I Got Nothing -The Story About Chekov’s Pants.
Every so often, Players do something that defy expectation and catch me off-guard. Doesn’t happen often, but when it does it’s a doozy. Careful, there may be spoilers in this. Kind of. Sort of.
In play writing, it’s called Chekov’s Gun – if you introduce a gun in the first act, someone needs to fire it in the third act. Basically, it’s a guideline about plot development and detail conservation – whatever you introduce in the initial moments, should be utilized at some point toward the end as part of the twist, resolution or whatever really. Good advice when you’re running a game, and most of the time, it’s a telltale sign that if a player wants to tell you something about their character in advance, they’re going to find a way to work it into the game session whether you want it or not.
I was running “Women’s Prison of the Apes” at a convention which, as it says right on the tin, takes place at a women’s prison. While doing initial character introductions, a player proceeds to tell me about the breakaway pants of his Honeypot character. He was very specific about it too – red, white and blue with snaps on the side. I think his name was even on the backside. He then finished with, “Oh, and I don’t wear underwear.”
Now, my momma didn’t raise no foolish child. I knew this was going to show up at some point, but had assumed it would be used in some random, romantic encounter in order to get to business quick, fast and in a hurry. Not what happened.
Instead, the players decide they’re going to cause a distraction by staging concert for the inmates. The only problem is only of the players was a rocker, the rest of them..l not so much. But hey, prison entertainment. How choosy can they really be. During the performance, the honeypot is trying to playing drums behind the Rocker and doing a frightening job. When all of a sudden, he jumps to a speaker and announces, “YOU KNOW WHO INVENTED TWERKING? I DID!” He then proceeds to rip his pants off (exposing his wedding tackle, naturally) and start shaking his moneymaker at the female inmates. Rolled his dice… And succeeded in causing the female inmates to start throwing their underwear at him.
In a women’s prison. Run by apes.
Chekov’s gun, folks. If you introduce a gun in the first act, someone needs to fire it in the third act. And if you introduce rip away pants in the beginning of your game, dollars to donuts they’re going to be ripped apart in the third. Usually with an audience.