Archive for the ‘Gaming’ Category

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Philosophy Tuesday

September 10, 2019

“Fortune favors the prepared, dahhling.”

So says the inimitable Edna Mode.  And, on the whole, it’s a statement I very much subscribe to.  It is not enough to want something, or hope for something – we, quite likely, need to work for it.  Learning, creating, rehearsing, adapting, overcoming our barriers and then building the path step by step.  And when something goes awry, as things invariably seem to do, being prepared gives us the wherewithal to right the ship and get things back on course to what we want.

But in that quote, and similar ones like “Fortune favors the bold,” there’s something we often miss.  And it’s that second word: “Favors.”  It’s not guarantees, it’s not promises, it’s not even “agrees to help you.”    It’s favors.  Chance (and/or luck) always remains a factor.  A big factor.  And while being prepared can increase our chances, it’s still remains a roll of the dice.*

When we acknowledge and own that, we gain freedom.  We can be kinder and gentler to ourselves.  We can put aside our assessments of where we are versus where we wanted (or “should”) be, especially in comparison to others.  We can avoid sentencing ourselves to being a failure, and carry forth under that shame.**

More importantly, we can also judge others with greater grace and generosity.  We can set aside our dismissals and opinions on their lives and all the reasons why things aren’t going well for them, and we can forego all the ways we might treat them harshly because of it, be it shunning, punishing, ridiculing, or anything of the like. **

Even the best laid plans of mice and men often go awry, and even a mouse sized setback or unexpected hindrance can spiral into another, and another, and another.  To be fortunate requires fortune to favor us, and that is never a certain thing.   Living into that context brings with it peace of mind, connection, and opens possibility, freeing us to pursue and to support each other in pursuing those things that call to us deeply.

 

*  Which is something many a tabletop gamer can relate to.  It doesn’t matter if you have +12 to hit… you may still miss.  And then there was the time where the DM, at the end of the campaign, after so many sessions, with the ultimate and final roll about to be made, and after long and theatrical preamble, told the player, “Look, basically just don’t roll a 1.”  By the very fact I’m using this as an example for how fortune can fail us, you and I both know I don’t need to describe what happened next…

** At the same time there is the flip side.  For ourselves, there is humility – acknowledging our fortune and that sometimes privilege gave us a boost – and not becoming conceited and hubristic.  When looking at others, we can remember that those who have accomplished much (or acquired a lot of wealth) are not necessarily or inherently better people, worthy of worship and imitation.

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Gaming Thursday

August 29, 2019

As an additional note, this library is doing it right… with a whole shelf dedicated to games (including RPGs!)

This was surprisingly (new to me, at any rate) common across the Nordic countries.  Plenty of games, especially in libraries.  Right on!

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Gaming Thursday: Renegade Legion

August 1, 2019

Wow!  Check out these amazing scratchbuilt models of two of the carriers (whose in-game size is 1750m long) from Renegade Legion: Leviathan!

Mighty impressive builds.  There’s a whole bunch more pics at the user’s gallery linked here.

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Philosophy Tuesday

July 30, 2019

Especially in the realm of “problem solving” or “invention” or “towards a more perfect”, there is a distinction, a difference, between doing something less bad and doing something that is a good.

This can be a tricky thing to wrap our brains around.  Because certainly fixing something has to be good, right?

Well, yes/no.  It’s similar to the conversation around efficiency.  Often when we see something that produces something we want, yet has these drawbacks*, we fixate on those drawbacks and limit our plan of attack to reducing them.  It is evolutionary design and problem solving.  “If I can get it to emit 10% less toxics, then that’s better!”

So we work, and work some more, and boom, we’ve gotten something that produces 15% less badness.  Hooray!  We dance, and celebrate, and then miss the point that the thing/system/machine/process/etc is still producing plenty of badness.  Badness is still there.

We also often forget that nothing is inherent.  Just because something is a certain way, doesn’t mean it is meant to be that way.

Instead, we can return to the primordial.  Design from first principles.  Create with intention.  And invent something that delivers a good on all fronts.  Something that not only produces what we want but may even produce extra of the things we’d want.

This is how we get a house built in the harsh desert that don’t just use 10, 15, or even 30% less energy for air conditioning by making it more ‘efficient’, making it less bad.  From our glorious spirited wellspring, we craft and get a house that, through good design, uses 100% less energy for AC even in the hottest of days, while at the same time being a more gorgeous house to live in.

This is revolutionary or primordial design.  It is not less bad.  It is a good.

