Comments on TWH #184

George Phillies

You asked about my comment about Tease -- namely that I "spooked the GM" [bear in mind these are all different GMs]: a) we came to a situation that was supposed to be a 'stumper', and I quickly sketched out how my PC would deal with it -- ruthlessly and efficiently. The GM got a slightly stunned look, said, "oh" in a shaken voice, and we never played again. b)The GM had his favorite NPC do something which made the PCs want to kill him. The GM realized we weren't impressed with his favorite NPC. My PC came up with a workable plan to kill this NPC. The GM got a slightly stunned look, said, "oh" in a shaken voice, and we never played again. c) The GM put the PC into a situation which (to him) should have caused her consternation, and maybe gotten her killed. She reacted ruthlessly and efficiently (see Peaceable Demeanor 06, cmt to David Dunham), and walked away. The GM got a slightly stunned look, said, "oh" in a shaken voice, and we never played again. d) The GM matched her up (to make her more of a team player, she had a powerful psych lim: needs to be employed) with an NPC that wasn't very moral. The PCs threatened the NPC she was supposed to be protecting. I pointed out to the GM, in the interests of gaming felicity, the probable results of the PCs attacking the NPC in the NPC's home base, when Tease/Pyrite had had time to prepare. The GM got a slightly stunned look, said, "oh" in a shaken voice, and we never played again.

You get the idea. There were other tries, but why belabor the obvious? :-) I must admit, I'd truly love to play her sometime with a GM who realized that physical attacks weren't the button to push on her. Ah, well. :-)

Perish the thought I should have a rugrat -- I mean child!! That's George's niece. No, she hasn't started gaming yet. :-)

Bill Ricker

Liked the art, and RAEBNC.

Scott Ruggels

*grin* Well, since I edited it, I probably shouldn't comment, but here goes. Maahvelous! Splendiforous! Superlativous! Unprejudiced commentarious! :-)

Curtis Taylor

Loved the zine title!

You seem very organised...I'm afraid I'm not much of a RQ fan however, and I've never planned out my campaigns that much, so I can't comment very intelligently. However, in your list of gods/cults, I find myself wondering what male peasants and volcanoes have in common. I guess White Wolf deserves our thanks for that one. :-)

David Hoberman

"game soundtracks"... (grin) I once played in a Vampire game where the GM announced he'd found the "...ultimate vampire song." We all waited with bated breath while, with a flourish, he put the tape into the tapedeck. The speaker crackled somewhat. The tension mounted. Then the unmistakeable sounds started. "Daaaaay-oh! Daaa-aaa-aaa-oh! Daylight come and me wan' go home!" :-)

As I've mentioned before, accents and costume props also help in establishing a mood. I know I can't do streetslang to save my soul, and a poor or unrealistic attempt (to me) breaks the mood. However, I've come up with what I hope is a reasonable alternative. I start the conversation with a few well-chosen words or lines -- swearing is usually good for shock effect. Then I simply tell the player he/she/it is being sworn at. You can be descriptive about how it's done to keep the mood, e.g., he swears at you like a dock hand, she could peel paint with her vituperative commentary, you're missing about half of what he says -- he keeps switching languages. Or you can use swearing to show something about the culture. In one game I was in, I was playing a deeply religious character. The worst insult she could think of was to hiss, "You are Godless!". The 'assaulted' NPC was rather taken aback at her vehemence, if not her words, as I remember. :-) More amusingly, if you speak more than one language yourself, and no-one else in the game does, reciting poetry in a loud and angry tone of voice works well.

Returning to props, I was in one game where the GM mailed stuff the PCs would have received by mail to the players, with the PC's name and the player's address. Props are fun!

Aaargh! You're still doing it! *sniff* Please, can't you put articles together? Jumping from page to several pages later is really distracting! Okay, so I'm an MTV adoptee!

