|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 what Jonny is saying.
First, let me say you're great. Great, great, great. Actually, if it all wasn't so sad and depressing, it would be even better... but this is the real world, heh? (Yes, it is. I tried your test (-: )
But now, lets move on the important issue. In Issue 4 Soul Thought, you said women clasified men as belonging to one of two groups . The Chimp, "platonic only" group member was described as nice, trustworthy & sensitive.
I think that was what we said...
Having read this, I thought: Shit. You know, I'm not only sensitive, but girls I know generally agree that I'm even, quote really empathic unquote. Too bad.
These would be girls who don't want to have any kind of relationship with you, right?
I moved on to Issue 5 just to come across "The American-Female Perspective". I came to understand the author wrote that, apart from other requirements, desired man must be secure and self-confident (both words appeared in bold somewhere in the article).
Double Shit. This means I still belong to the "no sex" group.
But, to be honest, after I remembered my own experience, I realised that all is not so bad. I can tell you that women really want a sensitive man sometimes, no matter what his other qualities are. It happened to me. I 'won' a girl just by being sensitive and nothing else. Secure? Not at all. Manhood? Never seen that in a mirror. Masculine? I doubt. Self-confident? (laughter)
Sensitivity was all that mattered, as far as I know. (Haven't manage to ask her on this one; now I think of it I maybe should give it a try.) It was beautiful, while it lasted. It lasted for 9 months - that's half of eternity for me.
Your little story would - of course - be more impressive if she hadn't dumped you after nine months.
Now what was it I wanted to say? Well, of course all men are bastards. And so are the women. But sometimes, sometimes two bastards meet and fall in love...
Have a nice 'zine!
P.S.: Pardon my spelling, mistakes, limited vocabulary etc. Central Europe is not the right place to learn to speak English fluently. Feel free to correct (or omit my letter altogether, of course (-; ).
Well your writing's better than about 50% of native English speakers so I wouldn't worry on that front.
P.P.S.: Please send at least some confirm. I'm pretty much tired of sending mails, never to hear from the recipient again. Thank you.
Err... I did get back to you, didn't I?
Ken Bethards wrote in on the subject of cricket:
Now I know your full of crap!
Being a yank I'm sure you'll roll up your eyes at this. But I have actually been to a test, thought I'd say game didn't you. I thought it was a bit strange when everyone trotted out on to the field in white, including the referee.
That's umpire... and there's two of them.
Alright a few good hits were batted out and the fielding players did actually run and catch the ball. And I thought it was really cute how everyone yelled at the referee when the bowler hit the stumps. Like he didn't see it for himself or maybe he's that bored.
Actually the rule is - I believe - that if the fielding side don't appeal, the umpire can't give the batsman out, even if he - the umpire - thinks that the batsman is out. Cricket is full of insane rules like this.
But I just never got in the groove of it. Especially when I thought it was finished and was informed that this was the lunch break! No I didn't go back for the second day. I can't see how a batsman could make it exciting. Unless the teams were made up of page 3 girls and everytime one was batted out, the fielding team removed some part of their uniform. Trust me I have many other comments and questions on this game but I think British Airlines said it best. "Only the british could invent a game no else understands and still lose at it."
I really do enjoy you magazine and look forward to issue 6.
Glad to hear it.
And why do people get upset when the bowler rubs some dirt on the ball when he throws into the dirt anyway?
.Err... because it's cheating. The explanation is this:
A cricket ball starts off all nice and shiny. As play continue, and the batsmen start hitting it very hard, it will get battered and roughened. You can stop this happening, by spitting on it to keep it moist and rubbing it on your trousers to keep it shiny (the bowlers do this between each bowl). This is legal.
Still with me? Good.
You (e.g. the fielding side) don't have to look after the ball if you don't want to. Your not forced to or anything.
So there is nothing to stop you looking after one half of the ball, so that it stays nice and shiny, but allowing the other half to gradually get battered up in play.
If a ball is shiny on one side, and rough on the other, it will actually swing in a curve as it moves though the air (because of the aerodyamics of the air moving over the ball).
