This is actually an interview I recorded with Emily Care Boss before GenCon and the debut of both RPGirl and Pirate Jenny. But, as you’ve all heard, life intruded in a bunch of really unpleasant ways, so you get it now.
Archive for March, 2010
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 31, 2010
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 29, 2010
This video by Anita Sarkeesian is freaking brilliant.
For her motivation and list of videogames included, please go to her blog entry over at Feminist Frequency about it.
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 29, 2010
We got back from Gamestorm 2010 an hour or so ago. A good time was had by all. Well, all of us.
The Geek Husband What Rules, Lesley and I headed down yesterday morning. Once we got to the hotel we ran into Matt and Shannon from the Seattle Geekly podcast. Chatted with them for a bit, and then ran upstairs to harass Ben Lehmann and my evil twin, Karrin. There were munchies and some drinking. Got to see and hug Carl Rigney, my favorite Don’t Rest Your Head GM. We saw lots of folks, played a few games of Hot Guys Making Out, Ben Lehmann’s new game based on Yaoi. Since this was, more or less, a playtest, it isn’t available yet, but when it is I strongly encourage you to buy it. It’s fun, can be played in about half an hour and can be as sweet and innocent or as raunchy and porntastic as you want.
I’ll let you guess which way most of our games went.
I played with Brendan, Pol and Ben. We had a great time but didn’t quite make it to out and out porn. Later that night, the Husband What Rules, Pol, Karrin (my evil twin), and I played another game of HGMO, and Ogre and Karrin took it straight to porn in the first round. And it just… got… worse. We had a crowd of people watching as the two of them tried to outdo each other with the pornaliciousness, and then celebrated with high fives and fist bumps as the crowd roared with laughter.
Now, I don’t ordinarily game much at gaming conventions. We game a lot in our everyday life, and going to these conventions means I get to see people I don’t ordinarily get to see. My Evil Twin lives in Eugene, which is a good five hour drive from Seattle. So, we only see each other two to four times a year. Which means, I generally play one or two games, and then spend the rest of the convention either recording things for podcasts,* or drinking and laughing my ass off.
Right now, the Husband What Rules and I have a Marvel FASERIP game on Mondays, a Spirit of the Century game on Thursdays. I have the Girl Game once a month. We have Girl Genius Spirit of the Century one to three times a month. He has a group who play every other Saturday, and a group who are playtesting a new version of Bulldogs! by Brennan Taylor, once or twice a month.
We game a lot.
Now, HE games a lot at conventions. But unless I’m playtesting something, I generally don’t.
Ok, now that I’ve blathered at you long enough, I’m going to bed.
Oh, the GHWR did get to meet Vincent Baker, but I never actually did. I did see him across the room a couple of times, but didn’t want to intrude. The GHWR says Vincent’s awesome and cool, and made of rainbows and ponies… Not really. He did say Vincent was a really cool, nice guy.
Bed time. I’m fading fast.
*It’s coming, I swear.
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 25, 2010
The Geek Dad What Rules had to have surgery yesterday. He’s fine. But he lost more blood than the doctors were comfortable with, so they’re transfusing him. I just got off the phone with him:
“Hey, old man. What’s up?”
“I’m halfway through my first blood blast. I can feel my canines growing.”
“Nope, but it’s cloudy. So I probably wouldn’t notice.”
Also, just wanted to let you all know that the Geek Husband What Rules and I will be in Vancouver, WA/Portland, OR for Gamestorm this weekend. We’ll be rolling into town Saturday morning with Lesley of Girl Game fame for gaming, socializing, and hopefully hitting Sock Dreams. No Powell’s for us this trip, just can’t fit it in the budget. :(
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 25, 2010
Ok, so I have a vendor I deal with on a fairly regular basis, and he’s a really awesome guy.* We talk and laugh a lot when he comes in. He’s really funny. I don’t remember what got us started talking about SF/F yesterday, but after a few minutes of discussing that, he says, “Do you like crime shows?”
“Yeah, I do.”
