Sunday, November 28, 2010

"Keyboards and Bathrobes" the RPG of online RPG criticism and playtest.

Hello and happy holidays.  For this post, we have an old post, somewhat updated, which prosaically expresses my feelings at a particular online playtest I participated in, and several years of involvement with gaming foums; presented, naturally, in the form of an RPG........
Note: if you think you recognize yourself in one of the character classes, you're wrong: it isn't aimed at you...but seek counseling and psychological help anyway.  ....

"Keyboards and Bathrobes"
the RPG of online RPG criticism and playtest.


This is a roleplaying-simulationist construct derived from intensive multi-generational analysis of current and past character simulation critique systems, (or tropes, if you will) developed after extensive playetest (sic) and editing in my tiny little mind; first pseudo published in 1974 as a self published fanzine amendment to the annex of "Ringmail: WRG campaign micro economics for pre-pattern welded armor skirmish games".
This is the 16th edition, and represents a final revision of the game, bringing it entirely in line with its original contents and concepts while also completely updating all mechanisms and mechanics for the 21st century.

Part I 

You MUST include the following tables or you are not playing the correct game:

Gaming age:
1. Young: too new to gaming to be polluted by the static hidebound conventions of yesterday
2. Young An FNG noob with a big mouth, hopeless affection for the new and shiny and a small to non-functional behavioral inhibition system....
3. Old: a grognard with immense experience and resources, who has great and enduring passion for games, but has seen flash gaming systems come and go, and half assed systems disappoint, rip off and generally discourage the more naive gaming public. .
4. Old: a grognard with fossilized brains, no social skills, neophobia, unmedicated obsessive compulsive disorder and a desire to see only the earliest systems pinned to a board and put under plastic for all time.
5. Just right: an incisive critic, with tremendous analytic abilities, able to accurately dissect gaming systems and suggest elegant corrections for any system, any time, any mechanic.
6. Just right: A bitter antisocial hermit renting space from Parents, who substitutes arguing online about gaming for actual gaming with other human beings, and who is an esteemed magical experts about subjects just from reading the name, or a quick google search.

Character archetemplate Motivational skill package system which isn't simply like D&D crosssed with Runequest and written up for an improv comedy act by a demented lemur. 
1. Bitter Victim:

the designer didn't use your version of character creation, combat and dice resolution systems, despite you repeatededly emailing it to him and every forum multiple hundred times, and knocking on his front door to deliver your ms that the skeptical toadies that insulate him from the real world have hidden from him.
Skill package: Amazing persistence, deep and extensive knowledge of nasty industry gossip.
Power: stupifying stun attack based on long and self involved stories of your unfair defeats.

2. Noble contrarian:
being hated and ignored is a small price to pay for being right; as is research and testing, social skills, politeness and bathing. All failures in these areas are actually you just "being honest , forthright, and Non-PC"....and needing a bath.
Skill package: Absolute immunity to criticism, or distraction attempts based on social skills training.
Power: Derail any discussion with verbose restatements of sophomoric political or philosphical fringe agendas.

3. Expert grand professor of all time space and dimension:
Why do those stupid idiots waste my time with their questions and demands for references ! My huge brain and questionable actual experience with the subject should be and is enough ! Social conventions of polite and rational discourse are just things that happen to other people, and are to be used as exploitable weak points in arguments...
Skill package:
all of em. Seriously. All world knowlege. Immune to any fact based attack.
Power: HyperLoquatious obfiscitory verbiage ; Nuclear sneer.

4. Argument Whore:
being hated, insulted and yelled at is better than being ignored. Especially when ....actually, always. Social maladroitness is in fact what makes me you an unique, and thus superior being. Being unable to be punched over the internet helps too. Otherwise as above, but with less references.
Skill package:
Absolute moral high ground. Truly painful sarcasm and biting personal attacks; immune from same (as with most venomous insects and vermin); cannot actually be punched.
Power. 100 dice froth attack, FGMP-15 level flame attacks
5. Attention Whore:
as above, but will also rely on sarcasm, fiction, stupid parodies and even stupider attempts at humor (often self referential), for gaining attention, and distraction from a sobbing self examination of an otherwise pathetic life.
Skill package:
Immune to suggestions that you are not funny; immune to topic constraints; Can spend any amount of attention and effort on somthing that may, just may get a laugh.
Power: stupifying time-wasting thread derailment.

