I meant to write this Reflection earlier this week, but I wanted to release Episode 5 first. But Rex's feedback required some sizable edits, and then he hasn't gotten back to me since about whether or not it's ready to be published.
Needing to rewrite most of Episode 4 was... humbling. I suppose that's the best way to put it? The original draft had Nebiros in a much more observational role than an involved one. Cel and Kirby were just sort of there to be noticed. Others rolled in but felt disconnected. All the while, Nebiros was just kind of watching this all happen. And then there were a ton of inside jokes that didn't deliver well and had to be cut. I think I had some similar jokes in Episode 5's first draft (but was able to make a few of them blend acceptably). The rewrite came at the bonus of being able to include Bed, and I was glad to be able to let the two artists have their moment at the start of the episode. I enjoy being able to allude to the history so that newer members and those who aren't as familiar with the history can experience it vicariously.
The interaction was what made the rewrite work, I think. We got to see Nebiros interact with Bed. Rather than just sort of notice Cel and Kirby as she passed by, Nebiros made a point of saying hi and chatting before finally looking for a spot to film from. It created a good contrast to Liz, who wasn't as inclined to speak to Nebiros.
The speech itself was another funny thing. The original version was poorly written, but the revised version largely borrowed from the original. I love being able to maintain pieces of an original draft whenever possible, because there's usually a purity to an original draft that starts to get lost if you mess with it or rewrite it too much.
I didn't expect the TRSR HNT to take off nearly so well. I thought it would be enjoyable and set the stage, but the funny thing is how late the idea came to me. Writing the first three episodes, I wasn't entirely sure what Rift's announcement would be about. I've known from the beginning how Series 1 will end, but I hadn't always been sure how to get there, and now the Relics will make it possible. It's really neat how little things along the way can make an idea come together. I think that's been my favorite part of writing The Mansion.
The Mansionverse role play has been a ton of fun, too. I hadn't fully thought through several of the rooms, so a lot of my posts involved coming up with things on the spot. I didn't expect the GM approach at all, either. I had expected a fairly simple “Everybody's chillin' in the Mansion,” and I hadn't thought through how the TRSR HNT would affect things. It was such a late idea, and the role play was one of those things that I knew I needed to have up but hadn't given a ton of thought to. It's turned out really well, and I look forward to seeing how it goes in the future.
Though not directly related to Sparkbomb, Cel threw a party on the 17th (that Bed and Ward attended), and we got to play a few quick games of Mafia. A few days prior, I'd gotten to host a quick game with a few friends (three(?) of whom were at Cel's party) to get back into practice. The MCing helped to center some of my thoughts on the difference between online and offline games. At Cel's party, even the quiet players were engaged, and it's a huge difference to know that quiet players are interested in the game compared to the forum setting where we're wondering if they're trying to lie low or if real life has interfered. The second game was especially fun. I was a werewolf (along with Ward and someone else), Cel was Witch (a single use rez OR single use block on the werewolf attack), and Bed was Cupid (binding Ward and another player). I tend to be pretty good at reading Cel, so I immediately turn to her and ask her what her role is. She just sort of smiles at me, and I instantly know she's Witch. Unfortunately, after Night 1, the MC announced that Cel had been protected (clearing her). Fortunately, she did own up to being Witch (a mistake on her part, in my opinion). You'd think she would have picked out that I had read her that well. Suspicion fell on Bed, who announced himself Cupid and the two players he had bound. Somewhere along the way we (the werewolves) picked off Cel and Bed (as they were cleared). For the final Day, there was a ton of suspicion on Ward. I was scrambling to find another valid target to shift the vote to when I realize I hadn't been paying attention to the players sitting next to me on the couch. So I turn and sort of give each of them a serious look, and when I gave Cel's brother a look he busted up laughing. Perfect! I proceed to vote him for being unable to keep a straight face, majority goes to him, and werewolves sweep the game. Of course, the following game, we failed to hit any werewolves, the person sitting on my other side tricked me into thinking she was Protector (even though it should have been obvious to me that she wasn't), and innocents were swept. I'd thought being MCing had given me enough of an edge about what people's playstyles were, and while I'd gotten some insight, I was tired. Subsequent Mafia games are just as exhausting as subsequent rounds of Yu-Gi-Oh.
I had largely dismissed the idea of having All-Stars this year. How were we going to get in touch with the extended community after a forum reset that many people didn't respond to and IDB being gone? I don't entirely remember what persuaded me to go for it, but it was definitely the right call. Apparently I had only reached out via IDB in 2010 (the game that Ryguy hosted that lasted forever and had 54 players), and I hadn't reached out via the other communities in 2011 (for Rex and Traj's game that had 52 players). But after thinking about it, I thought it would definitely be possible to hit 20 players, and a goal of 30 wasn't too lofty. And since we haven't seen a game of that size in a couple of years, why not? We've had 20 people show up so far. I know that not all of them will be able to join in, but I definitely think we'll hit the 30 goal, and we might get lucky and push 40 when all is said and done.
While I've been happy to see so many old friends, the thing that I've appreciated most as people have shown up is having the opportunity to read through some of the old IDB threads. The Werewolf history is nice to have (though everything before October of '04 is lost), but more important to me is that I'd forgotten how much my time as an IDB Rater meant to me. Looking back a few weeks ago, I would have just said, “Yeah, I became a Rater in summer of '07, I put some time in, had a ton of fun with The Return of Dr. Sloth battleplot, and that was it.” But seeing the professionalism I had let me see a part of myself that I didn't know existed before I was judging Yu-Gi-Oh. And seeing the threads and enthusiasm I had makes it clear that I really did enjoy the time I put in. It's been so rare for me to see myself as part of a team (outside of Yu-Gi-Oh), and it was a great experience.
I had hoped that opening the blogs section up would get some interest, and I'm a bit disappointed that it hasn't. Perhaps that's been a too little too late thing, or perhaps there haven't been enough people who have thought about it yet.
I haven't had a whole lot going on outside of Sparkbomb this past month. I mentioned Cel's party already. I only made it out dancing a few times. There was an excellent dance held at the college this past Wednesday. I also had an enjoyable dance date two or three weeks ago. I could really use a blues fix, though. There was a fairly stressful Monday where I had to clock several hours in Dragon Quest IX before the Nintendo WFC closed down. I had lost track of how little time I had left and only realized the day before, but I still got it done in time. I haven't been doing much reading. Or playing Sacred 2.
And that's about it for May. I'm looking forward to June, and I'm especially looking forward to seeing where we're at when All-Stars begins.