Tue, Aug. 9th, 2011 07:40
jarissa: (Default)
 Around the end of May this year, I dug out an old file I had for the way a forum-based RPG session could have gone, if the GM hadn't resumed paying attention when he did.  The plot went in a much more heroism-packed direction as it actually played out, and I'm glad of it, but I was always pleased with a couple of the images I created for that alternate scene.  I saved it to one of my reference disks around 2004 and more or less forgot about it.

I was actually looking for something else when I found it again, but realized that my character's actual motivation for visiting Plot City had never gotten addressed.  There's a note at the end of another file somewhere, winding up subplot threads and summarizing results in the dénouement, implying that my character found her original target that night or the next day, imparted information without actually starting a fight, and they very civilly walked away from each other for once.

I actually don't have any other notes that the NPC has ever appeared on-screen again.  And given that he was technically not on-screen for that dénouement, either, and that he'd been designed as a counterpoint to my character's origin before he developed some wonderful personality of his own and then vanished off the face of the campaign....

So I started writing.  At first I was merely cleaning up the original "alternate version of reality".  I figured it'd make a nice writing exercise, antagonistic, slightly smutty, with a lot of body language and some squabbling between people who used to work together and really don't like each other.

Just after the ides of June, I'd done as much with that writing exercise as I reasonably could ... but the story was still going.  The next logical step was waking me up at three in the morning, distracting me when I tried to push my way through the next writing exercise in my list, and working its details out on the main screen in my head while I scrubbed the floors.  Finally I promised myself that I'd go back and remake the first four paragraphs to fit "second attempt to find NPC, day after Adventure, other end of the neighborhood in Plot City."

(I still need to do that, by the way.)

And then I let the story go where it was trying to go.

More than sixteen thousand words later, I realize that "where it was trying to go" is a farkin' novel!
It's utterly unpublishable, of course.  Too dependent on a particular continuity, too many characters in the background and foreground integral to the logic of the piece but owned by someone with better lawyers, too tiny of a niche audience.  And in that audience, nobody's going to be thrilled to read a story centered on Fellow Player's Character.
It's also just getting to the point that the adventurers are starting to get enough of a clue about the A plot so they could maybe dig their way out.  I'm not even halfway done.  In fact, I stopped writing so I could do a little research and worldbuilding:  I'm maybe ten paragraphs away from introducing new characters, a specialized theft-for-hire set who're absolutely not remotely like Leverage, being rather villainous mercenaries of the "Robert B. Parker"+"Dark Champions with some powers" career path.

I've got about a month and a half before my turn at the gamemastering chair is expected to complete, but there's Dragon*Con in the middle of that.  I'd really prefer to be finished with this before the next patootie settles into the GM spot, because I'm starting to wonder if I'm going to be able to focus on any other character or adventure while this book is being made!
jarissa: (Default)
I'm late!

One of the adventuring campaigns we play in our tabletop RPG group is a science fiction setting, full of Star Wars and Lois Bujold's Vorkosigan setting and Frank Herbert's Dune novels and a touch of Firefly for depth.  We don't play on a regular schedule, it's mostly when that particular GM happens to have a worthwhile adventure plotted out for the PCs who happen to be available.

Also, sometimes it's run as a birthday present.

There's a big adventure coming up, scheduled for Saturday the 26th, in celebration of two birthdays in our group.  The opening hook requires the resolution of a long-running joke for my character:  she and a colleague have been trying to figure out whether there's anything to their mutual attraction, specifically by trying to have a date, for ... more than a year, now.  The date keeps getting irrevocably interrupted.  Vanya and Davish have tried traditional "let's go out to a meal" dates (and been attacked by pirates, or the space station fire alarm went off, or work called one of them back to duty early); they have tried going dancing (an assassination attempt on a nobleman at a holiday ball, how extraordinarily gauche); they have tried just going for a long walk someplace scenic (who expects attack of the crazy robots when you're strolling around a nice meadow?!); they have tried picnics in the most remote places they could find (bad guys tried to assassinate someone else, and a stray shot went right into their picnic).

