Recently I was able to play an RPG for the first time in years. It was weird being on the other side of the table. We made characters and jumped right in. My friend was running Nightbane by Palladium games. I don’t have a ton of experience with Palladium; I know they made a lot of games in the Eighties. The extent of my experience is that I had a copy of Heroes Unlimited pass through my hands. I donated it to my college’s gaming club. I remember it having a lot of charts that you rolled a percentile on to generate powers.
Nightbane wasn’t much different. There were a lot of charts (that we didn’t find out about until later) that turn you into quite the hideous monster. In Nightbane, you play as a typical Eighties movie monster. It’s a pretty cool setting, all of it very old school horror. Being a huge fan of that sort of thing, this game really hit the spot for me.
Our DM made a smart decision by not having us finish our characters until we transformed for the first time. Usually I don’t like rolling to generate anything in a game, but this time it was a blast. Maybe the idea of a hideous transformation appealed to me because I’ve been watching too many horror movies lately. I rolled and found my humble mechanic transformed into a were-weasel with sixteen arms and missing patches of skin. When I suddenly transformed into a horrible beast and killing a mugger it was awesome.
So we ended up having a neat little session where our characters transformed, dealt with the fact that they were no longer human, ran from the police, and fought a weird creature. It was fun. I forgot the simple joy in showing up and letting someone else take my imagination for a ride. I found myself absorbed in a way that just doesn’t happen when I’m running the show.
The main thing to take away here is to keep things in perspective. If you usually run the game, never ignore a chance to play. It will give you new ideas, a new view of gaming, and refresh you for the next session you run. It’s always good to be on the other side of the table.