Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Long Way Down

I drove home about four days ago, generally a ten hour drive. Well, most of the way home. I crashed at my sisters place, which happens to be along the route on the way home. Hurrah for siblings. Anyway, the trip in and of itself could be said to be fairly uneventful, but then I'd be lying. I'm driving along the highway, in winter season with only seasonal tires. This means that I'm staying at or below the speed limit and being overly cautious because I like being alive. Well, it also gets dark early, so even though it might be only a little after 7 PM or something, it's pitch black.

So, driving along when some asshole who's speeding comes up behind me. We're on a straight stretch, no cars coming in the opposite lane at all. I thought the guy would pass me and be done with that. I mean, had he wanted to, I would've slowed down a little more and pulled to the side to let him by. Nope. He pulls up right behind me, tailgating me, then turns his high beams on right in my mirror blinding me.

While I'm blinking away spots, my initial reaction is to, of course, slam my foot as hard on the breaks as possible, just to make sure their working. Nearly made the guy run off the road (which is overlooking this lovely river down below on the side of a sheer cliffside I might add. Canyons are FUN! So, he breaks too, but after that little act of being a fucking asshole, he kept his distance for the most part until I hit a passing lane. Then he shot by me, honking his horn. I'm pretty sure he was cussing me out too, but I don't care. Fucking jerk does that to me, what does he expect?

Rest of the trip was pretty uneventful. Got snow tires (very important), got home, and now I'm stuck with the same problem I have whenever I come home. I've been running on so little sleep that suddenly my face is like a raccoons, I can barely keep my eyes open and I'm exhausted beyond the beyond. Just so fucking tired I want to bash my head into a wall and enjoy the sweet embrace of unconsciousness. Course, it's the holidays, so family and friends are over, so whatever sleep I want to get is interrupted by this. Although, I can't say that I'm not at fault for this problem of no sleep. I keep odd enough hours that it makes getting the sleep I'd otherwise need is near impossible. I really need to re-think that sleep schedule of mine.

On the up-side, though, is that I'm kept more than busy enough that I rarely go on the computer anymore. Probably a good thing. I'm breaking my addiction! Not really...

Monday, December 19, 2005

"After you, old chap." "No, no, after YOU."

It's funny, when you think about it. Dueling is all about trying to defeat your opponent's character. In any realistic situation, this would mean an all-out brawl, everyone for themselves, no holds barred. Not so in the RP world, where there are rules to follow and etiquette to observe. All this formality may be counter-intuitive, but it's there for a reason: to keep things as civil between the duelists out of character, even though they may be at each other's throats in character. While there are several good sites which explain the rules of dueling, the finer points of etiquette may not be as obvious to everyone. While there's technically nothing written in stone, I thought I'd take some time to share some of what I've learned about courtesy in a duel.

In every duel, there are at least two participants, of course. With the notable exception of tournament dueling, every duel has one party that makes the request and another that accepts. If you're the one asking for a duel, try to be as polite as you can. Don't be brash, cocky or downright impertinent unless you want to duel with an imaginary friend: no one likes a braggart for an opponent, no matter how good you are (or think you are). If you'd rather your opponent make the duel topic and the intro post, state it in the first post of your request whenever possible: not everyone likes writing intros and some may not even accept to duel you if they have to start it off. If you have any preference for settings, duel types, experience and the like, don't forget to mention those, as well. The more information you give potential opponents and the more courteous you are in your request, the more likely you'll find someone willing to battle you on your own terms. And once the duel has started, one way or another, try to be as prompt with your posts as possible: you're the one who asked for it, so part of your job is to make sure you can actually keep up with your own request. An acceptable pace is at least one post every 24 to 48 hours. If you are unable to post for a certain amount of time (hey, it happens to all of us), mention it in the duel in OOC, state whether you want the fight to continue or not, and, above all, be gracious to your opponent for his or her patience.

