Coupling: Jenn & Lance
How many times have you watched a movie or/and television show to see that one person in the relationship is viewed as either ‘nerdy’ or ‘geeky’ and the other ‘normal’? Oh, that lonely geek wishing for love and understanding from the so-called normal person.
In these interviews we are more on the side of celebrating the couples who share the beloved hobby of tabletop role-play. Some got the other into the hobby, others met through it, some still play, others don’t, some role-play together and some rarely do so but share a mutual love of games.
Why touch on this? Because sharing something you love with someone you love is how we can share time with one another. It’s a conversation piece, a way of bonding and possibly further understanding one another.
Seth and I often role-play together. There are a lot of ways in which both are different, but this is a hobby that we both share and love for the same or different reasons. I tend to be curious about how other couples view the hobby.
In this series we interviewed different couples and how they manage to separate their love for each other and the love for the game.
Because love is never having to say you’re sorry or explaining to your beloved in front of the party how to be a better GM.
FIRST, OUR INTERVIEWEES:
Jenn: I'm a 30-something who got back into rpgs when I was a stay at home mom. I fell down the rabbit hole of story games about three years ago and haven't looked back since. I'm a member of the Jank Cast gaming podcast (http://jankcast.com/) and I help create indie gaming content with Indie+ (https://www.youtube.com/user/indieplusgaming).
Lance: 38 year old suburanite, who just wants to be loved....I enjoy long walks on the beach, etc... Actually I was against RPG's for the longest time. I am still not sure if it was because I wanted my wife to have her own thing, I don't think I am creative enough, or any other number of reasons. I finally gave in when I keep missing my wife, and wanted to spend more time with her.
How long have you been playing games individually?
Jenn: I came back to rpgs about five years ago, but about originally started about 10yrs ago.
Lance: Jenn has been gaming most of her life. I just really started within the last year and a half.
How long have you been playing games together?
Jenn: About 1 1/2yrs
Lance: Essentially, unless you count board games, just a little over the year and a half when I believe I started actually gaming.
What are your favorite systems?
Jenn: Anything Powered by the Apocalypse
Lance: I haven't pinpointed any ones that I just HAVE to play. I'm still exploring games and trying to find what I like the most. Apocalypse World and it's hacks seem to work best for me so far.
Do any of you GM/DM?
Jenn: I do, my husband hasn't tried yet.
How is the dynamic GM/DM vs player?
Jenn: I haven't ever run a game that my husband has played in.
Lance: I like having obstacles thrown at me. It keeps me on my toes. In real life, I love consistency and predictability. In games, I want everything bad to happen, sometimes at once. A good GM can keep the game from becoming monotonous.
How do you make it clear that you are not playing favorites when players know or find out you’re a couple?
Lance: I don't think it's something we talk about, but in retrospect, I think we choose opposing roles and characters on purpose.
What are your feelings when someone expresses romantic interest in your significant other’s character in game? If this is okay- how do you let your players know this?
Jenn: I think it's cute. Mostly we player with indie gamers so it's never been an issue.
Lance: It's a game. It doesn't mean anything in real life. Jenn has been gaming long enough that everyone we encounter knows she's happily married, and there isn't anything more to romantic or sexual situations that happen in game. I don't even think that question has come up since I started gaming.
What games do you enjoy playing together the most?
Jenn: Any, though most of the games we've played together are PbtA games and one homebrew a friend is designing.
Lance: We play mostly board and deck building games. When we go to cons, we mostly pick different games to play.
How often do you discuss games with each other?
Jenn: After we play a game- either individually or together, sometimes outside of that, but not super often just out of the blue like that.
Lance: It happens on occasion. Mostly, when I ask about what she's been playing, or how a certain system works.
Are you able to separate personal feelings when gaming?
Jenn: Yes, I know that no matter what our characters do, it is just fiction. It's probably easier for me to separate personal feelings with him than it is with anyone else.
Lance: Yep. No problems here.
What do you feel like you’ve learned the most about your significant other by role-playing together?
Jenn: I'm not sure about learning about him, but it's been fun for me to watch him come out of his shell and really get into gaming. He has a favorite system now that I haven't played and I love that we can play games together, but also separately.
Lance: I always knew how intelligent and creative she is, but I have developed a higher appreciation for just how much those talents shine when she plays.
What games do you recommend couples playing if they wanted to start gaming together?
Jenn: I think it just depends on what they like. Try to find a genre/system that they both like- if one bends too much for the other, that's a recipe for at least one person not having fun.
Lance: I think when there are more people involved to help move things along when someone is stuck, it becomes less intimidating. I remember playing Fiasco for the first time with Jenn and a couple more people. It made things easier when other creative people can help keep the story moving. Specific games, I can't think of any at the moment.
Do you have any advice for couples who want to game together? What has been your most memorable role-play moment so far?
Jenn: I think it's important for the 'non-gamer' to be able to play something that interests them, so I hate to see the stereotypical 'gamer brings SO in because they need a healer' situation.
My most memorable RP moment was when Lance and I were playing rival wizarding students and we hated each other- he kept failing on purpose in that game and my character kept calling him a nickname she knew he hated.
Lance: Just play. Most new gamers don't want to be the one who drags the story. It won't happen. Just play.
My most memorable moment? My mind is swirling.....
I think when my "sword for hire, but has a heart of gold" character, Barton, sacrificed himself to save another character, by stepping in front of a charging beast. (I seem to like disaster)