When we cut ourselves, we put on a bandage.  Emergency problem solving is going to be limited in that way.  And we should absolutely do it!  Bleeding is no good.  But if we cut ourselves continually in the same manner, getting or creating better bandages is not the best way forward.  The less bad way still ends up hurting.

Returning to the source to chart a new course lets us avoid the knife and create many a good thing along the way.

 

 

* Which in of itself can take work to become aware and present that there are drawbacks, and even then to get over resisting or downplaying or ignoring the drawbacks because we get caught up in a false dichotomy that says we have to abandon the thing** entirely to avoid the drawback.

** We can also get caught up in the notion that the thing is the best, or even only, way to deliver that result.  The only way to have fun.  The only way to generate income.  The best way to transport our bodies.  By coming again from the primordial, designing by intention, we often create something that is not only a good instead of less bad, but the end result/product is even better than it was before, a better we never knew or could imagine existed, and would never had seen had we stuck with the same old, just less bad.

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Gaming Thursday: how2RP part 3

July 25, 2019

I’ve come across a sentiment lately (like this post on twitter, very much worth a read) that seems to be pointing to a view that is taking hold within the tabletop RPG community that there’s one right, or real, way to roleplay, and that is in a first person manner.

I do not subscribe to that sentiment.  To riff off the answer given in the twitter post above and to expand on this post of mine from a few years ago, I would instead invite this:

To roleplay is to direct the actions of your character such that they are appropriate to that person existing within, reacting to what’s happening within, and from the viewpoint and mind of that person within the fictional world.  In other words, you are ‘being’ this other person in this other world.  That’s the RP.

The how of it is not what makes good (or real, or true) RP versus not.  First person, third person, or switching between the two, doesn’t matter.  Detailing every minutia of an action or speaking in generalities, doesn’t matter.  The way the character is expressed at the table is not the important part – so long as the character is being expressed in a clear way, the specific method of it should not matter.

And I say this coming from a place of being very much a “method actor” when I RP.  I get subsumed within my characters when I play: my demeanor changes, I speak as would my character*, I gesticulate as would my character, and even my thinking patterns change to match the character.  When I describe actions (if not directly acting them out), I do so with plenty of “I do this” type statements.

I play this way because I enjoy it.  And I love interacting with others who RP in the same vein.  But I also won’t deny anyone who plays with a different style.  “Galen speaks to the queen about their shared past, reminding her of the time they forged a cunning gambit to win the Quadathalon Cup, and the sense of honour we felt that day” is just as valid to RP as saying “Remember, my queen, when we were caught up in pursuit of the Quadathalon Cup?  How the winds blew most foul that day, and we knew that should either one of us lose, the neighboring lord would… (proceed to wax poetic for five more minutes).”  They’re creating and expressing the same thing.

Not everyone feels comfortable to extemporaneously play their characters in the first person.  Others may have no interest in doing so.  Some want to but aren’t ready yet.  And sometimes even I am just not feeling it that day and choose to go third person.  It’s all good.  So long as the character is present (evidenced by acting and interacting appropriate to the fictional person being portrayed) then RP is present.

It’s wonderful that RPGs are flourishing right now, with scores and scores of new players coming into the hobby.  Everyone joins with different levels of experience, different personalities, and even different interests in what the games can provide for them.  It can be tough to get into the headspace of someone else, let alone a fictional character, and doubly let alone having to act like the person at the same time.  Letting everyone RP as they’re feeling it and comfortable gives the greatest freedom to develop that key ingredient.  No matter the how, being a character and weaving the shared story is what makes these games so magical.

 

* I once was playing in a game where my character didn’t have a good grasp on the local language, so I was speaking in very clipped and non-properly formatted English.  Midway through the game, I asked the GM a question, who proceeded to look at me like I had three heads.  “Do you realize what you just did?” they asked.  “No…”  “You just spoke to me, asking a game question, just like your character’s been speaking.”  “Oh!  Really?”  Apparently so!  And I didn’t mean to do that, and didn’t even realize I’d done it.  When I say I become enmeshed with my character, it goes that far…

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Stompy Day: Heavy Gaming

July 20, 2019

With a few more minis complete — and painted! — it was time for another day of Heavy Gear stompy robot action…

A fun day of gaming, even if I was rolling the absolute pits.  (And, moreover, one of the opposing players was rolling absolutely golden!)  Tried a combination of satellite photo and individual terrain bits and it worked out well.  Still lots of areas of the rules for us add in to expand the game… looking forward to the next time!

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Gaming Thursday

July 18, 2019

Have an “artsy-style” gaming photo right from the table…