If you're accepting a duel, there are also some rules of etiquette for you to follow. Again, be polite when accepting a request. Don't act as if you're doing the other person a huge favour: remember, most people don't like to duel assholes. If you've been asked to post the intro, try to be as prompt as possible and respect any other requests and preferences your opponent may have stated beforehand. As the one accepting the duel, it's your responsibility to go along with the request and its conditions. And again, try to be as quick as possible in coming up with posts. At least a post every 48 hours is fine. If you can't post for some reason, you should also warn your opponent and be polite.

If you're relatively new to dueling (or even entirely new) and are asking for a duel, then you really need to be courteous. I'm not telling you to glue your lips to a veteran RPer's rear end; however, I am suggesting that you respect the experience they have. Make an effort to learn from the veteran, take and ask for constructive criticism on your performance during and after the duel, and just generally be gracious. If you're new to dueling and are accepting a duel, mention it in the topic where the request was made. Some duelists prefer to battle experienced RPers sometimes, so if your offer to take up a duel is turned down -- politely, of course -- don't be discouraged and try asking for one yourself. Conversely, if you're a veteran and asking for a duel, you may want to mention your relative level of experience if you're looking for a specific challenge. Don't let your own experience get to your head, and remember to be courteous in your request. If you're a veteran accepting a duel from a newbie, be extra polite. Offer some friendly advice during and after the fight, gently point out errors in OOC if you must, and don't act condescending under any circumstance whatsoever. You are the one with experience, but you should also remember that you are teaching, not proving superiority.

Duels of all kinds, whether they've been requested or predetermined as part of a tournament, more or less follow the same basic rules. Be polite and be prompt, and your duel will be pleasant. I think this quotation from Sir Winston Churchill describes forum dueling etiquette quite nicely: "When you have to kill a man, it costs nothing to be polite."


- Lachesis

Thursday, December 15, 2005

It's a Bird! It's a Plane! It's not as cool as Batman!

So, the other day I went down to Walmart. I wander into the electronics section like any male in my age bracket with a little cash and immediately check out the video games, some DVD's, and of course the electronics. But, as I'm meandering my way through the DVD section eyeing up the new releases, what do I see? Batman: The Animated Series Volume Four. I nearly had a heart attack and died then.

But, not to far away from it, I spied Batman & Mr. Freeze, Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman and Batman: Mask of the Phantasm. Now, this was orgasmically good enough to spy all this in one section all at once. What made it better was that the movies were to be had for under ten bucks a pop each. I grabbed them all, trying not to salivate like a mad man as I made my way to the counter, clutching my prizes. I was pretty sure I looked like a raving lunatic--nobody got in my way for my mad dash to the checkout.

I have since binge-watched them all. Well, nearly all of them. I had to pry myself away to at least glance over notes for my last exam tomorrow to say that I studied, pack my stuff, since I'm heading home tomorrow, and write this blog entry. I'm already feeling the withdrawal symptoms.

I grew up watching Batman: The Animated Series as a kid. Its awesomeness cannot be denied, and anyone who does just doesn't realize just how cool Batman is. Suffice to say, I will no binge-watch the rest of episodes now. God, I need to clean my monitor off again. Just splooged all over. So, I can basically say I'm the proud owner of Batman: The Animated Series Volume 1 - 4, plus the three movies. I think there's some more out there to be had yet. Either that or I hunt down the Justice League/JL Unlimited seasons on DVD. Wonder if I can get those...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

I Can't Hear You

I had my Canadian Forces entrance exams today. The good news is that I passed. There are no words to convey the amount of elation and exuberance I have at this joyous news. Gleeful doesn't quite cut it, either. I'm bouncing off-the-wall, giddy, sugar-high-like happy, that's how over-joyed I am at this news.

The tests themselves were straightforward. I passed the aptitude with exceptionally high scores, apparently. Physical I passed flying colors. interview went well. In fact, you think there wouldn't be a hitch at all considering how high-flying I was. And then I hit the medical, something I didn't think would give me any problems. Now, I've always known I was kinda hard of hearing, but apparently "hard-of-hearing" doesn't quite cut it.

