Main Logo

In My Humble Opinion

Contents
Contact

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.


Paul wrote the following under the cryptic subject of Mime-Version: 1.0....

Gentlemen,

it's great to hear that you're back again with another issue. Well done. I myself had thought that you weren't going to publish anything else, and it just goes to show why everyone ought to support their hobby more. Including me. I'm not sure whom I'm admonishing at this point, but it's not you. Not that you have to care, since you put out six issues, and I've got a vague agreement to put out a non-gaming magazine "sometime", but while I've got your attention...

Well basically we do this for fun, and we put out an issue when we feel like it, which isn't that often. (On the other hand, each issue probably contains a lot more material than issues of 'zines which publish on a set schedule.

Soul Thought: George and Leo

Everything that you've said about George and Leonardo (Issue 4 to save you looking it up) has hit home with many of us. It seems that confidence is the main factor, so long as it doesn't turn into arrogance. And here's the personal experience, for Doctor Bubba to snigger at for a while (one aims to please):

No we don't laugh at letters sent to the letters page (although we rip the shit out of ones that get sent to "Ask Doctor Bubba").

In 1997, when I was only 19, I met someone on a visit to Dublin (which is where I live, at least until I can revive the national sport of emigration). And we stayed in contact via post and e-mail, during which I became smitten with her, both mentally and otherwise. (I'm speaking in a euphemistic way because of the whole live/idealism thing.) And during which she told me that she felt attraction. Only for a certain S.G. from a certain boyband. We don't need to dwell on who he is, since boy band members have no individual personality. And like every good chimp, I kept mum about what I was feeling.

Wasn't he gay..?

Yes...

Now, I'd be classed well into the "Chimp" category: thin, bespectacled, and with the pallid skin so common among gamers and residents of the UK and Ireland. On the other hand, compared to this guy's image, I reeked testosterone from every orofice. My constantly belittling him in every correspondence to her didn't help me, though, but I still spent a bitter period lambasting him and all the bands related to him.

About two years later, it became "news" that he was gay (meaning that the marketing department must have decided that the target demographic blah blah blah...), and she mailed me in shock.

...thought so.

Told you so.

Gloatingly, I headed over to visit her (confidence? Suddenly it was no longer a problem), only to find that she'd been to Canada in the meantime, and changed her orientation to (metaphorical) Gorillas. (Although not on account of the Canadians, oddly enough.)

Looks like I shouldn't have shorn off that beard. Bugger.

don't get Jonny started on Beards...

Still, we're still friends. And maybe looking for gorillas is just improved taste on her part. I've moved on in the meantime, so things are looking up. By the way, I hear that Homo Erectus and Neanderthal Man didn't cross-breed at all, for what it's worth: I've put the relevant article at the bottom of the letter.

In "Gaming With Nothing", the game of Slaps sounds a lot like the game of Buffets, which is basically what boxing was before someone invented the idea of actually dodging about instead of trying to block punches with your face (I'm no boxer, but there was a documentary on the history of boxing on Irish-language television, which I watch as much to confuse the statisticians as for its underrated merits). The bit on buffets I got from a 1960s annual ("Hotspur" or somesuch - one of those Fleetway jobs) that I leafed through in a jumble sale some years ago, with an article about Merrie Englande for the under-elevens.

And in a comment on the recent Eurovision Song Contest, Louis Walsh, the manager of that boy band above, claimed that it was too mediocre and that he should take charge of it. I have three things to say to that:

1 - That's a classic "pot calling the kettle black" scenario.

2 - Your band kept me from my true love, git! (Maybe I'm not as over it as I suggest...)

Yeah, that's seems to be the general theme here.

3 - The reason that it's so mediocre (and the real reason for this comment) is because that's how the public wants it. It's roleplaying that's cutting-edge, because it stimulates the imagination and the whole anima. At least, it has the potential to be that way, if someone better than me GMs.

Anyway, that's all I'm going to say at the moment. All the best.

Paul (in Dublin, at least until I graduate)

And here's a line-thing to show where the newspaper article starts.

I found the original article on the Irish Times site and added a link to it. There's this little thing called Copyright...


James Jarvis wrote in on the subject of "wow a new Critical Miss."

Wow you actually got another critical miss out, thanks, do more.

Here we are.

