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beyond the Kuiper Belt, over the sea

Archive for December, 2009

Roleplaying advice

Tuesday, December 29th, 2009

John over at The Mighty Atom has some good advice.  Reproduced here:

Connected: The character has relationships (positive and negative) with other significant characters in the situation.

Committed: The character has a stake in the outcome of the situation, and will stay to see it through.

Capable: The character has the capacity to affect change in the situation by taking decisive action.

Conflicted: The character has beliefs and goals that are in conflict. They must make choices about which are more important, and which must be abandoned or changed.

Also, Gregor Hutton has some great advice in 3:16:

Play is fun, so embrace the kill-happy machismo [this particular point is specific to the game. –Kit] and play with it. It’s not work, right? You shouldn’t be stressing over this.

Each moment might be your character’s last, so don’t try and plan ahead. Events and dice rolls will throw you a curveball all the time. You’ll find that the bigger picture will take care of itself in play.

Listen to your other players at least as much as you speak. Do share your ideas but learn to enjoy the contributions of others too.

If you spend all your time trying to be clever or bring in more twists and turns it’ll just be tiring. Instead, just go with the intuitive and obvious answers that pop into your head. Simple is best.

Trying to be subtle can be confusing, and trying to make a convoluted plan worse. Be straight to the heart of the matter.

Be open minded and honest about how you feel. That’s the way.


Tuesday, December 22nd, 2009

I suppose I must comment on it.  I went, I saw, I enjoyed.  But I don’t think I enjoyed it for the reasons one “should” enjoy a movie.

Avatar has been dominating the airwaves and the conversations around me a lot.  It’s certainly good in many respects, and the amount of conversational fodder it has provided is one of those.  But the problems almost balance the good aspects.  It has a schizoid attitude towards and portrayal of the indigenous people, well-addressed in this review.  There are so many problems with it requiring a white, male, American soldier to make the indigenous people win that I don’t know where to start, but the short version is that all those things would be OK if they mattered to his ground-breaking plan.  But actually?  His plan was a non-plan.  I’ll avoid saying more for spoilers-sake, in case you care.

So why was it good?  I enjoyed watching it for much the same reasons I would enjoy looking at a painting.  It was, quite simply, visually stunning.  The story was thin, archetypal, problematic in terms of race-attitudes, but man was it pretty to look at.  But it was also good in terms of inspiration for secondary-creation: the conlang for the Na’vi was fabulous, and well-acted, and the world had many compelling features, inspiring me to some fun co-exobiology thoughts.  And the movie’s ecological message is not subtle, either, which I think is fabulous—no need to tread softly around such a message, just put it out there.

So, ultimately, the movie is good not for much in itself, besides the pretty, but it’s quite good for the topics it gets you thinking about and talking about, most clearly race/privilege, and the environment.  I’d recommend it.

Holiday Frantic

Sunday, December 20th, 2009

Too much happening lately to catch up on writing about: saw Vienna Teng, awesome as ever, with Allie, awesome as ever.  Snow again, just after I made it into NYC for a quick seeing of Miles and Mendez and Lisa, and Avatar.  The movie was visually stunning, had a fine but thin story, and some real problems with portrayal of indigenous cultures.  But was basically fun.  Now, I’m working on all sorts of coding projects, and really ought to admit to myself that I have many people to buy gifts for.

Too many project ideas is a great state to be in, when you have the chance to work on them as much as you want.

Oh yeah: snow, twice, BEAUTIFUL.