Monday, October 27, 2008

Howling Mad at Wolfspeak

I have already mentioned that I don't get furries. They creep me out and I don't role play with them but I can still recognize Mary Sue assy-ness when I see it. Here is an issue I found in a forum that lists role playing games in a Wal-Mart sort of way. An owner of a wolf rpg was complaining about how flowery the language in wolf rpgs is getting. Others from a horse and other assorted furry forums agree that this language is annoying and those who do it must think they sound intelligent. The problem is, no one truly knows what anyone is talking about anymore.

This language shows up in rpgs I am in when werewolves show up. If this language shows up in a non-wolf/furry rpg, you can imagine how damn awful it is to try and decipher for those of us who have chosen not to role play in that genre.
After reading a general list, I can only speculate that if you're a Wolfy Sue, you don't even have the same general body parts that normal people and animals do, nor the same genders. Here's a rundown of what I mean:

aud, audit, auditory, satalite, twin towers, caves, high-wires: ear
banner, brush, flag, streamer, tassel: tail
barrel: body
brujo/brute, mascu: male
crania/cranium, crown, dial, thinking box, tiara: head
fatale, fae, fay, fea, fem, femme, femora, alphess, alphena, vixen: female
flints, daggers, knives, ivories: claws/teeth
kissers: lips
juggler: throat
maw: mouth
mug, velveteen: muzzle
nape: neck
nare: nostril
occuli/oculi, optics, orbs, spheres, headlights, pools, lanterns: eyes
pillar, pistion: leg
talon, mitt, mitten, pad: hoof or foot

The list goes on when you get into pack order and wolf mythology but I'm not that interested in knowing more. This is enough to make me ill. I can feel the bile rising into my maw.

If you plan on doing this in an rpg, actually do some research and see if this language is used by others or if you're just amusing yourself. Using a language that no one else is will quickly help the members and staff decide if you are awesome and creative or pretentious and silly. In most cases, they won't be impressed because if they aren't doing it, there's probably a good reason. Most likely they find this nonsense unbearable or they genuinely don't get it and don't want to be bothered with it.
Just mesh into the rpg by doing what everyone else is doing. It's the best way to make everyone happy. Keep your high-wires open, your optics wide and use your tiara. Everyone around you will be glad you did.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

What Would Mark Twain Do?

Have you ever wondered what Mark Twain would say if he were a role player or owned a role playing game? How would he conduct himself and how can we be positive he'd create an interesting character? Sure! We all have pondered about that. I think I can help answer this.

Mark Twain hated author James Fenimore Cooper. He hated him so much that he wrote an article called "Fenimore Cooper's Literary Offenses" where he completely tore apart the stuff he didn't like about Cooper's novels. He didn't even care that Cooper was dead when Twain wrote this because that's how he is! No holds barred!

I know this article refers strictly to fiction writing but I've plucked out parts that could be translated into role playing and I don't even care that Mark Twain is dead because that's how I am. I am positive Twain would agree if these were the no no rules he created for his rpg.

2. They require that the episodes of a tale shall be necessary parts of the tale, and shall help to develop it.

Think of "episodes" as threads in an rpg. Threads ought to work like scenes in a movie. Something important should happen in each one. Things should be exciting and take the characters someplace fun. The end result should leaves the characters wanting more. Eliminate the dull, boring and pointless things that make some rpgs mundane like getting to know a girl by asking her what her favorite color is or what city she grew up in.

3. They require that the personages in a tale shall be alive, except in the case of corpses, and that always the reader shall be able to tell the corpses from the others.

Don't make characters that are boring, shy or asleep due to a wonky spell so often that they are mistaken for dead people.

4. They require that the personages in a tale, both dead and alive, shall exhibit a sufficient excuse for being there.

Make sure everyone in a thread is there to do something useful. Don't drop in and offer nothing but wasted space just to up your post count.

5. They require that when the personages of a tale deal in conversation, the talk shall sound like human talk, and be talk such as human beings would be likely to talk in the given circumstances, and have a discoverable meaning, also a discoverable purpose, and a show of relevancy, and remain in the neighborhood of the subject in hand, and be interesting to the reader, and help out the tale, and stop when the people cannot think of anything more to say.

Stop talking. Don't drag out a scene if the passion and enthusiasm died out long ago. Just say goodbye if all has been done and said. If you do decide to throw something in to make it more exciting, be sure that new element is actually thrilling and not a half-assed attempt at excitement.

8. They require that crass stupidities shall not be played upon the reader.

The reader or the other people in the thread. "Crass stupidities" can mean lots of things here. Take what you want. I choose to believe it means don't turn back time to take a parting shot at the character that left already. Or ripping the hoodie off someone's body after they said don't do that. Or pouting and saying that you are going back to the tavern only to return and muck up the scene with more pouting. I could go on but the point is made. Crass stupidities covers lots of territory but can be easily recognized by everyone.

9. They require that the personages of a tale shall confine themselves to possibilities and let miracles alone; or, if they venture a miracle, the author must so plausibly set it forth as to make it look possible and reasonable.

Don't suddenly create a full family tree with members out to kill you but it's okay because you're suddenly aware you have mad kung fu fairy fighting skillz.

10. They require that the author shall make the reader feel a deep interest in the personages of his tale and in their fate; and that he shall make the reader love the good people in the tale and hate the bad ones.

It's really true that if you tell someone to love your character, they won't. You have to earn that love. And if you create a mean character, also, don't demand that everyone love her. Make these things happen through character interactions. Stomping your feet around and crying won't make anyone love you, just walk away quickly.

In addition to these large rules there are some little ones. These require that the author shall:

12. Say what he is proposing to say, not merely come near it.

Don't be shy. Don't be incoherent either. Be open and meaningful and not afraid to engage others.

13. Use the right word, not its second cousin.


14. Eschew surplusage.

No one really cares about your character's hair, how they are breathing or what they had for breakfast if they asked your character what his or her name is. Get to the point.