“Which one do you like best?”
“Well, I really like NCIS, and it’s the only one my husband will watch.”
“I knew it! People who dig Sci Fi love NCIS! I don’t know why, but they just seem to.”
“Well,” I said. “Well, it’s the most realistic of the crime shows. The original CSI isn’t bad, although getting DNA results in an hour always makes me laugh. CSI: Miami is pure fucking science fiction with the “technology” they have. Plus NCIS just has a better blend of character and plot.”
Let’s face it, nerds are sticklers for realism. Even if we do spend an awful lot of our time pretending to be “Gygax, 27th Level Warrior Mage” (thank you, Gendy Tartakovsky and Dexter’s Lab).
Don’t believe me? Watch Highlander, the movie, with a nerd who knows how to swordfight. I remember watching that movie, which I love, with a bunch of my SCA buddies, and just ripping apart the sword fighting sequences, particularly the highland battle sequence where Connor MacLeod first meets the Kurgan, and is grievously wounded.
One of the few books I’ve started in my life, and not finished was called “Portrait of the Psychopath as a Young Woman.” Interesting premise. Until I got to the part where the cop gave away a crucial bit of information to a suspect. Not, fed her something to hang herself with, but full on fucking gave away a piece of info they had been holding back in order to trap/trick/verify the killer. Maybe it’s just because I’ve spent the last 20 years living in the serial killer capital of the world (Pacific Northwest), but I’ve not taken a single Law and Justice course, and I know you don’t just go bandying that sort of information around all willy-nilly. That was enough to kill the book for me. My willing suspension of disbelief crashed and burned, and I gave the damn thing away without reading any further.**
Now, I do watch CSI: Miami. Mostly to snicker at the awful dialogue and tee hee over the improbable technology. But I love NCIS. The interplay between characters is better. They’re all believable. They’re not ALL conventionally hot, although even the schlub, McGee, is just freaking adorable. Pauley Perrette as Abby just kills me with the cute gothiness. And no episode of Law and Order or CSI has made me cry as hard as the episode of NCIS where Gibbs has lost his memory, and Ziva goes to try to jog it, and talks to him about killing Ari to save him.
Plus, focusing as it does on sailors and marines, it isn’t the “rape show” the Law & Order and CSI franchises have turned into. Sure, rape shows up occasionally, but not nearly so often.
And the female NCIS characters are more believable. They didn’t all become “cops” to avenge a past rape or sexual abuse. Like Kate in season 1, it was a viable career option for her after she left the Secret Service and she was good at it. Abby’s brilliant, and comes from fairly humble roots. Ziva was groomed by her father, the head of Mossad, to become what she is today. None of those women do what they do because they were raped. THAT is outstanding, and another reason to love this show. That, and I’m pretty sure that it passes the Bechdel test fairly frequently.***
So, while I do not speak for all nerds every where, I’m feeling pretty confident that my reasons do hold water. Now, maybe some folks who are former Navy/Marines, possibly even NCIS, disagree with my assessment of the show as realistic. But when you compare it with the competition, I think you’ll agree, it’s far closer to reality than most.
*Oh, it turns out the vendor in question has a family member who works on the show, so he showed me a bunch of pictures of the sets and stuff. That was really cool.
**Would most people who hadn’t grown up on a diet of Ann Rule have had the same reaction? Probably not. So, if you can get past that, read it. It definitely sounded interesting, it just lost me with that one really egregious error.
***For those of you not in the know. To pass the Bechdel Test, a movie must have two female characters, who carry on a conversation, that is not about a man.
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 24, 2010
Hug a female scientist, mathemetician or tech worker for me!!! But only with permission. Otherwise, that’s not good.
I would hug my favorite, but she’s off doin’ stuff.
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 22, 2010
Ok, so Friday night was the monthly Girl Game. Currently, we’re using the Bridge System (the artist formerly known as the Two-Die System)*, created by the Husband What Rules, Jordan and Chris, to play a Shadowrun-esque sort of game.
