In My Humble Opinion
In My Humble Opinion, or IMHO, is what other, less-imaginative magazines would term "the letters page". This is your forum for telling us, and the world, what you think of Critical Miss, roleplaying, or perhaps life in general.

So that you can figure out who's saying what, we've coloured the text. This is Jonny, and this is Bubba.



The Ice Man sent us the following collection of thoughts under the heading of: "To speak, to sing, to laugh."

[Dear all,

Here is a short letter about reality that I wrote when I was asleep.]

Reality

Reality is constantly being frayed away and torn by seemingly careless hands and thoughts. Places exist where it is possible to fall through to another conceptual level, reality is in fact virtual, perhaps it is all a matter of peception. Look at a book and decide whether it is a book or just a physical manifestation of wood pulp cardboard and ink.

Well if it's written by me then I'd hesitate to claim it to be significantly more than just wood pulp cardboard and ink.

Everyone is different and has different perceptions. But some are pre-conceived, such as fire being hot and will burn you, gravity is taken for granted as is breathing oxygen instead of, lets say fire.

Is reality then made up of what people perceive? I mean you might say that fire will burn you whether or not you perceive it to be custard and subsequently try to eat it, or not.

A character in one of our games - when set on fire in a restaurant - just sat there and burnt to death. Guess he was eating what you've had.

When asked what he was going to do when he was set on fire he replied "I'll burn then!" He made his willpower check...

If physical attributes of a given universe govern reality, then what governs the thoughts of men and women that build absurdities such as theme parks and ice-skating rinks. Surely, this is a unconscious desire to master all things physical and in that similar vein master and mould reality?

If thought, or an absence of reason governs action, then is reality a product of our thought and therefore subject to flux and manipulation.

Everyone is at the centre of their own universe. Try as we might we cannot divorce ourselves from ourselves and our centres. Meaning to say that we try to escape, often leaping into the great beyond, be that death or another uncharted space.

Perhaps this is one of the notions that space holds unmeasureable promise for a change in conventional reality, because it changes the outer limits. However, I digress.

Escape is futile. There, I said it. The centre of the universe, which is yourself, moves when you move. There is no one universe. Everyone has their own worlds, where the actions of others affect the landscape.

I thought it was resistance that was futile?

It's allright for you bastards. When you've had enough of me you can just make your excuses and leave. I'm stuck here.

We create reality. Our thoughts build up the world and our quest to think independent thoughts is limited by our cultural and physical environments. Heritage, religion and family teach us much, surround us and bind us to a shared reality. That reality is a safe one where it is impossible to simply 'fall through', safety is a primal instinct.

This world is the product of our thoughts. Thoughts change as does the environment. Now happening is a aeon of unprecedented change, not just for a physical reality that is the product of an evolving people. But for the mindscapes and therefore the landscapes of an emerging set of generations.

There are many obstacles in our paths, and some paths run parallel for a while before taking new direction. This path has come to an end. Or as in a 'Life less ordinary' This could be the beginning.

Take care sleep well...

[Well that didn't hurt did it?]

Your undying servant,

D.

PAX

$Hmmm....

Boy would I Love to be a fly on the wall when the Jehova's Witnesses knocked on your door...



The Ice Man continued in a separate mail:

For a short and easy walk through the open book which is my mind, please point yourself at:

http://angelfire.com/ma/Fortitude/voices.html

These are the Halls of my creation, a portion of the greater mess which is my net-home.

However, the entrance is hard to find and only for the most determined surfer/victim.

But that's okay, I want to share.

D.

Having visited this site I would just like to make the following statement. By publishing this letter Critical Miss is making no endorsement or recommendation of this web site. Readings visiting this site do so at their own risk to life, sanity and general mental well-being. This magazine accepts no responsibility whatsoever for any confusion or suffering that may result.



Nick Maidment wrote:

what a goodie site !

Keep up the good work

ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

Lethal gladiators for ITV that's what I want to see... Cheese wire safety nets and spike filled pits. A show that lets the gladiators injure and kill the contenders. It could be sponsored by PAL dog food which uses the contender meat in their product.