My hearing is damaged, mostly in my right ear, it seems, but also partly in my left. Now, I know where the damage stems from. A friend of mine put an air-horn to my ear when I was six. No, I do not advocate doing this, no matter how funny the idea might seem to some people. Anyway, with my hearing as bad as it is, I was classed an H3 for hearing--it goes H1 - H4, H4 being deaf as a doornail or some such. To get in, I need to be an H2 or H1.

Well, the Doc looked it over, found updated material for what the hearing requirements were for entries into the armed forces, especially in the trade I wanted to get into--Infantry Soldier. The new specs basically ignore my high-freq. hearing disability (can't hear high-freq. noise, apparently), thus putting me into the realm of H2. Therefore, I get in, barely scraping by, but in nonetheless. The only consolation to me is that when my parents or anyone else tells me I don't listen, I can safely say that it's because I can't hear them yapping away in the first place.

All in all, a good day. Also, the riling up I went through with the anxiousness/nervousness was a waste of time. The worrying got me nothing; I passed, I'm glad, it's good. I've got decent chances of getting a call sometime in January with a job-offering. I can't wait, really.

Monday, December 12, 2005

WPCA - Story Something Vol 1 (cont)

There's a breeze, not like warm summery with the sun shining down and you think of crappy commercials featuring demented teddy bears, no, I'm cold. It's coming from a window, open, with a pale crescent of a moon casting a sharp glow across a land outside that window. My head is tilted just enough I can look up and out the window, see the starts. I can actually recognize constellations, so that even despite my jump into an alternate reality, which I hadn't figured out at this point, I believed myself to be someplace normal, someplace like home, some place within the twenty-first century of the Earth I knew. I didn't think much of this, nor the plain blanket, nor the fact someone had stripped me down naked under the covers. I just lay there, content and drifted back to unconsciousness.

When next I woke, my eyes spied a young woman, possibly in her late teens, maybe early twenties, a shapely form. I was peering through these slits between my lashes, slowly inching my way up onto my elbows, getting my face up in hers. She was in my room, but I didn't know why. Why the fuck is this chick in my room?

Her hazels go wide upon recognition that I am, in fact, a member of the human race, alive, breathing and very much awake with a scowl creasing my forehead and lips. In fact, were this Christmas time, I would have looked the spitting image of a Scrooge.

The girl gets up and dashes away before I can say anything, and as I move to get up, I suddenly feel very, very naked. I lift the sheets, shocked to see that I am nude, pull them down and clutch them like a security blanket. I hear voices, girl squawking away someplace. I think I hear the brat's voice from the truck ride, and Pa once more. Aw, kind folks had taken me in. Have to wonder why they'd do something for me.

Pa walks in, bright smiles, cheery, good-natured, that image of morality and humaneness that just oozes all over him. He's balding, graying, decaying and dying by the looks of him. Pa is an old man. Weathered and wind burnt, seasoned, past his prime yet still fit. Not an inch of flab about him, all muscle for all his age. And he looks at me, looks me right in the eye like he can see my very soul, and I think for a moment that this man must be God or something.

"Gave us a start when you started shaking on us," Pa says. "Gone shat yourself, too. I'll get you some clothes if you don't want your old ones."

I can only nod dumbly. Sweet, fucking shit, I'm speechless at this man. I want him to keep talking, because the moment he stops, I feel this impending silence. My eyes flash every which way, nervous paranoia sprung from some deep place. I see Brat and Cute Chick in the doorway, watching me, both anxious in different ways.

"You gotta name?" Pa asks me.

That was the second time. First time I had turned all crazed on him, a real fucking retard banging his head on the wall looking for attention and making himself dumber in the process--the ultimate pity party. I'm broken, please give me attention like the whore I am. I felt like that now, a tongue-tied retard trying to whore for attention. I thought I might give in the shakes again. I fought it off, managed to mumble my name. Force it out like I was vomiting up something cruel. My name rose to my lips like bile.

"Jared," I blurt, "Jared Walsh."