The characters in this game are Betty (the dwarven baker and creator of bread golems – Loree), Elliott Mephistopheles (Cat-Shaman and omnisexual – Ariel), Nikki “Rock” Short (8 ft Troll and fortune-teller – Tammy), Switch (gremlin tech-geek – Julz), Brian (anti-social human, tech geek – Stax), and Mac (Corporate-assassin/Necromancer – Leslie). The first game saw them chasing the theif who had stolen the ink required to write the name of God (which God I have not asked) on parchment to animate bread golems, who turned out to be a houngoun, and when a “doorway” in the basement opened, they called down a laserstrike from orbit on the house.
The second game involved torturing said houngoun to death in the bathroom of Betty’s coffeeshop/bakery, and the acquiring of Mac, the assassin. The torturing really wasn’t for information so much as for revenge.
The third game (this Friday) included trying to close the doorway, sacrificing one person, fucking that sacrifice up, and having to find another victim, a necromantically animated fog machine, a zombie chicken, and the realization that our Corporate Assassin and the Troll are the only ones with even a vestigial conscience. This was evidenced by the fact that they were the only ones bothered by the plan to obtain sacrificial victims by ordering pizza.
Yes, my delicate prairie flowers were all for ordering pizza and sacrificing the delivery boy. I believe the argument between Elliot and Mac about the ethics of sacrificing the pizza boy was what made me lay my head down on the table and laugh until I cried. We are big into the dark humor in the Girl Game.
These women are probably the most bloodthirsty gamers with which I have ever played. Ever. Boy-gamers, even the Grognard-iest, got nothing on my girls. Last month we played a Steam-punky sort of game, again with Necromancers (because what fun is killing things if you can’t get them to do your bidding?), which involved discussing the killing and re-animating of someone in front of them while they were conscious, and the debate about whether or not effectively pithing them would give the Necromancer the same amount of control or if they really had to completely die…
Yeah, gentler sex…
*One of the reason we use the Bridge System so much is that it cuts WAY down on the rules lawyering. Really, it’s to save my sanity more than anything else.
Posted by geekgirlsrule on March 13, 2010
Alas, I won’t be making it due to lack of fundage. However, Tammy is there all day today selling some of her amazing beading!!! If you see a big gothy woman in black clothes and swirly eyeliner behind a table with some steampunky looking pins and AMAZING bracelets, go say HI!!!
Posted by javagoth on March 12, 2010
First let me start with the clarifications and disclaimers that the more hysterical reactionary readers will likely ignore anyway but I’m giving it a shot regardless:
The following game concepts generally have one thing in common that make them bad: a complete lack of any research or background. I give new players a few months to fill in the blanks – particularly if they are new to gaming in general and/or were throwing together a character to try out the local game, play at a convention, etc. I expect more from more experienced players. That doesn’t mean you, the player, needs to be an expert on everything your character is (this is for FUN after all), but you should at least do enough research to be able to make some interesting conversation at a game. For instance, I made a character that was skilled at various forms of fortune telling. I read about these forms, had the fortune telling “equipment” (if you will) on me, but was not skilled at fortune telling. The main thing was to be able to talk the talk enough to be interesting and to not make those who are skilled sprain their eyeballs rolling them.
Keep in mind: I’ve played some of these concepts and I’ve seen some played well, but the vast majority of these characters I’ve interacted with were poorly researched and thought out and about as interesting to role play with as a stump. Think of this more as guidelines for how not to role play these character concepts.
Geisha (usually played by Daeva or Toreador if playing in the Old World of Darkness – OWoD – setting)
Hi, I have this neat Geisha outfit that I bought/made/had made and so I’m playing a Geisha character. I haven’t done any research though so, really, I’m just playing dress up and hoping you’ll be so impressed with my outfit that you’ll overlook the fact that I haven’t read so much as ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’, much less done any actual research about them.
