your characters are like geodes
if you want to see what they’re really made of
you must break them
this is the best writing tip ive heard in ages
THIS IS EXACTLY MY APPROACH TO WRITING
I like this concept with roleplay as well. Though you have to be sensitive to the path the player sets, pushing a character with challenges that must be dealt with by more than mechanical skill sets makes the best roleplay. Also having to cope with bad rolls. Unless your dice are like mine, in which case that’s just second nature. Heh.
Not sure why I haven’t seen anyone talking about this but through March 31st you can get the “All-New Marvel Now! Teen Heroes” 4 pack for free! just add to cart on the marvel comics shop online and apply code “TEEN”.
This is for an English paper I need to write.
And like if not
DMing for a group of pure Power Gamers:
Dear Min/Maxers: just stop. You’re doing it wrong.
gunwildversuseverything said: Serious question though Brian, is that the P.O. box where we can send you stuff us fans have made that you might like? Thanks in advance.
yes. people send comics, music and movies they made, it’s pretty amazing.
but SEND CONTACT INFO!! at least two artists this year missed out on a potential opportunity because there was no contact info. it drives me NUTS!
c/o Jinxworld Inc.
4110 SE Hawthorn blvd. #438
Portland, Oregon 97214
Disclaimer: The debates regarding D&D <3.5 (A)D&D alignments is as varied as it is spite- and rage-fueled—primarily among the most reviled and yet gleefully adopted Chaotic Neutral players. As a geek girl in the wild, I freely admit to sticking my foot in it with unabashed tongue in cheek. The writing advice, however, I’ll stand behind. … Because that’s where rogues do it best.
"When you’re CN, You’re CN all the way— From your first murdered man To your fated PK!" — The Unofficial Chaotic Neutral Song
It begins with someone in your circle of friends and gamers—most likely the one who has run every campaign under the sun (and the ones in the Underdark, too) speaking up with words very similar to this: “You guys, I have an idea!”
Suddenly, you find yourself with 4-6 other gamers feverishly drafting up the most vile, despicable, evil characters you can possibly imagine. The Lawful Evil childlike necromancer from the one who’d watched way too much anime? Check. The sexy, scantily clad Neutral Evil elf chick played by the one who never realized that getting laid took more than a dice roll? Check. The Chaotic Evil Int-dump barbarian played by the one who really doesn’t get this whole roleplay thing and just wants to kill as much as possible in a single session? Double check.
And then there is—there always is—the Chaotic Neutral character. Typically a rogue of some sort, because backstabbing one’s friends is almost as much fun as stealing their shit. Or this shining example of psychosis is a sorcerer of some kind, because if you can’t steal their shit then setting one’s friends on fire is hilarious.
Layer on an “anything goes” template and you’ve got fiends rolling with vampires and lycanthropy all up in that grill, and you just know nobody’s getting through this campaign in one piece.
Which is only partially the point of a good campaign.
D&D: Playing the Game
A crash course, if you will: Dungeons and Dragons is, at its heart, a pen and paper adventure game. For those of you who are not aware, think of it like a video game, but instead of a computer to do all the calculations, you have actual printed character sheets. And instead of a graphics engine, you have something called your imagination.
Much like your standard RPG, you make a character, get together with a handful of other characters, and immerse yourself in a world where your goal is to do quests, solve mysteries, rescue the [whatever got kidnapped] and kill the [whatever kidnapped it]. You gain magic items, upgrade your gear, and everything else you can do on a computer or console game, but it’s all done on paper.
Dementedly barbaric, right?
Ah, you just can’t go home again…
There is usually one person running said game—that person is called, among other things, the Dungeon Master, the Game Master, the Storyteller, and so on. God. They are the voice of every NPC, ever peasant, every kidnapped spoiled nobility, and (in theory) the impartial die-roller of your fate.
So, in short, you are playing out a story that is one part designated by the DM, and one part designated by the roll of a die.
The Hero’s Journey
One of the most engrossing aspects of D&D is the ability to play the quintessential hero’s journey character. You begin life as a level 1 nobody. You’re lucky to be just a little bit more interesting than Farmboy Jim, who obviously made Charisma his dump stat because he tends to smell like horse manure and Pine-Sol.