15. Not omit necessary details.

Like inheriting a sword after you died.

16. Avoid slovenliness of form.

Don't say, "She sat on a swigs and herd a noise behing her."

17. Use good grammar.

Than you can be better then everyone else.

18. Employ a simple and straightforward style.

Too much wallowing in a character's past will completely stop an character from moving forward. If they can't say what needs to be said do what needs to be done and just wants to sit on a dock staring at water and thinking about her dead family, she's not going any place. If she wants to dwell on the complexities of life and death, where we go when we die, why didn't she die too and what will become of her now, she'll have a rough time having a simple and straightforward conversation with any one attempting to get involved with her.

He would make an excellent rpg owner and keep those crass stupidities out. He'd monitor those deadly boring characters that flop around in scenes for no obvious reason. Twain would keep all plots on task and not veering off into Mary Sue showcasing.

Watch out for these things improbable miracles, get to that discoverable purpose and stop talking when there is nothing to say. If you can't, ask me what white washing is. It's something you'll like.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Getting Jossed

Have you been Jossed? It can happen to anyone at anytime and anywhere-- providing you are role playing or writing fanfictions based on a TV show, movie or books that takes place have a series format.

This term is named for Joss Whedon, the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Originating in fanfics but able to carry over into rpgs, "getting Jossed" refers to the moment when something you've written is completely invalidated during the course of the series. Say that you wrote that your character is the child of Spike and Druscilla but then we learn that vampires can't have kids-- except that one time Angel and Darla did but that doesn't count. Anyway, you've been Jossed because unless the circumstances are special, there is no way in Hell that Spike and Dru could naturally have a vampire child.

Possible Origins

Sometimes a series will forget it's own bible, have a brain fart or just decide to totally change an established story or fact to make it go into a different direction. On Buffy, when Angel and Spike get together for the first time on screen Spike is blathering on and on about how he's disappointed that Angel seems to be good now and he says Angel was his sire. He looked up to him like a father after Angel turned him into a vampire taught him about how to stalk and kill people.

RPGs and fanfictions all over the internet were writing stories about the stalking days of these two when, oops! Joss Whedon went and made an episode where Spikey boy was actually sired by Druscilla. Technically this Jossing was Joss' fault but every Jossing since has been due to overzealous writers in rpg and fanfiction forums.

Jossed by J.K. and Others

Since getting Jossed can happen with any medium that is a series, we can look at the Harry Potter series where lots of Mary Sues were deeply shocked about a certain fact that they'd all guessed about. A character was introduced to the story named Blaise Zabini. The only information that readers were given was that Blaise was a Slytherin. Shortly thereafter, fanfictions and rpg sites were crammed with characters named Blaise Zabini who was hot, gothie Slytherin chick that wanted to jump Draco Malfoy. But then Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince came out and all those characters were rendered obsolete. Turns out Blaise is a black boy who doesn't exactly agree with anything Draco Malfoy says.

In every series there are other forms of this term but the most common word I've seen is Jossed. Dr. Who fans like "Russeled" after Russel T. Davies and perhaps some Harry Potter fans like the term JKed. I think I just like the way it sounds to yell, "Dude, you've been Jossed!"

The Other (and Way Wrong) Definitions

There is a bit of controversy about the meaning of getting Jossed but any other definition that's different from the one I gave you is wrong. Because I say so. And many people agree with me. So there.

Some purists believe that instances like the one I mentioned with Spike not being sired by Angel is the true meaning of being Jossed. That would make it even more rare and less likely to give you moments of pleasure when pointing and laughing at another person who has been Jossed.

The most absurd theory is that getting Jossed has an almost opposite meaning. Some morons think that getting Jossed is when the writers of a series are actually out scouring the forums, reading fanfictions and rpgs and getting ideas for the series because they have no imaginations of their own. Right. If you say that Angel could smell Wesley on Lilah and then on the show Angel says that to Lilah, it just means that it's not out of the realm of possibility to believe that vampires have super sniffers and can smell sex on a person. If you're patting yourself on the back because you guessed that Harry Potter would have a son, remember that if Harry Potter were to have child, there is a 50% chance it will be male and J.K. didn't actually get the idea for that by reading your story online.

Then What is Whedoning?

Whedoning is not to be confused with getting Jossed. It's an entirely different thing. Whedoning occurs when something incredibly awesome and squee-worthy happens to a character and then they are killed in a horrible, crushing way. Tara McClay was Whedoned on Buffy when she got back together with Willow and they had sex all night long and in the morning Warren accidentally shot Tara dead.

Getting Jossed is Part of a Journey

Don't get sad if your hopes, beliefs, theories and wild imaginations are proven wrong. So what if your character becomes a part of a alternate universe rather than part of canon world? It's all a game and playing a character that no longer exists or using an idea that is not based in fact anymore brings more unpredictability to the plot lines. If it happens to you, just roll with it. If nothing else, it will free your character up for greater things later on.


First off, I have no problems with the word 'tousled.' I've just noticed that in the hands of a Mary Sue/Gary Stu, it is a very important word. It is used to described characters who are beautiful yet don't care about their appearance, a character who must smoothe it down to start a full day of being wonderful or a randy sex kitten in the throes of passion. Whatever the cause is, Mary Sues and Gary Stus always need to get a handle on that fussy hair, ruffle it up more or throw it around to make a point. As you can see, it's just one of those fun little buzzwords that Suethors latch onto.

"Kylana tossed her tousled hair over her shoulder."

"He, at least, had an anarchic streak to offset all that toussled hair, and a Caledonian accent to make him a little more interesting."

"*runs his hands through his tousled hair to fix it and gives her a wry smile and wave*"

"She smoothed her skirts and ran her fingers through her sleep toussled hair."

"Jenny smoothed her once again toussled hair and placed her toothbrush back into her blue backpack."

