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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


With Play Dirty 2: Even Dirtier kickstarter about to complete with a $16,000+ payout, I realize...

... I have 41 hours to write and post a F&F writeup of Play Dirty.

GO.



Play Dirty part 1: "Then again, as my buddy Jess Heinig so aptly comments, “John put all his points in ‘Con Man.’”"

I wrote a bunch of words on this, but I'm scratching all that out. I started out like the typical way I write an F&F, snarking and nitpicking my way through the text, but it didn't feel right. I just felt like a bully. I've met John Wick a couple times, even talked to him for hours, though I wouldn't expect him to remember, or to remember the time he lost his cool and shouted at me before storming off. He was full of piss and vinegar, and I was full of whatever metaphor goes for fandom. I learned a lot from John Wick that informed me as a gamemaster. Some of that I've really had to unlearn. It didn't work for me. It may not work at all. There's some good advice in this book. There's also a lot of ways for a GM to smugly abuse their players.

Both John Wick and I are different than when this book was written, so don't judge him too harshly. That's not to say he's a different person, but that he's grown since then, and I have too. He apologized for yelling at me, but I haven't really seen him since then. It's probably been a decade. I was asked to write this by a few people, but I don't necessarily know if I have a profound insight. This book is part of my history, though, as I tried to learn from it. Even John Wick admits in the introduction he isn't the same guy who wrote these articles.

That being said, you can still judge him. It's not for me to stop you. I just want to let you know I'm trying to be fair. This is going to be very hard as we get into this book. It's probably okay to be a little unfair, given that's what Wick prides himself on in these pages.

Introduction

"The Fifth Wall" is Wick's manifesto for this book, trying to make sure players feel that they're the center of the game. It's a good idea presented smugly. There'll be a lot of that.

Wick hints at a secret hidden in the text, but it's fairly obvious to me: he claims to be a "killer GM', but it's pretty much the opposite. He does just about everything but kill player characters. He drags them through the mud and blood, but doesn't generally outright murder them. He more murders the ego of his players, as we'll see. It's also a bunch a nonsense once he gets around to literally describing how to kill characters but damnit I am trying to be fair here.

On to the next one.

Next: "There's more than one way to kill a Champions character."

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


38 hours

Play Dirty part 2: " I told him he was seeing trolley cars wherever he looked and he had no choice but to make the roll - and make it at -5, at that."

This chapter is about "murdering" characters with their traits, mainly their drawbacks and disadvantages. Mr. Wick is all about making you pay for those free points you got. Now, the issue I'm going to point out is that the example game is Champions, a game that expects you, in the merry Marvel way, to humanize your character by loading them down with drawbacks. So it's a soft target of a game when it comes to this. Any character is going to have drawbacks.

So let's see what Mr. Wick does with this.



Episode 0: Hit 'Em Where It Hurts

The answer is Jefferson Carter. He's a wealthy and charitable millionaire that goes to great lengths to defend superheroes legally and ensure they're free to go about their derring-do. In short, he's set up as a patron for the PCs. Oh, and he's a telepathic sadist that plays "human chess" with people.

John Wick posted:

Why has Carter gone to all this trouble?

The answer is simple.

Because he can.

Carter is a singular point of criticism for Play Dirty, because his seemingly weak characterization makes it hard not to seem that Carter is Wick and Wick is Carter, a god-NPC set up to troll players. That's not quite the case, but he's quite deliberately designed as a working tool of the antagonistic GM style.

So he describes Jefferson undermining a heroine through her "dependent" grandma by exposing her identity violently. Gran-gran dies of a heart attack. There was a swaggering "combat monster" who gets his berserk drawback triggered by a psychic foe. He hurts some innocents and gets thrown in prison. There's a hero with a code against hitting women and obeying the law. So he gets hooked up with a love interest that turns out to be a villain and is drugged into beating the crap out of her. Each of these is described with a certain glee.

John Wick posted:

Malice retired the very next day and nobody bought a DNPC again.

John Wick posted:

I suggested to Scrapper’s player that he should be more careful with his Disadvantages. Surprisingly enough, the next character he made was a little more respectful of the rules. Go figure.

John Wick posted:

Needless to say, under his drugged state, he demolished the poor girl (he had 50 more points to play with, after all).

