Adventuring: Once Upon A Time
I love Fairy Tales, from the ones truly watered down for the smallest child, like Disney’s Little Mermaid, to horror movies, like Black Swan. So when Once Upon A Time, OUAT, came out I was thrilled. I get to have a new Fairy Tale every week, yes please! Don’t get me wrong, there are a lot of plot holes and the characters do a lot of stupid things when in the real world they could have done something and fixed their problems in a much shorter span of time. This is also an issue when you are GMing a game, you clearly know the answer but the players take the long way around. Which brings me to this current season’s adventuring party into the world of Neverland and how they fill some of the stereotypes you may find at your table.
*WARNING: This should be obvious, but spoilers for the show ahead.
Emma the Savior Power Gamer
Emma is the main character of OUAT. She is the Savior of the town full of fairy tale characters and generally is there to save the day. She is also the birth mother of Henry, the reason she comes to the town called Storybrooke in the first place.
As a player she tries to be good at everything in the game. A jack-of-all-trades, she can use a gun, a sword, is learning magic, and can tell when someone is lying. This is the player at the table that usually will teleport around the map to get in on all of the action, unless you have minis and they can only move so many spaces. I mostly see this in power gamers, the ones that take as many negatives as they can so they can have the best pluses, “You mean if I take Dependent I can have points to use both a sword and a gun? Totally taking it.” Then they are shocked later when they have to share their 11 year old son with another player. “What do you mean I have to be a Mom now?!?” Le sigh. Once you bring their attention to it then generally they become a better RPer instead of “I’m going to kill that thing over there because I can!” Otherwise they keep doing it and you keep having them come over for gaming because they are your friend and not many of your friends play RPGs.
Regina the Evil Queen Seasoned Roleplayer
Regina is the Evil Queen and Mayor of the town. She has great magical abilities and her main objective is to make Snow White’s life horrible. She also is trying to keep Henry. He ran away from her to find Emma because he believes Regina is the most evil person he knows. Now while it is true that she is the Evil Queen and her actions toward the other characters are questionable, she is just trying to be the best mother she can be for her adopted son.
As a player she knows some of the best characters have flaws, even if those flaws mean you fucked over some of the other players in your back story because you are evil. Now you are trying to make it better because you want to be a good mom to your adopted son. Yeah that’s a lot of flaws, but this player roleplays them well. She makes decisions based on the well-being of her son and continues to show a dislike to the other players that hurt her in the past. It also doesn’t hurt that with all of these flaws she can ready a fireball to throw during the first round of combat. She is completely the sorceress in the group; this player knows how to build a character and does so from day one. That is why Regina is super useful in Neverland.
Rumpelstiltskin the Dark One Party Splitter
Rumpelstiltskin is the main baddie in the series. His magic is more powerful than Regina’s and he collects magical items throughout his time in both Storybrooke and fairy tale land. And as his name suggests he is a baby dealer and has an obsession with contracts.
As a player he gets something into his head that is the end goal and just does it. “I have this special box that will totally solve all of our problems.” Owning a pawn shop full of magic items might sound like a good idea, but just say no. Seriously, don’t let a player talk you into this unless you hand out the magic items or it will be a setting like Warehouse 13 and they often times will have something go horribly wrong with them. This player is stupid overpowered but at least there is an end game in sight. He knows his end is coming and he will have to make a new character. Don’t get me wrong, when this happens on the show I will cry great big buckets of tears because I love the character, but Rumpelstiltskin as a player is stupid broken.
Note: If he is a GM character you just need to stop being a GM for a while and take notice of how awesome your PLAYERS are, not how awesome your characters are.
Captain Hook the Pirate One with the big crush on another player
I love Pirates! They are super kewl. Captain Hook is a pirate, the one you have come to know and love from all of the Peter Pan stories out there, but this one is sexy. He’s not necessarily evil, but he is out for himself before anyone else and in a way that makes him evil.
As a player he also thinks Pirates are super kewl and is playing one to try to impress his crush at the table. He is doing everything in his power to get with another player in and out of game. This is a player I’d take aside at the end of a game and let him know that what happens in game stays in game. Then I’d hand him my brass balls from my pocket and tell him to ask his crush to coffee or dinner. Sometimes players have a hard time seeing the line between game and real life and you as a GM need to help them with that. Tell them to take a step back and realize that the game is a game and things that happen in game will not transfer over to real life.
Snow and Charming the Parents Couple at the Table
Snow White and Prince “Charming” James are the parents of Emma, which makes them the grandparents of Henry. They are really big on the whole family is a priority and the only thing that matters. They are also trying their best to make up for the 28 years they missed with Emma. That is a lot of time to make up for, so they have a bumpy ride with their relationship with Emma.
As players these guys are an example of what can happen when both people in a relationship love to game. They remember equipment for each other and take flaws and feats similar to one another because they probably made their characters together. For a long time as a GM I was really apprehensive to allow couples to play in my games. It always seemed like one was just there and the other one wanted to actually play the game. My husband and I are an example of this, he is there to hang out and I want to stay in character and play. But since I have been going to cons I have found that more and more couples are RPing together as a hobby both of them enjoy. I am very glad to see this. ^_^
Neal the Father BEST NPC EVAR!!!!
Neal is the son of Rumpelstiltskin and the father of Henry. He is from fairy tale land but has travelled to Neverland and lives in our world, not in Storybrooke, where he meets Emma and they accidentally have a baby that he doesn’t find out about until Henry is about 12.
He is a great example of a good NPC. He is there in the background and has pretty good plot hooks. He gets trapped and needs to be saved, as well as causes PCs to find their quest. He’s someone the PCs care about and he was pulled from their backgrounds to link them all together. Neal’s character also helps the player of Hook remember that it’s just a game and not a place to pick someone up. Sometimes players need little nudges just like Neal to put them in the right direction.
I really have loved this season. It has really shown how powerful magic can be and why people with magic are so scary. What did you think about it? Who would you want to go adventuring with? What gaming system would you use to run a game like this?