Last month I was a mythical creature walking through a fairytale land with my two detective friends and 3 billy goat gruffs to find out who had killed Gretel of Hansel and Gretel and why they did it. I shrunk myself to get away from an evil witch, I watched my friend shapeshift into a squirrel to fight his way out of a spider’s web and I misjudged the three goats. Last month, I played a tabletop role playing game.
A game in which players assume the roles of characters and act out fantastical adventures, the outcomes of which are partially determined by chance, as by the roll of dice.
I wanted to venture into new ways of having cheap nights in with friends. My usual go-to is wine and if not, tea. I’m happy to sit and chat for hours on end rather than watch movies. I thought it’d be interesting to do a try something different, something out of the ordinary. I was offered the chance to be involved in play-testing a new role playing game (rpg) called Big Bad Hunters with a few friends of mine.
The official blurb for Big Bad Hunters is:
Big, Bad Hunters is a detective story set in a twisted fairy-tale world. In this first of three adventures, the characters must find out who poisoned Gretel’s cake. En route, they run into many of the classic fairy-tale characters, but they may not be quite what the players were expecting.
For me, it was an exciting, amusing adventure that had so many twists and turns that there wasn’t a dull moment. It was the fairytales I knew as a child set on fire. It was a story that had many different endings and at the same time, none at-all. The fate of Big, Bad Hunters was in ours, the player’s hands and that itself made the game so exciting.
At first, we giggled a lot. It was quite awkward. We had switched from conversation about politics and day-to-day life to adopting characters that were completely different to ourselves. It took us a while to settle into our characters and even once we had, there was still some giggling. I felt like a kid starting after school drama classes. Eventually, the feeling of absurdity subsided and made way for intense concentration and discussions on what sort of magical power should be utilised next as we attempted to complete our mission for the handsome Prince Charming. We debated over whether the billy goats ought to be avoided or whether the troll working at the bridge was a disgruntled, bitter old fool. We debated over entering Hansel and Gretel’s home and we discussed whether one of us should check to see if all the cakes were poisonous or just the one that killed Gretel. These discussions were intense and completely serious- we had to get to the bottom of this case!
As the adventure unfolded, I found myself questioning everything we’d been told by the fairytale creatures so far, guessing how it would end, hoping that, after all I’d been through that evening (becoming a mouse, being caught in a spider’s web and running away from a witch that had grown to the size of her whole house..) I’d at least, at the very least, get out of it alive. Otherwise, what would the point have been?
If you’re wondering, of course my character lived. My character got away pretty unscathed compared to his compadres and that is because he, much like his creator (me) is badass.
Once the story was over and we’d solved the mystery, I felt relieved and oddly, quite tired. I felt exactly like I do when I finish a great book that waits until the very last page to reveal the twist; I felt relieved, tired, exhilarated and maybe most importantly, sad that it was over.
I had attempted to dabble in RPGs before but just couldn’t really grasp them and felt like a slight burden on anybody who tried to explain them to me which probably explains why I shied away from them for so long.I found that Big, Bad Hunters was a great place to start. The system was far easier to understand than those I’d attempted to understand before- your powers are based on your own descriptions. For example, my character was ‘very fast’ which meant that he was the best he could be at being fast rather than, say ‘fast- 6’ which is how he would be described in traditional RPGs. The other thing about Big, Bad Hunters that made it accessible and fun for me was I had the freedom to design my own character, my own strengths, my own weaknesses. It made adapting to my character a little easier and a lot more fun than I imagine being handed a pre-made one would be.
If you haven’t guessed, I whole-heartedly recommend this game to pretty much everybody. It was a lot of fun, it was a unique experience for me and it is something I definitely want to experience again. It’s available here and is under a Pay What You Want agreement so all you really need is a few friends – one who is willing to tell the story-, some character sheets and a night set aside.
Let me know if you download it!