Let's take Scrapper aside for a moment. Scrapper goes berserk when he sees red trolley cars; his mother was killed by one. It's a silly way for a Champions character to pack on points for a game taking place in a midwestern city, to be sure. In the article, John doesn't bar the character from his game. He lets him play for weeks, to the point other players complain about him, then drops the character-eliminating bomb. He doesn't just explain to Scrapper's player "you know, that really isn't in the spirit of the game", seemingly. He has to punish the player for his temerity, instead, in a passive-aggressive way, instead of confronting the situation openly.

But we haven't even gotten to the pièce de résistance for Wick which is punishing characters for their advantages instead. Make a lucky character who uses a reroll to avoid an area attack leap into a bigger group of villains (or just guilt him for leaving his friends to get bombed). Or find an envelope of money that belongs to a criminal group!... it's all a strange definition of "luck", really. To nail a character with Immunity to Disease/Poison, Jefferson creates a special disease that targets metahumans (and somehow overcomes the Immunity), but Mr. Immunity is immune to the cure. Then there's using the Find Weakness power, so Jefferson throws punks against the heroes that have no hope, and so when they exploit the punks' weakness, they murder them.

Now, a commonality of these is that they require a... creative reinterpretation of the definitions of each advantage. None is really in the "spirit" of the rules. But I guess following the spirit of the rules is something to apply to players, not GMs, as far as Young Wick goes.

Lastly for this chapter, we have Mr. Fabulous, whose player works out a tragic death scene with Wick's involvement where he tries to talk down a kid with a gun and gets show. This is a demonstration of his Code vs. Killing, but also is... dun dun dun, another Carter plot, where he tries to make everyone feel sad about the death of Fabulous, but instead they get mad and find out that somebody hired the gun-wielding kids. Of course, that "positive" outcome only came out by going Wick's way, but I could be reading too much into it.

On to the next one.

Next: Hello.

LornMarkus
Nov 8, 2011



Gazetteer posted:

Rose Whip
The name of this move is, for the record, a Yu-Gi-Oh! reference. So, you can decide how you feel about that on your own, I guess.


Actually, so is Elegant Egotist. If I recall the original show correctly, it was the card that cloned the single Harpy into three of them.

Golden Bee
Dec 24, 2009

I came here to chew bubblegum and quote 'They Live', and I'm... at an impasse.


The Harpie is in the Fury 'mode', in that you get superpowers instead of teen drama powers. The question worth asking of a skin is, "would I, a teen monster, accept someone who acted like this, even with misgivings?"

Golden Bee fucked around with this message at 23:33 on Dec 2, 2014

theironjef
Aug 11, 2009

The archmage of unexpected stinks.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

So let's see what Mr. Wick does with this.

I have a knee-jerk reaction that the author might be an rear end in a top hat if they start any sentence with "Needless to say," especially if it's reference to how someone reacted to the author's great idea. It's a weird quirk of mine, but it has long served me well.

Golden Bee
Dec 24, 2009

I came here to chew bubblegum and quote 'They Live', and I'm... at an impasse.


It's hard to be charismatic when you talk about besting other people. Even more so when they're people you sat down to have fun with.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


35 hours

Play Dirty part 3: "And the Good Side makes you want to sleep with your sister and kill your father."

Now, Wick talks about the difference between a killer GM and a dirty GM, where a killer kills but a dirty GM apparently challenges the players. Mind, looking at the previous article, I'm struggling to see the difference. Just because he didn't kill characters doesn't mean he didn't throw them into retirement, jail, illness, or any other number of other means to remove them from the game.

Episode 1: Getting Dirty

John Wick posted:

But (and this is an important “but”, folks), every time they get knocked down, they want to be able to get back up.

Okay.

John Wick posted:

That’s right. Just like the Chumbawumba song.

Okay, you can stop right there.

John Wick posted:

Being Irish, it just comes to me naturally.

Goddamnit, Wick. :facepalm:



So, Wick talks about throwing off setting assumptions players might take to heart. For example, in Amber, he made Corwin a bad guy (the narrative of the novels coming from a false Corwin) to throw off the players understanding of the setting. He explains on how to do the same with Vader; that the Jedi just wants revenge for being on the losing side and manipulate Luke against Vader.

It's actually a neat idea and I'll give kudos to Wick for it. It's a short column and there's not much to add. Things are looking better. I hope.

On to the next one.

