Friday, June 4, 2010

Last of the Jak files

I am writing the last of the Jak files. It's solely for my amusement/healing, but I think it is good stuff. It'll be up soon.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

The Jak Files - Part 3

Originally posted
Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Game Update

Jak, the character I have been playing for over 2 years, died Saturday.

I've seen a fair share of uncool, underhanded, or just downright jerky player character deaths throughout the years I've been gaming. I've seen personal grudges taken out on players, vindictiveness and humiliation transposed onto the fictional lives of my friends, relatives and even my own imagining.

Jak's death was none of those. It was a fair, clean kill. It was in some ways an object lesson- and I am ok with that. Jak died protecting the ones he loved most, defending those weaker than himself, and he died fighting. Jak had resisted the temptation to let his anger, frustration, discontent and fear take over for a very long time; but when the time came to fight- he did. I'm very content with how he died-it was fitting to how I've played him and how I envisioned him.

I am a little disoriented by his death. I had a lot of ideas for him, and I put a lot of work into fleshing him out. I put a lot of energy into the game overall, and I protected with a vigilance that's fairly rare for me. It was my place to breathe and relax through all the things life is throwing at me, and to have it suddenly gone is a little strange.

I had a few moments of panic- because the players in the game, the ST, the time and the place in many ways became my home. To have your home taken away unexpectedly, to have what you hoped & dreamed of removed- it's jarring and a little hard to swallow.

But it's a game. It's fun, a way to relax and escape. And now I get to come up with a new idea. I'm looking forward to playing a character that's a lot more like myself- because Jak was tough to play. Who knows what I'll do next, but I am looking forward to a new home.

The Jak Files- Part 2

Originally posted
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Weirdness for Jak

I have been playing Jak, a formery Army medic, in a World of Darkness game for a while now. This game has gone through several transformations (including a 6 month hiatus and almost dying an untimely death) and Jak has been through a lot of WEIRD stuff. The game is currently a mixed genre setting, with a blend of base books being used.

An update since my last Jak report: The game USED to be set in Chicago and is now in Austin, TX. TallBoy is in the game but playing a new character, and Tom is still playing the Hobo(but improved). There are a number of other people involved now.

Jak has been alone for a long time. Any family or close friends have been dead for a while. So Jak depends on himself. Jak has a very simplistic approach to life- he can fix it or fight it. His longtime primary motivation had been to heal things, or attempt to make them better. If he wasn't able to do that, THEN it was time to crack some heads. He's a simple guy, really.

For about 6 months now, he's been forced to re-think this strategy. Jak doesn't deal with changes well, and reacts even LESS well to radical changes in philosophy. As a rule, if he doesn't understand something or something is outside his sense of immediacy, he tends to ignore it. Stuff that invades his life or his head usually makes him break out into fits of violence.

Jak was never intended to be a combat monster, but I discovered very quickly that he is a fighting machine. So his violence is usually VERY effective. And messy.

Lately, all kinds of things have been breaking into Jak's life and head that have been driving him to the verge of insanity. Jak is a little unbalanced anyway- he hasn't had a night without a nightmare in years. He's killed with his bare hands. He knows he has an explosive temper. So Jak decided to find a nice safe outlet for his frustration and found a fight club. Jak's done it before, and thought he knew GENERALLY what to expect...

but I keep forgetting this is Squirl's game, and things are always a little sideways from the norm. Jak apparently discovered the local werewolf "playground"- the place to vent steam, let off aggression, and not have outside questions or interference.

Problem is, Jak is human. He's the only non-supernatural being in the entire game at the moment.

Jak has somehow managed to win both the fights he's been in, which amuses the heck out of me- I laughed the whole way home that I kicked a werewolf's butt. But Jak has no clue this is going on. He just goes, and fights, and walks away the winner.

Jak is dealing with a lot right now- he recently moved across the country and since he moved, he has had TWO good dreams. AND not just happy, something is going right dreams- IMMENSELY good, exceptionally vivid dreams about things in his life that are so close to real, Jak can't tell if they happened or not.

He's seeing things. He's feeling weird. He found himself wanting to make friends- and actively took steps to do so. Jak asked a girl out on a date- something I never imagined Jak being willing to do (bad track record with women...). Jak is starting to evolve... Jak is freaking out.... and I am loving it.