I finally ended my campaign I was getting tired of, not with any fancy in game tricks (whick ALL failed horribly) but by simply saying "You know guys I am getting really tired of this campaign I'd like to siwtch to a new game" , it worked we've been playing succesfully for months now. The regular playing group has grown to include one old player who floats in and out, a die hard psycho who is the DM for a monthly group I play in, my father who I'm actually friends with and has been playing rpg's almost as long as i have. my wife, my friend the cheating bastard, a cool computer geek who is into rpgs and anime (who'd have thought such a type exsisted), my wifes gaming friend from college, a new younger female player who actually hooked up with a guy at a gaming tournament and has been goign out with him for a few months now (love does bloom even in rpg tourneys).

Gee I don't know if i'm disfuctional anymore....

Well no offense, but the players you just described sound pretty dysfunctional to me...


James Jarvis again, this time on Dice Bags...

Some booze here in the states comes in a useable big dice bags (with a draw string).

I've always said you people are strange. :)

I myself don't go for any simple wimpy dice bag with velvet interiro and a drawstring, I have way to many dice, I use a plastic box that is meant to hold a number of 3'x5' note cards. It works great, holds lots of dice, makes an incredible amount of noise when iIshake it and seldom ends up tipping over and spilling my dice all over creation.

- James D. Jarvis


James Jarvis again, this time on "getting the part motivated".

"Yeah, But... My Character Doesn't Give A Shit!" was pretty good part of the problem is GM's are often loaded down with a group of social outcasts with poor social skills who often end up playing social outcasts with poor social skills and a few big guns . It is tricky to figure out how the hell to write an adventure for a werewolf insuarnce agent, a black death cult assassin, a drug addict psychic halfling thief and a barbarian with a big axe/gun after all.

I oftenstart my camapigns with a slight cliche:

"You all meet in the tavern , when suddenly"... no mysterious patron, no direct personal assault the town/village/star station is attacked by the mutants/orcs/zombies/evil space dudes.

No elabortae explinations for how they got there, no lame ass reasons for working togther other than wanting to stay alive. When it is over anyone who doesn't want to do something with newfound battle brothers can just roll up a new character or not bother coming back next week.

But after the first 4 or 5 sessions you just gotta say, "look Bob if you want to f'n play the game your f'n paladin is going down in the sewer with everyone else or you can just sit your fat ass in the living room and watch t.v. till everyone gets out,I don't give a shit what else your charcter is doing until later."

:)

- James D. Jarvis


Loren sent us this on the subject of "Roleplaying in America"

I just wanted to make a small, though to most people, disturbing, correction to Rey's article "Role-playing in the United States." It states that fully automatic rifles are illegal anywhere. Fraid not. Here in the state of Oregon it is perfectly legal to own a machine gun. All you need is a special permit (known as a class 3 license) and you too can fire in excess of 1000 rounds per minute. What may really disturb you is the fact that if you have both a class 3 license and a concealed weapons permit you can carry a concealed automatic weapon. You could even put a silencer on it. All this in a state that considers people incapable of pumping their own gas (it is actually illegal to do so).

Can own a gun... can't use a petrol pump on your own. That is indeed an impressive contradiction.

I really liked Portland when I was there, granted I may not ever go back now I have this information...

Like Rey said, we are a country of contradictions.

Loren


Sean sent the following simply entitled "Cool".

Hey guys, great web site (I'm sure you hear that one all the time) but seriously, I'm writing 'cause I need something.

A friend of mine told me about an article that was written in Dragon magazine about (don't cringe) ten or so years ago. It dealt with the common plots that are run in RPG's.

1) Like the PC's meet their doubles and they have to fight them.

2) They time travel to the future and have to learn that something they did in the past, caused this problem.

3) They travel to the past, then to the future, only to have it screwed up.

There were of course many more, but it stated that there were several that GM's had extreme difficulty pulling off. Like:

1) PC's have to switch character sheets and play each other. Bringing to the comment, "You're going to do what with me, to who?"

I wondered if you knew about this article or anything related to it.

No. Sorry.

Thanks again.

Sean C. Nowels.


Freak of Nature, a regular to these pages, sent the following with the subject "Impressive".

Now then, despite all the crap people were giving you about the delay for issue 6, i only got into Critical Miss about January anyway, so I thought it came out in a timely fashion and thank you whole-hearterdly.

Thank you.

Not to mention that it was just as good as the previous issues - which, of course, I just mentioned!

Cool.

Bastard GMing; men after my own Steak & Kidney pie (sorry Jonny, pure carnivore here). I would love to blow everyone up just for laughs - I'd like to in a game too come to think of it. In fact, if memory serves i did just that in a SLA session once; one guy survived (he was outside at the time) and my wife got really pissed off coz i'd killed her first character.

So where did you sleep that night?

Oh well...

