Clarifying Oxford

by mshrm

After receiving a couple of questions, I realized that my synopsis left out some key information concerning Oxford and his fate.

In review:  Oxford didn’t get along with any of the other PCs. He didn’t want to go in the same direction as the group, and openly insulted several of them. The conflict came to blows, a gun was drawn, and Oxford left the party, burning his bridges behind him, only to be quickly killed by the environment.

Then all the players voted to award him the extra Cool Point.


Some explanation is probably in order.

Yes, Oxford was pretty much designed to butt heads with the other PCs. (Or just about any other group of random individuals, for that matter.) But, all the conflict was PC-on-PC. The players were laughing through the whole thing. It was fun watching Oxford pick fights, it was entertaining to hear his spin on events, and in the end, it was impressive to see the character played according to his disads, all the way to his bitter and inevitable end.

I try to mostly keep the players’ world separate from the characters’ when writing up the play reports. A certain amount of “meta” creeps in – I’ll mention the occasional critical success or when Squeamish kicks in – but for the most part, I try to leave the players out of it. For example, I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned anyone by name. The closest I can recall is saying things like “Character X, played by the same person as Former Character Y”, when there’s some interesting aspect of that relationship between the characters. (Like if X “accidentally” avenges Y, or some such.) In this case, though, rest assured:  I didn’t see any signs of player-vs-player friction.

Furthermore, I think all of his “not a team player” traits and tendencies actually ended up working for the team! From the point of view of our merry band of survivors, losing Oxford wasn’t any great loss… but knowing that they might be surrounded by (as Cyprys put it) man-eating space worms, now that’s valuable intelligence!

Admittedly, I can’t say if this was the plan all along, but it might have been. The original idea was for everyone to have three characters on hand, so there could be quick replacements when one character dies. I know there was talk, at one point, about how it might be best to put your favorite character idea second, since the first character was the one most likely to die horribly with a look of confusion on its face. When you bring out the second character, you at least know what killed the last one!

So, I believe the Cool Point was earned for dying in an entertaining and instructive way.