Pitfalls of RP: Personality Conflict

RPGs are an unfortunately social pastime. I say unfortunately because a statistically significant number of humans have social difficulties which make them extremely incompatible with the significant number of humans who are made out of elbows. It would be a lot easier if you could get the same experience out of a cluster of artificial intelligences, but there is a reason person-to-person play persists as a hobby in an age of video games – the technology ain’t there yet.

Often this is just a matter of people having incompatible personalities. As in the example at the top, an introvert and an extrovert could be quite bad with each other. Political differences can spill into a game, with predictable results. Someone could have a punchy sense of humor while another is sensitive to insult.
[Read more…]

Pitfalls of RP: Character Creation

The Pitfalls of RP series is examining ways people can ruin their own fun in RPGs. This will be focused on players and PCs / player characters, but by the time I’m done may include GMs / game masters. RPGs, as I said before, are the pinnacle of escapist entertainment. They can be great, but unlike passive entertainment – TV, movies – we can personally mess up the experience so many ways.

Right at the outset, some players set themselves up for problems. People create characters they quickly come to hate, or that never feel comfortable in the PC party. You’re playing a game to enjoy yourself. While one would assume that means “do what you feel,” sometimes what we feel could use more careful consideration.
[Read more…]

Role-Playing Games

Role-Playing Games!  Not the computer kind, I speak of the kind with sheets of paper and dice and what the hell is the appeal?  I have spent and continue to spend far too much time in Game Mastering – running these imaginary scenarios so groups of players can pretend to be cool heroes and do interesting stuff.

It is the very pinnacle of escapism and such a big part of my life, I must write about it from time to time on my bloge.  All of these posts will be tagged “Gaming.”  I’m starting with a series about ways players can screw up.  In fairness, I should eventually get to an article or two about my failures as a GM.

There’s different interfaces for RP in this modern age.  Luddites can use books and papers, chill in someone’s basement with the wood spiders.  If you’re using the internet, you can recreate the Luddite experience through services like Skype.  A more common way to do things, I think, is PbP (Play by Post) or using a chat interface.

That’s what I use.  It has an awesome advantage:  The text record cuts down on the need for GM notes.  About ten years ago I got into RPing regularly after a long time without.  I found that I needed a record of game events, and it quickly became a total mess.  With a text record, I can Ctrl-F a relevant term and find out about any past events I please.

The other thing about text-based RP that is interesting: it becomes more like writing prose.  “Live Action” RP, or LARP, is basically improvisational acting.  Text-based RP is a lot more to my liking, as an act and as an art.  And the extent to which it is like writing invites comparison and criticism from a literary point of view.

All that said, I’m going to try to dispense with terminology and explanation of the basics on future posts.  I’ll start making them soon.

Cool Gay Heat

Man. I wanted to share with you the awesomeness of Judas Priest’s gayest rock video ever – “Hot Rockin'” – but just since I watched it last week, it has been removed from youtube on copyright grounds. So instead, I’ll just have to describe it to you.

It opens in a weirdly side-lit gym, where the members of Judas Priest are workin’ the weight machines. Young Rob Halford, cool gay rocking man, rises into panel shirtless. He’s totally doing pushups and singing at the same time. So. He sings about how he’s working hard, working out, and he deserves some release for his manly energies. What will suffice?

Hot Rockin'

rob halford has done his share, he’s workin’ out

Only one thing. The camera cuts to the showers, and the guys are each in a shower stall of their own, looking at the camera. It points at the first guy, he says he wants to go. Pan to the second guy, he wants to go. Pan to another guy, and what do you know? Everybody wants to go. Hot rockin’!

the showers
i wanna go i wanna go i wanna go

Anyhow, next there’s a road at night and motorcycles, I don’t remember that part too well, and then they’re at a concert with like zero women, and they’re rockin’ so hard everything catches on fire. Hot. But if the video is still blocked when you see this post, you’ll just have to imagine it – and wish you were there.

Rob Halford is still super cute when he sings,
tho lo, years have been hard. Much love, dude. <3

Your J-Horror Messiah

I made this from a bad video capture off youtube plus photoshopping to look like an inspirational bumper sticker. It probably helps to have seen the movie Ju-on 2. If you can handle horror, it’s a terribly spooky good time. The ending is mean-spirited to the point of hilarity.

Toshio is my Co-pilot

Image from Ju-on 2 of ghost boy Toshio taking the wheel.

Random Thoughts from Satan, #4

The other week I took my cat to the vet. The vet is in the same parking lot as the local Planned Parenthood. In that building there was an alarm going off, some kind of smoke, people standing outside. I wasn’t able to find out what was going on, but it’s a safe guess. Jesus terrorists can fuck off.