Let's get this over then - i should probably do some work some time today after all - as a Brit living in South Texas, I agree completely with the opinions regarding psychotic gun-toting the bigger the better especially if it fires high-explosive ammo that previuos issues have expressed. Which is one of the reasons i don't intend to stay in this country for many more years.

You're still there...

I think everyone should vote for the 'ascended to heaven' option for this issues top ten, coz the voting hasn't really been fucked up since the whole thing with point-nine-recurring. Just a thought, might kill some time.

And i honestly think that there should be an extra option when voting at the bottom of your articles, something along the lines of - sucked really badly up to ascended to heaven OR what the fuck was this article actually about anyway? kinda got that feeling with the whole games you can play without actually playing a game, or whatever it was called.

Yeah, maybe.

Regardless, kudos on the 'zine and let's hope, now that i'm a subscriber, i don't have to wait a year to abuse you in the next issue.

Cheers,

Freak of Nature


Freak of nature continues.

PS: looking forward to some more writings (perhaps even the end of the previous attempt?)

Freak

Well I still haven't finished Bodyminder (if that's what you were referring to) but this issue does include my novel.


John W. Nowak dropped us a line about Practical Cyberwear.

How about a pressurized air system to blast your sinuses clear?

Now that I would seriously love. I get shitloads of stuffy colds, and I've wanted some kind of air sucker machine that I could attach to my nostrils, flick a switch, and have it suck all the shit out using massive suction. It's probably suck my brains out at the same time, but I guess you can't have everything.

Alternately, it could be used to empty your bladder without any chance of having the last drop end up in your pants.

Yeah. Another neat idea.


Chris Van Gorger sent us the following essay titled "A Live Action Fanatic Replies".

In "A Live Action Sceptic Speaks", The Magius thus spake:

"Can anyone explain to me the following:

1) How it is that the DESCRIPTION of what happens while LARPing is so much more exciting than the pictures? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

2) How can a LARP possibly go on for more than one afternoon? Most of the LARPs I saw on the web had less than 20 members - TOTAL. Do the players and NPCs switch off every few hours? Do the orcs change out of costume and become barkeeps the next day?

3) How likely am I to believe I'm in a city when the only buildings around are trees? I'm all for imagination, but please...

4) How likely am I to believe I'm in a city when I keep running into the same twelve people wherever I go?

5) If I'm a warrior, and I keep whacking people with a fake sword from sunup until sundown, how am I different from any ol' member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA)?

Damn. I knew it was too good to be true."

My reply:

Well, Magius, you may have judged the book by the cover. If you saw a picture of a group of people playing a table-top RPG, would that give you the essence of what it's all about? I hope you aren't going to insult my intelligence or yours by saying yes. Because we both know that picture is going to show a group of people who look pretty much like the group you described, sans the costumes. (Or, if you prefer, the costumes will be the de rigeur jeans and t-shirts prevalent among RPG enthusiasts.)

First, and without demeaning either myself or my fellow RPG/LRP/LARP enthusiasts, who did you expect played these games any way? Whether you agree with it or not, we're looked upon as geeks and freaks. And while I think that's just a crass stereotype, you don't realistically expect that a jock is going to be motivated to play an RPG, right? The cheerleaders won't be there to cheer him on, and his buddies won't be there slap-handing his performance. And he won't get his varsity letter in LARP, either. So, you either accept that the games appeal to the so-called "skinny freaks" and equally so-called "fat bastards", or I wonder why you're looking into the hobby?

Second, regardless of how sad those people whose pictures you saw look, it isn't the same when you're in the game zone. If you'll exercise your imagination just a bit, you won't be in a city of 12, you'll be in that fantasy forest full of wonders and danger. And even though you have already killed your mate Jim three other times today, this time he's an orc, the time before an evil sorceror, and before that an annoying goblin. In other words, immerse yourelf in the experience, and you'll have fun. But of course, that will mean you'll have to get off the couch, let go of the remote or PS2 pad, and go out into the outside world. You may even have to walk around and get some exercise, so don't say you weren't warned.

Third, have you ever tried to put on an event? Believe me when I tell you it's much more difficult than you imagine. Keep in mind that regardless of the professional level of the group putting on the event, most systems are on a shoestring budget. So no matter how much they might like to go for a better feel, they often are unable to afford that "really, really, awesome bitchin' cool site". And, if in the States, there isn't even the possibility of an old monastery or castle and grounds like the Europeans can often gain access to.

Sorry, just had to interrupt at this point. We might have castles and things, but they tend to be owned by people who hire them out as business conference centres for enormous sums of money. But I take all your other points.