Tips: Read at least one non-fiction book about Geishas that has good reviews. Know what time period your character needed to be living in to be trained as a Geisha and what skills/talents they would be expected to know at that time. Think about when they were turned as a vampire and why they continue to dress as/be a Geisha. What mannerisms would Geishas exhibit. What kinds of things can you find out to tell people that they might not know about Geishas from bad movies/fiction books? You know, things you can talk about at a game.
Vampire Whore/Madam/Pimp (played by same as above)
Same as the Geisha in that no actual research has been done – beyond bad stereotypes found in equally bad movies (and maybe not even that). Basically the player is dressing in their idea of vampire sexy or like Huggy Bear from Starsky and Hutch(Google it). They have not thought out how their character feeds, keeps a client base, keep from being arrested, dealing with their workers being picked up (in the case of being a Madam/Pimp), thought about how they deal with their workers during the day – much less during the summer when it does not get dark out until 10pm. They haven’t put much or any thought into why they are a sex worker or when they started being a sex worker and why. Really, they are just dressing slutty and hoping that their fellow gamers will be too transfixed by their cleavage to notice their character is a one dimensional stereotype. Sadly, this strategy works more often that you would think.
Tips: At the very least you need to think out when/why you became a sex worker and why you continue to be a sex worker. Here’s a hint: if your character kills all or even most of your clients you are doing it wrong. The occasional abusive bastard – sure – but it would be noticeably odd for you to not have many/any repeat customers. Here’s hint #2: Everyone wants to be a “high priced” hooker/madam but it is more worthwhile for the tabloids or a police sting operation to go after you than one of the average street walkers. Look how long the Green River Killer went on before being caught…
Side Note: The first character concept I created on my own was a vampire whore. There was a history for how she came to be a street walker (as a human), why she was embraced, why her sire was not in the picture and why she had come to the city. I could tell you her reasoning for being a common street walker. I could tell you how she survived without a haven until she had one. I could tell you how she stayed out of trouble. She was young by vampire standards but not many knew that and she was a powerful person in her domain because she had “more influence than God” via the game mechanics. I’m sure some members of my family would be alarmed and horrified to see the number of books I have on Prostitution & Sex work on my book shelves – along with various other odd titles I have for character research which include books on making booby traps, disguising oneself, changing identities, various fortune telling books, books on Goddess religions and etc).
Biker Brujah (OWoD)
He’s loud. He’s obnoxious. HE ONLY SPEAKS IN ALL CAPITAL LETTERS!!!ELEVINTY!!!!!111 He smells (because you know, real men don’t wash or some shit like that). He has a leather jacket and rides a motorcycle. He’s about a subtle as a bulldozer over eggshells. That’s right he’s the Brujah biker – party of one… *sigh*
Tips: Know more about what motorcycle your character plays other than “Harley”. There are lots of different models of Harley Davidson motorcycles and they’ve been around for a lot of years now. When did you get it? What does it look like? Do you fix it or do you have someone else fix it? If someone else – who? Where? Are parts hard to get for that model? When did you join the gang? Where’s the rest of your gang? Either have a good story about what happened to them or consider getting other local players to make biker game characters to play with you.
Grunge Wearing Gangrel
All I’m asking is that you have more to your character concept besides the fact they wear flannel or camo shirts.
Tips: Back story – get some.
The Corner Brooder
This is a character that sits in the corner or leaned up against a post or something and looks angry. That’s it. This is often played by someone who then complains that no one interacted with them at the game. I’ve got news for you: If my character doesn’t know you and no one introduces her to you, she’s not going to approach you if you look cranky unless she has a job that makes it her business to know who everyone is, because your character might well be stronger and kick my character’s ass for bothering you.
Tips: Make sure there is someone at the game who knows your character and who he might be interested in talking to. Otherwise, when you get bored of standing there looking pissy, please feel free to put on a neutral look and come join in some conversation happening in game or something.
The Terminally Shy
If you look like it makes you really uncomfortable to talk to people, they usually either avoid you or they will decide to mess with your character by getting up close and in their space. You do not get to whine about being ignored or getting picked on if you play this concept in a room full of predator characters.