I think you can all see the advantage of this. Of course, though, it takes a few hours before you can get the ball swinging. (There is only one ball and it is used for several hours before being replaced)
BUT, you aren't allowed to intentially damage the ball, to speed up the process, which is what people are doing when they start rubbing dirt into the "rough" side. (There have been cases of people taking bottle openers onto the pitch to gouge the ball up and make it swing even more).
I believe - from a PBS documentary I once wrote - that baseball once had a similar system of one ball which became roughened. This meant that the pitchers had a big advantage over the batters. However, in once season (in the early 20th century) they had a spate of batters being killed by being hitting on the head by balls which swerved wildly. So, they changed to having several balls and changing them regularly, which swung things back in favour of the batters (starting the "home run" era).
I could start talking about reverse swing, but that's probably more than you need to know.
An admiral wrote
i love your magazine it's very entertaining and well thought out for a bunch of dysfunctional gamers keep up the good work
Dear Letters, and Hi, Jonny and Bubba (great wedding, huh?)
Well it was until some cute girl called Kate said something really horrible about my beard.... no wait, that was you.
I've been following the whole female theme of your ezine with a great deal of interest (great mag, by the way).
Thanks. But I'm still upset about what you said about my beard. :)
I have my own tale of woe to tell . . .
The first time I unwisely walked into a roleplaying club and announced that I would like to join a game, I was ill prepared for the reaction I would get. After everyone had picked either themselves or their tongues up off the floor, it was pretty much OK, but for the incredibly sexist comments and the patronising attitude.
The thing is, I'm a female roleplayer. I do not 'accompany' my boyfriend to games. I was not introduced by my boyfriend to gaming. I do not have a boyfriend who is a roleplayer. I do not play scantily clad buxom wenches in an attempt to tease/sleep with the other players.
I started gaming because it sounded like fun. I continued gaming because I found just enough decent players to make it worthwhile. I actually ran games (table-top and LRP) for some time, and consider myself a veteran player, having been gaming for almost 12 years.
I'm not entirely sure where this little rant is going, but bear with me, because I do know that those gamers who have bemoaned the lack of females in the hobby need look no further than the lad who, upon encountering me and my character for the first time, decided to drink his potion of gaseous form and explore the inside of my breastplate. Oh the fun he had when I cut off his fingers for that. Bizarrly, he seemed to consider this the first round in some kind of courtship ritual, and subsequently asked me out.
Well I agree, his behaviour does show a distressing lack of social house-training. In my defence - and in defence of those I've roleplayed with, I've never seen that sort of behaviour.
On the other hand, I've only ever played about three sessions which included women in my whole life, so what would I know?
Oh yes, I was going to use this example to explain why many male roleplayers don't seem to be able to attract a girlfriend.
Well in my case I think it's lack of looks and charisma.
And the beard.
If you thought his actions were entirely appropriate and/or amusing (considering he was supposed to be playing a principled character),
Well I don't.
and my reaction a tad premenstrual (ask your mothers), then it's highly likely you will never actiually meet a member of the opposite sex for more than two minutes at a time.
Before they run away screaming.
Also the chimp/gorilla thing - if you can't find a girl, it's your own damn fault.
And here was me thinking that it because women don't want to go out with me.
Find out what's wrong and fix it, or go for different girls. Either way, quit moaning, or I'll go on some more about the inadequacies of many male roleplayers (grr, mutter mutter). Incidently, one of the best boyfriends I ever had, I fancied almost solely because of his talent for running brilliant games. Go figure.
However, I did say that I managed to find some good roleplayers, and have had large amounts of fun roleplaying in the last decade or so.
More insane ramblings from me soon! Hooray!
Mark Chevallier wrote:
Good day to you, sir.
I hope to debunk the oft-mooted theory amongst tabletop roleplayers that LARP is wank. I can understand this theory, created primarily because the socially inept and physically cowardly tabletop roleplayer cannot stand a game where the only fun to be had is by a)interacting socially with others and b)interacting physically with others. The article you had on the subject last issue was quite funny and reasonably close to the mark, but obviously he had tried out Vampire LARP (ooh - poor choice!) with a bunch of moronic tossers. Note that LARP is not alone in attracting these sorts - I can regale many a (bored) listener with tales of how I have sat around a table roleplaying with people that in all honesty I would rather be sterilising or in extreme cases murdering.
