New game, new char-gen?

Having a new group means the opportunity for a new way of commencing the game. What this time would be like is to have players come up with characters together, then hash out a party history, and record this before any actual game-specific character generation takes place. A character would have a systemless record of their BG, history, contacts and motivations. From there the character can be defined in any system. The party history would become a shared document and can be updated as the game progresses.

What I’m wondering is if others have gone through something similar and how it turned out?

Advertisements
New game, new char-gen?

What if we just stopped?

What would happen if we all just stopped? None of us went to work. No one mowed the lawn. Not a single person bought anything from a shop. Even for just two weeks.

What would happen?

I think it would cause a major breakdown in what we call ‘consumer society’. It would also show everyone how much power they actually have in life. It is more about people than it is about governments, banks, armies, police, utilities, and all the other little tribal gangs that have a perceived power over our lives. Power that we all give away without much thought.

I’m not advocating anyone do this, but if you can convince a thousand people to do so I’ll be impressed, but I’m advocating that people think about the ramifications of what would happen if they did just stop. Make it a dinner party conversation or even a game. See who can come up with the most scenarios of what would happen if people just didn’t support formalised society and commerce for two weeks. Make it a roleplay or a Jeffrey Robertson hypothetical. Have fun with the idea.

I think it will blow your mind.

What if we just stopped?

Riding in the Wet

Riding in the rain is something that will make most people reach for their car keys. If you can make the mental resolution that it’s just water, albeit cold, and that with the right gear you won’t get appreciably wet then riding in the rain is no problem at all.

For me it’s better than a nice day because there are less riders out on the bike-paths. Riding on a nice day is a social activity, so don’t get me wrong, it’s that I like having the peace of the empty bike-paths when riding in the rain because it’s more personal. Riding in adverse weather intensifies the solo experience of being a cyclist; which I think is part of why people like it. Just rider and machine against weather and terrain.

So what equipment makes riding in the rain achievable or even enjoyable?

  • Waterproof jacket: probably the key piece of kit to keep the rain from soaking your torso, and for most cycling-specific jackets it will cover your butt from a soaking if you don’t have mudguards.
  • Booties: over-shoes to prevent your feet getting soaked. Front mudguards aren’t enough to keep your feet dry and booties are required.
  • Waterproof socks: in combination with booties your feet will be dry in even most torrential downpours (provided your cleats are sealed).
  • Gloves: if your fingers are wet then the wind-effect will cool them down even more than the rain. Gloves that keep your fingers dry are excellent.
  • Mudguards: I think this makes riding in the rain much more enjoyable. Particularly as one gains speed over 30kph and the water from the front wheel begins to rise up towards the rider’s face.
  • Rain-legs: although I don’t have them they are a good choice to keep your legs drier. Waterproof pants are really only for downpours and most equipment is not waterproof enough for that much rain.

Next time you would like to ride but look outside and see it raining realise that you can get out in it anyway and even enjoy it. A little bit of equipment will keep  you dry and therefore warm. For me, the jacket and booties are enough unless it’s very cold and I need to add gloves.

After all – rain is just water.

Riding in the Wet

OSR?

OSR, Old School Roleplaying, seems to be gaining some kind of resurgence. I think it’s that the hobby has hit “middle age”. Yes, that sad old time when people remember their earnest and energetic fumblings through life as adolescents devoid of responsibility and any wisdom about what they don’t know but applied to RPGs.

“I want to game like that again!” is the motivation behind it. “Internal consistency, feh, emotive characters, meh, logic, what-evah!”

Well, that may be overly condensing the sentiments but that does not mean it comes from different broth.

It is unfortunately like going back to the TV shows of your early years and getting excited only to realise how terrible ($#!t) they actually are. I wouldn’t force anyone through the “Rat Patrol” but I loved it in primary school. I wouldn’t put anybody through re-runs of Macross wtih Minmei’s horrible singing but it was awesome as a young teenager. And I certainly will neve make the mistake a former friend made of again watching Battlestar Galactica and A-Team from the 80’s. I think my eyes would bleed as my suspension of disbelief snapped back in a thermo-logic-fusion-explosion.

Underlying this push to get back the magic of roleplaying is the realisation that things have mutated past their essence. Games are less about fun and more about agenda. Rules are about being simple, or sharing narrative control, or consistent in resolution mechanic for all things. The fact remains that all the rules have to do is resolve conflict at the table within the game world in a consistently understood manner. Everything else is fluff (which should never be confused with flavour: as unfortunately it often is).

