Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Dice Are Strong With This One

I've been reading a web comic lately called "Darths And Droids", and I cannot sing its praises highly enough. 

Its premise is not a new one - it takes an existing story, in this case the entire "Star Wars" franchise (prequels and all) and presents it as though it were being played through by a group of D&D players, utilising screen caps of the films as their story panels.  There is commentary that accompanies each page in which the authors address some aspect or other of roleplaying.  They readily admit to being inspired by "DM of the Rings", which I have also read in its entirety and enjoyed super lots.

"Darths and Droids" is still in production, and they have only just wrapped up their take on the prequels a few weeks ago and are now getting into "A New Hope".  I must say, reading their interpretation of the prequel films (and their story does differ quite a bit from Lucas', though keeps some of the same basic structure) gave me a whole new appreciation for them.

I was never in the rageboner-hate camp of Star Wars fans when it came to the prequels, although I do acknowledge that they're... inferior to the original trilogy (especially "Phantom Menace").  Some things are best left as they are, but I guess if  you're going to make fat loads of cash for yourself, well I guess there are better ways to do it, but there are worse ways, too.

So yes, please do check out this clever web comic.  Come for the Star Wars, stay for their commentary on running, playing, and crafting RPG stories.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Still Around, Contemplating Games

I've been terribly lax in posting, which is probably not the best way to start off a blog.  But daily life, she calls to me, and she has demands that must be met.  Being a productive grown up is really cramping my nerd style!  Although we got in our regularly scheduled Deadlands game last week, saw some action in a Warhammer Fantasy (though not quite fantasy) game, and even got down and dirty with some Fiasco, I feel as though I'm not playing nearly as much as I should.

In short, I miss M'Colleague's D&D game which he has been running for the past year and counting.  What with our player group contending with babies, new houses, weddings, and life in general, we haven't played for a few weeks.  I miss my fabulous Bard, damn it!

Anyway, I just came across this breakdown of player types from a larger body of writing on roleplaying, which seems like something worth checking out.

The brief article linked above breaks down seven player archetypes (not characters, but the actual dice-rolling player) which should not be unfamiliar to anyone who has even dabbled in the RPG hobby, although the names for the various types may differ depending on to whom you're talking.  I personally know at least one of each of these, and I'm guessing you do as well:

The Power Gamer (Min-maxing FTW)
The Butt Kicker (Just wants to blow off steam by combatting the snot out of some NPCs)
The Tactician (That guy who just gets battle planning, sometimes eerily so)
The Specialist (Doesn't matter the system - can he play a Wuxia monk?  If so, all is well.)
The Method Actor (Role playing is improvisational theatre, a form of personal expression, dig?)
The Story Teller (Wants to feel as though she's taking part in a cinematic plot, XP isn't important)
The Casual Gamer (Has fun, but is really just along for the ride)

I am a combination Method Actor and Story Teller, which should be no surprise to anyone who knows me.  I have a background in theatre arts; heck, I even attended a theatre conservatory that masqueraded as an accredited university, and I've got the BFA to prove it!  Also, I have the 9-to-5 desk job which resulted from graduating just as the economy tanked, but at least I got to live in a fantastical art student dream world for a few years.

Improvisational scene crafting had been my weak spot in high school theatre.  Then I started roleplaying, and I really think I improved.  I became more confident in taking a character and/or situation, embracing it, and running with it.

Typically when I create a character, I'm not just stating out a character sheet.  I try to create fully realised people (elves, dwarves, cyborgs, whatever), down to the smallest detail possible.  I'm pretty proficient with accents, and will often utilise this ability at the game table to fully step into my character.  These characters become an extension of aspects of my personality, whether actual or desired - I even have a Promethean character who is the personification of my social awkwardness.  She's adorable, you'd love her.

When I'm playing, I prefer to embrace the method school of acting.  I'm not so scary into it as, say Daniel Day Lewis or Johnny Depp (to give present-day examples), but I try to maintain that character's mindset as much as possible.  I don't feel right playing in M'Colleague's D&D game without a glass of wine in my hand and my Bard's journal by my side.  The number of times I've come close to crying at Deadlands as the world is falling apart around my poor displaced Southern belle borders on the absurd.  But that's what feels right for me.  If I didn't get to that point, I'd feel as though I was doing something wrong.

Sometimes it takes me a while to get to know a character, even if I've planned out their whole history, but that's part of the appeal.  My Bard had been living in my head for months before our current campaign even existed and he hit the table ready to go; Ruby O'Flahertie's back story was easy enough to craft and get into, although it took me a few sessions to hit my stride with her; I'm still feeling out my characters in Unknown Armies and Warhammer.

What about you?   What player type (or types) are you, and why does that approach to playing appeal to you?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Introducing My Dice Bag

My dice bag is awesome.  I made it myself, and it has served me rather well for several years and shows no sign of stopping.  My previous bag, made by an old friend, was great, but ultimately became too small.  I had to expand.