I am being asked to step out of my comfort zone, deal with things, and really "be" Jak inside this little world. Jak is annoyed beyond belief and even more than a little angry, but *I* love this. It's why I game. I can't wait to see what happens next!

The Jak files - Part 1

Originally posted August 3, 2008 (on my other blog)

I had an awesome day Saturday. It started off great and just kept getting better.

I was fairly nervous to start out as the day was a lot of logistical juggling. TallBoy (my son) was supposed to go somewhere, and SweetPea (my daughter) somewhere else, with me showing up at the event with TallBoy after dropping off SweetPea. Then, a I was supposed to be in a Game.

Somewhere in there, I got time to go to a new hobby store in a little town near MY little town (think model railroads, airplanes, cars etc) and it was attached to a cute antique/collectible shop. As I was looking at something on a shelf, I noticed a bin of old metal signs in the upstairs room- and facing me was this:

This is the image from the cover of my Journal from my trip to France 18 years ago. It was just so unexpected and such a nostalgic piece I had to have it. My darling Dude (husband) bought it for me as an anniversary gift (which was "tomorrow" on Saturday), knowing that without my France trip, we would not be married. (We started dating 2 days before my trip- there's a story there, somewhere. Later maybe.)

After this great find, we head to Armored Gopher , where the event TallBoy is involved in is going full swing. We mingle, we chat, we eat some food cooked up by our friend KM and generally enjoy the community that makes AGG so frickin' awesome. (Full disclosure- My Dude is soon to be the owner of the place. But the community is a large part of why we love it and are willing to invest in it.)

So after much hanging out and many loud declarations that I am EVIL due to the fudge I made for the event (a high compliment in our crowd, BTW), it is game time. I am fairly excited about the game as my character, Jak, is finally starting to get things to do and it's starting to turn the corner from Keystone Kops and actually be a WOD game. Saturday it just got AWESOME.

We're set in Chicago. I'm playing Jak - a former Army medic, Thomas is playing a street rat/hobo, and TallBoy is playing a cop. All the action is set in around Jak's North side home. Hobo has recently been attacked by "rat-dogs" and is suffering ill effects. Jak's boss (up to now an NPC run by Squirl) is an old dude running a pharmacy and does some holistic/alternative medicine stuff. The boss is going to help Hobo get better from the "rat-dog" attack. Things start off with Jak getting Hobo in a car (Hobo is a little unstable and cars among many other things scare him) to go to the pharmacy to get help.

I'm aware a new guy is joining our game tonight and I am waiting to see how Squirl gets him in. As Jak knocks on the door at the boss's apartment above the pharmacy, the new guy asks "who is it" and it goes from there. The new guy is playing my boss and things continue on in a kick-butt fashion from there.

The events that transpire in the game are described in fabulous detail. Squirl is making all of us think, work hard at being our characters, and making the world around us very real. We're all faced with things that are way outside our comfort zone and our characters are forced to react. We face the events of the evening head on and keep the action flowing, all the while digging more and more into the meat of our characters.

It's been over 10 years since I last played in a game, and I had almost forgotten why I love it so much until Saturday. I had forgotten how much fun it is to bounce your "self" off of other people, have it evolve and have things fall into place and action really become organic and a community thing. I had not been in a game with this kind of interaction, intensity and thoughtfulness in a LONG time. I had been hesitant to get back into a game because I really didn't want it to be dice rolling. I wanted to THINK about what I was doing and why, and play it off my alter ego and see where it went. Man, did I get that and then some Saturday.

It almost doesn't matter what actually happened- because the experience was so dang cool. I had such a good time leaving the wife/mom behind and truly enjoyed "being" a young single guy battling the forces of weirdness side by side with the "old shopkeeper" all the while trying to keep the Hobo alive and get him freed from the "bugs" that invaded his body.

The evening ended as we had to wrap up and go home. SweetPea was exhausted from her many activities, the Dude was tired as HECK and TallBoy had pretty much sat out this adventure, as his cop had to file incident reports due to firing bullets in the last run. I start to ask the new guy (JohnJ) about his visible tattoos, and that progresses into my next post.