Imagine Indiana Jones, Jackie Chan, and Conan the Barbarian teamed up to fight evil. They would surely leave no ass un-kicked. Now imagine if they let Ricky Martin join the party and started giving him an equal cut of the loot and XP. You’d have no respect for them. They might as well put on dresses and be his back-up dancers, because nobody is going to think of them as brave warriors and adventurers. Everyone will think of them as the three guys that hang around Ricky Martin and keep him from getting beat up.
Take a good look at your character sheet and ask yourself if that’s what you wanted when you rolled him up.
I think I originally wrote this as Marcus’s character actually died in the fireball, and they walked another fifty feet and encountered he next one. That joke was something like five or six panels that didn’t really have enough funny to support two strips. So, we trimmed it down and made it work in the established format by having the fireball retconned away instead of killing the new character.
I know eventually we were planning on having one of Marcus’s characters last exactly one comic. I don’t remember if it was this character. Man, how is that for some insightful insight?
Also, check out that rocking Fireball.
In the movie The Gamers: Dorkness Rising, we get a similar setup to what we have here in Chainmail Bikini: There are two layers of reality to the story, and our point of view cuts between what the players are doing at the table and what their characters are doing within the fantasy world. At the start of the adventure, the party meets in the throne room of Erasmus the Randomly Biased. The king wants to give the party their quest. During the meeting, two players have an aside. One dude is playing a woman. The other dude is playing a guy with high charisma. He jokes that he uses his charisma to seduce his fellow party member. The other dude instantly agrees and they proceed to bang, right there in the throne room while the king is still talking.
Everyone else ignores this. The king doesn’t react to a couple of people flagrantly copulating in his throne roomI dunno. The dude IS randomly biased, so maybe he’s just okay with this.. The other players don’t say anything. The guards don’t take offense or attempt to stop it. These reactions don’t actually make sense. This is not how the world would respond to this sort of behavior.
So the question is: Did it really happen? 40% of the people at the table acted like it was happening. But if it did happen, then certainly the guards should have descended on the couple and either killed them or dragged them off to prison. The rest of the party would have refused to team up with these two lunatics. As far as the world as concerned, this event never happened.
This creates a world of subjective veracity. As far as the two offending players are concerned, their characters did it. As far as everyone else is concerned, nothing happened. The players taking part in this world disagree on what happened, but everyone is able to just ignore it and move on.
The example in the movie is simple by necessity, but in a real game there will often be multiple layers of unreality going on. One player makes a joke about doing something absurd, everyone goes along with it, then the situation gets more and more ridiculous until the GM steps in and gets everyone back on topic. If you ask the players later, every one of them will have a different view on which of those actions were jokes and which ones could be said to have happened. Some of them might become running gags, or become callbacks to other events of questionable veracity.
In a tabletop game, I think there are four levels of happened-ness:
- It happened. Everyone agrees that it happened. It is part of the story.
- It subjectively happened. One player says he flips off the queen. Another player joins in. The rest of the people at the table – including the GM – simply ignore them, because they don’t want to derail this intense negotiation scene with an hour of combat as they slaughter their way through the palace guard. Despite this, the player will still reference “that one time I flipped off the queen”.
- It temporarily happened. Everyone acts like it happened, but then realizes it would either ruin the game or it wouldn’t make any sense. “Hang on, you can’t have flipped off the queen, your hands are tied behind your back, remember?” So then the GM rewinds the last thirty seconds or so and the whole idea is retconned away.
- It didn’t happen. Okay, enough kidding around, let’s get back to talking to the queen.
Did Ivy nuke the new bard? I like to think she did.
 I dunno. The dude IS randomly biased, so maybe he’s just okay with this.
WAY back in 2005, I wrote about a D&D campaign I was running. The campaign is still there, in the bottom-most strata of the archives.
Shamus Plays WOW
Ever wondered what's in all those quest boxes you've never bothered to read? Get ready: They're more insane than you might expect.
The story of me. If you're looking for a picture of what it was like growing up in the seventies, then this is for you.
Overused Words in Game Titles
I scoured the Steam database to figure out what words were the most commonly used in game titles.
The Gameplay is the Story
Some advice to game developers on how to stop ruining good stories with bad cutscenes.