I'm not sure what I find more worrying, the fact that you say that or the fact that I kindof agree. "And now in the arena we have Danny from Romford. Err... well well we *had* Danny from Romford."



Si‚n Passť wrote:

I wish to point out there's nothing wrong with Vampyres, I know a few myself and they're quite tame and won't bite if you don't provoke them too much.

What precisely qualifies as "too much?"

I always thought a Headbut was too much, especially on a first date...



Ludo suggested that we were: "Scary, scary, fuckers":

Develop the bribes and backhanders system

Are you sure?

It may have started a joke, but you could do some serious fun with that system - and if it all breaks down horribly, gather your handful of loose change and use it as a knuckleduster (!)

Ludo

You're sure your not just wanting to earn some extra cash GMing?



Lafe Bagley wrote us just the sort of letter we like to receive:

Jeez, you guys, I'm going to sue you for getting my shirt all dirty--I've been rolling on the ground for an hour now after reading your first ish. Damn, that's some funny shit! My favorite piece is GMing With Nothing. You've got it nailed!

Too bad I have to wait 3 months for the next one!

Lafe Bagley Pasadena, CA

Course, the only problem with that kind of letter is you start to get a fair bit of performance anxiety over the next issue. After all, if you're totally crap then you can only get better. But if you're sortof okay...



Mark Hughes also liked our first effort, but added some constructive criticism:

This had me and my friends laughing for quite a while, and I've added you to the 'zines section of my RPG page:

< http://kuoi.asui.uidaho.edu/~kamikaze/rpg.html#zines>

Most of the articles were very good (especially GMing With Nothing, which I've done a number of times) and Dream Park On A Budget - I'll be trying that one out at some point.

Glad you liked them. If you think of some other scenarios or ideas for the StoryScape setting then perhaps you'd let us know.

However, "Roleplaying in a modern world" could have used some more development, including mention of some games that focus on that (Noir, for instance), and I really didn't like "Bodyminder" much (despite being a Greg Egan fan). BTW, down at the end of Bodyminder, it's "tenuous threads", not "tenuous threats".

It's true that we could have got into more detail in the modern world article. Perhaps we should do a followup article examining what games and systems could be used.

Your point about the story is interesting. Although Greg Egan is one of my favourite authors (I loved Quarantine and Permutation City as well as a short-story collection whose name escapes me) I'd never connected this story to him. In fact I began it long before I read any of his stuff. I can see now where you get the link (he does stuff about uploading minds separate from bodies etc.) I think his stuff is very different - and better come to that. Basically his is very serious, intense stuff about the meaning of life, mine was just intended to be a vehicle for a load of puerile knob jokes.

You do need to proofread a bit more often, since shows "The Magazine for Dysfunctional *Rolplayers*".

Erm... yeah. Guilty as charged. We've tried to set up a bit more of a system for proof-reading this issue. Having said that, if anyone spots any typos then drop us a line.

(I should at this point mention that we use British spellings, so words like colour, favourite, armour, theatre and so on aren't misspellings - not as far as we're concerned at least).

That said, good job, guys. I look forward to more gaming neuroses next month.

Mark Hughes



Aesir wrote in with a couple of roleplaying anecdotes:

Good webzine!

Here are two wierdest things I've ever heard of with a roleplaying game. There was a game in which the characters were college students that ran afoul of globe spanning conspiracies and wound up getting out of hand. Before long the characters were packing really big guns and killing cops by the truckload. Needless to say the players got really passionate about the game and two players wound up discussing the game in character in public. The one guy looks at the other and says, "This is what I'm wondering, do we keep the guns and sell the drugs? Or should we just sell all the guns and all the drugs?" Then they noticed the two policemen sitting at the table across the restaurant from them.

It's when they ask for a cut of the deal that you get really worried...

Here's the second useless anecdote. A year or two later, in the same game, one of the characters develops a suit of nanotech armor that absorbed random dust particles to constitute a fleshy mass that made the wearer virtually invulnerable. The suit was about twice the size of the character and shaped like a large black woman. It was the tactical assault Aunt Jemima suit. I dunno what he was smoking either.