Tips: If you want to play a shy character then team up with a more outgoing character. Have at least one topic that your character is excited about and will bring her out of her shell. For bonus points – have your character be well able to kick ass and take names if people harass her too much. It’s not that you are helpless – you just don’t like crowds maybe…
I’m an Expert/Important Figure in (insert religion of choice or profession of choice here)
I know fuck-all about this religion/profession but I’m an industry leader all the same. Hell, I don’t even know any jargon or terms that are common with it but – hey – my sheet here says I have 4 dots in it so just work with me on this – okay?
Tips: It’s LARP – Live Action Role Play. 99% of the game is TALKING to other players. Please have something interesting/informative to say about your character, how they got into their religion/profession, and how they got to whatever position they obtained, etc. The higher up the ladder the more you should know. At least know enough to fake it (because, really, I’ve worked for CEO’s who couldn’t find their fucking email application after they minimized it so how hard can it be??).
Please do the world a favor and don’t use the OWoD books or ‘Bury Me Standing’ as a guide to how to play a Gypsy/Rom. There are a fair bit of more reliable and respected (by actual Romany) resources out there – most of which can be checked out from the library. If you just can’t stand reading non-fiction, at least read ‘Mulengro’ by Charles DeLint. Know how they are thought of and treated in Europe. Consider that you might pretend that you are not of that clan. Consider playing the character with some subtlety (Google it).
Last (for now) but certainly not least: I’m a Teddy Bear Carrying Malkavian/Crazy Person
I’m a complete idiot AND batshit insane. I’m too fucked up to really be able to function on my own and have not put any thought to how I live and get by – much less how I manage to not be institutionalized and a walking breach of the Masquerade. The other predators in the room don’t exercise Darwin’s Law on me why?
Tips: It’s far more interesting and terrifying to find out someone you thought really had their shit together is actually completely insane. That would be the subtlety thing again. If you must insist on playing a character with “Multiple Personality Disorder” at the very least take the time to Google that and learn what that designation has been changed to. Also, people with multiple personalities not only go to great lengths to hide the fact they have them from others, I have yet to meet someone with this condition that was not aware of the other personalities. For the love of humanity – do some research and stop regurgitating bad Made for TV stereotypes into the game!
Side Note: I am responsible for a vampire Brownie troupe showing up at a game at Norwescon some years back. We made these as one-off characters because we had come up with Brownie outfits and thought it would be fun. The player that ended up portraying their “father” had the hardest time and I owed him BIG after that. We had an explanation for how this happened (that would be background), why each character had the quirks they had, why we were at the convention (everyone would just think we were in costume!), and we had made merit badges based on the vampire laws – in child speak. We were offered safe passage and asylum by the Prince of Bellingham at the time – because we were clearly able to function in vampire society despite the fact that we were children. One of us was played by a man over 6ft tall with goatee. I have the pictures to prove it. Yes I did know I’m twisted and wrong, why do you ask?
Do you see a pattern here? Most of the issues with these character concepts stem from a lack of thought, research and depth. The biggest difference between table top and Live Action games is that in LARP most of what goes on in a given game is character driven. More specifically, character conversation driven. There are plot seeds dropped here and there but we spend a far greater portion of the game sitting or standing around socializing in character. You don’t need to be a scholar or be a great speaker to make the game enjoyable but you should know about your character and at least something about what they are supposed to be good at. It doesn’t have to take a lot of time and energy either. In the internet age many things can be found with a bit of browsing.
One of the most amusing characters I interacted with in the past was a woman playing a super model with 4 or 5 dots in the Sexy trait and a fair amount of fame. On the surface this might have made me roll my eyes but she was connected to another character who introduced her around and she did things like create mock portfolios to show people her “latest work” – so she had something to talk about at game. You’d be amazed how much little things like that can add to the enjoyment of the game and role play in general. Give it a try. The results might surprise you.
Editorial comment from the Geek Girl What Rules: Word.