deude (mightyrikimaru) wrote in gurps,

Fun with Nightmares, and Other Psychologically Heavy Stuff

I've been running a role-playing game on Thursdays. We started earlier in the summer, if I remember correctly, and three of the four guys involved in it were carry-overs from the other RPG I'd run during the winter and spring. In the first session, the four player characters died (killed in a sudden goblin attack on their college campus) and found themselves at the gates of the Greek Underworld, Hades, and crossed the river Acheron via ferry into Erebus. In the second session, the group met Minos, one of the three judges of Hades, and struck a deal with him to get their lives back--in exchange for killing goblins. For the past seven or so sessions, they've been hopping between various worlds using a tiny nexus realm known as the Farthest Reaches of Space (an homage to Chrono Trigger's "End of Time"), searching through reality for goblins to hunt down and take out. On their travels, they've met Athena, Anubis, Pallando, the denizens of Jorge Luis Borges' Library of Babel, a race of sentient man-sized hermit crabs, and more blood-red goblins than you can shake a stick at.

Tonight's session was particularly intense. This was because the majority of the session (probably 2.25 of 3 hours) occurred entirely in the head of my friend Trevor's character--in the form of two back-to-back nightmares. Trevor's character is a career chamber musician and a medium on the side, hailing from 1870's America; his first nightmare recalled a particularly important and successful concert from his past, but it rapidly degenerated into threats from hostile spirits and an impending slaughter of his fellow musicians. He woke up with the dread of inevitable disaster still hanging over his mind.

For the second dream, I didn't tell the PC's that Edward was still dreaming. I had their reality-hopping adventures proceed as usual, albeit with Edward a bit shaken and sleep-deprived, still with vague premonitions of catastrophe. They entered an area similar to the setting of his dream, but were attacked by a magician and his gigantic metal wasp. The magician made assaults on them, able to open wound channels in their bodies simply by snapping his fingers, and Trevor's character woke from this mess screaming, frantically checking his body for wounds.

All of this is to say that we had a pretty dang intense session tonight, and I'm probably gonna have to take a good long shower to calm myself down before I can get to sleep. :) Do your campaigns and sessions ever get pretty dramatically intense? (And I'm not talking emotionally intense here, as in the case of conflict between players; I refer to times when the PCs are in situations of much gravity, and the players get so much into the drama of their characters' circumstances that they get really worked-up too.) Have you ever had to do something to deal with the dramatic intensity, either post-session or during the game itself? What do you do to "decompress" after a particularly heavy session?
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