As a level 1 fighter/bard/rogue/wizard/sorcerer/etc., you aren’t exactly Chuck Norris, but as fate would have it, you probably walk into the right tavern at the right time to hear some sob story about how times are tough and the King’s daughter has been kidnapped and that dragon is razing good farmland—so much for Farmboy Jim—and there’s really good coin as a reward for solving any one of these.
So you and your adventurous compatriots go off on a journey that will test your mettle, your friendship, your luck, and—most notably—your ability to comprehend basic math.
Oh, THAC0. How I never miss you except as an extremely tired and old joke. Because you were never not funny.
Through fire and brimstone, Drow and dragons, you fight and roll and loot and maim your way into the annals of history—which is to say, somewhere beyond level 20. Congratulations. You are a hero.
But what about the other side of that story? What about the bad guys you’re fighting?
What’s their jam?
Hint: It should be exactly like yours.
Backing Up, Starting Over
Let’s start this all over from a writing point of view.
You know what it takes to create a character who is Destined to Become a Hero(tm). You’ve given her (let’s say her, because waaaugh, rawr, strong female character, whoosh!) a goal that will either start or end up to be extremely heroic, you’ve given her motivation to justify why she needs to attain this goal, and the conflict that you—as god, and occasionally in the role of story minion—will be throwing in the path to achieve said goal.
This is where the D&D path converges.
"A villain is really just the hero of his or her own story."
As a D&D character, if you happen to have a backstory no more interesting than Farmboy Jim (may Kelemvor have mercy on that poor sod, because we’re in the Forgotten Realms, now, bitches), you’ll gain one within the first game session. You may also come ready with your own Epic Goal(tm)—take revenge on your father’s murderer, hunt down your missing sister after she forsook her vows and fled the convent you put her in for “safekeeping”, kill the dragon that wiped out your best friend Jim, whatever.
What is most likely is that you are given your Goal Most Heroic(tm) by the Dungeon Master via particularly pessimistic and/or hysterical non-player character (who insists that times are tough, as if you didn’t know). Boom. Ready-made quest. The next few hours are like writing a book—with three to five other people.
As a writer, you know—of course you know—that a villain, an evil character, is really just the hero of his or her own story. Every villain needs a suitably epic goal, a determined motivation, and the conflict—usually in the form of the world and heroic characters—to thwart said suitably epic goal. Whether it’s destroying the world, murdering one of the heroes, or taming the dragon, there must be a reason.
And this is where the D&D path diverges.
Everyone who’s ever played an evil campaign D&D game will understand me when I say: man cannot live on dreams of carnage alone.
D&D Evil Campaigns are a PK-fest—that’s “player kill”, for you uninitiated—waiting to happen. Here’s why:
- Evil, by nature, does not play well with others. This is because a great deal of easily understood evil comes from selfishness. The selfish need for revenge, the selfish desire for more [insert desire here], the selfish belief that one is the end all, of all and should rule the world—or destroy it so no one else can. Ergo, “selfish” does not lead to trust.
- Campaigners, by nature, only really develop “work together” skills up to a certain level. A D&D campaign is as much about working together as it is shining as an individual, and many gamers are more interested in shining than in sharing. it’s a rare group who develops the strength of cooperative gameplay enough to trust and rely on each other to make the right—or at least best they can for the situation—calls at the right time. An evil campaign only widens that gulf: combine the most common view of evil (re: selfish) with a player’s innate need to be the most badass mofo on the block, and there is no more trust out of character than there is in character.
- The only thing to fear is fear itself (or a figurehead that embodies said fear), and when there is no reason for an evil character to fear (or respect), there is no reason for him to toe the line—and the key point for any successful party, whether in a D&D group or on the page, is everyone on some level must toe a line. Just like real life, you can’t just do anything you want and expect everyone else to fall in with you. The main difference between a good character and an evil character is that in many cases, evil (remember: selfish) sees no reason to cater to the common decency demands that keep us civil. Where there is no need to be civil—whether enforced by social mores or by a greater demand—there is no chance of trust. Compromise is the key to working together.
Do you see a trend here?
Any time a group of evil characters gets together, they must figure out the common denonimator that will keep them from turning on one another: and that must create a certain amount of trust—or at least a guarantee of some kind that keeps the characters in line enough to work together to achieve the goal. Without a Goal and the Motivation to achieve it, per character, an evil party will cannibalize itself.
And let’s face it: most of your average D&D gamers aren’t so complex that they’ll worry about these sorts of things.
Which brings me to the bonus stage: the exception to the above.