No More Drugs for that man...

There's probably an entire discussion hiding somewhere in there about political correctness and general morality in roleplaying games but I think we'll just steer clear of that one...



Kintaro Oe had a few words to say about our "webpage"
I was referred to it by a friend, and I have to say it's a great idea.

Glad you like it. Glad your friend likes it.

But you might want to put all of an article on -one- page, and not 6. The article on what to do when you have no plot was really annoying, and kinda empty too. If I did that to my PCs, I would have needed to read the "How to run faster than your players" section.

On the subject of splitting the articles up - we just figured that this way they don't end up looking like great monolithic slabs of text. If any of you guys out there have any feelings for or against splitting them up then please drop us a line. If you all hate it then we'll stop. Promise.

It's also set out that was so we don't tax our lil server too much...

As regards "GMing with Nothing" it was intended to be somewhat tongue in cheek. Although a few weeks later I playing in a game where we spend about three hours of real time saying (over and over) "okay so we stuck in the desert on a big rock surrounded by a load of lizard dogs, there's a pit in the rock, with a puddle at the bottom and some rats..."

The sad thing is that I spent a few hours trying to figure the way out of the puzzle before I thought "hang on a mo, this sounds bloody familiar.."


yeah, I'm reading another article now, and it's cut up to. Sorry, but that's a no-no in my book. : )

Get another book, from what I hear there are lots out there... Maybe they are Breedin'?

What can I say?

I like the idea and the format, although some more substance would be great, and I'm sure that that'll get going as the site gets going.

Substance. Do you mean like real, thought-out genuine substance, or can we palm off some more crap disguised as satire?

Are you going to have a submissions option? and a links page? those might be usefull...

We're always looking for submissions. Just drop a line to us at editor@criticalmiss.com outling your idea. Look forward to hearing from you. As for links, maybe. Have to think about it.

kabael - Amida Guddha, Boddhisattva of the Creeping



Josh Munce suggested that we know our shit
Clever title, eh?No? Bite my salty white nuts. Anyhow, I've never been real keen on the rules of game play. 'S why I normally play the free form stuff. Nothing scripted, just a ton of characters wandering around some realm beating the snot out of each other and getting their rocks off.

Well that's the way I GM, although not knowing the rules might have something to do with it.

Thing I love 'bout Critical Mass is that it's different from anything else I've seen.

Well they say there's only a few ways to do something well, but millions of ways to do it badly. Still I'd like to think we've found our own warped little niche.

Thing I hate is that I somehow slam right into my pastey british roots. I'm a 'merikin dammit. I end up feeling like I'm some sod from the lower dregs of London when I'm really a wag from middle of it all Los Angeles. I blame you and will be suing you for six pence.

Why's everyone want to sue us all of a sudden?

However the hell much that translates to into american monies... how the hell does your monetary system work anyway? Ours is simple:

A Dollar is the Whole, everything is based upon it. A Half-Dollar is just that A Quarter is 1/4th of a dollar A Dime is a tenth of a dollar A Nickel is a twnetyeth of a dollar A Penny is a hundreth of a dollar

So what the hell are guennea? And pence and crowns and marks and pounds?! Dammit...

Erm... we have pounds. Each pound is divided into one hundred pence (or pennies).

We used to have pounds, shillings and pence but that was abolished before I was old enough to achieve sentiency.


~Josh "Bad Seed" Munce (Munce... if that's not a british name then I dunno what is...)

Well I just checked out my local phone directory which covers an area of about 250,000 people and there ain't no Munces in there mate. Sorry to shatter your illusions.

Completely irrelevant note. My phone directory (the phone companies delivers them free) is dated May 1997 and I just took it out of the shrink wrapping to look for Munces. Makes you weep for the trees. (Or perhaps I use directory enquiries too much).




If you have something to say then send it to letters@criticalmiss.com

If you don't have anything to say then say it anyway. Go on. You can do it.
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