Comments on TWH #172


As a matter of curiosity, how is TWH mailed? Comparing receival time amongst some of my friends, Mark Bailey got his on Monday, Robert Plamondon got his on Wednesday, Marc Willner and Planet Ten each got theirs on Saturday, and George MacDonald got his on the following Monday. Different book rates???

Bob Butler

It seems to me one of the problems you were discussing in your zine is that of "inappropriate PC use". As an example that I perceive in your writing, Vier was doing what she considered the right thing in trying to forge her group into a pack of fighters that were a team. The other players were resisting this as they did not wish to be her pack of fighters. Thus a vicious cycle started, as each group or person tried to push their point of view.

I don't understand why the GM didn't bounce the idea if it seemed inappropriate for the game. A constant problem I've seen in campaigns is having a PC be okayed by a GM who then finds out that it is inconvenient and tries to force the player to amend the PC in mid-game so that it fits the GM's conceptions. This can be very frustrating for the player. I don't think I'm that unusual a person, and I know my hackles rise immediately when someone says I'm not playing my PC right. I thought the PC up -- how would they know the correct way to play her?

The only way I know of to fix this is to get the GM to sit down with you and have a long talk about your PC's motivations. This does not always work, but I invariably favor honesty first. It beats trying vicious little digs during the game concerning the correct way to play someone else's PC. I hope your new games work out better.

David Dunham

Wrt a comment you made to Erlandsen; I get the impression that your GMs have "PCs" also -- is this true? If so, how does it affect the game? Does the GM's PC get more goodies, or does it tend to get stomped on to inspire the other PCs? I've not really seen that type of play before -- I'm curious as to how it works.

Dana Erlandsen

Re what I'm up to in the way of games: Please remember that I run a comics and games store. If one of the store employees is in a game, we allow the game to stay past closing time. This means that occasionally the requests for my presence are far more than my role-playing skill warrants.

For now I'm in one "catch when you can" solo and only four weekly games -- it's gone up to 6 or 7 games a week at times, but I find that somewhat excessive. :-) I play in a Vampire game which runs regularly (see Peaceable Demeanor #2), a Hero Champions game which is pretty regular, and a Hero science-fiction game which is infrequent. There's also a very infrequent solo game with George--besides it's being Hero system, I don't know how to classify it yet. Fun? Definitely! I'm also running Scott Ruggels' Fantasy Hero game regularly. I enjoy GMing the FH game, but I must admit I far prefer playing.

Before I transferred myself to the Bay Area, I moved a lot. Thus I learned to play in Florida, continued in Texas, played until my ears bled in Oklahoma, and then came here.

As far as the one woman's preferences being considered standard, please remember that there aren't that many women in gaming. If you never meet any women "up close and personal", wouldn't you assume somewhat on the one you have met? I have almost always been the only strong female in all the games I've been in until moving to California. Most of the time I'm the only female. Even here in California, one of my friends told me of a con she'd been to where a person in the gaming industry (an otherwise reasonable-seeming adult!) asked her if she would go to bed with him, as women only came to cons if they were somebody's girlfriend or looking to get laid. I hate pigeon-holing!

Thanks for the invitation to play up north! You're very kind. I agree with your comments on trust and maturity.

Douglas Jorenby

I liked your comments on GMing for cyberpunk, but I think you were right, cross-genre, with your comments about the "structure of the fantasy setting". Don't confine such good advice to Cyberpunk only! I try to do the exact same things in my Fantasy Hero game.

I've actually been in a game where we played more than one PC. It was a game I enjoyed tremendously, so I have mostly good things to say about this gaming style. I must admit I tried playing a new PC mostly because the other players requested it. Since they kept switching PCs and I always played the same one, mine had become disproportionately powerful. When the GM asked me to consider another character, I came up with a new PC concept (not an easy task for me!).

I found that I could not play both PCs at the same time. I just couldn't make my brain change attitudes quickly enough (I still have problems with this while GMing, but adding a different body stance or accent helps me to make the mental change). So I made the two PCs friends. They weren't close, but they were acquainted. This accounted for both having certain types of information in common, even if they hadn't been in the same places. Then I had them run off in different directions on separate goals. That way I had someone to play, regardless of who was in the game or which way it went.

The new PC ended up being more fun than the previous (and still unretired) PC. So yes, if I was asked I'd recommend more than one PC in a game. If the GM is careful it can add tremendously to play. I hope you get a better chance to try it next time.

If it's anything like the quotation, I've got to read Storming the Reality Studio!

"...shameless compliments... on to the sex"! Oooh! I'm all a-flutter! Interesting clip art; a Vampire game that was "inappropriate for a TWH write-up" -- you're such a tease, how could you? :-)

Mark Keller

I always try to look up examples in history for my game. It gives me snippets for other events and PCs, and it's fascinating reading (or watching--try "The Lion in Winter" or "Dangerous Liaisons" for inspiring bits!). Trite though it sounds, truth sometimes does seem stranger than fiction.

I also like to take ideas from other sources, like classic literature (for the mood), and gaming modules, although I know that's supposed to be heresy. :-) In fact, I prefer using non-genre modules for the inspiration. That way there's a smaller chance that one of my players has read the origin for the idea.

George Phillies

When you (the generalized "you") are a newcomer to a group that knows each other relatively well, it sometimes feels as if you are a lone voice "raging in the wilderness" for decent treatment of all the people in the game. Thanks for your comment. It's nice to know other people also feel that way about rogue GMs.

Peter Maranci

Wrt a comment made to Erlandsen: I usually drop out of games when there are 6 or more players. I have found that more than that causes only one or two players to "run the show". I'm usually one of the opinionated, motivating players. However, I sometimes get other players complaining to the GM that I hog his time and they don't get to do anything. Ironically, I've often found that when I play a "non-pushy" character in the same games nothing ever happens. So I sidestep the issue completely by not being in heavily populated games. Does anyone else have this problem?

I'm glad you liked Key. She was one of the first pieces where I tried to detail small, personal things--mostly her necklace and the look of her hair. Check out the tack on the camel when the Shalimar cover comes out -- that was a blast! Does anyone have any suggestions for covers?

Re: Your comments on romance -- I think you may be right.

Glenn Blacow

It was hard to read your zine -- I kept wincing! Having been a veterinarian's technician, there are some things in the human medical profession which appall me. Once one of my fellow vet techs had to have a blood test, and the "nurse" (for want of a better word) couldn't hit the vein with the needle. My friend ended up taking her blood sample herself, and spent some time teaching the medical professional how to take blood. I think I'd rather have my blood taken as if I were a dog, rather than having some incompetent playing pin the tail on the donkey on my arm! :-)

I hope you recover soon.

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    Last Updated: Mon Aug 4 1997