Side note:  Would you believe that TVTropes.org has no entry for the trope "a date gets interrupted by PLOT"?  I wouldn't, either, but I certainly cannot FIND it!  I've searched the Love Tropes section, I've scoured the examples and references on Chandler's Law and Finagle's Law and Unspoken Plan Guarantee, but nothing quite fits.  Yet it's definitely part of the Rule of Drama:  outside straightforward romantic fiction, a pleasant date is very seldom an interesting story, so romantic dates in fiction either get summarized (via montage, maybe, or by cutting to the conclusion), shown only piecemeal to let the characters establish character via pure dialogue, or utterly fouled up by some sort of interruption.

Eventually, Vanya and Davish have one date where nothing goes wrong.  No friends call with an urgent request to be bailed out of jail.  No shifty-eyed types saunter up and insist on passing a secret message.  No bar brawls break out.  No heists ensue.  They get all the way to the planned conclusion of the date, look around for the missing interruption, kiss each other good night, and happily start messaging each other with ideas for their next date now that the unpleasant streak has ended.

I'm trying to average one date story finished, functional, and posted per day in the leadup to the next adventure, but thanks to the Insomnia Fairy I'm behind for yesterday's segment.  Some of the bits are outlined, some are little more than blurbs, and at least one is partially written out ... but I can't tell what of my writing is crap right now and what's okay-with-edits.

I need some sleep, dammit.

(Remember to set yourself a one hour alarm if you click any of the TVTropes links, and a note as to what it was you were doing before you clicked!  TVTropes will not cure insomnia.)
jarissa: (Default)
On page 218 of GURPS 4th Edition Basic Set: Characters (Jackson, Pulver, Punch, 2004), Savoir-Faire is defined:
This is the skill of appropriate behavior in a subculture that has an established code of conduct -- for instance, high society or the military.  When dealing with that social group, a successful skill roll lets you interact without embarrassing yourself, detect pretenders to high standing, and so on.
It's a skill that requires specialization for the particular subculture; it can include anything from basic etiquette to dressing guidelines and even special symbolic meanings for tiny gestures or ways of standing.  There can be times when the proper behavior choice according to savoir-faire is to be rude, or dress like a colorblind nitwit, or support the campaign antagonist; for a fairly cheap skill (in terms of character points), savoir-faire can play a HUGE part in the overall story.

That makes things awfully jarring when, as a player, I have no idea what my character ought to be doing -- and the most I can do is rely on a bare roll of the dice, and hope the GM can turn this into a decent part of the story.  To make the roleplay work more smoothly, I've been researching the anecdotal notes of various subcultures:  if we start a campaign in any setting next month, I want to be part of the story, not a mechanic with a character sheet and a few six-siders.

I can't say there's any such thing as  )

jarissa: (Default)
These are going to be as short as I can get away with, just enough to let me spin down and GO TO SLEEP.  They aren't organized because 1) I took Tylenol PM hours ago, and also because they belong in works-in-progress that haven't progressed to the point where this bit should appear.  Grammar is bad, spelling is unchecked, and I'm particularly unhappy with the flow in the middle bit.

Cuts go here:
Are those orders, by any chance, printed on a flimsy? )
Of course, it'd be easier on Doc if one of his patients were a clone variant.  Cleaner chromosomes.  Fewer weird biological responses to medications.

Watch me get into trouble. Didn't they have something like this on an episode of Danar's holovid? )
and of course, whenever I focus on one campaign, another character pops up with loose sentences and scene-fragments:
Rissa )

Fifth of July

Sat, Jul. 5th, 2008 01:55
jarissa: (Default)
It is now, officially, the 5th of July, 2008 -- at least, in the Central time zone.  I've finished cleaning up the kitchen after making four yogurt-Cool Whip frozen pies; they're in the freezer getting ready for this evening.