"Nobody who houses the god of war can be timid and weak. For nineteen years, I let him be that outspoken Asian boy whose tousled hair always got in his eyes."

"Tossing back his toussled hair, he glanced over at the Headmistress."

"She doesn’t spend a lot of time on her looks – a little chapstick is her only makeup, self painted nails that get bitten down, and carelessly tousled hair worn naturally curly."

"Other distinguishing details: High cheekbones, arched eyebrows, long eyelashes, toussled hair, large ears, impeccable set of teeth"

"His tousled hair adds to his generally unkempt appearance."

"her sleep tousled hair curled over her back as she slowly regained her thought prosses from its slowed place."

"Apperance: Black Leather Jacket with dark jeans that are all ripped up. Black tousled hair and green eyes."

"Sun sighed and ran a hand through her tousled hair."

""I know," he laughed. "I am." He reached out, ruffling her already tousled hair."

"His tousled hair and shining eyes made him seem like a truly thoughtful person."

"The wind whipped at her tousled hair as they sprinted along the beaten path, kicking up dust into the air."

"She ran a hand through her tousled hair and went to the door opening it to reveal James standing there."

"Exhaling, Michael sat up and running a hand through his tousled hair, appraised his empty room."

"Julian stared after her for a moment, his mouth half open, then suddenly laughed out loud and pulled a hand through his tousled hair, giddy with relief and a strong feeling of happiness."

"She even brushed out her tousled hair, so now it shone in long brown waves."

"Description: Squirrel girl is a cute teenage-girl with a bushy tail, small, strong claws, a retractable "knuckle spike" on each hand, an adorable overbite, tousled hair and a trimly athletic physique."

"'Huh? What?' Theo asked. He groaned, then sat up, running a hand through his tousled hair. 'Why is that I feel like I never get enough sleep?'"

"Sighing, Daniel ran his weathered but strong hands through his thick black wild mess of hair. It had been a long while since he had seen a good barber, and his tousled hair would remain so."

"She preferred the simplicity of a clean face and tousled hair."

"Even in the dim light, his winning smile and casually tousled hair struck a cord in her heart. She repressed the urge to merely demand him kiss her right then and there."

"A curly and tousled hair with the delicate color of a gentle touch of teal. It shines beautifully in the suns warming glow. A face that gives warmth to the worlds beings."

"Sliding open the windowsill, he stepped gingerly into the room, his black tousled hair a regular rats nest over his face, his three facial piercings gleaming dully in the bright moonlight."

"Clearly not completely human, this teenaged girl with brown tousled hair and green eyes was equipped with a dragon’s tail and talons."

"His tousled hair was alost glistening in the dim light, but that was because of the slowly freezing water still in the thick mop."

"Gulping he ran his hand through his tousled hair, messing it up further as he spotted Calista in front of the library."

"Nick ran a hand through his damp, tousled hair. He looked like shit. He felt like shit, too."

"His hair was tousled and shimmered in the growing sunlight, its soft feel beckoning her to touch it… just once."

I wish I had a bag of hair product swag to hand out to all these Sues who go around looking like poodles. All of this makes me feel that my own hair is inadequate. I want hair that says "come hither" to others, shows that I don't care about my appearence even though I'm still hot and it will be easily tamed when I run my hand through it. I can put up with all of this except for the bushy tail, knuckle spike and adorable overbite. Furries scare me.Have I mentioned that?

Boyfriend Stu

This Gary Stu was written by a girl to be the perfect man. He's strong yet gentle, good looking yet humble and young but responsible beyond his years. This character is destined to be a two-dimensional girl magnet because he's not sexually offensive in any way. As much as Gary Stus usually tend to be nothing but a penis or bisexual emos, they are also like this guy:

Name: Callister Reed
Race: Human
Guild: Fighter
Age: 17
Gender: male
Eye Color: His right eye is a piercing ice blue while his left eye is a lively bright green.

So he looks like he has a lazy eye, then? Seriously, piercing and lively, icy and bright, blue and green? Choose one trait and sticks with it. Don't just go with everything because you feel insecure making him one type.

Hair Color: dark brown
Orientation: heterosexual

At least he's not a happy-go-lucky yet gloomy bisexual. The author chose one orientation and stuck to it!

Appearance: Callister is a youg pale skinned man with a strong slightly angled jaw and a piercing stare (Well, just his right eye, remember?). He has short inch and a half long dark brown hair that is straight and neatly trimmed. His right eye is a piercing ice blue while his left eye is a lively bright green. (His right eye wants to go out bowling but his left eye wants to watch movies with subtitles.) He is meticulously clean shaven and he has very fine body hair. He has a wiry build and a strong but agile frame. Callister is never seen without his dark green, many pocketed great coat. underneath that he has a chainshirt and plated leather pants. (He chafes a lot!) He weilds a no-dachi with a claymore hilt and handle that was given to him as an inheritance when he died. (Huh? He inherited a sword when he died? I can't wait to see what I get when I kick the bucket.) He wears thick steel plated leather boots and fingerless leather gloves. He also, more commonly weilds two long-bladed double-edged kukris that he got for his fifthteenth birthday and he is very well practiced in their use. He has a large traveler's backpack filled with everything he will need on the road. (His toothbrush and toilet paper.)

Personality: Callister is a very spry and intuitive teenager. He uses an inherit instinct when fighting and his will to survive is unmatched. He likes to socialize and tries to make friends when he can, and defends his friends with his life. (So he's both dead and living? Jeez! Now we're back to being a touch of everything.) For the most part he is too shy to seriously get into a relationship but he does talk when spoken to. He can talk to girls, he just can't neccessarily ask them out on a date per say. (Don't let this fool you. It just means he's safe. He's respectful towards girls and won't push sex. Callister will also be content to hold hands on a porch swing and talk for hours on end.) He holds grudges only when the person is a complete scumbag and he has a high moral code that gives him a drive to protect and fight for that which he cares for. (Like beautiful damsels that he's nervous to talk to.)
Likes: Callister likes sparring, socializing with friends, girls (but he usually doesn't act on it), good food, and tea

He likes swords, twister, pizza and oolong.
Dislikes: snobs, know-it-alls, lechers, down right scumbags, slavery of any kind, masojanists, feminists, etc....

