Totally Not About Sheldon

So, originally this post was going to be about The Big Bang Theory, and why people seem to love Sheldon. Then I changed my mind. (Seriously, though, what’s up with that?)

I changed my mind because it’s a banal post, devoid of even the slightest hint of thought or perspective. And I’d like to flatter myself, that I’m the king of welding tiny slices of insight to utterly banal topics.

The problem is, even my trademark slight sliver of knowledge takes time. For example, this dashed-off missive took me over an hour to write, including no less than four trips to various online sources to nail down minor details — Is it Big Bang Theory, or The Big Bang Theory? Oh, the latter. — many of which I ended up deleting. And all my recent time has been spent on Torg.

Ah, Torg. My white whale. My Daisy Fay. My Wally’s World. My personal, 21-year gaming obsession.

(“Dude, you just went literary on their asses.”)

The last couple of weeks have been amazingly fruitful, so far as producing new material goes. It’s unexpected, but nice. Of course, all this focus on Torg doesn’t mean I’ve abandoned ∞ Infinity.

To the contrary, I’ve been making little notes here and there, so even if no major posts have appeared, my hindbrain is still grinding over the mechanics, working them out and fitting them together.

In time — a pretty short time, I’m guessing — I’ll be back, making post after post detailing how Initiative works or how magic works or some other damn thing. Until then, riddle me this:

Why do people love Sheldon? Are they just insane?

Things I Can’t Help Watching

My roommates watch Food Network. I don’t. It bores me to tears. No Iron Chef fan be I.

Except for Chopped. Don’t know what it is — the basket full of freaky ingredients, the truly incredible things the chefs do with those ingredients, the frantic editing (and manipulative musical score) that artificially imposes tension on something that’s actually pretty boring — but if this is on the TV when I walk past, I just end up watching the rest of the show. Happens every time.

I don’t even fight it any more. If I see it, I just sort of sigh and sit down for the 15-20 minutes left (fortunately, it’s a short show) and see who gets chopped.

Don’t know why, it just is. Cool show, though.

People Are Crazy… But That Crazy?

So, I’m living with my aunt… again. And she watches the Hallmark channel, like all the time.

I’m in the kitchen, getting breakfast. On the TV, a young woman is preparing to leave her fiancé. Seems her (future) mother-in-law purposely put nuts in a dish; the young woman is deadly allergic to the nuts, and the (future) mother-in-law knew it.

The guy says, “Wait, don’t go. Let me talk to her.”

What?

What?!

WHAT?!

“Let me talk to her?”

Look, asshole, attempted murder is kind of the ultimate “shit or get off the pot” moment. Either you’re with the woman you want to spend the rest of your life with, or you’re with the freaking murderer. All that “let’s be reasonable” stuff should go out the door when people are conspiring to kill you dead.

That is, by the way, one of my own little rules. “Never move in with someone actively trying to murder you.” Call me quirky, but it just seems like a potentially unpleasant living situation. (And, potentially, an even more unpleasant dying situation.)

I mean, I know people get weird about relatives, especially parents. But “wait, murder isn’t that bad, let me see if I can talk her out of it” weird?

That’s just insane.

The Setting is the Story

You find the damndest things on the Internet. Which is great for me, because if this blog is about anything (Other than, you know, the actual topic of the blog. Which I’ll get back to real soon now. Promise.), it’s about all the damndest things I find on the Internet.

Like this little gem. A fairly lengthy video, it makes one point, and one point well.

The setting is the story.

In any wide open gaming experience (he’s talking about video games, but it applies to RPG’s), the setting is the story. Empower players to wander around meeting all the cool NPC’s, monsters, and stuff, and they will create their own chains of events, their own causal links.

You can have active NPC’s and active threats. The sun rises, winter comes, orc hordes rampage across the plains. The world has to remain in motion.

But inside those events, the players should have choices. Choices are what games are all about. It’s what makes them fun. It’s what makes them different from movies and novels.

Make a cool setting. Set them free. Watch the sparks.

That’s how you have fun.

Well, Don’t Do That!

Presented for your consideration: the story of a gentleman who planned an epic campaign as a story, only to have it sunk in the first session.

Moral of the story — A man goes to his doctor, says “Doc, it hurts when I do this.” And the doc says:

Well, don’t do that!

Campaigns are not stories. They are not a chance for the GM to show off his plotting skills. They are a chance for players to make choices.

Period.

Characters should drive the events, not GM’s. (Sometimes PC’s, sometimes NPC’s.)

Why? Because RPG’s are Not Storytelling.

Period.