Dear God, I am not Irish. Actually, I'm part Irish, only a small part mind you. And yes, I could probably drink a good many people under the table, but I live in America, so I don't love soccer, or football, so much, so I don't riot. And yet even as these thoughts plague me in connection to my name, this man is looking at me. In fact, the look in his eyes is one of reverence almost. Reverence for a shit-eating, cock-sucking mother-fucker who hates his wife, hates his job (that I had remembered quitting only the day before in some deluded fashion) and wants the world to end.

How in the hell does someone have reverence for me, especially in my completely gone state? I found out. I didn't like finding out, but I found out anyway.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

WPCA - Victim to Another Level Chap 1

It Rained

It rained. Figures hustled through the near dark, moving from one pool of light to another, seeking out cover. He found himself under one such flickering streetlamp, the near-dead bulb on its last legs of life. Rivulets of water ran off his fedora and an orange glow lit his face as he inhaled through the cigarette.

A person walked past, bumping him, jarring him from his thoughts only to present a polite smile. Resentment was returned in favor for the unsettling of his stance. Anger was the response, followed promptly by a "Fuck off, asshole."

They slide like ghosts in the darkness. Dead, cauterized to a world of pain. An interest only in themselves, their lives, and the small circle of single-serving friends they might have. Portions put together by corporations, designed so that we all take in what we need and throw away what we don't.

He was sure that was a line from a movie somewhere, burnt into the back of his skull at some point. It was always those chance encounters with an eccentric that left some brand on your life. Made you think past the bounds you would normally never set foot past. He blinked, remembering a bus station in a city and approaching midnight, pining about the woes of sleepless nights. "Sleep when you're dead," someone had said. It stuck. He would sleep only when he had put the last nail in his coffin.

A long drag followed by the exhale of fumes into the night air. Hovered there, light and breezy with a noxious odor before dispersing into the fall air. That was it, wasn't it? It was autumn. But there were no leaves on the trees. No, autumn leaves and winter was set to enter. But you wouldn't notice this, not in the twilight.

Turning, he strode forward, polished shoes sloshing in puddles. Past huddled figures, their breath hanging in the air. No respect, no time, no acknowledgement of existence except to move out of the way when you pass by. That was it; that was life. He knew it well--an existence of working, of sleeping, of eating, of buying and of dying. A cycle. Lather, rinse, repeat. The talk of love, of peace, of fun and enjoyment were lies spread by the companies, force-fed to the masses that hadn't the gray matter to see the opposite. It didn't matter.

A brush of air and a door. The sign says "push." He forces entry, walking in out of the rain. A bored clerk eyes him from over a magazine, and then goes back to it. The light hurts his eyes a moment, but just a moment. A convenience store, stocked with candy, with pop, with slushy machines and ice cream and sports drinks that describe how "X-treme" they are and the people who drink them. All in a glance it's taken in and then summarily discarded.

"Where's Harv?" he asks.

"Out back," the clerk replies, not even looking up.

He walks toward the door, twists the handle and enters. There's a rustle, a clicking noise, and as he walks in, three men stand there armed with weapons pointed toward him, their faces blank like the dolls for sale on store shelves. He puts his hands up, all pink and alabaster flesh at once, face just as stoic and blank as the gunmen.

"Ah, Jace, you're here," Harv says, coming from a side door.

His name isn't Jace, but he doesn't bother to correct Harv. There's no point.

"Do you have it?" he asks.

"But of course," Harv replies, all smiles. "And for you, my friend, I give especially good deal."

Harv is his dealer, but not of drugs or weapons, but technology. Harv has some kind of mantra against the selling of weapons or drugs. He didn't care, just as long as Harv delivered on the promise.

"Can I see it?" he asks.

"Ah, but money first, my dear Jace. You know this game, don't you?" Harv says, his voice like vapor in the air.

He reaches into a coat pocket producing a roll of bills. He tosses out on the table and a blank-faced doll sits to count it, eyes opening and closing artificially as he counts.

