Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What Makes a Good Player? with Kaetlyn Kuchta

Today's What Makes a Good Player? feature is with Kaetlyn Kuchta. Kaetlyn talks a little about being a badass and asking questions (and you all know how I love asking questions!). Check it out below!


What do you try to do most often while playing games to enhance your experience and the experience of others?

I think the most important thing you can do is ask questions about the world. If you’re asking about the environment that everyone is playing in, it helps to keep everyone invested in the game. Yes this happens during character creation and world building in certain games, but it would be impossible to answer every question at that time. I like to ask about the way places look, how people on the street are acting, or if there are any nifty monuments around. This is always open for discussion between the other players and the GM as well, and it helps to create a rich world that the entire table gets to create and love.

I also tend to do whatever action I think is going to be the most fun. Sometimes it gets my character into a lot of trouble, like when they follow their impulsive nature to touch the ancient cursed artifact, but it always creates a really interesting story. I don’t go out of my way to cause trouble for the rest of the party, but I try to play true to any aspects or alignments that I put on the character sheet.

Do you use any specific play techniques (narrative tools, improv tools, etc.) in your play sessions?

I use the tried and true improv rule “Yes and…” Meaning no matter what the other players say/do or what the consequences of roll are, I agree to it and build upon it. This doesn’t always mean my character is happy with it. For instance, if a player character beats up a subdued criminal and my character is against random violence, she isn’t going to let them get away with that. The “Yes” is seeing and accepting that the action happened and that there is no way to take that back. The “and…” part is having my character confront the other player character about it.

I also think making sure those in game conflicts stay in game. It doesn’t do any good for me to harass the player for acting out their character the way they imagine them. There were plenty of times when I first started role playing where a player would do something in game that I disagreed with and I would openly ask them why they did that dumb thing. It only created friction between players and created guilt. Itchy itchy guilt. I’ve since discovered that having characters that butt heads from time to time is really fun, especially in games that set you up for PvP conflict that doesn’t result in murder such as Fate or Masks, or most games with social skills. Now I can have my character confront another character while I high five the player for being a badass.

How often do you like to game, and what is most comfortable for you to maintain good energy in games?

I game once a week, and for me that’s enough. I tend to become really invested in my characters so having more than one or two to focus on gets a little confusing for me and I’ll end up playing them all the same instead of letting them blossom into individuals. That being said, I also like to switch up what I’m playing after about 8-10 sessions so I can explore another character concept, because for me that’s the biggest draw to these games. I like to try on these different faces and see how they interact in the worlds we build at the table.

What kind of games do you feel you are most comfortable with and enjoy the most?

As I mentioned before, trying on different characters and exploring the world are my favorite parts of the game, so I like games that really create vivid and diverse characters and worlds like Fate and Powered by the Apocalypse systems. These systems are so open that they create a ton of freedom to play around and discover your character and how they feel about their environment. They’re also systems that beg the players and GM to ask questions every session, and I love that open dialog at a table.

On the other hand, I typically have a hard time with systems that you might call “crunchy”. Games that have a ton of rules and structures for every action that my character may want to do are infuriating to me. I just want to look like a badass taking out villains without having to calculate knock-back based on my strength based on what fighting stance I was in, minus if I’ve slept in the past 12 hours. I totally understand why that would appeal to other people, but for me it takes away from my narrative power and makes me crave a gin and tonic.

Can you share a special experience in a game where you felt like you did a good job playing your part in the overall story and game?

My group recently finished up a play of Masks in which I got to play a Nova with a happy façade. I decided from the start that she was going to actively try to be the epitome of a super hero, which I expected to conflict with the Nova’s tendency to destroy everything and the amount of conditions she would end up with. I was right. Throughout the game I got to play a character that was messy and awkward but who truly tried to lead her team in the right direction. I used the rules the game gave me to both incite and resolve conflict between my character and npc’s, and the other player characters as well. In Masks you gain and lose influence over others, and my Nova traded those in and out like baseball cards, which really let me play around with who she was and how she was effected by the environment around her. She ended up being a character who actively drove the story forward and looked out for the team while also creating conflict for the other players to solve. Basically I was never bored while playing her.


Thanks so much to Kaetlyn for the interview! I hope you all enjoyed reading her responses.

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