Yesterday I took my cat back, but this time had to take a cab. At the vet some people had a large cage which took two to carry. Inside were a dozen pit bull puppies. They didn’t look like bodies for the fight ring – they were clean and no doubt there to get vaccinations and such. But there is not enough dog love in this country to take care of the dogs we have, and the thought of a dozen more pit bulls just bummed my shit out.

On the way back in the taxi, the dude driving switched from his culture’s music to some American pop station. It was playing a Meghan Trainor song. I might not have recognized the Eastern music influence if not for the juxtaposition there in the cab. Still, it was definitely there. Some vocal flourishes and other elements intentionally evoking Bollywood styles. Then the song reached a place in the chorus where she said something about being “untouchable” and dwelled on it for too many seconds.

Now is it just me, or is that hella tacky and fucked up? Taking a serious cultural issue from another country and reducing it to a hook in your song about being independent women or whatever. He wasn’t bothered, but then, he might not understand the lyrics at all. Anyway. Things are things.

No Problem Tuesdays, 26th April 2016

Image of a cartoon devil winking out a star and making the OK sign, with text "no problem tuesdays."
          This image is an homage to chickensnack comix‘s famous dog, redrawn by me to fit the theme.

In honor of an esteemed tumblr meme, I like to keep Tuesdays positive. Today I had some thoughts and observations that felt deep, but they are related to problems. So, have a video of amusing outtakes from a David Attenborough BBC nature show, plus a description of the video that is worthy of reading, whether you hit play or not:

Tumblr user sententiola added a transcript for accessibility purposes, and it was brilliant:

[Video of venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough standing amid vegetation. On a near-horizontal branch above his head is a brown and yellow greater bird of paradise, about the size of a crow, with big floaty yellow plumage puffing out along its back.]

Bird: Pwuk. Pwuk.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: This, surely –
Bird (hopping along the branch): WUKWUKWUkwukwukwukoooh. Oooh. Oooh.

[Cut. Same shot.]

Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: This, surely, is one –
Bird: Kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark kark.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: This, surely –

[Cut. Same shot but the bird is on the other side now and venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough has his hand on the branch.]

Bird (hopping up and down on venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough’s fingers): Eh-eh. Eh-eh. Eh-urrrr. Eh-urrrr.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: Close up –
Bird (hopping away from him): Tiktiktiktik. Tiktiktiktik.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – the plumes –
Bird (hopping around): Huek.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – are truly –
Bird: Huek.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – exquisite.
Bird: Huek. Eh-eh.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: The gauzy –
Bird (hopping and spinning on the spot): HukWUKWUKWukwukoooh. Oooh.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough:

[Cut. Same shot but the bird is back on the original side of the branch.]

Bird: Aark.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: Of course, by the eighteenth century –
Bird: Ehhh.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – naturalists realized that birds of paradise –
Bird (hops across to the other side of the branch)
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – did have –
Bird (hopping back again): Krrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – legs. Even so –
Bird: WUKWUKWUKWukwukwukooh.

[Cut. Same shot.]
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough (apparently trying to tickle the bird’s tummy): – by about the eighteenth century –
Bird (hops away and spins round)
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – and so –
Bird: AAAAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK AAAK aaak.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough (wearily): … Very well.

[Cut. Same shot.]

Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – but Karl Linnaeus, the great –
Bird (vibrating rapidly on the spot and then flapping its wings): PWAAAAAAAK.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – classifier of the natural world –
Bird: AAAAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAAUUUH AAUUH.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – when he came to allocate a scientific name –
Bird:
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – to this bird –
Bird:
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – called it –
Bird: Wooo-ooo.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – wooo-ooo –
Bird (surveys the surroundings with a dignified turn of the head)
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: ‘paradisia apoda’: the bird of paradise –
Bird: Hoooo.
Venerable TV naturalist David Attenborough: – without legs.
Bird: Eh-eh.

[Close-up of the bird.]

Bird: WUKWUKWUKWUkwukwukwukwukoooh. Ooh.
Bird: Ooh.

[Fade to black.]

Good job, sir. We salute you. And thanks to the Beeb for the video.

No Problem Tuesdays, 19th April 2016

Image of a cartoon devil winking out a star and making the OK sign, with text "no problem tuesdays."
          This image is an homage to chickensnack comix‘s famous dog, redrawn by me to fit the theme.

In honor of an esteemed tumblr meme, I like to keep Tuesdays positive. Once again, I’m at a loss for doing anything original, so here is an image set of Berenice the Cat and Lucy the Dog, photographs owned by Diana Hafemann. Said the caption on tumblr, “They are the best of best friends and they are always together.” Also, with those names, it’s safe to assume their owner is a gothtacular nerd. That’s a good thing.

snuggly cat and dog friends

Lucy and Berenice ©Diana Hafemann


[Read more…]