Next: "And so, the purpose of this second episode of Play Dirty is devoted to explaining the often misunderstood actions of one of my oldest friends, Jefferson Carter."
dammit

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Golden Bee posted:

It's hard to be charismatic when you talk about besting other people. Even more so when they're people you sat down to have fun with.

Don't forget that, as the GM, you have absolute control over what happens. GMs bragging about 'winning' are missing the entire point.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


34 hours

Play Dirty part 4: "Was that a low blow? I can’t tell anymore."

So, the internet being the internet, some people came out and pointed out that Carter was a jerk villain to pull on players. So he tries to explain himself.

Episode 2: The Return of Jefferson Carter

Wick used to be known as a killer GM, running Call of Cthulhu, but eventually he got sick of mulching character sheets. So he took up Champions, vowing never to kill characters. Of course, he still took characters out of the picture all the time, pointing the finger at the players for giving up. Is that fair? Eh, you can decide.

He tells the story of his game, how he drove people to quit until he got a crew of regulars that wouldn't give up, including the infamous example of a player that spent six weeks waiting in jail for the other players to break him out. After a year and a half, they eventually do find out about Carter and manage to take him down, though he makes double-plus attempts to ruin them, like financial hassling and false criminal charges (including rape), as well as actual assassination attempts, but they get to throw him in jail and bring in some of the players that quit for cameos.



Wick admits the mistake in writing the earlier article was talking about the punishment without the payoff, but at the same time-

John Wick posted:

Time and time again, players kept redesigning new characters, thinking they created the ultimate “anti-Wick” character. “Let’s see him kill this one!” they’d say.

But they kept missing the point. I never killed anyone. I just pushed them. Pushed them as hard as I could, as far as I could. Some kept fighting the good fight. Others gave up and left, disgruntled that they’d been “Wick-ed” (a term someone on the Pyramid discussion boards just recently invented). I never killed them. But they always always—gave up.

A case of "show, don't tell?", or an example of simple passive-aggressiveness? Who is at fault for them "missing the point", the players, or the GM who made them struggle over a year to provide it, and got a dozen players to quit his game?

Then we get a digression about how Wick can't get a non-gaming job, despite his game writing experience and winning awards, but since he doesn't own that work, he can't make money off of it. And so he quit AEG to make his own way... which he'd eventually find. I remember hearing people ask AEG employees when they'd get Wick back a long time ago. They'd laugh, maybe a bit nervously. Some bridge was burned. You see it in one of the last Bayushi Kachiko cards, the one that has "Uikku suku diku" written in kanji on the doorframe. There's the credits page for the Legend of the Five Rings RPG which credits a lot of last-minute work by a notable team of writers reworking Wick's manuscript. There's the Five Rings adventure I had playtested for Greg Stolze which saw Wick (and Ree Soesbee) rewriting the whole adventure without Stolze's input. There's the vitriol Wick has hissed about Ryan Dancey in other columns. Maybe Wick just quit to pursue other creative endeavors. Or maybe- just maybe- he might have had difficulty getting on with folks. He was an angry guy at the time, as far as I can tell. I remember him complaining to me with things they wouldn't let him do in the CCG story... while he was still writing for it. Which was fantastic to hear as a fan, but for an employer to hear, it'd be much more damning.

But it's mostly a speech in how much crap he's willing to go through because he loves role-playing games. Which is obviously true, because I think it's essentially true of anybody who self-publishes.

On to the next one.

Next: "There’s nothing to learn here. Move along."

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Play Dirty is a great resource for aspiring GMs. All you need to do is read it, then do the exact opposite of everything Wick does.

Evil Mastermind
Apr 28, 2008



Alien Rope Burn posted:

Wick used to be known as a killer GM, running Call of Cthulhu, but eventually he got sick of mulching character sheets. So he took up Champions, vowing never to kill characters. Of course, he still took characters out of the picture all the time, pointing the finger at the players for giving up.

So he's the emotionally abusive boyfriend of GMs? "Baby, why you make me got to hit you?"

Davin Valkri
Apr 8, 2011

Maybe you're weighing the moral pros and cons but let me assure you that OH MY GOD
SHOOT ME IN THE GODDAMNED FACE
WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR?!


Wow, he sounds like a complete passive-aggressive jerk. How was he still getting players after the earlier ones quit?