Yeah, feminists ruin everything what with their wanting to vote, hold the same jobs as men for the same pay, mystiques, Ally McBeals, gynocritisism, NOW, bell hooks, using birth control, herstories, Sex and the Cities, Riot Grrls, Playgirls, sexual harassment laws and lactivism. They make masojanists look anjelic.
Hobbies: sparring, card games

He likes Old Maid and if you try calling it something more PC he'll just walk away and find someplace quiet to play with his sword.
Biography: Callister was raised in a very warrior based family. His father was an esteemed general and died in battle to save his men. Callister always looked up to his father and wanted to make him proud, but he didn't want to be exactly like his father. (I see. His dad died. That's what Callister meant about inheritance. I was still worried Callister was an upright, mindless stiff as well as being dead.) He got into fights alot when he was a kid, mostly he was defending a weaker kid who was being bullied, and he was kind of popular, kind of not. (Oi! He was a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll too.) When he turned thirteen he recieved his father's ancestral sword. The blade was always sharp and withstand a hammer blow without a scratch. It had a secret power that callister needed to grow up more to access and he decided to practice relentlessly with the blade. (As a child he could always be found clutching his nodachi.) Lather he received a pair of well crafted doyuble edged three foot long kukris that he found he favored as a common weapon (he saved the great blade for harder battles). (It just thrusts better when things are harder.)

This author has left lots of room for this character to be molded into perfect boyfriend material. He's sensitive yet strapping, boyish yet virile, cute yet modest. He's the perfect non-threatening package to any young woman. He's ready to be taught what love is even though he is unrealistically unaware that intercourse exists. Just make him put down his sword, look deep into his freakish eyes and don't burn any bras.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sex and the Sue

The Obligatory Scene

Sex can make role playing more fun or a whole lot worse depending on how it’s done. There are so many ways it can go wrong because it seems so innocent if it’s just words on a screen. If you care about your character, there are some situations where sex can completely suck the fun out logging into an rpg.

I Was Made to Love You

Some characters are designed for sex. The entire point of their creation is to fuck any one they come in contact with, be it male, female or whatever. When talking about the mock Harry Potter Houses I mentioned Tootsietramps and these are the characters I mean. There’s nothing wrong with this type unless they pair up with sex partners who want more from a storyline than just sex.

I haven’t had any good experiences with these types. I always feel like Clint Eastwood in the movie "Play Misty for Me." When my characters bump uglies with a character who’s entire being is based on sex, I try to have a plot someplace else and I’m chased down by this character and author alike. By then she’s become a vicious psycho who wants me to hold her and never let her go.

I wish I had something nice to say but I’ve never had a good experience with this character. They don’t seem to believe in healthy sex lives. Apparently it’s not fun for them unless they get to cry, hug your leg and throw tantrums because they aren’t currently fucking.

Abuse, Rape and Molestation. Oh My.

I used to visit an rpg based in a chatroom. Stories were often fast, furious and you really had to work hard to make people notice you because players were jumping in and out of the chatroom quickly. When the chatroom was just starting out it was much easier to have the entire place together in one single plot for an hour or two and it was lots of fun.

Then came the characters who would enter the chatroom and promptly scream, "I’VE BEEN RAPED!" These were always damsel-in-distress characters who wanted other characters to hunt down the rapists and then teach the damsel how to love again. The last time I was there, five different damsels did this in the span of an hour and all stories halted because they wouldn’t shut up until you dealt with them.

I mentioned that Kawaii characters often seek out sex because they’ve experienced some horrible sexual trauma as a child. They never mature into adults no matter how old they get to be but they like to replay that abuse with anyone they come in contact with. Many characters that have had horrific childhoods will do this and I guess the appeal is getting other characters to try and fix the damaged one. This is where terms like hurt/comfort and whumping come from because it’s all too common for a Sue to use an atrocious event that is contrived to tug at the heartstrings to be the center of attention.

Mothers and Sues

I hate seeing pregnant women or babies in rpgs. If a Sue can’t get enough attention as one character, why not Sue for two?

Maybe I’m being negative but I’ve never seen this scenario work. Sues will gets themselves knocked up and then pop out kids at an alarming rate just to amp up the drama. Seriously, in several rpgs I’ve been in, conception and birth have happened all in the very same thread and it doesn’t matter if the kid has some wacky demon DNA or is a normal, human baby.

Babies are nothing more than Sue pawns. Suethors love to create situations where the baby is lost, stolen or in some sort of danger. The baby is an extension of the Sue and it gives her a chance to run around and scream, "WHERE’S MY BABY???," "THAT GUY TOOK MY BABY!!!," or "MY BABY IS TRAPPED IN A CAVE IN!!! WON’T ANYONE HELP ME?" Before I got wise to this practice, a Suethor once asked me to have my character kidnap her baby. I agreed to it, hated every bit of that storyline and had to fight her to take the baby back she was busy enjoying all the drama it was affording her. I will never do that again.

Perv Sues

Of course perverts join role playing games. There was once an episode of To Catch a Predator where a perv was being dragged from a house in handcuffs and he was claiming that he was only role playing. Many sickos troll role playing games looking for ways to act on their sexual fantasies. They figure if they are online, they aren’t actually doing anything wrong even if they are not even concerned with old the other players are.

I was once in a Buffy rpg where a player joined as Oz, the werewolf. For a while he seemed fine even though he was writing an awful lot of scenes for himself only. He said that a gypsy cursed him and forced him to turn into a werewolf and stay that way AND, if that weren’t bad enough, he was made to grow to 10 times his size. He started powerplaying, picking up other unwilling characters and rubbing them on his giant genitals.

