RPG Blog Carnival – Mistakes, I’ve Made A Few

RPGBlogCarnivalLogoThis month’s RPG Carnival, hosted by Campaign Mastery is about mistakes made during role-play.

I’d be the first to admit that there are a few flaws in my roleplay. The one which I’m currently trying to eliminate is the use of out-of-character knowledge and out-of-character deductions. I’ll illustrate this with an example.

The last mission in the Dark Heresy campaign I was playing was set on a Chaos-riddled space-ship hulk, buried on a war-torn planet. My character was a tech-priest, the only class that is more then vaguely competent (read “has better then 45% success rate on rolls”) when it comes to dealing with technology.

So far so good. A tech-priest should be right at home on a spaceship – except this is the 40K Universe, where nothing is ever that simple.

Drawing upon everything I knew about sci-fi and Warhammer, I petitioned my party to destroy the ship. In order to do this, I suggested we find the engine core and perform some rites of cleansing to the Omnissiah (ie Press the self-destruct button).

That would have been my big mistake – my tech-priest was born and raised on an Imperial planet. There was no way he could have the knowledge to destroy a millennia old spaceship given the WH40K universe. During the next session, the GM turned round and told me that there is no way I’d have had that knowledge (after he’d dropped heavy hints to make the same point). Not a major problem as things turned out, but I really was aware that I’d used too much Star Trek fanboy knowledge as soon as I’d voiced the idea.

The correct way to play it for the character would have been to come up with some bluster about the Omnissiah showing us the path and trying to hide my lack of knowledge.

The positive side of this is that at least I’m aware that I’m doing it. Self-awareness helps me work on better characterisation and means I stop and think more before I take a character action. Hopefully in posts to come I’ll be able to look back and laugh at the silly mistakes I was making.

It’s How I Roll

DiceI roll badly.

I don’t mean that I end up sending my dice all over the floor every few minutes (although I’ve been known to do that to my dicepool after a few beers). I just roll consistently poorly.

My incompetent assassin and ‘Combine-Harvester Repairman’ Tech-Priest in Dark Heresy became running jokes. They averaged just one successful check per session until I eventually got my Tech-Priest up to 70% chance of success in Tech-Use (in Dark Heresy, that’s a god-like success rate).

In Castles and Crusades, I’ve been similarly blighted. My Ranger at least managed to hit targets, but often for just one or two damage. He was a bit of a sod anyway – I think failing rolls kind of suited him. On the other hand, the day that I played a friend’s Illusionist, it was a case of success after success – in one area, he melee’d the combat area clear after a Fighter, a Knight, a Rogue, my Ranger and a Priest had all failed to hit the enemy. Unfortunately, he immediately went on to accidentally blind the Rogue when we went up against the Necromancer in the next chamber, but the Rogue deserved it.

Most recently, I utterly confounded my GM while playing an indie Superhero game. According to the rules, my success rate should have been about 75%. It was actually about 30%.

I’m not a big believer in luck, dice superstition or any other form of supernatural. I just roll badly. Who knows why…

Moving Annoyance – Which Books and Where To Put Them?

Del Lib ScreenshotI own 577 books. I know this because I use the excellent Delicious Library to keep track of books I’ve loaned to people.

Moving from a two bedroom flat in which every room has a 6 foot tall bookcase into a single room means that less than a quarter of these books can actually accompany me. The result of this is much debate as I go through my collect and decide what I can’t live without.

The bulk of the books I’ve taken with me are related to my degree in some way – politics biographies, political philosophy treatises, textbooks, Greek and Roman classics, commentaries and so on. Some are distantly related, but useful – history books covering Europe, Scotland, Britain and Germany through various key stages for example.

All this has left only two shelves for my fiction collection.

What I judge to be essential enough to me to fill this space probably says a lot about me. It includes a whole swathe of dystopian fiction – 1984, Brave New World, We, Fahrenheit 451, Gormenghast, Live at Golgotha and Catch-22; the essential Tolkien works; my favourite Iain M Banks’ books – Use of Weapons and Excessions; a few modern classics – How To Kill A Mockingbird, The City and The Pillar. The books I’ve been strictest with are Terry Pratchett and my massive collection of sci-fi books – I haven’t taken a single Pratchett and the only sci-fi novel I’m taking other than Banks is Asimov’s Foundation.

On top of these, there are about 50 books which were occupying my To Be Read stack – previously a monstrous collection consisting of four piles spread around every flat surface in my bedroom.

I have absolutely no idea where I’m going to fit all these books. Not least given that I’ll have to buy more books for Uni in the near future. It’s a hard life being a book-geek.