Social Science and Fiction: Interlude

Related Post Roulette

13 Responses

  1. Avatar Maribou
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    Thank you for this window into your friend’s sterling character and your love for him. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    I’m sitting here in an empty hospital room right now, waiting for my friend who is the wife of my friend (both of whom play D&D) to come back from the MRI they are doing to see how she is. She hasn’t been conscious since Thursday morning, so there are better and worse answers, but all within a pretty sad and challenging range. I don’t intend to show him this post, and she can’t read it, but it couldn’t have come at a better time for me to read.

    So thank you for that too, although it’s a gift I wish you’d never had to give.

    I hope you find some peace, love, and strength in the coming days.Report

    • Avatar Anne in reply to Maribou
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      says:

      @maribou Sending energy to your friend I hope they come to a better answer.

      I would like to second your thanks to Sam for this gift it comes at a time when I needed it as well. Yesterday an old friend lost his battle with leukemia, his son, also a good friend of mine is dealing with not only the loss of his father but also with the fact that he did not get a project that his father wishes to see completed finished in time.Report

  2. Avatar Jaybird
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    says:

    I’m sorry. This is awful.Report

  3. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    I’m sorry for the loss of your friend and your love and admiration of him shines through these words like a column of dragon’s breath through fog.Report

  4. Avatar Burt Likko
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    says:

    Back in my teenage and college years of playing tabletop RPGs, I somehow arrived at a philosophy that I would not allow the fall of the dice or the rules in a book to get in the way of telling a good story. I would always make this clear to my players at the start of a campaign and let them know that this meant, among other things, no matter what happened to their characters, they as players would always have a part to play in advancing the story. Implied and I believe understood, but usually unstated in that bargain, would be that the Big Bad NPC enjoyed similar sorts of narrative protections — they’d get to take out the Big Bad but only when in my judgement the story was good and ready for them to do so.

    I was a pretty tightly railed storyteller, in retrospect.

    In the OP we read of the machinations of chance and application of the rules causing a then-underpowered PC to take out the Big Bad very early on in the campaign. The gamemaster confronted with this situation here elected to let the chips fall where they did in that encounter, and retconned a tremendous amount of work to go on. Heroic writing by him, to be sure, and I recognize that.

    I’d probably not have done that back in my day. I’d have done something else. Instead, I’d have:

    a) Let the encounter resolve as it did, and later made the Big Bad even Badder by adding the ability to project a double (aka Luke Skywalker at the end of Last Jedi) so when the Actual Big Boss Battle happened at the climax of the campaign, the PCs had to defeat both the Big Bad and his avatar simultaneously;

    b) Added in a deflection or saving throw for the Big Bad such that he would withdraw rather than die with a pronouncement “You’ve won this round but I will make sure you lose the war, puny paladin!” and then had him vanish in a puff of smoke; and/or

    c) Written in an Even Bigger Bad to come after the Big Bad, if possible (and it’s always possible).

    As for the results of the actual extraordinary roll, the gamemaster has about three seconds to figure out how to react to it, while the rest of the players are marveling at the roll itself.

    I’m not saying the gamemaster here made a bad decision. Maybe it was a better decision than any or all of the ones I’d have made. I’m simply sharing that I’d have probably handled that differently.Report

    • Avatar Oscar Gordon in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      Option b was my goto. No reason I can’t have the big bad make a tactical retreat. He didn’t get to be the big bad by being stupid, after all.Report

    • Avatar dragonfrog in reply to Burt Likko
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      says:

      In the relatively small amount of DMing I did, I found the very best campaigns to be the ones that went totally off the rails at some point. The other players were improvising great stuff, and things went best when I was improvising too – that’s when we all started exploring the unknown together.Report

  5. Avatar Anne
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    says:

    Sam my heart aches for you. I am so sorry for the loss of your good friend.Report

  6. Avatar Oscar Gordon
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    says:

    My condolences, our players aren’t supposed to die in real life, that’s why trying to kill them in the game is so much fun.Report

  7. Avatar dragonfrog
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    says:

    My condolences on the loss of your friend. This is a beautiful tribute to him.Report

  8. Avatar North
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    says:

    A magnificent tribute Sam. I am very sorry for your loss.Report

  9. Avatar Patty Z.
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    says:

    Somehow I stumbled across your touching tribute to my nephew, Brock Cusick. I am his Aunt Patty. I always knew how much Brock enjoyed D&D. In reading this, it is evident you all had a great time playing these games and knowing one another. Actually I live in Cedar Grove, NJ where as a preteen/teen Brock would come often to “Time Warp Comics & Games” shop to play D&D where it is still being played to this day. I find myself visiting this store now and trying to connect to Brock. It is true his son John was being taught to play D&D by Brock. Now other family members are trying to step in and play with John. Please know the last days of Brock’s life (hard to believe and say) were at my son’s wedding in Pennsyvlania and also in NJ visiting with Wendy’s family. Brock was surrounded by his adoring and loving family. As always, he was full of joy and so very happy. We miss him so much and it is comforting to know there are people like you who care. I hope you are at peace knowing how much Brock enjoyed his time with you all ! I want to say thank you again for your beautiful tribute, for being such great friends, and D&D partners/opponents? Not sure which but it was all in good fun and Brock would surely be the 1st to know that!!!!Report

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