Every year, the hashtag #RPGaDAY makes its way around the social medias, and gamers try their damnedest to answer each question every day. Most fail. I probably will too. BUT. I will try!
Today's question: What was your most impactful RPG session?
(Wow, hey! We're a week in and I haven't missed a day!)
Emotional bleed. That's immediately where my mind goes when answering this question. If you aren't familiar with the term, the long and short of it is when events in-game affect your mental state out-of-game. Here's a great article from nordiclarp.org on bleed if you're interested in reading more about it.
One session in particular where I experienced a strong 'bleed' was a recent D&D game I was running for my buddy Sean. The game itself was very personal and intimate to begin with as it was a one-to-one game where I was running the game and my friend was playing.
As slap-stick and silly as we tend to be, the story itself was exploring some pretty dark themes. The main character, Crowley, was a necromancer bent on absolute power. However vile and corrupted he was, there was always some greater evil that was present; and what better way to gain power than to vanquish the only evil greater than him?
Without getting too deep into the story, Crowley never knew his father. At a point in the story Crowley happened across someone he had met earlier - a man aligned with that greater evil named Elgran. He appeared to have no recollection of past events, and simply appeared in the wilderness one day. It was clear that his memory had been wiped, and he was fumbling to come to grips with who he was and what he was to do. The man had no possessions, save for a hand written note. This note was addressed to Crowley, written many years ago, and was heart-wrenching letter from a father regretting leaving his sons.
Later that night, Crowley killed Elgran in his sleep. In Elgran's final breath, his memories came flooding back and his last sight was his son grinning malevolently over him.
We ended the session there and carried with us incredibly somber moods the rest of the evening, and into the next day. The bleed was so strong that we put that campaign on hiatus and moved on to something else. We'll certainly pick it back up one day, but that moment just felt like the right place to pause, even if the over-arching story wasn't seen through to completion.