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Month: February 2004

WISH combo

Since I’m hopelessly behind, I’m going to combine WISH 86:

What can the GM or other players do to help “midwife” the character creation process?

And WISH 85:

What inspires you to create characters? Do you have partially-developed characters in mind for use when you get into a new campaign? Do you shop characters around, or do you come up with new characters when you get into a campaign? Why? If you GM, are you bothered by receiving a solicitation for a “generic” character, or does it enthuse you to get a solid proposal even if it’s not closely tailored to your game?

And just ramble a lot.

I tend to go in cycles for my characters. I did a couple of travel-oriented characters in Reese and Cian, which I think is finished; I have a cycle of flippant competent noble Guy Gavriel Kay-esque characters which may or may not be complete. Probably not, since I think Mr. Wellstone was drawn from that model. Geoff Heortson is a recycled version of the character I came up with for the Arcana Unearthed game. And so on.

Sometimes I come up with completely new ideas, though. The PC I have in mind for the wuxia Charnel Gods game doesn’t match anything I’ve done recently. He may be the start of a new cycle, but I don’t think so — he’s too much a product of the background for the game. Stick was unique too, although he was generated for another abortive campaign a long time ago. But I won’t likely play him again.

So yeah, it really just depends. I do what catches my interest.

I tend to try and figure out where my character will find spotlight time. Competence is not necessary; hooks are. I always throw in hooks if I can. It’s OK if the GM doesn’t abuse them — if nothing else they’re a signal that I don’t mind hooks, after all.

As a GM, I could care less if someone recycles a character. I prefer to fit my world around the characters. This is my own personal style, of course; I don’t mind making a character closely tailored to someone else’s campaign. But if someone hands me a character that’s not tailored for my world, I see that as an indication of what the player wants out of the campaign, and I like trying to provide whatever’s wanted.

One player in my DoSS campaign was leery of writing up his PC’s Disadvantages, on the grounds that it would force me to put those elements into my plots. No! That’s the whole point of Disadvantages as far as I’m concerned: telling the GM what kinds of elements you want to see. But that’s me.

This is a hint as to what I think a GM (or other players) can do to midwife character creation. It’s a matter of listening to the quirks that a player puts into the characters, and building upon them. Kill Puppies For Satan has some very good material on this: during character creation, the GM goes around the room and says, to each player in turn, “OK, how do you know so-and-so?” So-and-so being the previous player’s PC, if I recall correctly. I think that’s great advice, and I think it could be adapted and made deeper. Perhaps having the players fill out a PC relationship map, in the strict Edwards style — only relatives and lovers get connections?

Icing

I caught Miracle this afternoon, and it wasn’t a bad way to spend a couple of hours. The acting was great, and the semi-final game against the Russians is enough to support the fairly bland script. If you don’t like sports, there’s nothing there for you, but if you do like sports it’s one of the great stories. The hockey is really well filmed.

Couple of bonus points for the reaction shots of the Russians after the game. They look human and their pain at losing is clear. Beat the hell out of Rocky IV.

Rising tide

The mayor of New Paltz, New York is about to “start performing gay marriages”:http://www.fox23news.com/news/state/story.aspx?content_id=CA702E63-ADDA-40DA-9E46-C27BA5FAE460.
The story highlights an important aspect of this issue: namely, that the New York state constitution does not specify marriage as being between a man and a woman. Nor does the Massachusetts state constitution. The Massachusetts SJC, like the mayor of New Paltz, are in fact taking “strict constructionist”:http://www.law.georgetown.edu/gelpi/papers/conservative.htm approaches to interpreting the law. Does the state constitution say that marriage is restricted to one man and one woman? If not, by strict constructionist doctrine, it is not.

Hiring a coach

Last night was an important turning point for the Celtics; they started Brandon Hunter, the second round draft pick, and he responded very well. (6-12 from the floor, 9 rebounds). Up until last night, John Connor had been giving people more or less the same minutes as O’Brien. It looks like that’ll change now.

However, he did have 15+ games with the team before then, which means we can compare apples and apples as far as his coaching and O’Brien’s. And boy, the result is illuminating.

With the current team, O’Brien went… roughly .500, as far as I can count. 8-8 or so; I might be off by a game either way. Connor, without making a whole lot of changes in terms of minutes, did — somewhat worse.

The question becomes this. If you have a team which is ready to contend for a championship, would you hire Jim O’Brien? You don’t want to develop the new kids, you want to take what you have and win. We can pretty much compare apples and apples, here, and I don’t see how anyone can argue that O’Brien was not getting a whole lot more out of these guys than Connor has.

Ain't it passionate

Moriarty reviewed The Passion over on AICN; unlike most of the Passion reviews on AICN, his was fairly negative. I note his review not because of that directly, but because of some of the replies to the review:

“Most movies that are made in Hollywood are anti-white? Hollywood is controlled by jews. Most Hollywood movies have British and German villains. Blacks are overrepresented on TV. They’re either seen as the “victim” or superior to Whites. Blacks are NEVER portrayed negatviely, whereas whites are always the villains. Clearly this is anti-white racism at the hands of Hollywood jews.”

And:

“Jesus was condemned by Pontius Pilate and betrayed by the Jewish people… Sorry to say but thats basically what you get when you look at the different books of the Bible. The Romans may have done the crucifying, but the Jewish people ultimately turned their backs on Him. Oh and as for Moriarty talking about how Pilate was softened because of when the books were written so as to not anger the Roman occupiers… well yeah I saw that History Channel documentary too about 4 weeks ago….. Just because its on television deosn’t make it true, that was a small group of historians conjecture about the crucifixion. Bottom line, if you’re Christain you already know this story, and are just glad that someone made a high-quality version of it to help explain one small bit of our faith to others. If the details are hard to swallow, well history is a bitch sometimes….”

Those are only two replies out of quite a few. Most of them are thoughtful, interesting, and not racist or anti-Semitic. But it’s the two guys out of a hundred who will take the movie as affirmation of their racism that I worry about.

Monday Mashup #29: Hard Boiled

One tough cop. One tough killer. Ten thousand mashups.

Hard Boiled.

Gotta be one of the best action movies of all time. Tequila is the cop who accidentally killed an undercover cop and is wracked with guilt. Tony is another undercover cop who is torn between honor and duty. They team up to take down a gunrunner. Action sequences of rare and surpassing excitement, many of them set in a hospital, ensue.

Before I get into my concoction, a free offer (sounds better than a request): if you have subjects you’d like to see mashed up, by all means email me or post ‘em here. My choices are always shaped by my preferences and prejudices, which hardly seems fair. Confound and delight me.