So, unless you're prepared to shell out the duckies to get that "really, really, awesome bitchin' cool site", perhaps you shouldn't be overly critical?

Fourth, I have a well-paying job, so I have lots of freely available cash with which to buy really good costumes. (The results of being a geek and knowing computers and capitalizing on the fact that many people just want someone else to do it for them.) I choose to spend the money because "I" feel better about it. But many players are either unable or unwilling to spend a lot of money on their costume. I can remember the time I brought out a new costume piece. It was not inexpensive, and it happened to rain. The site got muddy, and that costume piece is now permanently stained from the constant exposure to mud. It's still functional, but it doesn't look quite as heroic as it did for the first part of that event. But it's got loads of character. And that begs the question: "Why should anybody pluck down their dead presidents on something that will look good once?" You go out and kit up your character and see what it'll cost you. Most players just want to go out and have fun being somebody, or something, they aren't. Who needs a fashion Nazi when you're just trying to be the hero or the scoundrel?

Finally, please don't think me cruel in my exposition here. I'm being sarcastic for a reason. LARP may not be for you. And if that is the case, then I'm not the only person who is quite happy for you to stay away from LARPs. But I wonder why, if you're asking us the whys and wherefores, you went out of your way to be antagonistic? You could have been kinder to us about our pathos, yet you dug out just about every stereotype in your story. Yeah, that makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside about you!

Have you checked out the LARPA? Live Action Role Playing Association? Go on, admit it, you wanna. Go to http://www.larpa.org. The LARPA lives to promote the LARPing hobby. Maybe you can gain some insight? You can also check out my resource site, LARPLandt, http://larpland.com/. It puts info in the hands of the players, and allows those who cater to the hobby to get out in front of their target audiences. As I say at the site, "The people who put on events. And the people who help make them fun." Why not read the LARP FAQ and Mission Statement for the Usenet newsgroup rec.games.frp.live-action? Try going to http://home.clara.net/clara.net/a/r/i/arianrhod/webspace/Aldebaran/
Information/
for more information. These are not the only resources available to you, but you could do worse than check them out.

And remember, it's more fun looking inside out than outside in.

Chris Van Gorder

Seems like a sensible set of thoughts.

Yawn... God I hope the rest of these aren't quite so boring...


Another response to the Roleplaying Sceptic, this time from Craig Corlis.

Hello there.

My name is Craig, and I live in the US. I just today found your website and began reading. I really enjoy your articles, then humor, and the sadness of it all. And when I read the article on LARPing, entitled A Live Action Skeptic Speaks, I felt I might be able to clarify a few points here. Of course, you may have heard this already, and I'm just blowing smoke rings, but I'm hoping that I may be offering something of a fresh look.

The article did seem to arouse some thoughts.

Fuck... Not again...

First off, the Live-Action Role-Playing organization I belong to is entitled Xanodria, and is run by a company called Xanodria Productions Incorporated. They have a website at http//www.xanodria.com if you feel like checking it out. We run approximately six medieval fantasy style games a year, one per month during from mid-spring to mid-autumn. We have somewhere between 80 and 150 members. (Not everyone makes their contact info available, obviously, so it's difficult to get an exact count, me not being a Staff member.)

We do not run D&D style Live-games. We run fantasy games, and strive for a bit of realism. We do use padded boffer weaponry, and we do use beanbags for spells. But there is no such thing as hit points, or weapons dealing multiple damage. The combat system is very simple and very functional. If you get hit in a place, that place is unusable until healed, unless protected by armor. How do you advance your character? Not by earning "experience", since *everything* is experience, but by doing just what you should do- learning. A swordsman doesnt get points to buy better techniques, he finds a master swordsman in game and learns the techniques from them.

Sounds quite neat.

We have about 80 people at any game. On average, we have about 55 adventurers (PCs), and 25 Cast (NPCs). Most, (like myself) are there for every one of the six games that year. The game runs from Saturday morning to Sunday afternoon, completely in game. The Staff running this game is a dedicated bunch, from the writers of the storylines, to the makeup coordinator and the props director. We have it all. If an undead stumbles into town, believe me, you'll KNOW it's undead.

Let me take a few moments to answer the questions you posed..

Without wanting to sound like a complete wuss, we didn't ask any questions. We published an article by an external writer.

1) How it is that the DESCRIPTION of what happens while LARPing is so much more exciting than the pictures? Shouldn't it be the other way around?

Descriptions and stories are always exciting - if they're written correctly. Likewise, the games themselves can be more exciting- if they're written and run correctly.