As a collective rpg community we all stood up against this and he had no idea what the problem was. He assumed it was just because he didn’t ask first but he was banned, his posts were deleted and we all went on as if that had never happened.


If you choose to let your character have sex, make sure the person you’re role playing with has the same outcome in mind that you do. Is the sex part of the plot or just a cheap thrill? Are you involved with someone who isn’t really interested in what you want or do they just want to use you to scratch their balls?

Role playing involves dealing with lots of selfish people and sex is just one of those issues that can make it better or worse depending on what it’s purpose is. Figure out what you want and make it clear to your partner how much you’re willing to do. If you both can’t agree, don’t go through with it.

"Clarysaa Louisa" Knows it All

As I've said before, rpgs and fanfiction often go hand in hand. Some rpg sites offer spots for fanfiction on their forums. Authors will post their fanfictions and put it up for the approval of other members. This happens the most when the rpg is based on a movie, TV show book. It's tempting to show others that have similar interests, what you've done with the established characters. I can't fault anyone for needing to get things like this out of their systems and asking others for their opinions.

But, of course, some fanfiction ideas are so stupid that you have to fault some authors for ever bearing their souls with these silly, pitiful stories. This author mixes Harry Potter and Hannah Montana into a very unholy crossover. But is that really bad enough? No! Let's add an original character who is more magical than Harry and a better singer than Hannah.

This is the story of "Clarysaa's Secret." Meet Clarysaa Louisa. That's pronounced 'Clah ri say Lou i say.' She is secretly a famous singer, although it's noted by the author that she's normal, and her real name is Serenity Karma. At the age of 16 she gets a mysterious letter from a school called Hogwarts. At this point in the Harry Potter timeline, we've just finished book 6 so the future of Hogwarts is uncertain and Harry is living with Ron's family as is Hermione.

I won't be showing off the entire fanfiction. I think your head would explode if I were to subject you everything. You can read it here if you dare but I warn you, it's a doozey! And if you are wondering why everyone praising this crap keeps saying, "PAMS!" that means Please Add More Soon. I, actually, found myself saying, "DAMN!" which means Don't Add More Now.

Serenity Karma smiled to herself as her father drove her into town one sunny morning. Her long, black hair flew out beside her as she turned the window down. She laughed, her blue eyes sparkling with delight.

'Hey! Roll that window back up little lady!' her father, David, ordered. Serenity turned to him, her eyebrows raised.

She rolled her eyes at his stern look and sighed, rolling the window back up. 'Dad,' she said. 'Where are you taking me anyway?'

David looked at her, his chocolate eyes twinkling mischeviously. 'You'll see,' he said, turning on the stereo. Serenity cocked her head to listen to it, then her favourite song came on.

'Hey, Dad!' she said. Her dad had always written songs. 'You wrote this song, remember?' she shouted, laughing again, and singing along to the words.

'You're always there for me when I need you most, you're always there for me cos we're so close, you're always there for me though you're a ghost, cos you've always been there for me,'

'Honey, when you left me, I was so alone, honey, when you left me, I was so depressed,' she began to sing, until David frowned and turned the stereo off.

So her dad writes dull, pointless songs. And the family dynamic is just like Hannah's: A dad, an older brother and no mother. Not only am I questioning this author's unoriginality, I'm asking how poorly thought out Hannah Montana is. It's sort of like visual crack with a baking soda filler.

Checking in with Harry Potter, we catch him in the middle of feeling sorry for himself when a song comes on the radio...

Harry sat up. He frowned at her voice. It was the best voice he'd ever heard sing, and that was saying something, because he could remember his mother singing to him when he was a child. It was only a faint memory, but he could vividly recall her voice. She had been amazing, never missing a note. But now this...Clarysaa sounded even better.

'Without you, I'm so dead
Without you, I'm trapped in my own head,
Within you, I'm so alive
Within you, in the water I dive
Don't leave ma gain, honey, dear one
Just please, stay, and listen to this song
You're my everything, and if I lose you,
I have nothing, so please tell me that you..."

Next we learn that everyone seems to think Clarysaa is way better than Hannah Montana. In a goofy radio interview, the host gushes all over Clarysaa and she acknowledges she's better but in a humble, modest yet giggly way. She doesn't want to make Hannah feel bad but too late. Hannah charges into the studio where the two girls eye each other up. Clarysaa is all shruggy and sugar sweet while Hannah is spitting nails.

Serenity starts attending Miley's school and they meet again. Miley, by this time, has become an unbalanced, raging bitch who attacks Serenity with a bowl of pasta while the poor Mary Sue was just trying to be friends. The fathers of the two girls decide the best way to end this feud is to make the girls perform together.

Meanwhile, Harry goes out and buys himself and his friends tickets to a Clarysaa Louisa/Hannah Montana concert. Might as well. Something has to help him get over the horrible deaths of Sirius and Dumbledore and what better way than to drown himself in the meaningless lyrics of not one but two incredibly screechy pop singers?

Harry looked at Ron and Hermione wacked his arm, hard.

'Ron,' she muttered, quietly.

'It's okay, Hermione. I'm over. I've stopped mourning. No point mourning till after I got rid of Voldemort is there? And the only way I can do that is to go back to school and learn more, isn't it? I would like it if Hogwarts did remain open. But I doubt it will,' Harry said, rather cheerfully.

'Wow, Harry, how come you're so cheerful now?'

'What? No reason. Do I have to have a reason?'

'Yes,' Ron and Hermione said in unison.

In some silly, contrived bit of crap, Miley and Serenity are forced to live together and reveal their secret identities to one another. Miley is so floored that she says she's sorry for being such a nasty, hateful, horrible, jealous, pasta-tossing whore and Serenity apologizes for being such a nice, sweet, popular, perfect Mary Sue. They hug and squee and things just might be okay for these two.