When my dice collection started to grow past a couple of basic polyhedral sets to something that has developed into ungodly ("Well, I've got 15 d10, may as well even it out for each size, that would be good for my odds...", "Oh, that's so pretty!  I need it!", "Shit, now my counts are uneven, time to sort that out again..."  Wash.  Rinse.  Repeat.) I knew that I must take matters into my own hands.

And what better way to store dice, than in a giant die?  I had seen die-shaped dice bags before online, and beyond knowing that such a thing existed, I didn't use any other reference than an actual d10 (I like their shape best out of all the polyhedrals).

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Game Reflections: Deadlands

We had a spectacular "season finale" to Deadlands last night.  I'll leave the summarising to M'Colleague, as he has been doing a spectacular job of it thus far, and I would hate to steal his thunder.

But yes, I do tend to think of some games in terms of TV show series.  I've been lucky in that a lot of the GMs (DMs, STs, whatever the given system calls them) with whom I play have a keen knack for knowing when to call a session for optimal cliff-hanger suspense, how to build that suspense in the first place, and how to craft a damn fine story world in which to play.  This Deadlands campaign has been no different.

M'Colleague (some of you know him as S.P. although he goes by many names) and I have reflected that this game and our player/character group is very Whedon-esque, to its great credit.  We've got a Priest with a Past, a Wealthy Boy Journalist, a Fallen Southern Belle, a Ne'er-Do-Well Drifter, a Mountain Boy with Too Many Guns (no such thing), and a Rough Lady Butcher (that's a woman who is a butcher, not Jack the Ripper).  We have a great group dynamic, and are able to banter with ease.

Or had. Father Seward, Rufina the butcher, and Jake the drifter died spectacularly last night while we attempted, and succeeded, at stopping the apocalypse.  I'm sure it won't be the last time, but it does give one a certain sense of accomplishment going into the tail end of a hellacious work week.  Though the players themselves aren't leaving the game for good, I wonder how we will recover when half our party is suddenly replaced with a few well placed newcomers.

I'm not normally one to get terribly attached to characters that aren't my own (and even then only so much), but I have found myself reflecting on our group's loss throughout the day today.  It occurred to me that this hit me just as hard as when a favourite character snuffs it in a TV show I've become invested in.  You know the feeling (Spoilers ahead):  Charlie on LOST, Wash at the end of Serenity, Ianto in Torchwood.  Which is to say, not very hard hitting in the grand scheme of things, but that's emotionally-invested fandom for you.

My character, Ruby "Not Scarlet O'Hara" O'Flahertie, lost both a father figure and a would-be lover in a matter of minutes, without actually saying goodbye.  Not to mention vampire thing that was her brother, long thought to be dead.  As a properly helpless woman of her time and upbringing, to have lost two protectors is a devastating blow.  Them's the breaks in the Victorian apocalypse, of course.  Though her heart is thrice broken, I'm very pleased at the new level of characterisation that this will allow me to bring to the table.  I thrive on this sort of method acting crap.

And I'm a little glad that our illustrious GM has pretty much exhausted any remaining family dear Ruby could have had left.  Of course, if we're headed where I think we are next, she's about to confront her estranged philandering husband.

Oh, won't that be a laugh?

Sunday, September 9, 2012

An Introduction

Hello, welcome to my blog.  I'm very excited about it.  You can be, too, if you want.

I plan to write about a lot of things.  Nerdy things.  Nerdy, geeky, fan-girly, crafty things.  I'm generally a bit scattered in my day-to-day existence, and that's likely to be the general tone here.  I'd like to use this space not only to selfishly foist my thoughts and creations upon the world, but also to keep my writing skills sharp.

I dabble in a decent number of nerdly pursuits, although my main squeeze is role-playing (tabletop primarily, although I love a good LARP).  I've been playing since early high school, so about 10 years.  I also partake in video games, comics, various crafts, writing, sci-fi/fantasy media, and so forth.  A geek of all trades.

I'm frequently at the sewing machine or seen with crochet hooks in hand, crafting a decent portion of my daily wardrobe, as well as Halloween/LARP costumes as far back as I can remember, and various things about the house.

Presently, I'm involved in two long-running tabletop campaigns,  as well as a handful of others that are either infrequent or just getting started.  I cut my teeth in an Old World Of Darkness Mage campaign (wherein I played a vampire?) and have since branched out to systems ranging from Unknown Armies to Deadlands to D&D.  I've not yet run a game, but that's likely to change in the not too distant future.

On the crafting front, we've got Halloween fast approaching, after which I'll be taking on the epic task of making my own wedding dress.  Intimidating, but there's quite a lot of time before The Big Day, so I'm not too concerned.

So there you have it, for now. There will be lots of pretty pictures, maybe some recipes, some fan-girl flailing, et cetera.  Be on the look out for unconventional/nerd wedding tips and tricks, too.

Do stick around?