"It's all here, boss," the gunman says almost mechanically.

He thinks they're all machines, cogs in a network, fulfilling a role. Except these lifeless creatures that thrive on money and drugs and death are far more alive than their legal citizen counterparts who feign life in a consumerism mantra of "die buying."

"Good man, Jace," Harv says.

Harv holds up a small case, like the box that comes with a wedding ring. He knows he'll be married to that piece of technology. Without my rifle, I am useless. A mantra...a creed to something about guns and uselessness and war and death and everlasting...something. He disregards it as fast as it came to his mind, taking the small box from Harv's hand and flipping it open to peer at the chip within.

A small thing, no larger than his thumb-nail, but far more powerful than any desktop PC on the market by far. He would equate it to be powers upon powers more powerful. Better, stronger, faster, but definitely not harder. He'd heard that somewhere, a buzz-word he thought. A pale, thin-lipped smile of politeness was exchanged, followed by the required "Pleasure," and "business with you," words that meant so little. The money only mattered, the consumerism, the need for power. More, more, more. It was all about the 'me'. Me, me, me.

He flipped the top down, turned and walked out of the back, slipping the box deep into an inside pocket on his jacket. He'd put it to use soon. Anything that could control the polymorphic metals the military built that actually fit into your hand cost billions. He had just gotten one for a steal, a cool twenty-five thousand.

He bought a bottle of water and a candy bar on the way out, munching in the darkness. The mute sky peppered him with tears and all he could do was smile. A black and white sky, lit by the alien laminations of the central city to the East. With that twisted grin plastered on his face like a bad rash that wouldn't leave, he hunched his shoulders and moved like a ghost, floating from one streetlamp to the next. Like a citizen, legal and desperate for shelter from the cold and the rain and the darkened night. But unlike the citizen, he relished himself, relished the life, the tech, and the illicit things that he had done and did and would do. To be alive, to be free--it was to be on the wrong side of the fence. And truth be told, the grass truly was with money.

Been There, Done That

So, you got the road map, you're planning this grand vacation for yourself and friends of family. You've got it all set. You're gonna hit landmarks everywhere, except, when you say Grand Canyon, one says: "But lots of people go there every year! What's to see, just a big ass canyon!" You take it with a grain of salt and suggest some other major attraction, which is met with the same response. People have been there, people have already done it, so what's the point of doing it again?

This is like the cliché. They've been done over and over again that everyone has seen it of heard of it and knows what it is. Now, it everything has been done before, where are the new ideas? Sad to say, there are no new ideas truly. There is only old ideas and creative ways to use those old ideas. You can't use an old idea in a new way, as it's already been done somewhere along the line by someone. So, you must be creative with it.

We throw around buzz-words like originality and creativity like we're hot cats knowing all that. If you stopped to ask someone what they meant by that, they'd stop short. You'd stump them. They couldn't tell you what's original or creative, just that you have to be it. New and old players to the realm of dueling and RPing toss those words around, trying to ascribe some feeling to it, but if you stopped to ask them what was truly creative or original and they'd stop flat-footed in their tracks and be hard-pressed to answer this challenging question.

We're told clichés are bad, stay away from what someone has already done before. Tell that to the millions of people who are accountants. You wouldn't go up to one of them and say, "Dude, someone already has done what you did. Get a new line!" You wouldn't say to the soldier in the army of any sort that millions have already done their bit and they should try something new and creative, right? So why do we instantly jump down the throats of people new to it using every cliché they've seen and thought cool?

Let's look at the word creative itself.


(Adj.) 1. Having the ability or power to create 2. Productive; creating 3. Characterized by originality and expressiveness; imaginative.

(N.) One who displays productive originality.

Well, when we write posts, surely we are being creative, as we have the ability or power to create such posts, so check, and surely we are being production in such creation, so check once more. But what of the third? Originality? Are we being original with the writing?