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Davin Valkri posted:

Wow, he sounds like a complete passive-aggressive jerk. How was he still getting players after the earlier ones quit?

I get it was a local nerd badge of honor to "survive" Wick's games. Like his CoC would apparently pride themselves on missions survived (17 was the record, on account of the character walking around with a bomb vest, like you do).

Hostile V
May 30, 2013

Solving all of life's problems through enhanced casting of Occam's Razor. Reward yourself with an imaginary chalice.



Alien Rope Burn posted:

I get it was a local nerd badge of honor to "survive" Wick's games. Like his CoC would apparently pride themselves on missions survived (17 was the record, on account of the character walking around with a bomb vest, like you do).

...a bomb vest, like, he's wandering around wearing C4 strapped to his chest and a detonator all the time?

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

LornMarkus posted:

Actually, so is Elegant Egotist. If I recall the original show correctly, it was the card that cloned the single Harpy into three of them.

You're right. And Thunder Talons appears to be a Magic the Gathering card. So... some of these moves are named after things from mythology and folklore, but others are just game references.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


pkfan2004 posted:

...a bomb vest, like, he's wandering around wearing C4 strapped to his chest and a detonator all the time?

John Wick posted:

Soon enough, surviving John’s Call of Cthulhu game became a kind of badge of honor. People wore buttons to the weekly meetings with numbers on them, indicating how many sessions they survived through so far. The highest number (I believe) was a young fellow who boasted a 17. He never read a single book, never cast a single spell, and always had three sticks of dynamite on his body every moment of every day. He also had a “panic button” that detonated the dynamite—just in case.

That Old Tree
Jun 23, 2012

nah




Davin Valkri posted:

Wow, he sounds like a complete passive-aggressive jerk. How was he still getting players after the earlier ones quit?

RPG hobbyists have a long history of enduring the stupidest poo poo just so they can play, even if the playing ends up sucking as a direct or indirect result. And, hey, sometimes it's fun to play a certain way. Mostly I imagine it's probably the first one.

pkfan2004 posted:

...a bomb vest, like, he's wandering around wearing C4 strapped to his chest and a detonator all the time?

I think he means like bomb disposal gear. Which fits right in to a CoC game!

EDIT: Oh. Welp.

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

Davin Valkri posted:

Wow, he sounds like a complete passive-aggressive jerk. How was he still getting players after the earlier ones quit?

You could probably find four to six people willing to endure being punched in the balls if it meant they got to play D&D regularly. A lot of gamers will show up to bad games because, to them, bad gaming is better than no gaming.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


I'm sure at the end of all his stories, everyone in the gaming club stands up and claps, too. Honestly, a lot of it just sounds like poo poo that didn't happen.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


33 hours

Play Dirty part 5: "Well, I’m here to tell you that’s a load of horse hockey."

This is on getting players to help you design a setting. Wick sees getting too far into detail as a trap, and opts to find freeform ways to let players design part of the setting. It's a similar philosophy to modern games like 13th Age or Apocalypse World or Dresden Files, but some of the techniques are a little different.



Episode 3: The Living City

First he describes having players take up the roles of NPCs for a Vampire game, handing them off to players absent from a scene, and using nametags to keep things clear. He sees that as an interesting way to get players to flesh out a setting and see it as a large whole. Secondly, he goes over letting PCs use the environment creatively in most than just fights, but also to create new NPCs or locations.

John Wick posted:

They were standing in the college campus cafeteria and one of them said, “And there’s Mean Mr. Mathers over there, eating pea soup.” Then, another one chimed in. “He’s the only one who eats the pea soup.” It was brilliant and I let it stick.

I like pea soup. :shobon: But then, I might be mean from time to time.

Really, this is a little old hat at this point in gaming over a decade later, so there's not much to go on about. Wick has a habit of talking down instead of with, but it's okay and he compliments his players a lot. This chapter is pretty good, even.

On to the next one.

Next: "I do not write “pretty good.” I write well."

Golden Bee
Dec 24, 2009

I came here to chew bubblegum and quote 'They Live', and I'm... at an impasse.


