RPG A Day 2017–Day Seven

Up to day seven–that means this RPG A Day thing has been going on for week now! So our next question is (insert drum roll here):

What Was Your Most Impactful RPG Session?

I have had many, many good RPG sessions over the years. It has always been because the players were invested in that game and really giving some solid material to the group.

There is one session that jumps to mind when I think about player investment, and that’s session’s effect on me, as a GM.

I had run campaigns in Dragonlance before, but this time, I really wanted to make sure I was leaning heavily on the tropes of the setting. What I mean by this is–I didn’t just want the villains to be clerics of the Dark Queen, or for dragonlances to show up for the players to use against dragons. I wanted the politics and the factions to feel the way they did in the source material.

Because of this, I made sure to introduce an NPC Knight of the Crown to the party. He was a great guy. He stood up for them, helped get them support when they needed it, managed contacts and introductions for them. He was as much of the positive aspects of a knight as I could manage, without introducing much of the negative traits that he might have had.

Then, after several sessions of the PCs getting used to this NPC having their back and being generally helpful, he was put on trial by a political rival, a Knight of the Rose. There was going to be a trial, and the PCs would be allowed to speak at the trial on the NPC’s behalf.

The players wanted to speak on his behalf. He had always had the group’s back, so they wanted to return the favor.

And then I had the Knight of the Rose, very smugly, prove his case. The Knight of the Crown was a good guy, but he had been cutting corners when he was helping them. He was doing the expedient thing, not the proper thing. One of the players was enraged. The player, not the character.

He literally lunged across the table, grabbed my shirt, and tore it, before he apologized for getting too into character in his response.

I can’t say that I have always, or even often, been able to hit all the right notes in a campaign or read someone’s reactions well enough to pull of this kind of emotional response. But the fact that I have managed to do it in the past gives me something to aim for in the future.

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