Character Questions

This comes from Heather Grove’s Burning Void blog

  • What was your character’s last nightmare? How much did it frighten her? What disturbed her most about it?
  • Does your character like or dislike her name? Why? If she dislikes it, what does she wish her parents had named her? If she changed her name at some point, what did she change it from, why, and has she been happy with her choice?
  • What snacks does your character have in her cupboards right now?

My answers are below; you can answer for your character in comments if you like.

Continue reading “Character Questions”

Potential Game: Shadowrun

I thought it’d be cool to have an area where each of the potential/ filler/ off-week games can get talked up. This spot’s for Shadowrun, which Kev’s talking about running.

Want to pitch the game? After you hint at what we’d be up to, people can ask about rules, style, characters, and all that. If we jawbone about it in advance, maybe we’ll all be fired up when the day comes to play. Kev, you’re up.

[Sidenote: As I find useful links, I’ll add them in– or Kev will.]
FanPro’s Shadowrun site. Includes this interesting info– Shadowrun Fourth Edition launches at GenCon Indy 2005: August 18-21!
Shadowrun Archive Huge fansite, but very dated.


from the Forge thread Meaning at the beginning, middle and end. It’s about social expectations and authority.

The thread describes three types of resolution– Meaning at the Beginning (MatB), Meaning in the Middle (MitM), and Meaning at the End (MatE). Meaning at the Beginning is about consistent causality, strongly influenced by precedent. Meaning in the Middle is about moment by moment decisions, stretching precedent to fit new cases. Meaning at the End is about justifying or explaining why past events occurred, retrofitting explanations in later.

Later in the thread Simon Marks comments:

So, Kell hates his father (a fact)
In this hypothetical system, we can look at what this translates into.

It will lead to certain ‘predefined’ effects – So, it will grant +2 to any attempt to harm his Father. This is MatB, as it is Judged once the fact is created.

If I then say “Kell’s hatred of his father helps me jump the river” then thats an attempt to add to the SIS that this is true. It is judged when I try to use it.

If I then say “”Okay, so Kell’s hatred of his father helped him shoot this man dead. My God… all of his fighting is a sublimation of his desire to kill the man he hates and loves. Which I didn’t know until we insisted that the trait was relevant here.” is where you rationalise why you got +2 to killing this man.

So the question becomes, “What effect will this fact have”, “Does this fact have an effect” and “Why did this fact have an effect”

It’s an interesting thing to look at, but I don’t have an application for it yet. It’s just something I’m going to need to keep track of (at least mentioning), if I run a MitM game with people used to only MatB games.

Lunchtime Poll #23: No Way to Run a Railroad

Railroading can be tough to cure– there are many sources with different responses required for each.

Some railroading comes about out of fear; the GM may not be comfortable with improvising and lean toward predestination as a way to avoid messiness.

Other railroading comes because the GM has a brilliant plot in mind. Sometime’s it’s original, sometimes it’s unique– but guess the plot can be very frustrating. I often fell victim to railroading this way when I started, and it’s still something that I have to resist at times.

Li’s got the 23rd Lunchtime Poll up,

Is there a cure for railroading? If so, how do you go about curing yourself or your GM of this habit?

Railroading can be tough to cure– there are many sources with different responses required for each.

Continue reading “Lunchtime Poll #23: No Way to Run a Railroad”

Many good posts recently

Charlie’s post about the War on Drugs ( War on Rationality), summarizes a lot of the problems I have with the drug war. Maybe it’s just a symptom of being a bad loser… or maybe I just want the best solution in the basket.

He also pointed out the amazing response time by Wikipedia– the new pope’s entry is already solid.

Amanda notices Bush’s newest excuse for his failure to capture Osama… Women in Combat. She decimates the idea beautifully.

Alas is always brilliant; Ampersand has just brought in a co-blogger, Pseudo-Adrienne. Sounds like a good thing getting better to me.

Edward at Obsidian Wings quotes Republicans from the Clinton era, underlining the hypocrisy of their musings about the nuclear option.

Bilmon returns to us with a detailed analysis of current account finances and other fiscal troubles. Globally, US consumption’s been dragging the train along… but home refinancing (which has been providing the cash for all this consumption) is running out of steam. His in depth analysis is second to none.

Kevin Drum has been pointing out that the terror of national health care isn’t seen that way in Europe and other adopters at all. (Other posts on the same issue are here, and here.)

A clear argument for unlimited pro-choice policies

Like Amanda at Pandagon, I think this is the bottom line. She snaked this from BitchPhD

The bottom line about abortion is this. Do you trust women to make their own moral judgments? If you are anti-abortion, then no. You do not. You have an absolute moral position that you don’t trust anyone to question, and therefore you think that abortion should be illegal. But the second you start making exceptions for rape or incest, you are indicating that your moral position is not absolute. That moral judgment is involved….

Let me unpack a bit, because I know this sounds polemical, since I am clearly stating a bottom line. When pro-choice feminists like Wolf, or liberal men, or a lot of women, even, say things like, “I’m pro-choice, but I am uncomfortable with… [third-trimester abortion / sex-selection / women who have multiple abortions / women who have abortions for “convenience” / etc.]” then what you are saying is that your discomfort matters more than an individual woman’s ability to assess her own circumstances. That you don’t think that women who have abortions think through the very questions that you, sitting there in your easy chair, can come up with. That a woman who is contemplating an invasive, expensive, and uncomfortable medical procedure doesn’t think it through first. In short, that your judgment is better than hers.

Think about the hubris of that. Your judgment of some hypothetical scenario is more reliable than some woman’s judgment about her own, very real, life situation?

Lunchtime Poll #22: We’re Engaged!

The main trick is to hook the player by making the game about his desires– not the GM’s cool plots. Too many players make a complex character with an intricate backstory that’s never used.

Li’s got a new Lunchtime Poll:

I dropped into the local gaming store the other day and heard a GM complaining to the long-suffering clerk that he had a player who just wouldn’t react to anything that happened in the game, up to and including major injury or plot twist. Another bystander suggested that perhaps the situation stemmed from the fact that the character was three hundred years old and simply had a chronic case of been-there/done that. This week’s Lunchtime Poll is going to assume that a) the disengagement is on the part of the player, not the character, and b) the GM is running a reasonably interesting game and fairly distributing the plot cookies. That said,

How to you re-engage the enthusiasm of a bored or jaded player?

The main trick is to hook the player by making the game about his desires– not the GM’s cool plots. Too many players make a complex character with an intricate backstory that’s never used. You come to resent making complex backgrounds.

I suggest making the next plot arc character centered (re-read those backgrounds, or ask questions to establish a background), then threaten the issues that are brought up. If the character talks up his loyalty, but also his love, make sure the two come into conflict. Making a choice about what’s important is essential for a character who is going to mature.

Alternately, if the problem is widespread (not just one player), run a short game [three or four sessions] in a different style to shake things up. Or have someone else GM for a bit– you’ll probably find parts of the system frustrating as a player that you’ll never think about as a GM.

A final solution would be to co-opt the player. Let him know that you’ve noticed that he’s not interested. If they’re a good roleplayer, you can either ask them to co-GM (roleplay NPCs, etc.), or let them in on the backstory (finally someone to confide in) and let them concentrate on the roleplay, rather than the mystery.