Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Interview with a Call of Cthulhu Player: Laine

In high school Laine predominately played in World of Darkness games such as Vampire the Masquerade but after a ten year hiatus, he's started playing in various BRP and Call of Cthulhu games in play-by-post format on Now he's joining us today to give some insight into a player's mind by letting us poke around his own brain.

Shannon: "So why the shift in game systems and styles? Why Call of Cthulhu now?"

Laine: "I really enjoyed the WOD setting, but I was simply getting tired of the over the top powerful characters and felt that the system by allowing you to play supernatural creatures rather took away from the experience of horror that I was looking for. I went through a long hiatus of role play since I couldn't find a group that was looking for similar themes and elements of horror."

"I have been a fan of such writers as Poe and Lovecraft for some time, but only became aware of a role playing system based around H.P Lovecraft several years ago. I have been intrigued ever since, however finding others in my area that wish to play CoC has been difficult, so I began to look online and found Play@YSDC. Since joining I have primarily played in the forum Welcome to Silent Hill as Travis Yates. He is a preschool teacher who has just moved to Silent Hill and will begin to work at Midwhich in the fall of next school year. He is a rather sensitive character and generally places the needs of other individuals above his own. I enjoy playing him very much and am rather fearful that his psyche will not be able to handle the horrors of Silent Hill as they are revealed to him."

"I also play Piauyu on Zombie Apocolypse. I imagine her as being a lone cougar type character who is faithful towards her own path in life. I am not sure how she will interact with other players when she meets them..."

Shannon: "What hooks you into joining a game? What makes you think to yourself 'yes, I'd like to play that'?"

Laine: "I look for games that have particular themes or are in certain genres or settings. I have loved zombie movies for some time and have always wanted to play in a zombie rpg, so Zombie Apocolypse caught my attention right away. Silent Hill was an immediate hit for me as well because I love the video games and found the possibility of taking on a fictitional role in such as setting would be exciting and a unique way to continue the exploration of Silent Hill. I enjoyed video games growing up, however I find it more engaging and fun to make up the story line and have a character unique to yourself."

"I also look for games set within certain historical periods. I enjoy music from the 1920s-1940s and fashion from those eras as well. I appreciate the chance to play characters from the upper classes of society (professors, academics, rich indviduals, etc.), but I really enjoy story lines or concepts that would be fitting for common individuals during these time periods or of other sub-cultures such as entertainers, musicians, criminals, etc. As far as Keepers I appreciate ones who are flexible and patient in regards to the technical aspects of the games. I enjoy campaignes that can be at a reasonably fast pace with a well thought out story line."

Shannon: "You play some pretty interesting characters with quite a bit of depth. Where do you get all of your ideas? And do you follow a process to develop your character concepts?"

Laine: "I generally choose concepts for characters based on what I feel I am somewhat knowledgable about. Although I would enjoy playing a character such as a bioloigist, epidemiologist, psychiatrist, military personel, etc. I would find it very difficult to do such characters justice without falling into cliches or simply not knowing what I am talking about. Therefore I would say each character is reflective of my own personality and interests. I am not sure how many players do this, but I would certainly say that I put a bit of myself into most of the characters I play."

"Travis is by far the closest to home for me in terms of background and life experiences. I know this really exposes a lot about myself, but I also find it an intriguing and reflective process. I find his character's struggles the most personal and in a way I designed it that way. I feel like the setting of the game also really asks one to go into the psyche of their character as most of the horror of Silent Hill is psychological in nature."

Shannon: "So I’m getting the vibe that you like your personal horror. Are there any other forms of horror that really appeal to you and, if so, how can Keepers really evoke that horror for you?"

Laine: "Don't get me wrong, I enjoy a certain amount of action and some level of violence, but it really depends on the game itself. I wouldn't join a game like Zombie Apocolypse if I weren't hoping that at some point my character would have to fight their way through a ravenous horde of the undead. On the other hand I like psychological horror and I appreciate that aspect in CoC in general."

"I also enjoy reading about serial killers and it seems like there have been a few games here that have touched on that genre. I find the greatest evil is when humans and not monsters are the ones who commit horrific acts. I watched a documentary that showed a lot of photos of Nazi Germany that focused not so much on the tragedy of the concentration camps but rather the everyday lives of Germans during that time period. It was intense to see through the photographs that even the most horrific of people could enjoy many of the same things we enjoy on a day to day basis. This is not to take away what happened, but rather it showed that there was a human element to it and that was what was the most disheartening of all. Who needs the Mythos when we are our own greatest threats?"

Shannon: "So true. The factual horror of what some other people are willing to do to you is far more intense and frightening than any monster that we're pretty sure doesn't exist. Anyway, thanks for letting me interview you. It's been fun!"

So there you have it! Some insight into the player's mind, in this case a dyed-in-the-wool horror player. Boy do I wish I knew a few of you locally as only one of my players is an actual fan of the horror genre. Most of the others don't mind dabbling in it, or a horror themed game, but they don't really want to indulge in the fear.

Next week, another one of my Silent Hill Play-by-Post's players.

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