Alien Rope Burn, I'd like to officially call out whoever gave you this challenge as an rear end in a top hat. This thread is now a Wick Occupied Landfill.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

To talk about the OTHER passive aggressive monster recently...I actually like the Harpy. Like yea, it's on the nose, but that's a good thing for a concept like that. I think the pathos is there, the sex move shows they literally are unable to complement anyone, even the ones close to them, unless they're willing to weaken themselves pretty strongly, and their bonus to attack stuff shows them being monsters is actually way more on the surface than most any others, I kinda see what they're going for there. They're monsters, and it pisses them off. They're not sexy vampires, they have too much humanity left to avoid being consumed by a hunger or something, they're just beings with a full awareness that they're horrible creatures that no one really has any positive things associated with. Like, their name is literally an insult at this point. They're good at hurting people because they literally can't stop hurting people, and instead of being depressed they got angry.

I kinda want to play a Harpy to be honest.

Mors Rattus
Oct 25, 2007

FATAL & Friends
Walls of Text
#1 Builder
2014-2018



The Harpy's not passive aggressive.

It's just aggressive, straight up.

Honestly it'd probably be a lot less objectionable if it was passive aggressive, since then it wouldn't be quite as actively stomping all over one person over and over and over and over until they literally try to kill themselves. Since, you know, it'd have to be hurtful in somewhat more indirect ways.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

Yea I just wanted to call Wick a passive aggressive monster really.

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

Tatum Girlparts posted:

To talk about the OTHER passive aggressive monster recently...I actually like the Harpy. Like yea, it's on the nose, but that's a good thing for a concept like that. I think the pathos is there, the sex move shows they literally are unable to complement anyone, even the ones close to them, unless they're willing to weaken themselves pretty strongly, and their bonus to attack stuff shows them being monsters is actually way more on the surface than most any others, I kinda see what they're going for there. They're monsters, and it pisses them off. They're not sexy vampires, they have too much humanity left to avoid being consumed by a hunger or something, they're just beings with a full awareness that they're horrible creatures that no one really has any positive things associated with. Like, their name is literally an insult at this point. They're good at hurting people because they literally can't stop hurting people, and instead of being depressed they got angry.

I kinda want to play a Harpy to be honest.

I'm told it's actually a very unpleasant and not-terribly-fun skin to play, in practice.

S.D.
Apr 28, 2008


Maybe that's the point, though? 'You're a bad person and you should feel bad' and whatnot.

Golden Bee
Dec 24, 2009

I came here to chew bubblegum and quote 'They Live', and I'm... at an impasse.


People have layers. MH (all the times I've played) is about moving between the monstrous and the human; not entirely fitting in one world, or the other, but being hosed up in your pursuit of it.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



problem, people don't play games to feel bad - if a player feels like a lovely person for using those moves, they will stop having fun. And if one person stops having fun, it echoes in a game group.

Gazetteer
Nov 22, 2011

"You're talking to cats."
"And you eat ghosts, so shut the fuck up."

S.D. posted:

Maybe that's the point, though? 'You're a bad person and you should feel bad' and whatnot.

You're free to play the "well maybe it's supposed to be terrible" game if you want, but I'm not terribly interested in that idea, personally.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


32 hours

Play Dirty part 6: "This guy is The Enemy."

This one's a doozy.

John Wick posted:

This month, we’re talking about Problem Players.

Now, the chief problem with these guys is that most of them are friends of yours. Like Bob who sits at the corner of the table with his laptop open, playing Starcraft when he should be paying attention, with his Übermonster character all full of loopholes, who barely looks at his dice when he rolls them (and hopes nobody else does because they’d see that 17 he rolled is really a 7), who won’t go along with the rest of the party because that would “compromise his character concept.” Yeah. That guy. We’re talking about him.

Obviously, the way to deal with these kind of things is to take Bob aside, talk with him about your concerns, see if he'll work with you as an adult. And Wick agrees! For a moment. But only if he stopped there. If only.

John Wick posted:

And, by the way, that is the real way to handle this situation. If Bob is screwing up your game, you tell him he’s screwing up your game. But if that tactic doesn’t work (or you’re afraid of the repercussions of doing it), then try a few of the following tactics.

In short: these are tactics for assholes. We start with Wick's technique for dealing with grim loners that always kill. Have the cops capture them and throw them in jail. He puts a lot more :words: into it, but that's the gist. But that's not all!

John Wick posted:

Now, I don’t know about you, but I have a rule in my games: you don’t get to make another character until the one you’re playing dies. That means, Bob gets to play his perfect combat machine in an 8x8 cell for the rest of his natural life.

