Carving runes on the inner sky of an empyeran, trying to make meaning and hoping that those from without understand as well.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

My New Signature Line

QED, Quid Quo Pro, and E Pluribus Unum.

It's been done before, but it got to me this time.

Part Two is in draft and will soon be posted.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Gaming History, Part Two

Memory is a weird thing. After reviewing my last post to get myself ready for this post, I remembered this ... guy, in high school with us, but not with us. He was roleplaying, too, but never or hardly ever with us. He had a thick skin, as I remember us verbally abusing him quite often, and especially powerfully through a GM mouthpiece in-game (he played with us once).

He did a few things that I note now are personally intriguing, and I kind of wish I could go back in time and talk to him. Let me elaborate on some paraprhased conversations we had (imagine me shaking my head, pitying the guy as he walks off from each of these):

He: Man, I am so ready for this Friday's D&D game!
Me: How come?
He: I have rounded the characters into an inescapable trap, and they will die tomorrow night!
Me: Die? What kind of game is that? Don't you value the characters?
He: The characters deserve to die. It is my place as a Dungeon Master to bring it to them.

Fact: Whether he was suffering from the GM is God fallacy or not, he knew what the game was about and was enthused about the right things, at least in that game. I thought he was an idiot, and due to entangling emotions from our bullying of him, I associated it with bad roleplaying.

So, I ran off to college for more life changing. For a while, I was alone, no friends. I eventually found some of my classmates, but we weren't going to be playing anything anytime soon. During a dry period, we were offered a neat game [in hindsight] of Amber diceless by that very same dude from high school, but all we were told is that he had control of the rules. We would just declare actions and he would ajudicate everything. It sort of worked and sort of didn't. But again past feelings combined with frustration (how was I to know if I could possibly defeat anything if I didn't know my own stats?) and he was shown the door again. I've never seen him since.

Anime came into my life and drastically absorbed my attention span. It also introduced me to an entirely new crowd of people, and soon I found a new (soon to be) roleplaying crowd. Thus I also entered the world of LARPing, and all of the raw emotional BS that I've come to associate with it. I won't address it in this post, but sufficed to say that LARPing not only didn't teach me social skills, it exacerbated my social problems. Too bad I didn't get to keep any of my kewl World of Darkness powers.

But, before that could happen, I was back in the tabletop groove. I lived in an apartment with two other gamers, one of which had a varied table top resume. We virtually housed two other gamers, and our life was ... well, anyway, we gamed. We played some house-ruley Oriental Adventures stuff, some GURPS, and some WoD stuff. Mostly played as hack'n'slash games, mind you. One kernel of goodness came from one of the roommates, but not in our gaming, and only in anecdote:

Me: What was your best gaming experience?
Mathias: We (some people in Mathias' past that weren't connected to any of us) played a space opera game, it was so epic! We each had our own robot pilots, and it was a 12 episode anime! Each weekend we played over the summer was one episode, and we had this guy that drew really well, and he made sketches of all the really cool scenes, and the characters! We had fun because we sorta knew what was going to happen, and when, so we could work to it, but we had side things that we brought in and were resolved episode by episode! I loved it!
Me: Epic, huh? Yeah, I'd love an epic game, too ...

Fact: Mathias had an experience where it was divided into clear-cut episode definitions, he knew that images can have a powerful impact, as well as player creations, and that it was 'okay' to know where the plot was going and have fun resolving it.

Fact: Our RPG upbringing, Mathias' and mine, saw 'knowing the plot' as a guilty thing to do, a pseduo-sin.

Fact: I didn't listen worth a damn when I was in my teens.

We never tried to do anything like what Mathias said was the best gaming experience he'd ever had, even when he had the initiative to do so by being the GM.

More on LARPing next time!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

My Gaming History, Part One

I never rolled well enough on the random encounter table to meet up with roleplaying in my hometown. It wasn't until I went to a residential high school for my Junior and Senior years that I even found out about it. What it was, back then, was this: I collected comics, mainly X-Men. I had newly found nearby friends that were playing Marvel Superheroes. As I was being drawn to their dorm room for the first RPG I'd particpate in, I asked the following question:

"I've only ever played Final Fantasy ... is it anything like that?"

To wit, the answer I received a fallacy:

"It's almost exactly the same," followed by a non-fallacy, "you'll love it!"

Fact: I've wanted a game that played like or intensely reminded me of FF ever since.

So. That was 1995. My ability to grok good RPGs has suffered ever since, and framed much discontent. I'll review my high school years in this post, and illustrate (hopefully) some of how it shaped me.

I had just gotten done reading a teen fiction (?) title by L.E. Modesitt, Jr. title, Fires of Paratime.
If anyone has ever read this, try to get the original version. The part that was smashed together with its prequel was changed, and left a bad taste in my mouth. Anywho, I wanted to be Loki.

Me, to Craig, the GM: "I want to be a guy named Loki!"
Craig, to Me: "That name's taken. What can your guy do?"

Anyone familiar with Marvel Super Heroes knows that in one question there was already some drift (changing of rules, house-ruling). Anyone who isn't: Marvel Super Heroes, like D&D, liked the random roll for your stats thing. It liked it so much it added it into the abilities. You couldn't choose your abilities, you had to roll them on a chart. But I went on to describe what Loki in the novel could do, and then decided on a name.

"I like the new Bishop character's name," I said.
"That name's ..."
I cut him off, "I know. Hmm, a bishop is a chess piece, how about Rook?"
Universal response: "Ugh."
"How about Rookie? The ultimate new guy?"
Universal response: "Yeah!"

Fact: The collective approval of the fiction I try to create is one of the reasons I roleplay.

I know more about Rookie than any other character I've ever created. He had more group approval than any other character I've ever played, and he's the only character who's name I can remember from 13 years of roleplaying.

At high school, I played Marvel Super Heroes, and Vampire 1st and 2nd Editions. I began "running" my own games in my Senior year, but they were more of a story time for me and having the players supply the lines.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Story Games

Andy has unleashed the restraints on giving out the location of his new forum/website. Just thought I'd mention it.

Nah, screw that. Everyone, go talk and have fun there! It's super keen neat-o +3.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Minibosses vs. Black Mages

Minibosses vs. Black Mages

It's not really a fair competition, but all I could think of on the way to work this morning was how much the Minibosses sucked as compared to the Black Mages. I shouldn't have been making the comparison in the first place, though. I don't think I'll listen to the minibosses cd again though.