So the concert happens and it's awesome and fans are screaming and wetting themselves in glee as the two girls perform. Serenity peeks out into the audience and someone catches her eye...

This is it, Serenity thought.

She relaxed as the music started, and followed Miley in the moves as she turned around.Serenity's eyes hit on a boy with messy, black hair and emerald green eyes. She frowned, before noticing his friends. Two redheads, one male, one female, and another female with bushy, brown hair.

No. It can't be. What's he doing here?

Hermione is only smart enough to work out half of this moronic dribble:

'Hermione! Isn't that...doesn't that look like one of the Gryffindors?' asked Harry, gesturing towards Clarysaa.

Hermione looked up, and nodded.'Looks a lot like Serenity Karma. She left school last year. SHe never mentioned if she had a twin,' Hermione frowned. 'Wonder where Serenity is then?'

Oh! The wangst is going to kill me. SQUEE!

Harry gave up searching for Serenity after about half an hour after the concert had finished. He had been unable to find her, not knowing she was just behind the door for VIPs.

'Come on guys, let's get back to the Burrow.' Harry said, sighing, as he lead the way to the door behind the few fans who had hoped that Hannah and Clarysaa might come back out.

The others nodded and, as soon as they turned down a dimly lit alleyway, disapparated, apparating back to the Burrow.


Serenity let out a sigh of relief after about an hour where only VIPs had come through; she'd chickened out of going to talk to Harry and Miley had been unable to convince her to go back to their changing room as she had to be sure he'd left.

By the time she was, it was late and Miley had to peel her from the door and door the corridor to their changing room.

Hurridly changing, they were back at Miley's house and, as soon as their heads hit the pillows, they fell asleep.

And... that's the end. This is all this author could write before school took her away such a riveting story. We'll never know if Harry will fall in love with her, if they are brother and sister or if Voldemort will decide to steal Clarysaa away. I could have lost the plot of the story but if Hogwarts kind of sits in rubble now, who sent Serenity the letter and what exactly was it about if she was already enrolled as a student there? If she already has magic, why did she tolerate all the noodle-lobbing from Miley?

We still have a few more years of Harry Potter movies to go and more time to get Harry matched up with whatever new flavors of the day show up. I'm not looking but I expect somewhere out there someone has Harry, Hermione and Ron dancing and singing with the cast of High School Musical. I won't be bringing it to you because I like being sane.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

RPG Samplin'

Character applications are full of tells as to who is going to be the Sue-iest of Sues but no section of the application is more fun to read than the role play sample. On the surface, this is merely a test to see if a player can string a sentence together, if they care about spelling or grammar and how imaginative they can be within the game. Beyond that, samples show off a character. That character must be represented in a short, one-sided narrative where they get to make all the choices. It's like crack for Sues!

A Treatment Worse than the Sue

When I read a sample, there are a few key things I look for and one is how the author treats their own character. Of course an author cares very much about their own character but what tone do they use when talking about his or her actions? Are they sympathetic to her problems? Are they matter-of-fact about his stoic nature. Are they trying to get you to sob because she's an anorexic? Do they want you to see how manly he is? Perhaps she's nerdy and no one gets her. What if he's goth and sometimes cuts himself but he has a sweet nature to others?

A tone regarding the character, in and of itself, doesn't say if a character is a Sue or a Stu but I worry a great deal when the author cares too much a character to the extreme that the character is over pitied or uber admired. I have to wonder if the author will expect me to do the same when I encounter this character in the game. Am I supposed to want to hold this Sue tight to my bosom until she stops crying or revere his gifts with a sword? Any sign of unapologetic boasting or relentless flaunting, as well as dreadful pathos or hopeless sorrow and I want to steer clear away from this character in the rpg.

Look What I'm Doing!

Once the facts have been established about a character, it's time to see them in action. What sort of scene does the author choose to exhibit their character to the world? The scene they plunk their character into shows what they find important about their character. I've found that the most frequent scenarios involve showing off a talent, a trait, or showing how the character got to be where they are now.

*Whatcha Got?

Some samples show a character being challenged so a certain talent they have can shine. In some cases, that's a great thing to show off but how it's displayed can send up an instant red flag that this person will be a nightmare to interact with. I'm not sure how many times I've read samples where Mary Sue is outnumbered yet still defeats some nasty foes but we've seen it twice in this blog with Kryssa and Rose Hermione of Gisbourne. Kryssa used her infinite powers to subdue the baddies while Rose was just too smart for anyone to best.

*Are You Always Like This?

This scenario is like taking a snapshot of this character's life, accentuating a trait. Tabby Sue did this when she captured a mouse, killed it quickly to keep it from suffering and then fed it to her warrior clan. Tabby Sue is very humane for a cat. She is the best at what she does and she provides for everyone and this is something she does all the time. This activity is something that defines her personality. An Emo Stu may show the same defining action by showing a scene where he's misunderstood by an authority figure.

*When Do You Sue?

All samples take place in the past or present because the future would be silly. I actually like the scenes that show how a character became the way they are and how they ended up within the world of the rpg. Taking a moment in time to show a character's past is interesting and shows their worth as a player. Of course, the glorifying and the depression can bring it all down and so can a past like that of Lysol where nothing actually happens. If a character is boring in their own sample, they will be boring in active role play too.

NPCs: Non-Player Chumps

Non-player characters are the faceless, nameless saps that authors place in their samples to interact with their character. In some cases NPCs are treated as background or a means to tell a story but in the hands of a Mary Sue they are sniveling, stupid sycophants. They can't hold her down, they can't do anything without her and they can't find their own ass with a flashlight. In some cases you can ask yourself, if they treat an NPC like this, how will they treat your character? Will you be shoved out of the way so Mary Sue can shine?