2) How can a LARP possibly go on for more than one afternoon? Most of the LARPs I saw on the web had less than 20 members - TOTAL. Do the players and NPCs switch off every few hours? Do the orcs change out of costume and become barkeeps the next day?

The games can run if you have the players for it. With a player base of 80 per game, and some who prefer to play NPCs, (It's cheaper and you don't have to worry whether your character dies), the games are continuous, story after continuing story running over the course of years to bring about an orchestrated plot identical to a Master-Campaign by a tabletop GM, but more vibrant. And yes, the Orcs do change costumes quite often. If a time slot calls for a mass number of orcs, and that time slot is over, those Cast members will now be trickling back in as other NPC parts.

3) How likely am I to believe I'm in a city when the only buildings around are trees? I'm all for imagination, but please...

This one is true. We rent a campground out in the mountains of the state. It has one large structure, we call the Inne, as well as 3 cabins used by various groups, (One being my guild, who "rent" the cabin from the town Council.) The Inne has 2 floors, 3 large gathering rooms with balconies and such, and the grounds are about 5 square miles of wilderness surrounding the town for adventures to run in. It all comes back to one point - you need to have it run and prepared well.

4) How likely am I to believe I'm in a city when I keep running into the same twelve people wherever I go?

This is always a problem. But with dedicated Cast NPCs, we populate the town with everything from a constant innkeep to other figures in the town. We don't ever pretend we go to the Capital city of the country, unless we suddenly get about 500 additional members for a game. It's foolish and goes against the reaslism. We all have guilds and such in a small town *near* the capital, and based entirely off the fact that we are by now "famous adventurers", trouble usually finds us.

5) If I'm a warrior, and I keep whacking people with a fake sword from sunup until sundown, how am I different from any ol' member of the Society for Creative Anachronisms (SCA)?

Well, not being a member of the SCA, I can't be incredibly detailed here, but I would have to say that if you swing your sword here, it will likely be for a cause, and you'll be in a group of like-minded individuals, and you'll be advancing a plot for something you want to happen. We don't necessarily do combat just to do combat, (though of course any group always has members who live for it), but when we do combat, it is part of a larger game.

Damn. I knew it was too good to be true.

Was it? Or was it simply that te ones you've checked out weren't good enough to be true?

I'd like to ask you to check out Xanodria's website. Take a look, email me back with questions. I first attended a game over 3 years ago when I got handed a flyer for it at a Rennaissance Faire. Since then, I've had more fun at these games than any other hobby I've had. I'd invite you to try one out - but if you live in the UK it's probably a bit far to travel for it.. But take it as an example - good Larps do exist, and they do run well.

I look forward to hearing from you. Until then,

Craig Corlis

ccorlis@iplace.com


Adam Reve wrote the following.

Guys

Good work on this issue. The wait was long but worthwhile.

Thanks.

Jonny, publish your damn novel in the 'zine. I'll read it with interest. I was looking forward to seeing the rest of bodyminding too - but if you don't wanna, I won't squawk.

It's here.

Gentlemen, where women are concerned, I suspect that your comments - while perceptive and funny as hell - are a bit generalised. I shan't be so condescending as to give you romantic advice (lord knows I sometimes wish I had a clue) but I shall point out that, while women may tend to lose sight of you as a romantic prospect once they've become your friend, it's possible to pop back into sight again. Sometimes this can be the best way.

Another note - the LARP scene here in Australia is pretty active. While I am not a participant, several gamers in my circle are, and it would appear that it can be a lot of fun, if it's what you're into. Costumes are big here and physical contact is a big no-no. In fact live action is a big part of the gaming convention scene here with Freeform or Multiform games, which I understand are little-known in the USA.

When you say physical contact are you referring to combat, or more "social" interaction?

And the next time you write an article that you *want* to tank, don't say so. Doing that is a red flag to any prankster who comes across it, so they vote it a "walked with the gods".

But that was the idea. :)

Just keep doing what you're doing. I like it.

Cool.

Adam Reeve


Steve Black wrote in on the subject of "we dont need those stinkin' scenareo's".

Dear Ed.

Liked the article. I once wrote to White Wolf about the lack of playable scenario's for Mage (except for Loom of Fate) and they said no can do - not enough revenue. As I am like other older RPG'er have to work and cannot devote days to create campaigns like you did when 16-18 years old went on to another system. I don't have the time to write the whole scenario and therefore purchased CoC stuff which is very good for adventures, and then I went onto purchase the additional CoC source books, etc. Who do you think lost out in the end?

My point exactly.

