A definite high point in my Gencon weekend was the time spent playing “My Time with Master,” an indie roleplaying game by Paul Czege. The players take on the roles of the sycophantic minions of an abusive Master — think Igor or Quasimodo. The ultimate goal of the players is to rebel against their Master and destroy him. A minion’s main attributes are Self-Loathing and Weariness. In the course of the game they must routinely attempt to resist the Master’s heinous and possibly horrific orders; they will usually fail. In order to build up the will to thwart their Master, they must build up their third attribute, Love, which they do by making connections to normal people in the outside world. My friend Ed, who found the game for us and ran our session, blogs about it in much greater detail — check it out.
“My Life with Master” is bizarre, twisted, and brilliant; incredibly dark but, in the end, genuinely uplifting. I’m still trying to sort out what made playing it such a singular experience. Part of it was a clean, elegant design, but I think a bigger factor was that the setting and themes provide a surfeit of tragedy, comedy, and pathos with just a bit of effort on the part of the players. I highly recommend it, whenever Paul gets his act together and makes it purchasable online.