“What are you doing this round, Bob?”

“I’m watching the cockroach crawl across my cell.”

For life.

If he asks really nice (and agrees not make that kind of character again), I’ll let him make a new character. Of course, a few years later, Mr. Bad rear end breaks out of prison and goes after the party for revenge.

As an NPC.

Played by Robert DeNiro.

:cripes:

I really just need to let a lot of this speak for itself:

John Wick posted:

But then there are players who feel they need to break other rules. You know, the ones not listed in the book. “The Laws of the Table,” one of my players called them. They boil down to a few simple rules:

I. Pay Attention

II. Don’t Invoke Monty Python

III. Don’t Read at the Table

IV. If You Must Speak, Whisper or Pass a Note

Those kind of rules. Players who can’t seem to follow these simple rules of etiquette really chap my hide.

So what's Wick's solution, somebody breaks a rule, a black die goes in a bowl. Then, on a "crucial" roll from a different player, remove the die and say:

John Wick posted:

"YOU FAIL."



He suggests you may want to have white die go in a bowl for "YOU SUCCEED". If you like.

Now, the next bit has to how to deal with powergamers and system abusers. You kill them.

Well, there's a little more to it.

What you do is use a GM screen, and then arrange some dice as a powerful critical hit. Then, after giving the powergamer a tough fight against a combat monster you've designed, you sigh, shake your head sadly, and reveal the critical to kill off the character.

Seriously. Dammit, Wick. But certainly he's never used that kind of trick in real life, right? It's just bluster?

John Wick posted:

Now this is a nasty trick. I used to use it a lot when I was running Champions.

... nevermind.

How to deal with rules lawyers:

John Wick posted:

First, take away his character sheet. Then, tell him if he doesn’t remember how many dice to roll, or if he rolls the wrong number of dice, or if he forgets something on his character sheet...

HE FAILS.

It’s all about emphasis.

Or replace his dice with lower-value dice! Or let him automatically get hit when he's not paying attention and looking something up. Or-

John Wick posted:

When Rules Lawyer Bob gets hit with a blind spell, blindfold him.

“What did you roll, Bob?”

“I can’t tell. I’m blindfolded.”

“Well then... YOU FAIL.”

Wick wraps up this section saying he doesn't use these techniques very often, but they're an important way to teach a player lessons. Are they? Really? Or are they just a way to passive-aggressively lash out at pet peeves? Well. I guess not all of them are that passive.

Oh, and I ran across some art for the upcoming illustrated version of a the superheroine watching gran-gran die, too late for the relevant post. Apparently the next reprint will be illustrated.

Yeah.



On to the next one.

Next: "I’ve been to wrestling camp, folks. I’ve been taken down by my thumb."

RocknRollaAyatollah
Nov 26, 2008



Lipstick Apathy

Alien Rope Burn posted:

The answer is Jefferson Carter. He's a wealthy and charitable millionaire that goes to great lengths to defend superheroes legally and ensure they're free to go about their derring-do. In short, he's set up as a patron for the PCs. Oh, and he's a telepathic sadist that plays "human chess" with people.

This is pretty much Maxwell Lord from DC Comics. Even as someone touting themselves as one of the best game runners there is he can't even make his own original villains.

sexpig by night
Sep 8, 2011

Endorsed by:
Pentecoastal Elites!
fart_man_69!
Terminal autist!
Ruzihm!
Judakel!
Dixon Chisholm!
Nix Panicus!
Neurolimal!

I dunno, obviously I'd give my group a heads up of 'hey this skin basically involves me being a horribly emotionally abusive dickbag to the point of poo poo like self harm and all, that cool?' but I don't think I, the player, would feel too bad playing a character like that. I just think that the skin fits the supernatural creature well, and being on point should be a good thing for this stuff considering how much we've had to wade through that boiled down to 'the writer kinda didn't understand the concept they're going for here'. I hardly think it's my favorite skin ever or think it's really even top three or whatever, but I can dig the just unrepentant 'yea I'm going to make everyone around me hurt' in a game where emotional manipulation and abuse is already A Thing.

Halloween Jack
Sep 11, 2003

Let your word be "Yes, Yes" or "No, No"; anything more than this comes from the evil one.