A design house no matter how good they are will starve their product of gamers if they only produce stuff those who can afford the time to write adventures.

Yours,

Steve Black


The Bowmans wrote in congratulating us on a "Great Job".

I liked pretty much everything in your issue, as usual. Great job. Thanks for publishing me.

By the way, what's the address for Plaid Paladin so me and some friends can buy plane tickets, get lost looking for a cab, go over to his house and give him a proper pantsing? Our tradition is that, when someone explains the weak and quivering rules we already knew to us as if they were, oh, I dunno, some spotty kid who thinks that playing Vampire will get him laid (it won't), we run the erudite and mature players' pants and underwear up the flag pole so we can see which superhero he has on his underoos. This is, of course, a US tradition. I don't beleive underoos sold to anyone older than 12 in any other country.

Well we usually put an author's email at the top of each article... not that I'm condoing the exposure of "underoos".

If you do this send us pics, it's always good to get follow up letters...


Freak of Nature again, this time with the subject Politically Correct = Linguistically Confusing

I know, I know - this is the 3rd mail I've sent for this issue but this time it's possibly worth reading (possibly)...

Go for it.

With reference to setting games in the States something to consider might be the language used within the game. Not for speech, but for newspapers, commercials and other addendums to make it more interesting for the players. I work in a nursing school here and this morning typed this "politically correct" but somewhat deranged example:-

'A nurse has completed a teaching session for an adolescent client who has been diagnosed with diabetes mellitus. The client angrily tells the nurse "Yes, I understand my diabetic diet and how to give the insulin." The client has sent the nurse a message that is considered to be incongruent.'

Huh?

Yeah, I'm a bit confused myself.

For those who don't get it (I didn't when I started working here a year ago) 'client' means patient. Adolescent means, well, adolescent. And incongruent means not corresponding, or perhaps not coincidental. I have no idea what 'sent the nurse a message' is supposed to mean. But that's the entire statement. No further background or explanations are given, we are not told what the message is incongruent with. And how many angry people, teenagers, or angry teenagers actually speak like that anyway?

Needless to say, if you ever come to Texas and need hospital food (or whatever) make sure your nurse wasn't trained in this school! If you put any leaflets or books out for the characters use then this kind of non-language is what you should be writing in. The book I typed this text from [which I won't name in case the students get wind of this and go and buy one] is available all across America for the nursing profession and this nonsensical rubbish is the official 'P.C.' way of publishing.

And that's my rant.

Freak of Nature

chazzgalv@hotmail.com


Cat wrote in wanting to set us straight on the subject of "oestrogen and roleplaying"

Great zine! I laughed my arse off.

Anyway, what I want to talk about is that whole "play your own gender" thing. I think playing another gender is fine as long as you don't worry too much about the fact that you're playing a different gender and just play the character as you would if it were your own gender. Yes, there are genetically-determined differences in the behaviour of men and women, but there is a huge overlap, and no behaviour is really exclusive to either sex. There are plenty of masculine women in the world and plenty of feminine men. I know most of the male characters i play are a touch on the effeminate side but i just think that reflects reality - it's not like many of the blokes i roleplay with would play that kind of character, so somebody has to!

Oh Fuck Off! You just like screwing with your fellow players...

Haha! Actually, i'm just a big fag hag. Like all those blokes out there playing kick-ass chicks with enormous tits, I just like pretending to be that which I shall never shag. Plus, I get to screw with the minds of the more homophobic members of my gaming group. Witness the confusion of the sex-starved geek who finds his macho warrior-priest flirting with female player's girlish young boy-slut. Fun!

Told you...

I can almost picture the bewildered look on their little faces.

There's only one way in which oestrogen affects roleplaying - women are just better at bullshitting about their motivations for doing it. That's what comes from being lying, manipulative, Darwinian slags :-)

Well I'm glad you're admitting to it. :)

Can't wait for the next issue of Critical Miss!

Cat


Susan wrote in with the subject "Chimps and Gorillas"

Hi Guys! Great magazines. I love most of the content, but as a female gamer was a little lost on the Chimp/Gorilla thing until I saw Uriah Heep's letter in Issue Six. I have to admit, he's right on target. After years of happily dating Gorillas, I was finally caught by a bearded Chimp. (Some of us do like beards, but they have to be clean and trim -- no moustache hairs going up my nose when we kiss.)

Don't get Jonny started on the Beard, how many times do I have to say this!

Clean and trim... better remember that.

