I Got Nothing – When Leonard Nimoy Sings.
Players surprise me continually, but not always through wacky antics. Sometimes it by pulling something out of themselves that they have never shown the rest of their gaming table, whether it’s a character concept or decision or sometimes a hidden talent no one knew about.
I was introducing a group of people to Spirit of 77 through the use of the pre-generated game, “Wrath of Cons”. “Wrath of Cons” was created for MechaCon in New Orlean, a one-shot about the cast of a cancelled 60’s sci-fi television show brought together to make an announcement about an upcoming moving revival of the series when gunfire and trouble ensues. It’s kind of Galaxy Quest, So77 style but being the biased dude I am, I like our version better.
The player sheets are pre-generated, but as we settled into getting started, no one at the table had selected the role of the actress behind the first officer, Melinda Smythe (an homage to my friend Mel, by the way). Everyone in the group had picked different Roles, and we were just about to start when one of their players arrived late, sat down, and just picked up the character sheet in front him (Smythe).
Let me set the stage a little bit – Smythe was our version of Leonard Nimoy, who in the 1970’s was aggressively trying to separate himself from the role of Spock – he did Broadway, tried to launch a singing career, basically ANYTHING to distance himself from the character (which ultimately proved useless). Smythe incorporated that disdain, with a former singing tour built into the background questions, mixed in with the sassy female character aspects. For this game, our Smythe was played by an older fella, probably in his late 50’s with gray hair and mustache. Not quite the same visual image as the character illustration. ROLEPLAY!
Game runs normally, not a lot of surprises as we go (generally, people play the Shatner character with an amazing amount of gusto, although there are variances in the angle they take). Finally we get to a moment where Melinda needs to create a distraction while the players do Spirit of 77 things. So the player says, “Okay, I’ll sing a song.”
Me being the puckish DJ that I am, replies, “Okay. You gotta stand up and actually do it.”
So the player shrugs, stands up at the table, takes a moment, then proceeds to sing a tender Irish lullaby.
And all of us are stunned.
It was not what we expected at all in its melody and overall delivery. To be honest, it was quite touching. And all of us were gob-smacked. The other players were even more stunned, because they never knew their friend who had been part of their gaming group for over two to three years could sing at all. And until then, he had never told them.
And yet here we all were, serenaded with a delicate Gaelic folk song that transcended a bunch of dudes sitting around a gaming table in the back of a comic book store, pretending to be the cast from a Star Trek wannabe.
I genuinely love moments like that. This is why you guys rock.