I'll take a look at a fellow role player that I have a lot of respect for and many people have heard of: Dispeyr. Dispeyr is an interesting fellow, able to create outstanding pieces of literary art, expressive and imaginative both. But here's the kicker--they're not completely original. Now before you suddenly cry blasphemy and turn into a raging mob, hear me out. Dispeyr, for all his good writing, using a wraith, a character of the same name--Dispeyr. In his depictions of Dispeyr, he is dark, ominous and deadly. Fair enough, he's a wraith. But if you stop and look back over the course of all Dispeyr's writing concerning that character, you'll see very glaringly that he reuses the same ideas again and again and again, each time switching up the way they're presented. They suddenly appear new, original and wonderful. Fact is they're not.

I myself commit this same habit with some of my own characters, Amarouk, for one. After a while it grows stale, and even if you're a good writer, it gets old pretty quick.

So what does this mean? It means that yes, you can use clichés, and I encourage you to use them, but don't over do it. Use them in an interesting way in possible, something that captivates. If you think it's wonderful and creative, somebody else might not think so. A harsh lesson, yes, but one to be learned nonetheless. But as with any kind of cliché, you need to be careful in their use otherwise you might just be considered another know-nothing newb.


- W. Visarett

Merry Fucking Christmas

It's the season to be jolly and happy and give and be given to and show affection and kindness and wonder for all things! No, wait, scratch that. I feel frustration, annoyance; I'm not in a good mood, I'm pissed off and I want to throttle the retard who stands in front of me in a line at a local Walmart because they won't use a Credit or Debit card and are scrapping around for the last few pennies in their change purse.

The holidays, we talk about how we should show our families that we care. We're bombarded on TV by Christmas specials and on the radio by Christmas songs, all of them proclaiming in one way or another about the joy and wonder of Christmas all over the world. And then the drive by foundations and charities asking for money to help those less fortunate.

And I pull my hair out and scream at the whole thing.

The gifts make you broke. You can't find a parking spot, and whatever it is that some nephew or niece or son or daughter or friend of lover or spouse wants, you can't find, or it's sold out because it's the newest, most awesome thing to hit store shelves this year!

Bills and more bills and credit lines stretched thin and tempers flaring and frustration and hate for our fellow man. No longer a spirit of good will, but one of anger. And then somebody out there feels they're not getting the best of it and decides to end it all in tragedy with the belief that nobody will care that their end came and passed. It's Christmas! Let's all be happy!

I have a friend who works as a 911 call operator. What kind of calls does she get this time a year? Noise disturbance, drunks, suicides, woe, desperation--all that Christmas-y Cheer seems to have been spread thin and people can't take it anymore.

What am I getting my family this year? Something simple, something they can use and appreciate and won't be discarded once the festivities are done and tossed into some back closet and forgotten or mistreated and sold years later at a garage sale where mindless junk gets put. But we all want the shiny stuff, the extravagant stuff, the things that have no purpose and no value and no meaning and costs a fortune. The corporate logo of Christmas: "I want YOU to spend a lot. To prove you love your family.

Bah Humbug, I despise the season.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

WPCA - Story Something Vol 1

I go back, and I try to remember a time when it was all good, when it all made sense and I wasn't just attempting something mindless and worthless as the pursuit of home. I remember hearing somewhere that home is where the heart is. Well I had mine torn out, so now I was trying to find just that, home. In a realm of horrifically real sci-fi b-movie quality realities and dimensions, I traversed them all, looking for that one place that was home. I saw demons and angels, men and machine, beautiful and horrific creatures both. I amassed knowledge as I slid away to become another of the forgotten, slipped through the cracks of reality. Falling from one realm of what is real to the next, always gaining a kind of mass and yet never exploding. Feeling like I was being pulled inexorably toward some kind of black hole that sucked me dry, and still I wasn't more than the husk of my former self. And I stop, staring at some barren wasteland of an Earth I never knew, and I remember.

