My name is Charlie, but if your looking for my work, I go by C. E. Dorsett. I write scifi, fantasy, and a touch of horror. I like to play with gothic, steampunk, decopunk, epic fantasy, and wuxia. I love to tell stories and talk about books, movies, series, and music.
Costumes, Role Playing, and Unity
One of my absolute favorite aspects of fandom is the costuming and roleplaying, and I would have to say they are the two most maligned and stigmatized things that we do. Let's start with the most accepted by the popular culture and proceed to the least understood.
Computer Roleplaying Games
Mass appeal of video games have normalized RPGs on the computer, and why not. Final Fantasy, Mass Effect, and Knights of the Old Republic were all such brilliant games, it is hard to see how they couldn't have had a mass market appeal, but in the one place where Roleplaying should flourish, it is all but extinct.
There was once a type of game known as the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game (MMORPG). The problem is that these too entered the popular culture, and they spawned a new bane: badge collectors. A sizable number of the MMORPG players became obsessed with their statistics, what badges they earned, and what loot they could get. The software companies saw these players as their core audience and in some cases, there only audience.
The games were increasingly designed for these players and not for the fans of story. Coinidentally, the acronym was shortened from MMORPG to simply MMO. Players have done what they can to keep roleplaying alive, but they are generally isolated to a specific server or guild, and they are not aided by the software designers who more and more are crafting games that challenge your prowess with a keyboard and mouse and don't require any thought whatsoever.
This is one of the reasons I am so excited about Star Wars: The Old Republic and Stargate Worlds. They are trying to bring story into the games and make it front and center. I wish them the best of luck.
Table Top Role Playing Games
Table top RPG fans are the geeks that geeks love to hate. Don't believe me? Listen carefully to a lot of the podcasts out there. It won't take you too long to find people having a geeky conversation about their favorite tech and occationally mocking TTRPG players.
Table Top games are not as easy to play as their computerized bretheren, but they are a lot more fun. There are more requirements to play:
- The Rule Books
- Friends who have free time to come over
I didn't stutter at the end, and no, I am not padding the list. Creativity is the ability to think originally, and imagination is the ability to see with the minds eye events as they are described to you.
I think those last two more than anything else makes people not like tabel top games. Personally, I love them. I run an Earthdawn game at the house every Sunday. Nothing brings friends together for a good time like a shared adventure built from the collective imaginations of everyone there.
Live Action Role Playing
Live Action Role Playing (LARPing) is penultimate expression of role playing. There are numerous systems for LARPing and they all generally involve renting a location, playing in a park, or the storyteller's home. Most LARPers dress up in elaborate costumes and carry props to aid in game play.
I used to play Vampire: The Masquerade both as a table top game and as a LARP, and I have to say, the LARPs were always more fun. We played at local conventions and I ran a chronicle that spanned various players homes, parks, and a few businesses who allowed us to use their establishment.
Who doesn't enjoy getting dressed up and spending a night as someone else?
One aspect of the LARPs I've played that made them so fun was that they were locked to the locations they took place. The story was handled through notes given to the players to explain what happened between sessions, and a couple players who agreed to play according to the scripted motives I provided for them. To this day, some of my favorite memories took place at LARPs.
We were a part of a LARP network where storytellers coordinated large scale events between cities, and at conventions our players would play through pivitol stories. The largest LARP event we threw had 500 players in attendence. 3,00o players made up the network. We coordinated through a email list.
LARPs are emense fun, and I miss them terribly. I had hoped that MMOs would provide a platform for virtual LARPs, but so far, they haven't.
Some people just love dressing up. They don't roleplay at all, they just wear the costume for enjoyment. For some, it is an uniform. For others, it is an expression of their identification with the character or race they are recreating. And others do it for the challenge of recreating the costume.
Steampunk is an entire movement built around costuming for the sheer fun of it.
Fans who Play together Stay together
Most of the deep, personal relationships I have developed with fans over the years has been between fans I have roleplayed with. We share an experience that is truly unique to the players who were there. Memories of events that are not replecatable in real life.
All these years later, I still run into people at the conventions who remeber the night my Taleison should have seen his reflection in the mirror and went mad. We talk about it like a moment from a movie or series that we loved, but our connection to the event is so much more personal because we were there when it happened.
So if you haven't before. I hightly recommend to gather up your friends and play a game with them. Feel free to choose the type, but make sure it is one that will build those memories that will last a lifetime.
Did he say Earthdawn in Space?
They discuss Age of Legends, Earthdawn, Equinox, and the future of the Earthdawn Novels.
If I am not mistaken, he explained Equinox as Earthdawn in Space. I am going to buy a copy when it comes out. The idea of horrors in space sounds interesting. I also like that they are ignoring Shadowrun and are doing their own things.
