Even though I'd watched the first session of this new campaign, and had thoroughly studied the core rulebook to give myself all of the necessary background, I still felt nervous sitting down amongst the other party members and taking on the role of my Gun Mage for the first time. I knew every facet of his history and how he'd react to people from various walks of life, but still actually giving voice to the guy seemed more than a little intimidating.
The session kicked off with a little bit of a "here's your present situation" summary following the events of the previous session, at the end of which the party was set an investigative task and introduced to the two men who'd be assisting them: myself, and another newcomer to the group. And so I had to take it from there!
From what I gathered whilst spectating, adopting a voice for your character isn't an essential part of roleplay, but it is a nice way of giving your character an extra bit of flavour. With my character being more than a little hard-nosed and pragmatic, I'd decided to give him a sort of Russel Crowe-Gladiator voice. The first time I opened my mouth to speak I have to admit I felt a bit daft, but as soon as I started talking and wasn't met with fits of laughter or eye-rolling from the rest of the group I immediately started to feel more comfortable and could happily throw myself into the character.
And I think this was something I hadn't been able to fully appreciate when looking in from the outside; at the end of the day we were all there to have fun and lose ourselves in another world as a completely different person. Making fun of another player or the way they portray their character would achieve nothing aside from spoiling that player's experience and creating a negative overall atmosphere.
Of course that doesn't mean that all of the characters have to be nice to one another, and it's a lot of fun when two characters butt heads! By the end of my first session I'd managed to rub up one character the wrong way with my gruff nature, but found my way into the good books of another for the exact same reason.
But I'm getting ahead of myself. The session turned out to be a purely narrative one, which I was more than happy with as it gave me a chance to practice the social aspect of the game before having to get to grips with the combat system. An arcanist - who happened to be a close friend of our employer - had gone missing a few days ago, and it was our job to scour the town and gather clues. The GM presented us with a list of locations we could visit, and let us make up our own minds as to where to investigate first.
The party began to split up, and so, still a little unsure of myself, I joined the largest group and followed them to the Arcanists' Guild, and it was here that my confidence was able to start growing. We entered the guild as a party of 5, so I was able to mill around in the background a bit, but it turned out that only arcanists could visit the missing man's quarters, which narrowed the party down to myself and one other, forcing me to start taking a more active role in the hunt for clues. By the time we'd well and truly looted his room I was feeling more confident, and headed out on my own to see where the trail lead me.
I really enjoyed this gradual step-up system, going from being part of a crowd, to one of a pair, to striking out solo. With so many characters in our party I had plenty of time to think about my next avenue of investigation whilst the GM was doing the rounds with the others, meaning I never felt pressured or as though the spotlight was particularly on me, and I quite happily hopped around town following the trail of breadcrumbs our GM had laid out for us.
There were some interesting events throughout the session, with my false cover almost getting blown during one part of my investigation, another one of our party almost starting a bar fight and laying a criminal low with a bottle and tray, and an exciting climax to the evening when our resident gambling addict found his way to a gambling den and had us all cheering on his frantic dice-rolling!
So my overall first RP experience was definitely a positive one. I stuttered and stumbled at a few points, but the rest of our group was patient with me and the GM was happy to do another round of the table and let me recompose myself. I'm still nervous about going into my first combat experience, which seems to be all set up for the next session, but I now feel comfortable about taking parts in the more narrative aspects of the game. All I can say now is roll on session #2!