My point. Is that because he has had a bad experience with a bad set of rules and a bad set of players does not mean that LARP is a Bad Thing. I myself take part in and run many LARP events which are semi-contact events with safe weapons, and the worst injury we have had in six years is when some poor sod, who was admittedly playing a drow, and therefore guilty of an offense to public taste and decency, slipped on his wig and broke his ankle.
We took this injury very seriously, and didn't laugh until after he was in the ambulance. Many people come along and enjoy our games, and many other LARP games over the UK and the rest of the world, which have good, detailed rules and good people running the society. I hope your writer has the chance to do so in the future.
Thank'ee for listening, and I thoroughly enjoyed the whole magazine, including the LARP article.
Incidentally, if you wish to look at our society's rules (and laugh at out photographs), please visit www.gla.ac.uk/clubs/cuckoo
I was reading through your back issues when I came across the "Cyberwear for a Leisure Age" article. You know, the one with the ShaftMaster?
I'm not sure whether to be proud or embarrassed, but a long while back my GM created a bunch of truly sick... er... sexual cyberweapons for our campaign. We didn't have the HappySac or the Shit 'N' Go, but we *did* have the Bobbit's Bane, the Intestinal Gas Canister, and the Nanoid Birth Control.
In the non-lethal department, he also made up Artificial Sweat Glands (allowing you to sweat your favorite cologne or perfume), a cyberhand with a brush attachment (now you really can comb your hair with your fingers), and the Schlage Cyberkeys, which... er... installed keys into your fingers. "Never lose your keys again!"
Actually, the sweat glands is a pretty clever one. That is the sort of cyberware that the man in the street would want.
Which just goes to prove that gamers A) think alike and B) are a bunch of sick little monkeys.
David Thomas wrote:
We met at Killercon (I ran the Traveller game you cocked up).
Well I'm not sure that it fair to say that we "cocked up".
As I recall, our mission brief was to meet up with a sentient dolphin and smuggle it off world.
Now I admit that since the scenario ended with three frigates dropping a large number of depth-charges into the area of ocean where the dolphin was, we didn't fulfil the mission in all its particulars.
But the dolphin might have been okay. Perhaps. I mean how dangerous are depth-charges anyhow? :)
The new edition is outstanding. Especially Pimp - very funny.
Love your e-mag and I've been following your Gorilla-Chimp hypothesis from issue 4 into issue 5. Thought I should point something out. Not that I'm disagreeing with you guys, its all really good stuff, honest. Its just that if the George-Leo situation is true, why are there still Leos!? I mean if the all the offspring are from the strong masculine bastards then logically there shouldn't be any more caring, considerate wimps. Either we're all strong masculine bastards or something is a miss in the hypothesis.
Oh fuck off! We're trying to have a good moan here, and you keep on trying to put facts in the way. :)
On a serious note, no evolutionary technique is 100%. I mean some giraffes will have shorter necks that others, but the tendency is for each generation to have slightly longer necks. So some Leos will get to breed but the tendency is for the human race to evolve to be more george like.
...which would mean that neanderthals were shy, sensitive, caring individuals, who were out evolved by a bunch of good-looking macho cro magnon bastards.
Boy, it does feel like a long time since the last issue. Long enough that when I read my own letter, I actually quite enjoyed it. Sometimes I even make myself laugh (that was the idea).
Hmmm... if you thought the gap between issues 4 and 5 was long...
I thought I'd write with a couple of ideas for articles, and then a sort of general letter thing (more tales of Vo - probably less swearing). Articles, then: fancy having something done of the inescapable rise of computer RPGs? I remember having a conversation with a live roleplayer (thankfully not a Vampire fan) about, ooh, five years ago, and said to him "One day, you'll be able to do everything you can in a tabletop RPG in a computer RPG, and then tabletop will probably die." I think that day's about two years away, maximum, possibly 18 months. Fancy a discussion piece on that? (In case you're wondering about credentials, I'm a computer/video games journo.)
Well personally, I'm kindof hostile about the whole concept of "computer RPGs". I'm not saying that you will never get a try computer-moderated role playing game, but I think that to do it, you would need to have technology capable of passing a turing test.