6. Obsessive compulsive worrier:
My anxieties about life can only be calmed by focusing my attention down to a laser-like focus on minor highly technical details of a game, and ten burying the resulting artificial anxieties under a mountain of increasingly hysterical chapter-length posts.
Skill package:
This one. No, over here. THIS one. Look closer. CLOSER. The one that is KEY TO THE GAME! And...andIS IN DANGER OF BEING changed and ruined and broken FOREVER AND THE GAME WILL BE UNPLAYABLE AND RUIN ITS COMPANY FOREVER DAMMIT ARE YOU LISTENING TO ME ??????????
Power: yes.


A list of stats should be chosen, and then either

a. increased tenfold based on exceptional weirdest case analysis or
2. Reduced to one based on simplest possible mechanic analysis and and/or an idiosyncratic clustering method or
III. Decoupled entirely from task resolution in favor of guided player/GM imagery or
D. integrated into task resolution with such stunning, labyrinthine and byzantine complexity that real life task resolution is abstractly simulated for a specific set of circumstances.
xx. Ignored, or rather, abandoned as task resolution is perforce a simulationist trope with reactionary and obsolete gamingist elements (or tropes) , and antithetical to a interactive synergistic roleplaying resolution trope.
0. made exactly the same as in "Spawn of Fashan", only with cooler names....

Characteristic generation:
Roll some doesn't matter how many, or what type since the stat distributions of all attempts to operationalize characteristics are broken, anyway.

II Experience:
True critiquists (as opposed to simple critics) will find and explicate adequate design commentary regardless of textual content or active assimilation of text ; and , as should be obvious, this applies regardless of previous experience which will guide or, more precisely misguide the active forward looking critiqueist; indeed, one can argue that any attempt to internalize text, let alone operationalize or enstantiate rules structure will hopelessly pollute the necessarily intrusive scalpel of spontaneous commentary in the service of comforting the reader, and so is to be eschewed as a bourgiose affectation and is to be avoided. 

Primary experience level, if such a concept is deemed necessary due to the unsophisticated nature of the players, is determined by the post counts at websites.

Additionally, the total number of responses to a post may be counted if the initial post uses the works “broken , incompetent, stupid,  or fraudulent”. Followup posts with actual obscenities or threats count double; however, exclude all “can’t we just get along” style posts, or actual factual answers to the original post from the count, unless that poster then goes on to later make a threat or quits the site forever. Additional bonuses include being threatened with absolute banning by the admins in an “other topics” or “forum maintainance” thread; causing a thread to be locked or deleted  counts the total number of posts in that thread as a bonus. Provoking similar threats from the owner of the board, company or author of the product under critique allows a bonus equal to the number of words in the specific post, with insults and obscenities counting double. Getting the owner or author  to quit the site is considered a win, and scores experience equal to the post count of the forum in question.

Double the points from websites, blogs and forums one is permabanned from; however simply “leaving forever” loudly and with great finality counts reduce the final score by one-half, unless one almost immediately returns and ignores having “quit forever”.

III. Campaigns

As all written campaigns deprotagonize and disempower the player, whereas randomized crawlist models make reduntant the gamemaster,  it is advised to avoid a campaign structure entirely, whilst eschewing simpleminded table sandboxery altogether. Similarly, as the actual enstantiation of the rollplaying metaphor hopelessly collapses the value of the Xperience(sic), and enforces aand, indeed makes mandatory, the tyranny of limits, fun and rules, all actual play should also be avoided in all situations.  

The end.


Chris Kutalik said...

This is the most brilliant thing I have read this weekend. Now I must go over to my own blog and rake you over the coals for my own failing to think of this.

Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

thanks amigo! great post!

Anonymous said...
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Greg Gorgonmilk said...

But is it compatible with the Papers & Paychecks passive-aggressive combat system?