Chaotic Neutral: The Alignment of Twats (and Serial Killers?)
A Bonus Mini-Rant
Disclaimer: Yes, I know some of you love this alignment and probably play it well. This probably isn’t about you.
When it comes to the Chaotic Neutral member in your party, you can take everything I said and toss it right out the fucking window. Chaotic Neutral—much like the hunter class in World of Warcraft—is very easy to play, and very hard to play well.
Here’s what Wikipedia has to say about the Chaotic Neutral alignment:
A Chaotic Neutral character is an individualist who follows his or her own heart, and generally shirks rules and traditions. Although they promote the ideals of freedom, it is their own freedom that comes first. Good and Evil come second to their need to be free, and the only reliable thing about them is how totally unreliable they are.
In the most shallow of definitions, the things most people pull out of this is: I do what I want, when I want, because I want to at that moment. Or, in a blunter format, I don’t believe in consequences, so fuck you.
Chaotic Neutral is the single most reviled alignment in any party. And the primary reason for this is that they have frequently confused Chaotic Neutral with Chaotic Evil.
Chaotic Evil is the alignment of (most) serial killers, those who are evil not because it’s unexpected but because they are extremely selfish and have no regard for others. Psychopathy is the hallmark of Chaotic Evil.
And yet legion is the number of Chaotic Neutral characters who will gut a fellow party member to claim the trinket said fellow found, of the sexy sorceress who will sleep with anyone who asks (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and then throat them after (definitely something wrong there), of the barbarian who will go slaughter an entire village for no other reason than because it’s fun, and so on.
Clearing Up the Misunderstanding
In AD&D—which is primarily Dungeons & Dragons with a new ruleset, and what everyone my generation and younger tend to base all D&D knowledge on—the Chaotic Neutral alignment was mistaken to mean a particular subset of crazy that captured the imagination and lusts of younger minds the world over: to wit, instead of the Captain Jack Sparrow or Snake Plissken brand of CN, they assumed it meant a hardcore version wherein change was always good, and chaos was king, and anarchy in the UK!
As these things are wont to do, this brand of Chaotic Neutral spread like wildfire, and it became part of the cultural memory of the D&D multiverse. Even now, if you ask a room full of people what Chaotic Neutral was, you’d get more “chaos for chaos’ sake” than you would “savvy?”.
And because of this, CN has not only earned a bad rap, but it’s considered the most “fun” you can have in a non-evil party.
Whenever someone tells me they prefer to play Chaotic Neutral, my ass begins to twitch.
A Public Service Announcement
When you are considering making an evil character, either for a D&D game or a book, I want you to consider these things:
"Without a Goal and the Motivation to achieve it, an evil party will cannibalize itself."
- Does your character have a Goal? If not, you can quit right now. No goal means no reason to do anything.
- Is there a strong enough Motivation to keep your character(s) going, to do what it takes—even if it means working with others—to accomplish it? If there isn’t, then just like any good-aligned character, the chances of said characters completing anything is minimal. It’s the equivalent of waking up one day and going, “You know, I think I’ll paint my kitchen. Or… you know, maybe not.”
- Does your group—either your campaign group or the party your book character has to work with‚ have a higher chance than normal to fall apart at the first sign of Conflict? If so, go back into your G/M/C charts and do what you need to do in order to fix that. If everything hinges on the other guy not being a douche, your character is in for some severe disappointment.
- Do you actually mean Chaotic Neutral? Or have you confused that morality with Chaotic Evil? Be sure.Captain Jack Sparrow may be a twat, but he’s not a serial killer. There is a difference. If you can’t see what that difference is, you need to go back to your G/M/C charts and ensure you have a solid grasp of character traits—what they are and what they aren’t.
- Are you (or your character) evil for the sake of being evil? Look, there’s nothing wrong with this, but just like any protagonist, you need more to keep going. See PSA #1. Being good just for the sake of being good is the same way. There has to be a why. Nobody is born in a vacuum. If you find the why, you’ll find the momentum.
And lastly, if you ever find yourself running, heading, or involved with an evil campaign, remember this: without trust or enough blackmail material to guarantee a certain amount of fear, this will only end in tears. Tears and bloodshed. (And if you’re the sort to think about factors like “long term viability” and “working together”, the tears and blood shed will probably be yours.)
Good luck, and gods speed.