Let's call it the Nexus Test:
To produce a computer GM so sophisticated, that a human being communicating with the GM via only a text terminal is unable to tell whether it is a human or computer GM at the other end of the line.
Also, based in part on what I'm about to write, I might be able to do you something on drama and payoffs in RPGs. But that's just a random thought.
Well get back to me after this issue is published.
Right, it's late, I'll plunge in. Thanks for publishing the last letter anyway, I was quite happy to see that, it must be said.
Last time I wrote I told my well-worn tale about Voceridith's debut, which I still bore roleplayers with to this day. Vo got me into another situation which taught me something about RPGs: always give the players a proportional payoff to the amount of effort expended. (There's probably an equation in there, but there was far, far, faaaaar too much maths in the last lettercol, so I'll skip it. By the way, you know, you can edit letters. It's allowed. I'd edit this.)
The way I figure it, it's probably more effort to edit the letters, and to a certain extent, since this is the web rather than a limited size printed page, why bother?
So, the situation: in the same campaign of Skyrealms of Jorune, we acquired a nemesis. You know, one of those unkillable super-baddies, the type who just absolutely will not friggin' die, regardless. To recap on our hero's personality, Vo is a bit of a nutcase, basically happy to throw himself into any situation and just deal with it as it happens. A man without fear really, suicidal to tell truth, so in a way, what happened sort of seems appropriate....
Anyway, this nemesis had finally been tracked down by our party. I'd made it clear as Vo that I frickin' hated this bad guy, to the extent that quite an extensive amount of death threats would be issued by me whenever I saw him, and even more whenever he inevitably got away. I'd said more than a few times out of the game that it was my ambition in that campaign to finally nail that guy, once and for goddamn all, and I think the whole group was hoping we were going to get a shot at the title, as they say.
He was finally, absolutely, cornered. He couldn't possibly escape, and what's more, it seemed like he didn't want to. A group of about nine people were crowded around a table, all on edge as we closed in on this guy, ready to take him down.
What we didn't know - what we really couldn't know - was that the GM loved this character. I mean, just loved him. This was his absolute all time favourite creation. It seemed in fact that the more we hated him, the more he loved him. And as we all know, GMs have ultimate power, right? Right. So as our characters all drew swords and got ready to turn this guy into a stir-fried meal, our evil chum pulled out some sort of techno-gadget (Jorune is a fantasy-sci-fi setting) and with a quick flick of a switch, immobilised the entire party.
In my group we call it the "my bloke does this, my bloke does that" syndrome after a gaming session where a GM virtually run an NPC as his own PC.
Yup, the GM was going to give me the final showdown I'd so wanted. As a player, I was overjoyed. The spotlight was on me, I was going to get a chance to shine, and I really, really wanted to rub this guy out. Great stuff. We both grabbed dice and battle commenced.
Jorune has a system which allows for blocking and parrying, as I recall, and I recall that chiefly because we must have parried and blocked for about twenty minutes of real time. Back, forth, back, forth, little wounds here and there, but nothing serious. Vo was a great swordsman, but then so was this guy. My adrenaline was actually flowing quite seriously by this point, and I was doing the typical 'Roleplayer getting much too into it' thing, leaping around and imitating (or should that be 'demonstrating'?) my flashy moves, and no doubt looking like an idiot. I was beginning to get seriously concerned that he was going to get away, and that we'd never nail him. To say I was becoming obsessed was an understatement.
Despite repeated questions to the GM, it was obvious none of the party were going to be 'unfrozen'. Conscious that I was now hogging all the limelight, I passed my dice around to all the players. (It didn't have to be my particular D20, but hey, we're all superstitious in these things.) Around the table it went, everyone having a roll. The tension was increasing; we were only scoring hits when we were getting 18-20, so it wasn't happening too often. Every now and again, Vo was injured, and as I looked at that character sheet, I started to realise... we were going to lose.
But - and this is the point, really - I never really thought that we would. Because I knew, or at least I assumed, that the GM could see what was going on here, could see this real emotional tension that was being generated, and would react to that like the storyteller he was. He'd give us the payoff that we needed.
Back, forth, back, forth. Around goes the dice. Parry, block, thrust, parry. And then, the GM rolled the dice, looked up at me, and said: "He disarms you."
