Lady Blackbird: Flight of The Owl

The Gauntlet's online community is amazingly good. I've played many one shots of various RPGs there, and have never been disappointed with the players at the table or the game being played. That said, the Gauntlet thrives on running games in short story arcs that last 3-4 sessions, normally played during an individual month. I hadn't played in any on-going set of games, mostly due to timing issues and the difficulty in committing game time to weekday evenings and weekends.

Within The Gauntlet, the subculture there that I've grown closest to is the Asia Pacific (ASPAC) crew. They're an exemplary group of folks, and include members from countries such as Australia, Singapore, Japan, and even various USians (including myself). And so it was only fitting that my first "campaign" would be with this crew.

In April, friend Sid decided to run Lady Blackbird. It's a game by John Harper that I've been wanting to try forever, being a prime example of collaborative story gaming magic. 

If I look back in the last year of gaming and decide on my favorite experience, it is these four sessions. This is high praise given some of the games I've played in the last 12 months, but so well deserved. The other four players (Elle, Stephen, Lu, Ary) and our lovely game master, Sid, were such a treat to play with.

The game itself is some cool story game shit. It starts with some hard framing with the crew of The Owl (an air ship) in a prison, captured. The five available characters are all unique, and with their various backgrounds which give them a lovely starting point and some interpersonal tension and connections, but with a lot of room for customization and growth.

Sid ran an extremely collaborative table with an artist's light touch, and he'd probably tell you that he was just making us do the work for him, but that's a bit of bullshit. He knew when to push us and when to get us to bring our magic. He experimented with all sort of interesting and beautiful techniques, such as doing session recaps through TV-show style intros, and all sorts of fun things with smash cuts.

Oh man, and what players. I can't do them justice in my descriptions, but I'll just say that the depth of Naomi (Stephen) and lovely chemistry with Lady Blackbird (Lu) was killer. Starting the game off with some good ol' mutiny threw some nice wrenches in to the works, which of course was patched up by yarn from the most amazing Snargle (Elle). Kale (Ary) was supremely authentic and sympathetic. I just tear up thinking back to this game. 

I can't really do the game justice in describing it, but will just leave it out there for those crazy enough to watch things like this. Enjoy!