How? He refused to go out with me. So I chased him for a year. If he'd asked me out when we met, I would probably have turned him down cold, but instead he 'played hard to get' (we women do it to Gorillas all the time), presented a challenge and I went after him. It worked out beautifully (and still is). Which brings me to my theory as to why male gamers don't have girlfriends: you're living in a fantasy world, boys. Like male gamers, female gamers are intelligent, mildly (to greatly) overweight, and (only) mildly attractive. You are all looking for women who resemble the pictures on your pimp cards.

Are not! Mind you, there is one who's quite cute, and can apparently teach me to speak Greek if I ever felt the need.

Ask yourselves: which would you rather have, a real woman who isn't exactly a dream boat, or a fantasy you can only imagine while you lie in bed alone at night. Unfortunately, games have active imaginations and often choose the latter option over the former. Fine. But stop whining about it. You are only alone because you are so picky. (Of course, women are picky, too, but we don't whine about it so much.) -- Susan

I'm Livin the Dream baby! Even I can't believe how Beautiful my GF is...


Tony wrote in about Roger the Clumsy

Hey, I've got the issue of Dragon Magazine this cartoon originally appeared in. You need to get some more of these...I think Phil Foglio will be willing to help...they screwed him badly, too.

Tony Oh

Well if Phil cared to donate something...


Eoin wrote in with a reply to the article "You are in control act like it".

Hi there,

well done on the 'zine. It's gotten me a lot of strange looks as I laugh out loud.

:)

I was looking at the article on traps, specifically bombs. I remembered about 6-7 years ago I had the I.C.E MERP source books for both Gorgoroth(Mordor) and Moria. They were so over the top as to be pointless. They had stats for all nine nazgul and sauron. I can just see it "Yes, my level 4 halfling thief Curley Pubefoot attempts to backstab the dread lord Sauron". It was a gm's dream (I guess you could kinda run it like Call of Cuthulu with these huge overpowered beings of pure evil)

But, I digress. There were two traps that I could remember specifically. In one of the fortresses of Mordor (Minas XXX or something ... ooh wait that sounds 'interesting') is perched on rocky crags above a valley with only one approach up a narrow stairs. In addition to the defensive archers, burning oil and rocks the defenders could release the river they had redirected to build the castle. That's right, Think, Hoover dam bursts, pc's are standing on a narrow ledge (with a long fall) right below it.

The other was in moria. They had an entire chapter devoted to the traps (never mind none appeared in the books but..). One on the nice ones, a long corridor with a flagstone that sets off the trap halfway down. Both ends of the corridor seal off. A series of giant stone wheels (approx 4 tonnes apiece ) roll into the hall. Now there's about, 4" between each stone, so our poor adventurers ase squished. "Gandalf, hel...." "Yeah got you and your little halfling too..."

Anyway thanks again

Eoin

p.s. no, I never did actually use these traps, and no i don't like halflings.


Chris Cunliffe wrote in on the subject of LRP.

Hi. I'm glad you managed to get Issue 6 out eventually, and hope that whatever problems there were have been resolved in as happy a way as possible.

Well we're still here.

and we have all new problems to resolve...

The main point of this mail is to comment on what appears to be the general opinion on LRP. I must admit that I am relatively new to roleplaying, but was introduced to it via LRP almost three (yes, only three) years ago. The LRP society at University seemed interesting, and so I went along.

And I had enormous fun. Within five months I was both a referee of the game and the President of the society. After spending year reffing and having had some time off, I am now intending to start doing so again. It was in fact friends at the LRP that introduced me to table top roleplaying (thanks Mark) via the 7th Sea system from AEG. This was about 18 months ago and I now GM three campaigns. All of my games include girls (the roleplaying variety do exist, as many people have been pointing out recently), simply because I asked them if they wanted to play.

The thing you seem to have missed in your hunts for females seems to be where they can be found. At LRP. There are (I believe) more girls in LRP than in table top. And why? Because the girls like to walk around in the medieval dress and have people look at them. It was once said by a friend of mine that a guy will design his costume around his character, but a girl will design her character around her costume. And it is true.

If you want to meet women go out into the real world and talk to them, if it workes for me it'll work for anyone...

To answer some of the questions put forward by one of the articles this issue about LRPing:

1) Because the description makes use of the imagination necessary rather than simply useful.

I never would have thought of that. Next you'll be telling me that the non player characters play multiple roles...

2) The Character Party go through with their own characters whilst others attend to 'Monster' i.e. play the NPCs and various bad guys that are just there to be killed. The Monsters cycle through roles, occassionally simply through the change of costume, but for the more impressive roles via the medium of make-up and masks.

... and now your going to tell us to imagine were in a city when were in a wood...

