Monday, December 28, 2009

Pet Peeves

This normally isn't a space that I use to soap box too often on. Maybe that's a lie. It might be more accurate to say that I haven't used it as a soap box lately. I figure I've earned enough credit with actual content to be able to take a minute and vent about something, something that bothers me in RPGs. That's when guys think it would be just awesome to play, "The Hot Chick."

You know what I mean. They decide that they want to play a female character, which is problematic but I do think doable as long as with anything else that could be appropriative you march forward with a respect and understanding, but don't really want to play a female character. What they want to do is "be cute," or "sexy," or "get what they want by being female." You know, all that crap that the media puts out as the "benefits" to being a woman?

Now that's not to say that playing a female character in an RPG is impossible if you're a guy. You just have to understand that it's the same as if you write about any oppressed group, you have to do so with a spirit of understanding and respect. You have to understand that playing all the stereotypes, and playing them badly, doesn't make the game better. It makes it a toxic environment for an actual woman to enter and try to play. I'm sure that there are enough horror stories out there to fill a book or two.


Friday, December 25, 2009

Faery Curses - Draft 2 - 2k words

Hey folks,

Thought I would share this with you. This is one of the many things I've been working on and I like this draft so much that I'm going to share the first 2k with everyone who wants to read it. I'll probably post something about the mechanics later but here are the first 2k words of a draft of Faery Curses.

1. Introduction
A. Fluff

The forest had a lot of animals living in it. There were animals that lived in the trees, and animals that lived in the ground, and animals that walked about the forest. There was no love lost between any of those groups. One of the animals that lived in the trees was Crow. Crow was clever, especially when it came to humans. That's how he stole a lot of his food and today was no exception, he had grabbed a piece of cheese from a local farmer who was busy chasing the pigs that the crow had harassed earlier. Crow was so pleased with himself and flew back into the forest with the piece of cheese in his mouth. He perched on a branch and settled down to eat this piece of cheese.

What happened is that in the same space of forest there lived Fox. Fox had seen Crow fly in with a piece of cheese and Fox believed that she should have it and not Crow. Besides, the animals that lived on the ground didn't really like the animals that lived in the trees. Crow wasn't going to enjoy that piece of cheese. It wasn't going to do Crow any good. So when Crow landed on a branch, Fox walked out from the undergrowth and said, "Good say Master Crow." Crow looked down and Fox added, "How clever you are today."

Crow smiled to himself, with the piece of cheese still in his mouth and puffed out his chest. If someone like Fox, who had to walk everywhere thought he was clever then it was high praise indeed. He leaned forward a bit, encouraging Fox to continue her praise. Fox did not disappoint. She said, "Not only are you clever, but you are certainly the most handsome of birds. Your feathers are glossy, your eyes are bright. I am quite impressed with you." Each word hit Crow with a shiver of delight. He was so pleased with himself that he began to dance back and forth on the branch he was perched on.

Smiling Fox continued, "Now, Master Crow, if you could sing me a song so that my ears can share in the joy that my eyes have seen."

Willing to oblige this most discerning of animals, Crow opened his beak wide and let the cheese fall down, down, down to the ground. Crow looked at the falling food in dismay as Fox smiled and picked it up with her mouth.

Crow angrily called out, "That's mine! Give it back!"

Fox smiled again and said, "Come down and get it."

Crow did that. After a few minutes of struggling, Fox walked out of the woods with a piece of cheese in her belly and a dead Crow between her teeth.

If there is a lesson to be learned by all of this it is never underestimate the willingness of fools to make mistakes.

B. What is Faery Curse

Faery Curse is a storytelling game. It's a game filled with goals, desires, needs, wants fears and then prays on all those things. It uses these elements to drive characters to their own ruin and leaves them broken and used by those who can't care enough for the human condition. You see, Faeries are real and they're all around us. They're in the house when you can't find your keys that you're certain you put down on the counter. They're in that person making out with your loved one and causing the final fight of your relationship with a wink and a slicing laugh. They're in the changeling in the bedroom. They cause your dog to run and hide and the cat to hiss menacingly at nothing.

Faeries find us interesting. We move funny, we think funny, we talk funny and we come up with the most interesting things. We live, laugh, love, fight, kill, steal and betray all in the name of selfish good masquerading as selflessness. We come up with stories to convince ourselves that we're doing the right thing no matter how wrong we are. Faeries find that fascinating and useful because the Fae have their own goals and we make the perfect tools for them to achieve what they want. If we're good tools, they'll be more than happy to reward us, but if we step out of line we'll get fixed in a hurry. Sometimes they lend out tools for other Fae to use. Sometimes they hit their tool, just because they're frustrated. Sometimes they love their tool and put it on a pillow. No matter what that tool does, they never forget what it is.

We are the ones that think we move beyond this stage.

This is a collaborative story even where you play two characters a once. You play people with drive and goals. Like life, no everyone can be happy all the time so these goals will conflict, and you'll use every advantage to achieve what your character wants even at the expense of others. You play Fae who have given these people a chance to use your magic to fulfill their desires. In reality you've done it so that you can have a toy to help you achieve your faery goals even at the expense of the mortal you made a deal with.

