Unfulfilled Expectations

Not all wizards are played by Sir Ian McKellen (Click to Enlarge)

Even if you are not playing a team-killing Munchkin, there is a certain wisdom in keeping tabs on what the other Player Characters in the group can and can not do. Not all Elves are good with a bow, not all Dwarves know how to use a forge, and (as shown here) not all wizards have Giant Eagle friends.

There is an enjoyment to be had playing against archetype though, the entire Knights of the Old Republic comic book series (Dark Horse, John Jackson Miller) was approached from the point of view of a good-hearted Jedi who was frankly terrible at his job. He did the best that he could with a motley group of friends and the story was that much better for it.

Next time you play a “known” type of character, be it a dashing gunslinger or wise old wizard, make sure to throw in something completely against type. It makes for an enjoyable change to explore, as well as helping keep things from getting in a rut. This goes doubly for a GM! If the party fingers the goatee-twirling Grand Vizier as the obvious bad guy, let them discover his secret line of hair-care products while the Harmless Old Stablehand plots his oddly-efficient demise of the King. Always check your horse’s saddle straps, folks.

Surprise yourself and surprise your other players! However, don’t be so obfuscated as to cause party fights or needless PC deaths. Being a little different from the pack is good, but try to keep whatever it is from getting the whole party killed. You’ll never live it down.

Player Alignments

Most gamers, even the casual ones, know about the Classic PC Alignment chart. Say it with me my friends…

PC Alignments Lawful Neutral Chaotic
GOOD Lawful Good Neutral Good Chaotic Good
NEUTRAL Lawful Neutral Neutral Neutral Chaotic Neutral
EVIL Lawful Evil Neutral Evil Chaotic Evil

While a good chart, there have been a few additions over the years. The standard sub-classifications of a few of the slots on the chart (in no particular order) are: Lawful Good Paladin Asshole, Lawful Stupid, True Neutral, Neutral Apathetic, Neutral Psychotic, Chaotic Schizophrenic, Chaotic Greedy, and Scenery-Chewing Over The Top Chaotic Evil Ham.

T-shirt (C) Gamercache 2008
Evil Overlord Rule #138: Theatrics is its own reward.

We’ve argued these alignments over character actions for decades now, laughing and accusing in equal measure. It wasn’t until 1983 that anyone decided to apply the same methodology to the Players themselves:

Jeff Okamoto and Sandy Petersen:
The whole thing started around 1983 or so at a party at Pacificon at the Dunfey Hotel in San Mateo in which the idea came up of classifying the different styles of roleplaying. They came up with four different types, which are explained below. Special credit goes to Perry Caro, Chris Guthrie, Rick Heli, Robert Allen, and Ken Kaufman, to name a few.

The Real Man
    The tough macho type who walks up to the attacking dragon and orders it to leave before he gets hurt.

The Real Roleplayer
    The intelligent cunning guy who tricks the constable into letting you all out of prison.

The Loonie
    The guy who will do anything for a cheap laugh, including casting a fireball at ground zero.

The Munchkin
    [Rules Lawyering Min/Maxer, ed.] Need we say more?

If you’ve never read it, check out the complete classic RRLM table by Jeff Okamoto, Sandy Petersen, and lots of others.

Let me see that sheet...
Clockwise from Top-Left: Real-Roleplayer, Real-Man, Munchkin, Real-Man, Loonie

Hours of entertainment have been found applying the RRLM definitions to fellow players and either embracing or denying the charges.  Personally, I tend to play the Real-Men/Real-Roleplayer types, but never let that stop you from enjoying a witty Loonie player. When they’re not disrupting the game, that is.

GM:   “The ground opens up in front of you. Your enemy, the Silver Knight, hovers above the chasm. What do you want to do?”
Kyle: “I’ll make another sign.”
GM:   “What does it say?”
Kyle: “Do not play on or around crevice.”

I hadn’t seen any new Player classifications in years, not until a game last week when a fellow Player described a person in his other game as a True Dickhead Gamer. It sounded a bit harsh at first, but then he presented unto us a convenient new chart by Blue Boxer Rebellion:

PLAYER Alignment Chart
PLAYER Alignment Chart

Ladies and Gentlemen, Elves and Dwarves of all ages, we have a new chart to annoy fellow players with. Sure it’s a bit rudimentary, and could probably use a couple more spokes for Harmless Loonie vs Campaign-Killing Loonie, but it’s a great start.

Let the accusations, denials and gleeful acceptances commence!


Calculate asteroid impact damage

Some games you need this sort of thing, from comet strikes to massdriver attacks, to determine just how screwed your party is. Alternately, use it to see just how much damage they did!  http://www.purdue.edu/impactearth/

Impact Earth
Impact Earth!

Londo Mollari: Mass drivers? They have been outlawed by every civilized planet!

Lord Antono Refa: These are uncivilized times.

Londo: We have treaties!

Lord Refa: Ink on a page!

–Babylon 5 “The Long, Twilight Struggle”

Endor Holocaust
The Endor Holocaust

Moving Delay

Hello everyone,
I’m in the process of moving to another town, one that is actually close to the mountains, so anything more complicated than a quick doodle during a boring meeting is on temporary hiatus. I should be ramping up again next week though, just as soon as we get internet at the new place. haha

Barring any more crazy hail storms, we should be good to go!

Game Play Pro Tip: The secret to moving after you’re 40 is Vicodin and Heating Pads. ;)

Traveller the TV Show

Anyone else remember Traveller, known by many names over many editions and alternate universes, the semi-hard sci-fi RPG of legend?

Spinward Traveller
Spinward Traveller

Well, someone has decided to make a TV-pilot set in one of those iterations:

Spinward Traveller is classic science-fiction; a compelling story of misfits and heroes struggling to survive in the vast sea of stars that is the Traveller role-playing game universe. Based on Marc Miller’s award-winning RPG Traveller, our story captures the essence of role-playing; of characters who have to work together in order to succeed. We wanted to stay true to Marc Miller’s vision of the far future, and we have recruited cast and crew who are passionate about the Traveller RPG and getting the story atmosphere right. Making any show is expensive; making sci-fi is doubly so. We’ll have hundreds of people and thousands of person-hours involved just for the 22 minute version.

Sounds good to me! Check out the kickstarter.

Captain Decker Reviews… Wildstar MMORPG

Attention on deck for legal recitations! *ahem*

Wildstar MMOPRG is a product of NCSOFT. © 2014 NCSOFT Corporation. All rights reserved. All trademarks referenced herein are the properties of their respective owners. All images from the Open Beta 12 May to 18 May 2014. http://www.wildstar-online.com

At ease. Now that the Admiralty is happy, we can get on to business. Namely:  what is Wildstar, how was it, and will I be playing it. So let’s get right into it.

Wildstar MMORPG
Wildstar MMORPG

Wildstar is a pretty standard 2 faction MMORPG produced from the same folks that brought us Guild Wars 1 and 2, making it your usual runny-questy-killy-levely game. Rumor has it was designed mainly by a group of WoW devs fresh from Blizzard, and the game design shows the lineage. It’s fresher than WoW for sure, not nearly as blocky, but still retains a strong cartoonish look to the whole thing. Cross that with a far-future space cowboy motif (someone watched a lot of Firefly) and you’ve got the makings for a game that barely takes itself seriously but has all the more fun because of it.

Continue reading

Notes from behind the GM's shield