January 12th, 2004


Bad rolls lead to good roleplaying!

So yesterday I was up in Athens to game with sujata, salog, john666, and LJ-less Scott, Steve, and Marie, who was GMing.

So far this has been the one of my three games that I've been the least useful in. My character Felicity was cooked up specifically as a part-time character and the long-lost twin sister of sujata's character's wife. She's a swashbuckler who unfortunately was pretty useless in the swamp and most of the other places we've been since I joined up.

This is where it gets funny.

sujata and I originally designed Felicity as a good-hearted but rather brash type who began life as a chieftain's daughter and has never forgotten it, and therefore expects deference from most everyone. Still, she was supposed to be a good sort, regardless.

In practice, Felicity is a brat. She's got a Wisdom of 7, she generally has no clue and doesn't particularly seem to care if she has a clue or not as long as she's being amused, to the point of hollering at another party member in the swamp, "HYMO!! I'm BORED!!! Cast a spell on me!!" Felicity seems to annoy the hell out of the GM and most of the other PC's but she's a hoot and a half to play.

At one point in the game, Kendell (sujata's halfling monk) invited Felicity to come slay wee monsters with her. At the same time Franz (Steve's bard, who also has a Wisdom of 7) invited Felicity to go drinking. Here we have a disconnect between player and character. Kelly the player thought that Felicity really should make herself useful by going to slay things. However, Kelly the player was also cognizant that doing the responsible thing would totally not be in character for Felicity. Marie told me to make a willpower roll, I failed it (I'm starting to wonder if I might be one of those unlucky gamers with the dice curse), and Felicity and Franz went drinking.

I determined that if my character were determined to shirk responsibility, at least I could attempt to get something useful out of it and began gathering information. Then Franz spotted a little monster-type thing on the roof. Felicity tried to climb up and grab the monster. She failed to climb the building. Twice. For a swashbuckler this is very embarrassing. The monster-type-thing taunted her. Felicity finally climbed the roof and tried to grab the monster -- at which point I rolled a 1, Felicity fell off the roof and broke her ankle. (I acted this part out for my fellow gamers.) Felicity then began shrieking in pain and bellowing for Franz to pick her up and carry her to a healer. (sujata was forced to admit that demanding to be carried was perfectly in character for Felicity.) Franz's reaction to all the pissing and moaning (remember, he also has a wisdom of 7) was to pour alcohol down Felicity's throat every time she opened her mouth.

So Franz arrives at the temple, carrying a very drunk Felicity. Which leads someone to comment that they must be going to get married. Then Franz says something stupid and Felicity slaps him, at which point the priests slap a cast on her and send her off unhealed. (Kelly to Marie: "Is this punishment for being a brat?" Marie: grins and nods.) Felicity then returns to the inn, where her sister-in-law V slams the door in her face after Felicity makes yet another crude reference to her sister and sister-in-law's sex life, and Felicity stomps off to her room with a jar of "hero spackle" and a bottle of wine.

Cut to morning. Felicity wakes up with a broken ankle, a hangover, foggy memories of the night before, and a ring on her finger, and starts screaming. She hobbles down to breakfast in time to catch her equally mischievious twin sister drinking a toast to the newlyweds. Felicity throws her ring at her husband and, taking a cue from Britney Spears, starts whining-screaming "I WANT AN ANNULMENT!!!" while frantically trying to make sure she and Franz didn't actually have sex. Hilarity ensues.

That's the part of role-playing I really get a kick out of -- getting into character. That's what makes it fun, I think. Otherwise, what's the point?
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It's for occasions like these that I needed a "Mock the Stupid" icon.

CBS has announced their Survivor All-Stars.

While I've missed the last two seasons, before that I had a well-documented Survivor obsession which I think qualifies me to do a little color commentary with the list.

  • Richard Hatch, winner of the original "Survivor: Pulau Tiga," along with Rudy Boesch, Sue Hawk and Jenna Lewis.

No argument with Rich. Frankly, I think he grasped the possibilities of the game long before Mark Burnett caught up, and he was a terrific villain. Rudy and Sue were great fun to watch. But Jenna? If they wanted a cute chick from the first season, why not Colleen, a cute chick with a brain? Glad to see that creep Kelly won't be back, but where is my all-time favorite Survivor, Gretchen, a great player and a good person to boot (she's used her fame to raise money for numerous charities)? For entertainment value, they should have considered wacky Greg and Dr. Sean, possibly the stupidest Survivor contestant ever. I still want to know how he got through med school.

  • Tina Wesson, winner of "Survivor: The Australian Outback," as well as her runner-up, Colby Donaldson, and Amber Brkich, Jerri Manthey and Alicia Calaway.

Tina? Cool. Colby? Cool. Alicia always seemed like a cool person, but she didn't really get to show much of her personality on the show. I can see why they'd want Jerri, one of the best/worst Survivor villains ever, back. But Amber?! What is all-star about Amber? Are they really bringing her back just to lick Jerri's boots? To whoever picked Amber: What the fuck are you smoking, and can I have some? Better choices would have been Mad Dog or the guy who fell in the fire (Michael?). And I loved Elisabeth and Rodger.

  • Ethan Zohn, winner of "Survivor: Africa," plus Lex van den Berghe and Tom Buchanan.

I liked Ethan, he certainly didn't seem like the sharpest knife in the drawer but whatever. I was one of Lex's biggest fans until he turned into a megalomaniac. But Big Tom? Isn't Rudy kinda covering the politically incorrect angle? Wish they'd brought the wronged and wonderfully bitchy Kelly back instead.

  • From "Survivor: Marquesas," Kathy Vavrick-O'Brien and Rob Mariano.

I don't think I even remember these two. Actually, I don't remember much of Survivor Marquesas because it sucked. But if they really wanted an interesting choice from that bunch, they should have gone with Gabriel, the guy who wanted to create a new society instead of just backstabbing. Would have made for an interesting change of pace. Plus, he was cute as hell.

  • From "Survivor: Thailand," Shii Ann Huang.

Okay, here's one I actually agree with. Shii Ann was a cool person who got a bad rap because she was stuck in a tribe with a bunch of assholes who looked at her funny for not being a party animal and for eating stuff they thought was weird. You go, girl. I hope you win it all.

  • Jenna Morasca, winner of "Survivor: The Amazon," and Rob Cesternino.
  • Rupert Boneham, from "Survivor: Pearl Islands."

Didn't watch either of these seasons, but I heard that Rupert ruled.

What's the problem with this list? Well, in addition to the astoundingly stupid move of including personality-free, motivation-free, brain-free Amber, this list seems to break into two groups: villains and unoffensive winners that I can barely remember. Great, just what we needed: a whole island full of obnoxious people who won't do chores. Gotta love how pop culture rewards those who really don't deserve it, even in terms of a game. What about some of the more interesting contestants, like Greg or Gabriel? Too weird for prime time? How about some actually nice people, like Gretchen? Whoever picked this list dropped the ball big-time. I'd been planning to watch, but now I suspect it would just do a number on my blood pressure.

EDIT: And just in case you're wondering, yes, I am quite embarrassed that I apparently have this much brain space devoted to a TV show. I mean, that's taking away brain cells from my Homicide obsession! :P

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