This game doesn't have much in the way of happy endings.

2. How do we play this game

A. Fluff

I loved cheese when I was young. There was something compelling about the flavour that I adored. Any cheese at all. Brie, Camembert, Mozzarella, Cheddar even most Blue cheese that people couldn't stand. I would eat them and enjoy watching the faces of people around me who would wince. My mom used to complain about how much cheese I ate. She'd say that I'd put us out of house and home, but she never stopped giving it to me.

One day, I was at the park when I was about seven years old and I was really kind of hungry. My food of choice was a grilled cheese sandwich. The grilled cheese is really a perfect food. It's pleasing to watch, you can see the bread browning and the cheese melting. The way it would crunch when you bit into it, and then ooze in your mouth. It was the one time you could mix cheese and ketchup without it being the most disgusting thing on the planet. Perfect sandwich. My stomach rumbled while I was going down the slide and that was the first thought in my head. I want a grilled cheese sandwich. I must have been thinking really hard about it because as soon as I reached the bottom someone who looked like a kid, but really wasn't gave me a look and said, "You really want a grill cheese sandwich, don't you?"

I said, "Ya!" He looked enough like me that I didn't think much of him knowing that I wanted a grilled cheese. Didn't everybody want one?

The kid said, "I can get one for you. We just need to make a trade."

This is when I got suspicious, I had my favourite transforming toy in my backpack, the kind that every kid wanted. If he wanted this he was going to be disappointed. "What do you want?" I asked, hoping that it wasn't that action figure.

"Nothing much. Just maybe you'll do something for me in the future."

The future was something I didn't really understand at the time so I said, "That's it? Deal."

The kid smiled at me and pulled two grilled cheese sandwiches out of his shoulder bag. Each one was wrapped up in wax paper and piping hot. The cheese was perfect and on the most wonderful bread I had ever tasted. I devoured the first one and then started on the second one when the kid patted me on the head and said, "Remember this little Crow. Everything is going to be wonderful."

B. Character Creation

In this game you will make two characters. The first one is going to be your person, and they're going to be far more fleshed out because this is the character you will be spending more time with. The other character is going to be your faery that you will then start connecting to other people.

It starts in a round, that way each player gets to see what the previous player did and then build on top of their ideas. Also, it will give each player a chance to build conflict between the people on the table. The goal here is to create as many links as possible between people because the more the interact, the more fun it is for everyone. There are no hard and fast rules in this game that will force this type of interaction, we just recommend it in the understanding that players want the best game that they can have. There will be discussion, who and what you person is like, and if other people give good suggestions don't be afraid to steal them.

B.1 Step One - The first

The first step is to find a first player. The first player doesn't get anything special, in fact the first player might have the hardest time out of everyone. They have to figure out who their character is, or at least a part of who their character is. There is nothing to play off of. If you can't come to a consensus you can always make the person who suggested this game the first person. Even then if no one seems to have an idea of what they want to do, or really want something to play off of they can check out the back of the book and roll a couple of d6. There will be a chart that has a bunch of random settings. Once the first player is started, and any suggested ideas have been rolled you can go onto the next step.

B.2. Step Two - Tell me a story

Whenever we read the obscene stories, the voluptuous debaucheries, the cruel and torturous executions, the unrelenting vindictiveness, with which more than half the bible is filled, it would seem more consistent that we called it the word of a demon than the Word of God. It is a history of wickedness that has served to corrupt and brutalize mankind.
Thomas Paine (1737 - 1809)

When it is your turn, you will tell a story about your person. You don't have to write a novel, give a brief couple line description of what they're doing and their situation in life. The more you put down here, the more other people have to work with. Don't worry about this being the final story, if someone comes up with an idea that you think will work wonderfully with your person then talk about it. Make any changes to your story that you feel fit. The more the stories intersect, the more chances people will be intimately involved in each others stories. It's impossible to repeat this enough because the greater the interaction, the greater the fun that is had by all.

As a reminder, the more the stories intersect, the more chances there are to be immediately involved in each other stories, the better the game is and the more fun people have.

Once each player has had a chance to come up with their character background, and some tweaking was done to accommodate new ideas, then you can move on to the step three.

Example: Jonathan, Saul and Desiree decide that they want to play a game of Faery Curses. Jonathan is elected the first player and he comes up with his person's story. Guy was an executive at a software company. He's feeling old, his marriage is falling apart and he's bored with his life and he wants more. Desiree grabbed that and told us a quick story about her person, Shane who worked in the mailroom at the company. She lives with her two cats and hast had a date in two years. Saul came back wiht Bob who was a software developer who just got let go by Guy's company. He was disgruntled, and his life was at rock bottom where he's now currently dodging eviction notices.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Why I haven't been posting here

It's because I've been working on a new cyberpunk game. It's going to be cool, at least I think it's cool.

That's what matters, right?

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