Where I run we’ve cultivated a sort of playable Evil, a viable Evil Lite and a definite restandardizing of CN in a sandbox-y setting. A lot of what is written by the OP is extremely sound advice, whether you’re running a table top game (in any ‘verse) or a story based video game (‘specially sandboxy games).
Thankfully our formula seems to weed out a lot of these potentially negative experiences and sets us up to be able to guide player into a pretty rewarding experience for CN or any E (though not CE because, like the OP says, serial killers and the sort are CE and that’s pretty much a non-viable team effort, also not Family Friendly).
Oh, the blood and tears though… (but evil, right?)
My Little Raptor by briannacherrygarcia
FRIENDSHIP IS DISEMBOWELMENT.
I LIKE THIS.
Reblogging this for my girls. This needs to be done.
Because of Haiyan’s very recent devastation, please consider contributing to first-respondents efforts:
If you’re looking for someone missing in the Philippines, or if you have information about someone there, Google.org has launched the Typhoon Yolanda Person Finder. A Google crisis map has also been added to detail evacuation centers and areas designated for relief.
Charities and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) from around the world are responding to this disaster. Many are detailed below with how they’re providing aid and how you can help them make a difference.
The Philippine Red Cross (PRC) has deployed rescue and relief teams to evaluate the damage in the areas devastated by Typhoon Haiyan. You can donate to the Philippine Red Cross by selecting the Supertyphoon Yolanda campaign on their donation page. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) and Red Cross networks from around the world are supporting the Philippine Red Cross. Many have created specific funds for this disaster, including the American Red Cross, Canadian Red Cross and the British Red Cross.
The Salvation Army is on the ground serving storm survivors, primarily with food, water and shelter. Emergency Disaster Service teams have been providing help since the typhoon hit, but are challenged by the lack of accessible roads to transport goods and medical supplies. The non-profit has set up a designated fund for Haiyan relief efforts, which you can access here. You can also make a donation by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (1-800-725-2769).
The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC) is working with local authorities, the Filipino Jewish community and their global partners to assist in providing for survivors’ immediate needs. You can support their efforts online or by phone at 1-212-687-6200.
CARE's emergency response teams are coordinating with local partners in the Philippines to provide food, water, shelter and health care for those in need. Their teams in Vietnam are preparing for the potential need there as Typhoon Haiyan continues its devastation. You can support CARE's efforts on their website, or by phone at 1-800-521-2273 within the United States or +1-404-681-2252 outside the U.S.
Catholic Relief Services, the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the U.S., is on the ground helping with water purification, shelter materials and essential living supplies. You can donate to the organization’s efforts online or you can call 1-877-435-7277. You can also type in your phone number on the website and a representative will call you back to take your donation.
Convoy of Hope's Global Disaster Response Team has shipping containers full of food and supplies on the way to the Philippines. The organization is preparing more supplies to be sent like canned goods, hygiene kits and water filtration units. You can visit Convoy of Hope's website to donate funds to their efforts or call 1-417-823-8998.
Mercy Corps is preparing to deliver food, water, temporary shelter and other basic supplies to devastated areas throughout the Philippines. You can support the organization by donating through their website, PayPal, or by calling 1-888-747-7440.
Oxfam America aid teams are on the ground in northern Cebu, northern and eastern Samar and Leyte, in the Eastern Visayas region in the Philippines. They’re working to provide immediate access to water and sanitation materials. You can support this effort by donating online to their Typhoon Haiyan Relief and Recovery Fund, or by phone at 1-800-776-9326.
Adventist Development and Relief Agency's (ADRA) emergency response team is working in Manila and in the province of Bohol to provide food, emergency relief and medical aid to those in need. They have launched an emergency appeal that you can support online or by phone at 1-800-424-2372.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) has dispatched an emergency team to Manila and launched a $10 million appeal in order to ensure immediate needs like safe water, hygiene and sanitation are met. If you would like to contribute to their efforts, click here.
Operation Blessing International (OBI) has deployed disaster relief teams in multiple locations following the massive devastation from Typhoon Haiyan. The organization is providing clean water and food, emergency shelter materials and medical assistance. To help the charity’s mission, you can make a contribution on their website.
Food and water
The World Food Programme was already providing emergency food assistance in the Philippines following the October earthquake. With these emergency food stocks stretched thin, they’re now mobilizing additional supplies and are flying in 40 tons of fortified biscuits in the coming days. Additional food supplies are needed. You can help these efforts by donating online or by calling 1-202-747-0722 domestically or +39-06-65131 for international calls.