"Look at the roll. He made it. He disarms you. Your sword flies out of your hand."
You could have heard a pin drop.
"Well, I've got no weapon. I've just got to stand there."
"I sort of gathered that."
I sat down, everyone looking around, confused and more than a little - well, worried, really. How was this supposed to happen? It's like Star Wars ending with Luke getting blown up by Vader. It's a downer. This isn't supposed to be the ending. While I sat there, unbelieving, the GM told the party that they were all able to move again. As one, they all yelled that they were going to attack our nemesis, leap forward and take revenge for Vo's death. Which is when the GM made payoff mistake number two:
"He presses another button on the same device. This glowing portal opens next to him, and he steps through it."
End of session. End, in fact, of campaign. Because the next week, our GM tells us he's taking a break for a while, doesn't want to run the campaign any more. (It should be stressed, we didn't know we were playing in the last game of the campaign: we just thought it was another Sunday afternoon roleplaying sesh.) This, I guess, is another way to end your campaign (have the main villain get away scot free). So to summarise this rather long and melodramatic tale:
- Be aware of the emotional investment players make in your game.
- Understand that just like in banking, with that amount of investment, they expect a payoff at the end.
- Don't get attached to NPCs who serve one dramatic purpose: to give a satisfying plot resolution.
- If you want to make your finale even more dramatic, by all means have a heroic death (although I wouldn't advise fudging the rolls)...
- ... but give some sort of payoff for that, and don't let your love of an NPC get in the way of that.
To put it simply, we all felt cheated. Later that day and forever afterward, we've discussed that session. It's usually summed up with the phrase "And then he let him get away. Can you believe that?" In fact it became such a running joke that in at least two campaigns I ran later, I had said nemesis appear in spots (like the middle of a major freeway) and kill him casually, just as my own personal revenge. (Bitter? Me? Never.)
It's easy to get attached to an NPC, and yes, sometimes you do need to keep them alive, but it's important to know why you're playing: both to have fun, and to participate in a story that can have just as much emotional punch as anything you've read or seen.
Here endeth the lesson.
Good issue chaps. I may even write again soon.
Hiya Guys! Some feedback here, mostly useless, but some of it's funny. Bubba, you'll understand why I'm including you on this one when you get right near the bottom - you can scroll down there now if you like...
Right, that's got rid of him (unless he reads the stuff sent to letters, in which case, oops!) On with the comments...
"It was a rough kind of town, the kind of town where the men are real men, and the women are right slags."
Excellent start. And the Americans won't have a clue why you used the word 'right' in that sentence...
You do realise that the "Americans" are reading this...
"Hey, man! Wasn't that GREAT? Everyone really liked you, and I told them we'd be back next time. Is that cool with--UUFF!!!"
He hee... I can sympathise completely. I saw the Vampire LARP guys at GamesFest2000 last weekend, and I laughed my tits off. It mainly consisted (as far as I could see) with people wearing face-paint, or horns, or both; and then shouting a great deal. Still, it entertained me whilst I was getting beaten over the head by my buddies whilst under a blanket with an Orc (don't ask).
Fair enough. What you do when you get back to the privacy of your hotel room is entirely between you and your bed companion.
Pimp: The Free Collectible Card Game
Brilliant. Just brilliant - and that's just thinking about crazed CCG players needing their gaming 'fix' rushing out and filching (not felching) those cards from phone booths.
For the benefit of the "Americans" filching is slang for stealing, whilst felching is - I believe - the practice of sucking your own sperm out of your lover's anus, which is why Matt is being very careful to use the right word.
The way you assign stats to the cards is ingenious too - how did you come up with the idea for this game?
It was while I was driving to Killercon 2000. The idea just sortof popped into my head.
"If I could explain it I would. I don't know if it's as bad everywhere in the U.S. as it is here, but, Californians love S.U.V.s (sport utility vehicles). Even worse, it's definitely the bigger the better. The new Ford Expedition is hilarious. It's huge!"
That made me grin. Pass my thanks on to the author. The Ford Expo has 9 seats and 12 cup holders. Why exactly it needed an extra 3 cup holders is beyond me, but it's heralded among the top brass in Ford as a 'Major Achievement'. Of course we (that's UK staff) just laugh and drive off in our Ford KAs... 'cept for me of course.