If you want to play an abusive shitbag, you can do that as any Skin in the game. The Harpy, on the other hand, is overpowered and extremely shallow. But yeah, if you want to play an irredeemable sadistic psychopath, and you can find a group that's cool with that, and also cool with you running roughshod over them, and also with one character making GBS threads the bed by literally turning into a bird-clawed monster whenever they get mad, have fun with that probably-imaginary group.

theironjef posted:

I have a knee-jerk reaction that the author might be an rear end in a top hat if they start any sentence with "Needless to say," especially if it's reference to how someone reacted to the author's great idea. It's a weird quirk of mine, but it has long served me well.
For me it's "Dear reader."

Halloween Jack fucked around with this message at 04:11 on Dec 3, 2014

Kai Tave
Jul 2, 2012


Fallen Rib

That whole part of Play Dirty reminds of of once, when I was actively moderating RPGnet, someone started a thread asking for advice in the general tabletop roleplaying forum on how he could administer electrical shocks to his players in order to make gameplay more "visceral." Safely he qualified, he wanted to administer electrical shocks to his players safely. All in good fun, like you do around the gaming table, sending electrical shocks through your friends' bodies whenever a monster lands a critical hit against them.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Alien Rope Burn posted:

So, Wick talks about throwing off setting assumptions players might take to heart. For example, in Amber, he made Corwin a bad guy (the narrative of the novels coming from a false Corwin) to throw off the players understanding of the setting. He explains on how to do the same with Vader; that the Jedi just wants revenge for being on the losing side and manipulate Luke against Vader.

I can't really agree with this. If you're playing in an established setting, chances are that your players want to play in that setting as described, and make their own mark on it, not suddenly discover that the Jedi council is a bunch of evil asshats and has been playing them for patsies, or Elminster uses timestop as a magical roofie. If you're going to subvert things, make sure your players are in on it.

The collaborative worldbuilding bit is surprisingly good, on the other hand.

Night10194
Feb 13, 2012

We'll start,
like many good things,
with a bear.


Bieeardo posted:

I can't really agree with this. If you're playing in an established setting, chances are that your players want to play in that setting as described, and make their own mark on it, not suddenly discover that the Jedi council is a bunch of evil asshats and has been playing them for patsies, or Elminster uses timestop as a magical roofie. If you're going to subvert things, make sure your players are in on it.

The collaborative worldbuilding bit is surprisingly good, on the other hand.

Remember, 7th Sea is about cthulhu and never getting on a boat, and gently caress your players if they want to be pirates and swashbuckle. It's the same drat trick over and over and over. It's his only trick. Similar with the Scorpion being the 'true' Samurai and going gently caress HONOR when the L5R setting is all HONOOOOORRRRR to a ridiculous degree.

Bieeanshee
Aug 21, 2000

Not keen on keening.




Grimey Drawer

Christ, I've been reading these threads forever and that didn't even click. Now I feel critical and ill.

Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


RocknRollaAyatollah posted:

This is pretty much Maxwell Lord from DC Comics. Even as someone touting themselves as one of the best game runners there is he can't even make his own original villains.

To be fair, Maxwell Lord - at least at the time of the articles' writing - had nuance and had an interesting redemption arc. Jefferson Carter is just a maniac (long before Lord became just a maniac, too). But don't worry! A less original character will indeed show up later, ripped right out of a comic, so there's that.

Bieeardo posted:

I can't really agree with this. If you're playing in an established setting, chances are that your players want to play in that setting as described, and make their own mark on it, not suddenly discover that the Jedi council is a bunch of evil asshats and has been playing them for patsies, or Elminster uses timestop as a magical roofie. If you're going to subvert things, make sure your players are in on it.

Yeah, I've written most of this very quickly, and on second thought realized it's problematic to upend basic setting assumptions, because at a certain point you're not playing in that setting anymore. So you're absolutely right. It might still work for some settings, that's practically standard practice for Amber, but for Star Wars it would be too much to do without warning. Mind, as we'll see, Wick has no issue with lying to players about the game they'll actually be playing.

Robindaybird
Aug 21, 2007

Neat. Sweet. Petite.



"Surprise Jedi are evil!" really does fit with Wick's MO, nice people can't have nice things, and there's no such thing as a good guy.

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Alien Rope Burn
Dec 4, 2004

I wanna be a saikyo HERO!


Darth Vader certainly fits better with the petulant manchild ideal.

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