Saturday, February 13, 2016

Friday night game recap: hospital emergency!

The PC's explore the horrors of the healthcare system, after the zombie apocalypse
The Friday before last Rachel was in the driver's seat as we returned to Lawrence, Kansas and the nightmarish world after aliens have unleashed a zombie plague upon the Earth.  Having recovered the remains of an NPC doctor's husband, the group returned to the hospital to discover that it had been overrun by zombies.

What followed was a tense exploration of the hospital in an attempt to rescue survivors.  In the end the NPC doctor was accidentally killed by a PC who mistook her for a zombie, but one of the aliens was convinced to see the error of his ways and recruited to help humanity, which is a big win for us.

Two thoughts about the game.  The player who accidentally shot first and checked later was given a lot of crap for what happened, but not by me.  That's because I'm a Genre Fiend, and a spooked guy accidentally killing a living human is not only appropriate for a zombie story, it just happens to be the seminal moment of the granddaddy of all zombie movies.  I kind of feel the same way about all the players who gave me grief for my generally nice-guy PC secretly murdering two gang members whom we captured.  I'll take the emotional complication on my PC, but that's well within bounds of what the game is about: normal people compromising their ethics and humanity in the face of extinction-level events.  

But the other is something even more personal, and that's behavior at the gaming table, namely the question of paying attention.  Now we have a big table (4' by 8') and had seven players last night.  So that means it isn't always easy to see what is going on when you're using miniatures, and sometimes have to wait a few minutes before it is your turn again.  But the whole "whip out your cell phone and surf the internet until it is your turn" thing was really bogging things down for everyone else.

I'm not above blame here on this.  I've done it.  But I also have seen how frustrating it is for a GM to look out and see everyone's nose in a phone.  So last night I told myself I'd keep the phone in my pocket and find something else with which my twitchy fingers could fiddle.  It's a habit that seems to be so prevalent, and I really think could be addressed with mindfulness, discipline, and courtesy.  I'm trying to figure out if I could bring this to my group's attention or not.  Thoughts?

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