OSR is a slightly complex movement to try and have fun with roleplaying again. If that’s kill things and take the stuff, or sandbox gaming, or chains of modules ending in godhood, so be it. Just know what you want out of gaming and have the courage to pursue it as a group. Abandon the post-modernist trap of naming tropes and plot-devices to take away their power. Work together at the table towards the experience you want to share. But most importantly of all, get on the same page about expectation and investment, so you can actually have a fun game together.

OSR?

Everything is Personal

If you’re a person then everything that occurs toward you is personal. Why? Simply for the reason that it is ‘of your person’, which makes it personal. I know there’s a meme that has infected most minds that a lot of what you encounter in life should not be ‘taken personally’. I think this is a terrible mistake. It gives implicit permission not to treat others, or yourself be treated, as a person.

It would be such a better place for all persons to be treated personally ALL THE TIME.

When you’re next asked not to take something personally you’re really being asked not to get upset about it, not to react, not to make amends, not to take revenge, not to argue, not to stand up for your rights, and most certainly not to realise that you are being dehumanised.

Everything is Personal

Game Theory and the State of Things

Game theory operates on a single critical premise. All players are inherently selfish. The rest of game theory hinges on this single assumption. As the Rand Corporation found out the hard way when they tested John Nash’s prisoner dilemma (aka. F**K You Buddy) all the receptionists and secretaries co-operated their way out of it with none going the backstabbing route of the dilemma’s alias.

If they’d also remembered, assuming they ever learned, Popov, Kuhn, and the other philosophers of science, those Rand Corporation people would realise that they were ‘filtering’ their theory through their own assumptions and expectations. What those people did afterwards sowed the seed that only hubris can fertilise to become a massive stolonic meme-weed that infects Western culture.

Rise of Selfishness

Most of us are about as selfish as we have to be; that is, not particularly. We sacrifice time, money and energy to help those we care about. As modern culture progressed we somehow learned, how is debatable, to care less about others. It was only a century ago that extended families lived in a single dwelling and worked there small parcel of land around it for fresh produce. They would share baby and child raising amongst those not “out in the field gathering protein” – which is what most of the workers were doing. Qv. making money to buy meat. This was still concordant with essentially tribal life. Extended family groups working together for survival.

As technology advanced the time required “out in the field gathering protein” was reduced and it became far easier to achieve. The idea that “you too can earn your own meat” spread among the young women whilst being schooled and they quickly entered “the field gathering protein”. Inherently there is nothing wrong with this and it is really no change in terms of entering “the field gathering protein”. What changed was the pressure to do so. It was now about control and not about necessity. As necessity changed so to did the pressure to have children since more children means more help for the family unit and increase the capability to survive of the whole tribe. The pressure to do that was suddenly gone and replaced with the pressure of “self-gratification” mostly steered towards “acquisition” which means time “out in the field gathering protein” was traded for “ooh shiny”. Of course the self-policing proto-consumer had to have something to assuage the hollowness that comes out of “ooh shiny” so this was subverted with “ooh new shiny”. KISS.

Selfishness is no Reward

Indulging the self works for only so long. It increases isolation as the limits of self-indulgence crossover to the taking of others free-agency. Devolution of self to the terrible twos, the “I want & I don’t care”, also known as the spoiled-brat or the psychopath. It is seen over and over in history as power increases to provide self-indulgence corruption of morals results and depravity is engaged to gain further self-indulgence in what used to be taboo activities. This selfishness is no reward because the activities must be escalated to fill what is essentially an infinite void.

Selfish Assumptions

The assumptions of those that put the game theory version of societal control into effect from think tank to corporate management to public service departments that now operate as profit-centres is what we have in our culture today. That is; he assumption of the isolated, selfish, consumer-person, that will do what ever it takes to gain advantage for self-indulgence. That premise is flawed just like those who put it in place. Flawed with academic hubris that comes from lack of empathy and experience. Usually from the very dysfunctions they attribute to those that must be controlled. Dostoyevsky’s transparent mirror of humanity.

—-

The refutations I expect will mostly be in the following fallacious forms:

Appeal to authority (usually a request for references)

Ad hominem (attack against author instead of the idea)

Strawman (probably with an absurd reduction or polemic)

Game Theory and the State of Things