If the character acts differently in the sample than they are in the bio, watch out. If she says she's shy but in her sample she's dancing on a table at the local pub, she won't be consistent in the rpg either. If his history was that he spent all his life in a dojo learning samurai skills and he's hacking into computers in his sample, ask yourself why he wasn't following through with what he said. There may be something he's not telling everyone in the world of the rpg that he ought to be saying.

A Sue of Two Worlds

It's preferable for me to see the author using the character they intend to play in the rpg for the sample, not a character from different rpg, but I think the same tells can apply. The character they are using can still be a princess who saves the world and treats NPCs like crap. The reason for choosing another rpg scene could be as simple as the players feels that the scene that character is in represents the best of their abilities. I often wonder if that scene is the best they can do, what does that bring to this rpg with different characters and circumstances? How much reign will they have over the character they just created if they feel another one expresses them better? Some owners ask for examples from the authors that are from other rpgs and I'm not sure why. I don't see the benefit of it.

Skipping the Sample

When I see a player skipping the sample entirely I have two ideas about that person already. 1.) They are actually a member of the staff or, 2.) The player doesn't really care what anyone says, even the owner, so they don't have to follow any instructions at all. I feel that everything an owner asks you to do must be done without question. If you want to be in the rpg, you must subject yourself to all the whims of the staff. And if the author doesn't care about what the staff wants, how much will they care about you as a fellow player?

Perhaps the third possibility is that the author just can't think of a scene. It's possible that when joining a online, free-form role playing game, some authors find themselves with nothing to say. That bodes well, doesn't it?

What it All Means

Read those samples carefully. Maybe as an owner, you can give your players a topic for the sample such as, "How would your character act at a party? What would their dream vacation be like? If they could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and why?" It will make players think a bit more about their character. You don't have to but it can help those who are stuck, curb the Sues and separate the authors who won't respect you.

As a player, samples reveal who the author is that I'm dealing with and if I should keep my distance as to avoid any fucking with my character so badly that I want to walk away from the game in an angry huff. Look out for those attention whores, the arrogant authors, the weepy creeps and the blathering bores that only see you as another NPC.

Stay tuned for samples that make me shake in my boots!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

So Strong, I'm Weak

The Purpose of Strengths and Weaknesses

When an owner asks for a character's strength and a weakness, this is not a throwaway request. It's not there to fill in space. They are serious categories that need lots of consideration from the person applying to that rpg.

I know that I measure a character's worth by how the author replies to strengths and weaknesses. As an rpg owner or fellow player, I pay extra attention to this because it tells me exactly how the character will be played. Let me tell you how I read Strengths and Weaknesses.

Cadence Drew and the Case of the Mystery Strength

It goes without saying that all powerful characters are a pain in the ass. They are a huge no-no and warnings against this can be found in every rpg. The following most annoying mistake is not defining the strength in a reasonable way... or at all. If Gary Stu is the perfect killing machine and leaves it at that, I have no idea what he does. Could be anything. He's left a lot open for himself to be able to do. Same with Mary Sue saying she's a witch. Sure, we all have a general idea of what witches can do but Mary Sue has allowed herself the ability to do whatever she likes. Gary Stu has a mysterious past and his powers are just as shadowy. He's likely to pull any magic out of his ass just to come out on top. Being vague and secretive about ones strengths is being a poor sport.

I think part of the temptation in doing this comes from movies, books and TV. While it's interesting to watch a cryptic or aloof character and wonder what they will do next, that translates poorly into an rpg. RPGs aren't centered around one person. Everyone has their own story to tell and swooping in with some hidden or omitted strength that solves a problem ignores that. And let me tell you, in an rpg the mindset of other authors is usually on the arc of their own characters. They could care less about someone elses arc and won't take the time to watch the big reveal of the mystery character. What's the reveal anyway? Mary Sue and Gary Stu are better at everything. We already knew that. That's not a shocker at all.

No such thing as an Excusable Strength

Ever heard someone say, "Well I said I could do that in my bio." Sometimes it's not even said but implied. The truth is, it's the worst excuse for bad behavior in an rpg. Sure, if an author says in their bio that they can read minds, how responsibly will they use that power? You can never know how someone will use that talent or gift until you see it in the rpg. You have to hope they won't read your mind and guess what you are up to and stop you before you can carry it out.

When someone points out that they claimed that strength, it's not a valid excuse to wreck a story because of that strength. While you may have read in the bio that someone is a witch, there is no way to predict that they would use their magical powers to levitate your character above a dangerous situation to save you. If someone uses this excuse on you, remind them that the rpg is based on cooperation and you need some in order to complete your story. You are entitled to a plot and it's not fair if it's interrupted by someone who feels they are entitled to tout their strengths around in your face.

Wasting a Weakness

I worry when a weakness is glossed over or downplayed. Even if a strength is well defined, a mismatched weakness can throw everything off balance. Mary Sue may be an animagus but so what if her weakness is being allergic to cinnamon. A vampire has super strength and can't die easily but he can't sing. Mary Sue is still a strong animagus and the vampire is still has super strength. How much do these weaknesses really slow them down? Mary Sue can just get an allergy shot and a karaoke contest to the death isn't likely to happen to the vampire.

Choosing a weakness that can never happen during the course of an rpg is the lamest thing one can do. The author thinks they are being clever by doing this but it effectively crosses out a weakness and only leaves a strength. Ex:

  • Afraid of oceans while living in a desert.
  • Fears an abusive father who won't be showing up in the rpg.
  • Scared of thunderstorms and lives on a spaceship.
  • Allergic to pizza sauce while the character is a warrior cat in the forest.
  • Dying. Don't get me started on rpgs that make rules about characters not being able to kill one another and Mary Sues who say that killing them is a weakness. For fuck's sake, it won't be happening if it's against the rules!!!!11!!!!

