, y'all are about to see a hella lot more of the former. Y'all remember TJ's good-for-nothing ex, Linda-Lee? The chain-smoking one in the trailer park? Well, turns out her new beau, Greg, is actually Gregorix IV, Heir to the Radiant Throne of the Tauron Imperium. No shit. And she's decided that this gives her the right to take little Connor and Maddi-Sue off all by herself. In clear violation of the joint custody agreement, mind you.

Now, that just ain't right. And us all is going to do something about it.

My Darn Ex-Wife

I've been toying with the idea of a rednecks-in-space game based on the FTL Y'all concept for a long time. When I stumbled upon John Harper's magnificent Lady Blackbird, it didn't take me long to conclude that it would be a perfect rule-set for the sort of light, gonzo, character-driven action-adventure I had envisaged. It took me until this past weekend to actually act on the concept, when I was able to toss together a few friends and run a short game of My Darn Ex-Wife. The game was unfortunately cut short by time limitations, but we did manage to have a few enjoyable moments, starting from TJ and Auntie Mae searching Linda-Lee's trailer, and ending with Our Heroes departing for Quadrants Unknown in TJ's hastily hyper-converted pickup truck, with Squid Head Bill tied down in the back end.

The core structure of the game seemed to work well; the characters engaged with one another and drew life from their Traits and Keys. However, I feel like the initial opening situation needs to be more aggressive and have more bite. Lady Blackbird's opening situation pushes the characters to act, immediately. By contrast, after discovering the scorch marks on Linda-Lee's lawn, the posse spent a fair amount of time trying to call on legal aid, first from the police and then from the lawyers. Instead of framing the game at the start of the story, I need to find an exciting situation to toss the characters into immediately. I toyed with the idea of stealing Lady Blackbird's opening whole-heartedly, but it seemed too derivative. In any case, with their navigation-free warp jump at the end of the first session, I have plenty of rope to hang them with at the start of the next session.

It did turn out to be absolutely hilarious in play... for one, the hideously terrible southern accents put on by a group of Australian gamers made everyone's day, and Jarrah's portrayl of Squid Head Bill as a tentacled Bill Bailey was brilliant.

Comments, criticism, and open insults are welcome.

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