I've had superheroes on the brain for a while now. Some of that was The Avengers
, some of it was intermittently starting to read comics again, a bunch of it was reading Paul Tobin's Prepare To Die!
, a superhero novel that randomly showed up in the slush pile, and which I've been pushing on everyone I know this year. I wound up reviewing it for the AVC
I've had an idea in the back of my brain for well over a year now for a short superhero role-playing adventure, but it was missing a few basic parts that I couldn't quite seem to fill in, and perpetually being busy with one writing project or another always gave me an excuse to not think too much about it. But recently, the missing pieces just fell into place — it always feels so good when that happens with a creative project, it's like brain-magic — and I realized I really wanted to finally run the damn thing, instead of just poking at it in my brain over and over. Talking to gfish
about it when he came to town, at a point where we were both discussing long-simmering games we want to run, brought it to a head for me — this is something I've talked about long enough that I'm bored of listening to myself on it. And it's not even that big a deal, just a one-day pick-up one-shot.
All of which is mostly to say that since I hadn't tried out the system I'm using yet (it's called Free Fate), and had never done anything with it before, last night I ran a little mini-adventure where Cass played Spider-Man, attempting to infiltrate the Kingpin's trap-filled home base. This was largely so I could see how how the probabilities and difficulties worked out, and get comfortable with running the system; I used Spider-Man as an example only because we both know the character well, and it was easy to give him Free Fate stats. Building his stats was also a fun exercise; we did it together on the train to work one day.
But it was stupid amounts of fun. I haven't run a game since 2010, and I'd forgotten how enjoyable that kind of on-the-fly collaborative creativity can be. And it was remarkably easy to fit into such familiar characters and predict what they'd do, and neat to see Cass jump into a role I'd never seen him play, and wisecrack his way through being Spider-Man. I've always said that gaming lights up parts of my brain I don't use otherwise — not just creative parts, but descriptive parts, the parts that have to find language to translate what I see in my head into verbal images other people can understand.
This may set a new record for geekiest thing we've ever done as a couple, which is saying something. Cass has never been into one-on-one gaming, and I've never been a fan of role-playing with established characters or franchises; this was just a little tossed-off experiment. The whole thing felt mighty dorky. But man, did I enjoy it. Possibly someday I will properly learn to embrace my inner geek.