Thanks for the context -- it's occasionally confusing to try to remember why someone said something. Also, I emphatically don't endorse silencing hatemongers -- it doesn't solve the problem; it's a form of censorship; and just because I can shout louder than you doesn't make me right. I strongly feel that the culture itself needs to be examined. No, I'm not holding my breath. :-)

But if you're examining your beliefs, and you tell even one other person you think this kind of hatemongering is wrong, and can explain your reasoning, then I've succeeded. It's like getting people to accept gaming -- it's slow and steady (and, unfortunately, sometimes boring :-) that wins the race. You're not going to succeed dramatically with a big rally. Reason isn't exciting to most people, and rallies are for excitement and whipping up a crowd. You're going to succeed one or two people at a time, in small conversations, using reason.

wrto depth to cultures: couldn't agree more. Let's have some cuhl-chah here!

*grin* I'll tell the GM you liked his quote re 'mad scientists' -- it was a game-stopper while we all laughed our heads off!

Sorry about the generalization about the MTV kid. I guess what I should have said was that I wondered if his short attention span and lack of depth could be traced to any particular thing in his background. MTV just happened to be the subject people were talking about.

(curiosity strikes! :-) So how old are you? Geez, I think he is about your age. Oooh, guilty generalizations again! I assumed he was younger and you were older because you sounded so much more rational. It's okay, I've readjusted my mental wheels. *grin*

wrto your cmt to Steve Marsh, 'villifying Christianity': it is a common habit of many people who consider themselves part of an oppressed minority to villify either the oppressors or the descendants of the oppressors in order to achieve more group cohesion.

[Boy, am I going to get in trouble for this one. Oh, well, here goes. :-] Thus you have (and this is by no means an exhaustive list), blacks saying whites are bad and/or evil, females saying males are bad and/or evil, Jews saying Nazis are bad and/or evil, liberals saying Rush Limbaugh is bad and/or evil, etc.

This is not to cast derision on the real pain the oppressed group may have suffered. However, I feel it is ultimately bad for the group in the long run to insist it must be a victim, and have a scapegoat -- it becomes merely another oppressor group. To say an oppressive group is wrong is one thing. I don't think the Nazis had the right idea about the Jews. But to say they are all unredeemably evil is both an easy leap, and marks you as having much the same mental problems as your oppressors (if it is not-us, it must be bad, no, eeevil. We hate what is not-us. We can kill what is not-us. Killing what is not-us makes us stronger.). Also, if you (generalised you) characterize yourself as a victim, don't you think you're casting yourself in a role? Do you really want to be a victim?

Just as an example, I've met some pretty radical feminists in California (no, they're not endemic here! Much! :-) They complain about controlling men's animalistic urges being necessary to keep peace, as if making a law concerning how to make a pass at a woman, or making every comment between males and females sexual harassment will make it so. I object to this line of thought for a couple of reasons: a) I don't think I know of a single case where legislating morality has worked. b) I'm not incompetent, I'm not a victim, I'm not a child, and I resent being categorised so. I want to be responsible for myself, not for you, and I don't want you to be responsible for me! d) If men are that awful and animal-like, for God's sake, use some animal-training techniques on them! I mean, come on, it's not that hard! Both the cat and the (male) roommates are housetrained, and it was harder to train the cat! :-)

Huh. This training stuff seems to really work. One of my roommates just read the above paragraph, then went and made some waffles for me. I gotta think about this! :-)

Thank you, children, for being good during the sermon. And now a reading from Ecclesiastes, regarding the futility of it all: "Then I considered wisdom and madness and folly. I saw that wisdom is more profitable than darkness: the wise person has eyes in his head, but the fool walks in the dark. Yet I realized also that one and the same fate overtakes them both. So I though, 'I too shall suffer the fate of the fool. To what purpose have I been wise? Where is the profit? Even this', I said to myself, 'is futile. The wise person is remembered no longer than the fool, because in the days to come both will have been forgotten. Alas, both wise and foolish are doomed to die!'" (2:12-16 -- yes, I'm taking an Old Testament class this semester, and yes, I'm enjoying it very much! Ecclesiastes should be read aloud -- it has a mesmerising flow, even if you don't agree with the conclusions it makes! :-)