While I am on the subject, Mordom posted some links to Earthdawn dice rollers:
Star Wars: The Old Republic
LucasArts and BioWare™, a division of Electronic Arts Inc., today announced the development of Star Wars®: The Old Republic™, a story-driven massively multiplayer online PC game set in the timeframe of the Star Wars®: Knights of the Old Republic™ franchise. Star Wars: The Old Republic, being developed and published by BioWare and LucasArts, represents an innovative approach to interactive entertainment, featuring immersive storytelling, dynamic combat and intelligent companion characters (Star Wars: The Old Republic).
It is nearly impossible for me to contain my excitement about this game. I heard the rumors for ages, but I never dared to believe they could possibly come true.
I am not new to Star Wars MMOs. I have been an off and on player of Star Wars Galaxies for years. The love/hate development cycle Sony Online Entertainment has maintained for years has kept me falling in and out of love with the game. I often joked with my friends that a day would come when someone other than SOE would one day make a new game. That day has finally come.
I am not sure I would be as excited as I am if anyone other than Bioware were making the game. Knights of the Old Republic is one of the best games I have ever played, rivaling Final Fantasy VII for the top slot on the list. Add to that their success with Mass Effect, and my hopes are exceedingly high. Now, I will be the first to admit that Knights of the Old Republic II was not the best game and could have used much more time in development before release, but the potential was still there, and even though it was incomplete, it was still enjoyable.
What excites me the most about Bioware making an MMO is that they are masters of story and setting. Two things often missing from most MMOs. Even better is there goals for the game:
"Traditionally, massively multiplayer online games have been about three basic gameplay pillars - combat, exploration and character progression," said Dr. Ray Muzyka, Co-Founder and General Manager/CEO of BioWare and General Manager/Vice President of Electronic Arts Inc., "In Star Wars: The Old Republic, we’re fusing BioWare’s heritage of critically-acclaimed storytelling with the amazing pedigree of Lucasfilm and LucasArts, and adding a brand-new fourth pillar to the equation – story. At the same time, we will still deliver all the fun features and activities that fans have come to expect in a AAA massively multiplayer online game. To top it all off, Star Wars: The Old Republic is set in a very exciting, dynamic period in the Star Wars universe (Star Wars: The Old Republic)."
I have been skeptical about claims like this in the past, but since it is Bioware. They are the one company that have the long track record making brilliantly enthralling role playing games. A track record is of course no guarantee. Square Enix did not do the best job with Final Fantasy XI.
What they are hoping to accomplish is a game with few instances where the choices of the players dictate the events in the setting. Many have tried this in the past, and I have heard good things about Warhammer Online.
Dr. Greg Zeschuk, Co-Founder and Vice President Development Operations, BioWare and Vice President, Electronic Arts Inc. [added], "Star Wars: The Old Republic is set roughly 300 years after the events of Knights of the Old Republic, a timeframe that is completely unexplored in the lore. BioWare has been able to add to the Star Wars history in developing the game’s story and has created an overarching narrative that players can enjoy, regardless of their play style. Our goal is to offer players an emotionally rewarding experience that combines the traditional elements of MMO gameplay with innovations in story and character development (Star Wars: The Old Republic)."
This is the dream, whether or not it can become a reality will have to wait to be seen. They have only a released a few hints at what they are working on.
1) The lightsabers in the screenshots will shrink – but not by much.
2) They really, really, really mean it when they say that there is story in this game and it is what sets Old Republic apart from every MMO out there.
3) You don’t pick good or evil right off the bat
4) There will be crafting, there will probably be guilds, there will definitely be PvP and there won’t be a whole lot of instancing
5) Star Wars: Galaxies is not getting shut down (Kotaku)
Yes, you will be able to travel to many of the planets featured in the Star Wars movies and in Star Wars: Knights of the Old Republic. There will also be a number of new planets and star systems to explore (SWTOR FAQ).
There are many questions that need answering:
- What races will be available for play?
- How many factions will be represented in the game? Republic? Jedi? Sith? Hutt?
- What classes will be playable other than force sensitive?
- What planets will be included?
- Will there be space battles?
- How will squad based play work in game?
- How will they incorporate lightside/darkside meters into the game?
For more information see:
- Star Wars: The Old Republic Official Site
You may want to sign up for their community to try to get into the beta when it starts.
Lordi Goes Earthdawn
This is too cool, it was posted yesterday so I will allow myself to believe it is not an April Fools story:
Finnish rock sensations Lordi have revealed a deal to play their next gig wearing costumes from the popular Earthdawn roleplaying game. Band members will don costumes representing troll Sky Raiders, ork Warriors, and the ever-popular windling Beastmaster -- worn by no one less than Lordi's lead singer, Mr Lordi himself.
I will be on the lookout for pictures of this. Biggest widling ever!