Samaritan’s Purse has sent disaster relief specialists, including water and nutrition experts, to the Philippines to deliver immediate aid. They have launched the Philippines Emergency Relief fund for this disaster, which you can support online or by phone at 1-828-262-1980.
World Vision is responding in the Philippines by first providing emergency food and clean water. They will also work to create child-friendly spaces and help families rebuild from this disaster. They have launched a Philippines Disaster Response Fund that you can support online or by calling 1-888-511-6443.
Action Against Hunger is on the ground providing drinking water and survival kits containing buckets, soap and chlorine tablets. They’re also working to distribute sanitation equipment to prevent outbreaks of waterborne diseases. They’re requesting assistance and you can help by donating online or by calling 1-877-777-1420.
ShelterBox was already in the Philippines providing shelter after the 7.2 earthquake that hit Bohol on October 15. They are now expanding their operations to provide tents and essential equipment for families left homeless after Typhoon Haiyan. You can support their work in the Philippines either online or by calling 1-941-907-6036.
Habitat for Humanity is already providing help to 30,000 families with shelter repair kits to rebuild their damaged homes. You can support this work by donating from the Philippines to their Re-Build Philippines Fund or from the U.S. by contributing to their Disaster Response Fund. You can also make a donation by phone at 1-800-HABITAT.
Architecture for Humanity is mobilizing to assist with post-disaster reconstruction and the organization’s working with local architects to identify the most critical rebuilding needs. You can support their Super Typhoon Haiyan Response online, by calling 1-415-963-3511 or by texting REBUILD to 85944 to make a $10 donation from your mobile phone.
Americares has an emergency shipment on the way to the Philippines with enough medical aid for 20,000 survivors, including antibiotics, wound care supplies and pain relievers. You can support Americares with an online donation or by calling 1-800-486-4357.
International Medical Corps has pre-positioned medical supplies and their team is on the ground coordinating with their partners in the Philippines to distribute and provide medical aid. You can support their Typhoon Haiyan Emergency Response fund online or by calling 1-800-481-4462.
More than 1.5 tons of emergency medicine and medical supplies are en route to the Philippines from Direct Relief. The supplies include antibiotics, pain relievers, nutritional supplements, antifungal medications, wound dressings and chronic disease medicines. You can call in your donation by dialing 1-805-964-4767 or you can go online to support the organization.
Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders (MSF) have emergency teams in Cebu city with an additional 50 people including medical personnel, logisticians and psychologists arriving in the Philippines in the next few days. They’ll bring tents, supplies of drugs, medical equipment and material to purify water, as well as essential plastic sheeting, cooking items and hygiene kits. Teams will monitor possible outbreaks of infectious diseases. An additional cargo is being prepared due to leave later this week from Bordeaux with an inflatable hospital and medical material. You can make your donation by calling 1-212- 763-5779 or online.
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is helping children and their families in the Philippines receive shelter, clean water, nutrition and vaccines. Their emergency response can be supported online or by calling 1-800-367-5437. You can also donate directly to UNICEF in the Philippines here.
Save the Children is offering disaster relief support for children in the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam after Typhoon Haiyan. The charity has pre-positioned relief material kits for children and families, which will include toiletries, household cleaning items, temporary school tents and learning materials. You can support their Philippines Annual Monsoon and Typhoon Children in Emergency Fund online. You can also donate by phone at 1-800-728-3843.
Emergency response teams from ChildFund International prepositioned supplies, including emergency kits and tents, and made arrangements with local suppliers to access food and non-food relief supplies. The organization is also preparing to setup child- centered spaces where kids can feel safe. Donate to ChildFund online to help children cope and recover confidence after this disaster.
Teams from Plan are also on the ground responding to the needs of children and their families. Their priorities are vulnerable youngsters and communities in rural locations. You can support their appeal on their website.
I’d love to see someone attempt to defend the clothing industry
YES! Except I spend way more than $30 on bras because my size isn’t sold everywhere only specialty bra stores. Last time I went bra shopping I spent close to $400 for 4 bras >_<My bras are like $45 or more
And then we have maternity clothing… which you wear for like, 3-7 months depending. Which all cost 3x as much as the stuff you’re suppose to wear for a year.
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