Beware of JAWs

A JAW is a job application weakness. This is a weakness that is worded in such a way that it really comes across as a strength. Say that a potential employer asks what you consider your flaws to be and you tell them, "I'm a perfectionist. I just want everything to work so well that I will nitpick at a project until it's successful." Authors who create weaknesses like these are scary:

  • She is afraid of losing those she loves so she's fiercely loyal.
  • He speaks his mind no matter what the cost.
  • She tries to befriend everyone she meets.
  • Men and women both want to get into his pants and he just wants to please everyone.
  • She's always running late because people on the street beg her for her autograph.
  • He's so smart and rich that people expect him to be stuck up.

God Moding Strengths and Weaknesses

This is when an author tells you how you should look at their character. This is such a gray area that I'm not sure what is right and wrong but I can tell you how I feel when I see certain things.
I'm more likely to respect this if the author is a member of the rpg staff or the character is some sort of authority to my character. Beyond that, if this character is an equal to mine, I evaluate how this demand/request effects my character.

It's human nature to ignore someone who tells you that you have to look up to them. Too many times I see Mary Sues who will actually say, "She's so gorgeous that guys want to sleep with her and girls want to be her." Fuck that! I'm not going along with her story at all if she's going to be that way about it. If another author says of their character, "Most people think he's a big dork," I don't see anything wrong with going along with that. "Most people" indicates that I don't have to follow if I don't want to and if I do want to, I'm welcome to decide for myself if being a "dork" is good or bad. Invitations work better than commands.

In Conclusion

These petty replies for strengths and weaknesses can also be found in categories like likes, dislikes and fears. Waffling answers, deliberately vague responses and lame distractions in these areas send up red flags that a character is lacking and an author doesn't really care about you unless your character is down on all fours like a human ottoman. Protect your own character and answer these categories intelligently and watch out for players who don't.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Brains and boobs? Who knew?

Sues are sassy, sarcastic, witty, keen, incisive, astute, shrewd, pointed, cunning, wise-beyond-years, edgy, acerbic, scathing and need to tell you about it all the time. It's a good thing that they are not only curvaceous, purple-eyed veelas, they have the brains to back up everything they say. Inviting interaction with a Sue can sometimes get you a good lashing from her "sharp tongue."

"She knew of the stories and legends of the warriors and enemies of Ohu, and she seemed like an intelligent little thing that possessed a sharp tongue."

"Her temper is quick to surface and quick to cool, although she is generally easygoing. She has a sharp tongue and a biting wit, using sarcasm as freely as air."

"She looked at Selene with a smirk. 'You'd best watch out around it. It has a sharp tongue and a dirty mind.'"

"Like the rest of her race, Rowyn is also very intelligent, though her cunning mind and sharp tongue can get her INTO trouble as easily as OUT of it."

"Though mostly quiet, Emma has quite a habit of lashing out a sharp tongue. It has made her many enemies, as has her blood status as a Muggle-Born."

"Peg does not have fire red hair but she does have the sharp tongue that would go with it. She is cool to a point and then the heat is raging."

"Although she can have a sharp tongue, she usually thinks before she speaks and never disobeys the leader's orders."

"She’s very open-minded though, finding vampires and werewolves to be quite civilized as long as they can hold their own against her sharp tongue."

"Poison practiced her silver, but mostly sharp, tongue on the others in their little gang, and she was a favorite."

"She has quite a sharp-tongue, and if you want sympathy from her you will have a hard time getting it."

"She is quick whitted and has a sharp tongue, meaning she sometimes can get herself into trouble."

"Phaedra is quite impulsive with her sharp tongue. She believes that whatever she thinks, she should say it aloud."

"She is perhaps best known for her fiery temper, sharp tongue, and razor wit; unfortunately, one is rarely exhibited without the others."

I could keep going with this, but I should give time to their illiterate mates; those with a "sharp tounge."

"Personality: Nice though sometimes he has a sharp tounge."

"Personality: Quiet, Patient, cunning, brave, proud, can have a sharp tounge, caring and generous to those close to her, can be shy at times, But if angered can be vicious."

"Get to know her and she's fun and freindly, get to know her a little better and she's fun friendly and has a pretty sharp tounge to boot! Get to know her as well as I have and she's a wonderfull person with a glowing personality. Wuv her :)"

"'Well well well, such a sharp tounge you have, stranger' In an instant Shadow was in front of the shadowy figure."

"Personality: Valderas has a sharp wit, and occasionally a sharp tounge. He is focused, and once he latches onto a particular objective, he does not easily let go."

"Weapons: A bow, and arrows, and her sharp tounge of course"

"She mostly has a calm and sweet nature and you do not want to see her mad. When she is she tends to have a very sharp tounge and tends to act harshly."

"She is usually quiet but has a sharp tounge and is very opinionated. She says exactly what she thinks and doesn't give a flying fart in space whether or not anyone likes it...that's just the way she is."

"PERSONALITY: amourous, loves to be in love, romantic, can be a bit mean, sarcastic, witty. She is mostly kind hearted but has a sharp tounge and a bad temper. She can be very sensitive."

"Personality: Hot headed and tempermantal, she possesses a sharp tounge and tends to be very blunt on her honesty."

"Personality- Blaize is called the Sarcastic for a reason, he is the paradigm of a verbal ironist. He allows it to get the better of him almost all of the time and all around him tend to suffer his sharp tounge."

How about some time to the sadder members of this group:

"She has no time for foolishness, she cannot stand fools, ignorance, or billigerence. She has a sharp tonge when she uses it, and has a quick mind."

Not yet. Three more.

"Dark angel was stumped she hand just met this girl and allready she was way past the espectations dark angel had set for her."Well well well thats quita sharp tong you've got there now if only you mind was just as sharp then we would get somewere."

"He has a rather sharp tong and has not jet figured out when to keep it behind his teeth."

"My for a pretty wench you have a sharp tong."

So how do you feel after spending time with a Sue's most pink and perfect asset? Well, at least one of them.