Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The Bad Guys

I'm not entirely sure where my path to writing comics started, but I know it wound through roleplaying game territory for a good number of years. Running campaigns was where I started getting a sense of what made for a good story. It was also where I started to realize that many players weren't as concerned about telling a good story as I was, and given half a chance, would do exactly the exact opposite of what the story, and even the basic natures of the characters they were playing, called for. Frustrated that the stories I wanted to tell weren't being told, I started writing them for different media. The moment I decided to focus on writing as a prospective career was the same second I started sucking as a GM.

One CHAMPIONS campaign I played in (rather than ran), the player characters, through a mixture of our own ill-thought out actions and dealing with a GM and villains who were smarter than we were, began being perceived by the public (in the game) as villains. (Actually, we may have been perceived as villains by the real public, too--I think that was the campaign when the cops knocked on the door because someone had heard one of us screaming we were going to kill someone else) (We always leaned towards the LARPS end of the gaming, rather than the dice-rolling.)

As I said, this was partly our fault. A couple of us, including myself, were playing characters who didn't care what people thought of them. A couple others weren't playing their characters that well and some NPCs ended up dying. In most cases, they deserved it, but still, it's one thing for Wolverine to kill someone, and another altogether for Jubilee to rip someone's arms off.

One session we had a guest player show up, a friend of the GM. And his character was Joe Superhero, very straightlaced. The first thing he heard when he encountered our characters was me saying to the group, "Someone ratted us out." The first thing he saw was the guy who'd publicly torn a supervillain (who wasn't necessarily identified as a supervillain) into little bits and pieces.

So the new guy decided we were villains and the session basically devolved into a huge fight between player characters who thought of themselves as heroes, and another player character who looked at us as villains.

This was a perfectly reasonable development, and led to some nice roleplaying, but it really upset one of the players, the guy who'd ripped the supervillain apart. He didn't understand why the new guy was treating us a villains. "Why's he being like this?" he said. "We're supposed to be the good guys!"

I thought about this for a moment, and then, in character, replied, "Then we should probably act more like the good guys."

I suspect someone figuring that out was why the GM put us in that situation with his buddy in the first place--I know he wasn't terribly happy with the "heroism" of the player characters.

All of this came back to me when I checked out the official website of the AMPTP (the coalition of Big Media who drove the Writers Guild to strike), which is trying to present the group as the good guys while acting like...something else.

It's not nearly as funny as (which the AMPTP managed to let fall into the hands of a group of very funny, if bitter, writers.)



Posting will be light over the next couple weeks. I'm in my annual Christmas Depression, and have other things I need to be doing, some of which I actually WANT to do.

So, to the three of you who still read this thing, have a Merry Christmas or Equivalent Holiday of Your Choice, a Happy New Year, and a reasonably pleasant rest of the week.



I don't really need to be able to hear things. I'm sure the other four senses will tide me over.

Very stylish film, though I can't make any sense of what they're thinking releasing it at Christmas. It's no Edward Scissorhands, and thank God for that.

I have no affinity for the musical genre. None whatsoever.

Still. I could've done worse things on the Wednesday night before Christmas, and all of them would've likely cost more than the free pass T and I got to the preview. So, no complaints. Other than the volume.

I am a delicate flower.


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