So, Tuesday the 1st was D#1H's birthday, and his wish of me this year was to run an "intro to D&D 4e" module known as "Keep on the Shadowfell" over the long holiday weekend.  I've not DMed even 2nd Ed in a pretty long time, never really grokked 3rd or three point five, so I spent a lot of June studying the module and writing notes.  The characters are pregenerated, and if we really like this adventure, we'll seriously consider converting one of our fantasy campaigns over to Fourth Edition.  (Despite, yes, the lack of monkage.  Be a fighter with lots of unarmed combat and a roleplay-centric religious conviction; I think 3rd Ed monks are too much like the original writeup of kensai.)  On the other hand, if we don't REALLY have a ball, we're not going to lay out another hundred bucks on a new set of reference books for our house or even our whole group.  And then on top of that, we need miniatures and reusable maps?  Oy.

I also discovered, great joy of joys, that this module requires the DM to hand-draw out quite a number of maps.  I'm down to the point where I have just this last one to draw, and my fingers and spine hurt.  I need to shave my legs and wash my hair.  I can't remember what the heck I was going to wear -- not white, we're cooking burgers! -- but tomorrow is forecast to be rainy and moderately muggy most of the day.

We have a table on the back porch, though tomorrow after lunch we'll need to set up a second, as there'll be seven people in total.  The three of us assembled a square "gazebo" (looks more like a pavilion, but the gazebo story is more appropriate so we'll agree with the box!) with some help from a neighbor who'll be PCing tomorrow.  We've got a firepit that I bought D#1H last year, and if I can acquire very short firewood, we'll grill the burgers and hot dogs outside the gazebo while getting the adventure started.

This past month, I've written a bunch of index cards with short notes on how the basic rules work.  I've picked up some props, and with the guys' repeated help I've got enough miniatures for all the different bad guys.  I've used these Klutz building cards, specifically one basic Castle set and three of the "additional Castle cards" sets, to build the outlines of the town where the PCs will have their home base ... and, hey, they have SPACE SHIP CARDS?!  I gotta see if one of the local hobby/gamer stores carries THAT!
I've written out more than twenty of the encounters in terms more useful to me; if we get to the last of the module, by that time I should be able to find the data I need quickly.  I'd like to reread it a fourth time first, but we'll see if I can get a spare twenty minutes after coffee.
I set up a meal plan and a "sign up for what you'll bring" list, which of course one gamer totally ignored, another one can't get online long enough to discuss, a third is bringing something totally not on the original list (but that's okay, as it'll be something everyone likes anyhow), and a fourth is bringing a fruit tray and a veggie tray, thank Smurf for healthy side dishes.

We learned several years ago that we can't afford to feed the whole group.  I end up eating plain rice for two weeks of every month, if we try.  There is generally nothing left from $200+ of groceries after one night of regular gaming, much less a party night.  Miss Manners would disapprove of our current arrangement strenuously, but our "guests" aren't able to reciprocate and buy all of us a meal even occasionally; this is currently the best we can do.

I found, purchased, and transported home a very decent kitchen table (now a back porch table!) for forty bucks from the local thrift store.

I got the dogs to the boarders, where they're safely obscured from freakout-inducing firework noises.  Meghan has the freakout, then Belle gets worried about her sister's freakout and winds up having a seizure.  We can't give them Doggy Valium because Belle is on pheno, and Belle's metabolism indicates that Meg will probably develop a tolerance to a strong medication very quickly indeed.  And I can't spend every night for a week barely dozing, reassuring the girls at every bang, until the nightly rain discourages the area nitwits.

I've accomplished a good bit toward this party.  My Celtic side says I haven't accomplished enough, and the party will suck, and it will be my responsibility.  I'm going to have to find a way to let that go so I can sleep, though:  it's now three in the morning, and I'm getting warning signs that I must sleep now or not 'til noon.

Right after I finish up this last map.


jarissa: (Default)

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