Coupling: Liz & Erik
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:
Hi my name is Liz and I am the creator of the WITCH role play game & system. I spend most of my time obsessing about role play and sewing a bunch of clothes for myself because I have a luxury problem my wallet can't keep up with. I've been GMing for around seven years now and playing RPGs since I was in highschool.
Hi I'm Erik, I's a 27 year old guy who has been playing video games practically his entire life and ttrpgs for about 10 years. I studied European law in University and am currently an adviser for a trade union. I have a puppy name Leia who is really awesome and I like to do long distance running.
How long have you been playing games individually?
Liz - I've been playing video games ever since I was a kid. I still remember my dad bringing home the old Lion King game and me find it so confusing because I could not conceptualize platformers. I recently downloaded it on my computer and tried to play it again, turns out I am still confused, but this time cause I am really bad at the game.
Erik - 22 years.
Liz - He's really exact like that :P
How long have you been playing games together?
Liz - We met playing a role play video game actually. It was a game called Neverwinter Nights, Erik and I both went to the same role play server, naturally we clashed on just about every decision ever and the rest is history.
Erik - 12 years!
Liz - Normally, he talks way more than this... he is distracted by the puppy :D.
What are your favorite systems?
Liz - I love anything World of Darkness. My first pen ttrpg experience was with Vampire the Masquerade and it will always hold a special place in my heart. I am also a huge fan of Numenera, I just love the world and the stories. Tons of dead worlds piled on top of each other and ziplock bags seen as magical treasures from a dead society - don't mind if I do!
Erik - WITCH because it is made by Lizzie and I think it is a really cool innovative system with all these cool new rules like potion making and the devils deck.
Liz - I promise I did not tell him to say this!
Erik - Also World of Darkness is my second favourite.
Do any of you GM/DM?
Liz - So we met our current roleplay group (and very good friends) cause I put out a call for players. That was about six years ago and since then I have been the token GM for just about every game we play.
Erik - I've done it a couple of times with Dungeons and Dragons at conventions, but it was way too much preparing for me. I prefer to just be a character and kick ass in whatever world the GM presents me with.
How is the dynamic GM/DM vs player?
Liz - Difficult. I love Erik, but our marriage is very egalitarian and sometimes as the GM you are the one in charge and your partner has to just go with it. I've also found that the private sessions I do with most players just don't work with me and Erik. Normally, it is really easy for me to separate player from character and just get into the one on one role play, but not with Erik. I just think here is my husband, who I love, we could be cuddling and watching Netflix instead!
Erik - I feel that it is sometimes hard for either of us to separate between IC and OC when our characters are annoyed with each other. For me it sometimes feels weird when Lizzie is playing a character that's being angry/other negative emotion to my character, and that can annoy me, which leads to a spiral of annoyance for the both of us. Luckily it doesn't happen very often!
How do you make it clear that you are not playing favorites when players know or find out you’re a couple?
Liz- I'd have to say it is more difficult to be fair to Erik rather than holding him as a favourite. For example, if I am running out of time in a session I might skip over his turn. Like, 'oh he loves me, he'll understand.' But as a player that is really horrible. I have to keep this always in the back of my mind to make sure he gets a fair chance to play.
Erik - I feel like Lizzie always treats me exactly like the other players. So, if she has a hard time with it she hides it well, because I don't notice it.
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?
Liz - I love it and think it is hilarious. I know fiction is fiction and watching him try to be romantic with someone else brings me glee.
Erik - I don't mind it, it's just a game and it doesn't mean anything is real life, so it's no problem.
What games do you enjoy playing together the most?
Liz -We play a lot of videogames together, recently we've played the shit out of all the BioShocks. Also, I like the Orpheus game that Erik and I are playing in together. It is the only game where I am not the GM and I just get to play along with Erik. We both work really well as a team and the dynamic between our characters is really nice. I play a super peppy Texan girl and Erik is a jaded whiskey swilling detective. It's funny cause in our normal life Erik is the peppy one and I am the conspiracy theorist jaded one.
Erik - Anything where we can just hang out on the couch together and be under the blankets with chocolate and play on the Xbox.
How often do you discuss games with each other?
Liz - Too often.
Erik - Daily!
Are you able to separate personal feelings when gaming?
Liz - Most of the time, the nice thing about playing role play games is that you get so into the game you start to ignore real life crap. So actually, playing has helped to calm me down sometimes when I am pissed at Erik before a session.
Erik - In video games all the time, in role play games most of the time.
What do you feel like you’ve learned the most about your significant other by role-playing together?
Liz - He really hates authority figures that tell him what to do. If I want to piss off one of his characters all I need to put in an NPC who has an air of superiority and wants to let everyone else know it.
Erik - I really agree with Lizzie's answer and I've learned that she isn't always so secure about the stories she tells even though she should be. One thing I have learned about Lizzie is that she doesn't like other people determining for her what she does. Like if other people are like, 'no we should do this' and she doesn't get a say in it, she's like 'fine!' and then grumpy about it.
Liz - This is true.
What games do you recommend couples playing if they wanted to start gaming together?
Both - It depends what you like. Video game wise co-op games are always good. Playing any time of role playing game together as players is so nice because you can talk about everything after the session. If it is your first time role playing together, try to have it be both as players, cause then you can gossip at the end of every session!
Do you have any advice for couples who want to game together?What has been your most memorable role-play moment so far?
Liz - Memorable moment: Curb stomping his character's pet dog. To set the scene slightly. Diego (Erik's character) was saving a young girl from a burning building and his faithful ghouled dog, Samuel, was holding off a few thugs. His dog lost the battle and got curb stomped. Erik is a pretty easy going guy, he never is really sad when he role plays. The look he had on his face when that happened. I felt sooooooo bad. I want to say in my defense the dog survived he just was more like a dog afterwards and less like a full talking party member.
Erik - Haha, Lizzie's funny that never really happened *sniff*
Liz - Oh sweet summer child.
Erik - Memorable moment: My favourite was when Lizzie turned the long term Vampire campaign that we had going into a one-time LARP where a lot of our friends were playing NPCs. To suddenly actually have to act out your character in person with clothing and mannerisms and have to approach actual people was really really cool. She even decorated several rooms in multiple buildings for the different scenes!!!