...and you drive..?
The game where you play an, err... elevator. All you need is a deck of standard cards, a few matches, pencils, straws or similar, and absolutely nothing better to do..
Umm... and the role-playing aspect of this is..? Inanimate objects are pretty much hard to get interested in. In the Nuke games at least you can pretend that you're Ronald or Mikhail and not just guessing nations with bombs. My rating has reflected this opinion. So there :-P
I don't care... I like the game.
That's 'oscillating' - there's spell-checkers EVERYWHERE y'know! :-)
Hey sometimes it's a rush. Generally I do spell check everything, although it is sometimes hard on the letters page because I want to publish the letters as we received them and they do sometimes have a lot of errors.
Deckplans, Floorplans And Assorted Diagrams
Think the title says it all really
It does. And I was a contributor! A MAJOR contributor. This has been taken into account in my ratings of the article (I'll leave you to figure out what that might mean :-)
The Big Push
I'm just wondering what all the Americans might think of this. It's a sobering scenario. I for one, never want gritty/realistic stuff. Gimme action film heroics any day...
More Nuke The Crap
I liked the original, so kudos to the new guy who expanded it. All I have to do now is convince people it's worth playing:
Yeah I have that problem. All my friends pretty much refuse point blank to play any game I've developed. They generally don't read Critical Miss either.
"Hey guys, I got this cool game. You wanna play it?"
"Well, off the 'net, since you asked"
"No, honest, it's really good!"
"Weeell, not exactly miniatures. Y'see you've got these two sheets of paper... lads?"
"Where y'goin'? Lads?!"
"Oh, c'mon... I don't have a colour laser printer at work!"
"It's game play that counts!!! Isn't it? Lads!?!?!?"
But now that I think about it... Perhaps it's best that RPG characters never take a shit.
These kind of antics actually happened in a mutant-strewn game I once participated in. It had a pretty sadistic DM too, which meant, when I rolled up my character and got "Porcupine Quills instead of hair". He immediately grinned and stated: "Of course, that includes armpit, pubic, and all the fuzz round yer arsehole. I hope you don't intend wanking anytime soon." That meant that whenever I had to answer the call of nature, this act cost me hitpoints and a DEX penalty for the next 3 hours. Needless to say, I never tried to clip them off, but it did come in handy when one of the bad guys tried to butt-rape my character.
I think this is the sort of thing the women are complaining about. :)
Just thought you'd like to know...
For a start, I think you have three main priorities:
1) Don't lose the girlfriend.
2) Don't lose the girlfriend.
3) Don't lose the girlfriend.
Can't put a foot wrong can he, that Dr, Bubba? Coming from Dr. Devney here
Universe Validity Test Kit
I scored mainly As. But I really wanted to score more Bs. Dunno what that says... maybe that my universe wants to be fake but just can't manage it.
Right, I've put in all the input I have on this issue. You still have a fan in me (for what it's worth :-) And yet again, you can print this, although I'm sending it to letters AND bubba (coz he's always complaining that he should get more mail ;-)
By the way, Damian K is whacked if he's thinks that .9 recurring doesn't equal 1. And that mental exercise of his is crap too - by that hypothesis, an arrow travelling towards a target will never hit it. Read 'Pyramids' by Terry Pratchett to get a good joke about that one. Put extremely shortly, a number of constantly diminishing fractions that look like they will never reach 1 will do so as long as they tend towards 1, under a set of special circumstances (which I won't bore you with coz I can't remember them). Anyway, D.K. is wrong. Nuff said.
Roll on November, and Issue 6! I'll have changed my e-mail address by then by the way, but I'll let the subscription list know that when it happens. Please include the disclaimer. Just in case my e-mail is tracked by Ford (which I think it is...)
"I'm sorry, I'm a systems analyst not a marketing person, and therefore cannot answer product questions - I drive a Skoda for goodness' sake! Please call Customer Assistance at 1-800-392-3673 (USA), and they'll be glad to help."
Well that answers the question about what you drive. Do you actually park that thing in the company car park?
My opinions are not Ford Motor Company's opinions. Obviously...
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