3) As you said - imagination. As much as possible should be phys-repped, but obviously not everything can be. There are only so many places you can walk around, and so allowances have to be made. Sometimes the woods have to look like, at least to the players, a city or a tunnel network, or sometimes just a forest. But you are a roleplayer and you therefore should have imagination and will therefore be alright. You'll find you don't even notice little things like that once you get into the spirit of it.

... and now your going to tell us to ignore the fact that the guy who was peppering you with arrows 20 minutes ago is now a harmless merchant in need of your help. Dispite the fact he looks exactly the same...

4) Again, you will be running into the same players, but not necessarily the same character. Sometimes it may be necessary to check with someone who they are playing if the costume change has been subtle, but people live with such and it doesn't prove to be a problem.

... and now your going to tell us that LRP is not all Hack and slash...

5) I must admit, I'm not completely sure what you are asking with point 5, but never mind...

... or maybe not, but only cuz you don't understand the point being made...

As I say, LRPing is great fun, and I would encourage anyone to give it a go. If you are lucky, there may be a local group that you can go to to try. If not, you can go to the national events such as the Lorien Trust who run four large events (several thousand attendees) in the summer, and many smaller ones throughout the year.

But do try. Assuming you find a good group of people (essential for any roleplaying, not just LRP), you'll enjoy yourself. And that must be a good thing.

If we were good Roleplayers this would not be "the magazine for dysfunctional roleplayers..."

Chris.


Francisco wrote in on the Gorilla/Chimp Theory...

Hi there!

First of all, let me get this straight. I did not want to write you about this gorilla/chimp theory of yours (in fact, I would rather just congratulate you on the great work you guys are doing).

But, as I see it, such a discussion is actually a public health (mental health) discussion for most of us roleplayers out there, and therefore should be addressed (relatively) seriously. On with the show.

See, my roleplaying group (I live in Brazil, São Paulo, by the way) consists of myself and four other 20-25 years old males. One of those guys (not me, thanks God) has never actually french kissed. He is 25 years old. He told me so himself. After taking a healthy dosis of alcohol.

I was wondering why the hell he'd told you.

I won't discuss this guy's problems online, but suffice to say he actually fits rather nicely into your chimp model. He is nice, polite, shy, a good friend to be around, etc ad nauseaum. And a complete failure as a gene bearer. Loves the internet, too.

It's good he has something to amuse himself with.

Now, on issue 6 of your zine, I remember you complaining about your lack of looks, charisma and "bastardiness" (for lack of a better word), and blaming such qualities for your lack of success at the great game (reproduction, of course - do not miss me here).

not the beard again...

Go on...

Actually, you are absolutely correct. There is no way a pathetic, sad guy like you is going to catch a significant other, much less keep her around, being un-charismatic, "nice" and no looker.

No, don't sugarcoat it, be brutally honest.

The point is, this is all your fault.

Excuse me while I try to scrape my ego off the floor.

Get some exercise. Buy some clothes (with some female friends' advice, trust me). Become a bastard. Shave, for Christ's sake. You can do it, and if you don't, you have no one else to blame but yourself.

that's female friends, not your Mum, even if she is your friend...

Oh, you don't know how to become a bastard? Actually, you have it in you. It comes with the male package. Stop gawking at attractive women. Be cool, aloof, distant. Make slightly dirty jokes once in a while, just to spice things up (and to show her you do not tremble at the mention of sex). Act as if you were secure of yourself. Be secure of yourself.

The point is, your definition of a bastard is too broad. What attracts women in bastards is their sense of security (is this right? not sure of that one) more than their stupidity and lack of sensitivity.

It may take some time, but you will eventually find someone if you are ready for her.

Once you get her to bed, you can show her what a sensitive guy you are. You can even be "nice" (see bellow) to her. But not sooner, mind me.

You see, some female friends of mine actually told me that, around here, "nice" as used in reference to males is a synonym for weak, insecure. As well as pathetic ("such a sensitive guy..pity he is just so... nice..."). I did not know this before they told me so, but it comes as no surprise. Apparently things work just the same there in London, despite what your female friends say.

So. Stop complaining and act. I may not be Don Juan, but I did get my share, and my advice is as good as any for a reasonably successful 22 year old human male.

Dammit, you can't be any worse than my non-kissing friend. We lost our hopes in helping him, but you may not be a lost cause.

Francisco S.

PS: Sorry for any spelling mistakes.

PPS: Any chance you could write something for specific settings (specifically Legend of the Five Rings - great setting, lousy rules)?

After you just totally flamed me? :)

Francisco