Ah, body language. I love it. A good GM and a good player playing off each other's body language is a joy. Wish it were easier to find. :-)

wrto cmt to George Phillies re cyberpunk -- I think a lot of people feel cyberpunk, as a genre, is based on violence in a world not much different from today's. Their campaigns don't work as cyberpunk, I believe, because cyberpunk is really based on the slightly disorienting feeling of everything being the same, but just a little different, a little off. "Bladerunner", for me, was an excellent example of cyberpunk that worked. It wasn't the violence, the guns, and the replicants that made the movie unique, it was the different and consistent look and feel of the city and the people. It was the exoticness of the culture that made the movie, and ultimately cyberpunk as a genre, really work.

Scott Ferrier

RAEBNC, except to say that if you wandered up to me with a giant spider on your shoulder, I'd probably assume it was going for your throat and act accordingly! :-)

Peter Maranci

"Smell-O-Vison"? Hahaha! Vanilla Hounds! I love it! It gives the line from "Thirtysomething" a whole new meaning, "Why does female bonding always seem to involve the smell of vanilla?"

If you want to try fiction in your zines, go ahead! Write! A lot! It's catching! It's fun! It's... Wham-O!

*grin* So you've got wanderlust, eh? Indulge yourself -- it's always worth it to travel! Hmm... are you thinking about Spain, perhaps? Need a translator? :-)

Comment I made to a GM who spent what I felt was too much time on scene-setting, and not enough on interplay: "If I want to see strange, new places, I'll go there! Not ask someone to describe them to me!"

Strong agreement of your assessment of both "Heroic Worlds" and "Bridge of Birds"! Alas, it is unlikely "Heroic Worlds" will see a reprinting. Buy it now or forever haunt used book stores.

Cheating: George mentioned one time at a con where there was a player who consistently rolled and picked up the dice before anyone could see them. At one point when George asked the player to roll 3d6, an... unusual... number resulted. George asked the player to arrange the dice the way they had fallen to reflect the number the player said he'd come up with, and came back to that player later. He knew the player wouldn't succeed in doing as he'd asked -- the number was greater than 18. The player rolled in front of everyone else after that.

Alternatively, the other roommate, Bob (the less patient, more confrontational roommate -- just ask him! :-), said that he had a standing rule that if he caught anyone cheating, their character exploded. In one game, a player said he'd rolled a number that was mathematically impossible. Bob gave him a second chance by asking him again, "What did you roll?" The player insisted he'd rolled the mathematically impossible number. Bob said, "Okay, you explode. Next person!" Everyone knew what had happened. After some bluster, apparently the player left quietly.

For myself, I wouldn't let it remain in the background. Talk to other players about the problem -- see if they see it the same way you do. Ask the player to change their rolling habits. If they won't, ask them to leave. I know that's not easy, but I can't imagine playing with, let alone running for, someone who tries to physically or mentally intimidate me. However, that's just me. Hope these suggestions help, or at least give you some ideas to work with!

Good luck on Wonder!

Congratulations on how you dealt with Vlad. I think you're more patient than I, but it was very nicely handled.

Glad you liked my last zine. *grin* Did I say it was TSR that commisioned that study? Uh-uh! Not me! No, sir! :-)

Don't believe what Bob Butler says about you? Hmm... does this mean the story with the water balloons, the dancing boys, and the whipped cream wasn't true? :-)

Yah, the last picture was me, taken by a semi-pro friend, about four years ago. *sigh* One of the few pictures of me I can stand. :-)

wrto cmt to George Phillies: FASA. Pass it on. Keep it under your hat. :-)

wrto David Hoberman re 'control freak': finger his net address *grin* "Should I kneel?"

That's all I've got for now -- I want to actually get a zine in one of the TWHs, for a change! More comments later!



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