As previously discussed, I signed up to run a game of Hollowpoint at GenCon for Games on Demand. Nykki, one of the players in my Games on Demand Hollowpoint game, has already wrote up the session report.
So I'll spare you the gory recount of the details, and instead focus on my perspective for running the game.
The Run Up
The previous day I had a minor bout of illness, and was not quite on my game. On top of that, I was a bit nervous to be surrounded by many of the game designers of games that I admire were going to be there.
This was also the first time I had played an RPG at a convention, let alone run a game. So I was hoping my somewhat insular RPG experience would measure up to those around me.
Those fears were allayed when I walked into Games on Demand and was greeted and I believe recognized by Steve Segedy, editor of Fiasco and other Bully Pulpit Games, and Brennan Taylor, designer of the Bulldogs! RPG.
To further ease my nerves, I had the wonderful pleasure of sitting down before the game and conversing with Steve Dycus about the new games we had both gotten from the exhibit hall (Sounds like I need to checkout Part-Time Gods). Eventually Nykki B and Matt Boersma arrived and we were off.
At the Table
We had three players, none of whom had read the rules for Hollowpoint. I quickly went over the rules, and said “There are other rules that I can bring to bear that don't have an immediate impact on your lives at this moment. When it's time, I'll explain them.”
I told them up front that the opening conflict is very easy for them to win, so we needn't worry about getting bogged down in the rules; the rules would become self-evident at the first conflict. Also, if their character were to die, they could easily make another one and jump in at the end of the scene.
I decided to have the first conflict involve a Catch, as this would provide a low stakes means of seeing my favorite mechanic of Hollowpoint. We quickly resolved the conflict, and the characters were taking form. The story flowed relatively easily, with quite a bit of role-playing in the second conflict.
It was interesting to watch as the players developed their character's personality. As the second conflict unfolded, it became clear that Steve's character was a rather terrifying and gun happy thug. Unfortunately for him, he had put his Terror at a 2. So I figured it would be more enjoyable to have Steve adjust his skills instead of altering his play (or worse, always rolling with a Terror 2). I told him to switch his skills and we were back in action.
Wrapping Things Up
The rest of the session went pretty smooth, though I need to continue to work on narrating the scene. I think I should take a cue from Apocalypse World and Dungeon World and draw more maps during a Hollowpoint session.
Having run two games, one with a hover combine and one with brass testicles ruining a helicopter rotor, I'm curious about Brad Murray's comment regarding toning down the gonzo. Clearly Hollowpoint is about extreme conflicts involving extreme confidence and competence.