It began like most mornings where bad things happen, as depicted in Hollywood movies that all can understand and empathize with--I woke late, I was panicked as I rushed for work, I spilt coffee on my favorite shirt. No, stop, rewind, it was tea, I don't drink coffee. And it wasn't on my shirt, it was on my lap. I purposely scolded my nutsack in the hopes of feeling the pain to divert my frustration at being late and to give myself a better reason for being late other than to say to my boss, "So, yeah, like, I overslept. And I fucking have this witch of a wife at home, and she drives me fucking insane."

Only, he doesn't want to hear about my personal problems. Not about the wife who doesn't love me. Five years unhappily married. What the fuck was I thinking when I jumped in with that whore? But back on track. Late to work, boss reams me out, tells me I'm the usual--a dickless wonder that should be grateful for the job I got, despite the fact that I work my ass off for peanuts. Fucking peanuts! I'm not some bloody circus elephant he can wave a baton at and make do tricks! I'm not a fucking animal, but by then I'm roaring back at him. Screaming something along the lines of, "Fuck you, asshole. Take this job and shove it up your ass! Oh, wait, it won't fit 'cause your head's already stuck up there!"

I walked out.

Bad day just got worse. I ended up driving around hitting on every chick I saw that day. I didn't go home, either. Not to that cunt of a woman. Fuck, I'd rather cut my cock off than see her slimy, greased up face. Nor that hair, or her body. How could I have ever actually said I loved her? Where did I go wrong? Was there some higher power wreaking havoc on me for some past transgression that I didn't get the memo for?

I ended up on the University Campus. Don't ask how. I had hit up a liquor store somewhere along the line, gotten myself pissed drunk. I'm still surprised I remember that much. Most of it's a blur. Went to the bar, hit on chicks, made out with chicks, vomited on chicks, got kicked out of the bar sometime around two in the morning. Time to go home?

Doing that probably would have saved me more than a new, complete lifetime of woe. Instead, I decided I should commit arson and vandalism and get picked up by the cops. Then have them call that bitch of a woman I'm supposedly married to and have her haul my ass outta jail so she can tell me I'm a worthless human being and that I should be grateful for the small ounces of pussy she gives me in the off chance she actually wants to have sex with me. Uh, no thanks, cheque please!

I did, however, commit the vandalism. I smashed some windows like some rowdy punk who's had too much to drink. Expected. What else? Broke into the theoretical physics lab, some high tech place. Bad idea, right? You can just feel the sci-fi b-movie music playing at this point, like something out of the Twilight Zone, just eerily playing. There's me, on stage, smashing shit with a crowbar, pushing buttons, vomiting and puking my guts all over the flow. Surprise, surprise, its human! How it is able to walk while intoxicated, I haven't the faintest of clues.

This is probably the highlight of my day about now. You can hear the violins screeching away as though this had turned horror and something's about to jump out and rip my still beating heart from my chest and devour it before my eyes. If only life where that simple. I get up off my ass, slip on my own puke, bury the crowbar in some highly technical gadgetry, mashing my fingers along buttons before, low and behold, the grand portal of dimensional jumped grandness jumps up before me.

Too drunk to know what the fuck it is, I think it's a cop with a flashlight. I walk towards it, hearing that proverbial voice saying, "Step into the light!" I did, and I disappeared, and I regret it. It just gets worse.




The ground came up in a rush, black asphalt rising to meet my face and give it a good and proper greeting. Scarped my forehead, my hands, wrists--I was in a bad way. I rolled over then, starring at that vista of blue sky, cloudless and pure, and thought, 'Well fuck me, I must have reached heaven!' Then I remembered the whore of a wife I had, and recalled that any place not with her was heaven, or paradise.

Slack-jawed, I hauled my drunken ass up, getting those wobbly pairs of legs under me and began the slow process of locomotion by which I shoved one leg in front of the other like a robot, jerky spastic motions with grinding limb action in need of some oil. My head lolled to a side like some sick doctor had removed my spin as I waddled hunched over, tongue hanging out and slobbering down all over my dress clothes like the mentally retarded idiot I was.

It was night of the living dead, for I truly would have turned on my fellow man and munched on the scrumptious brains at about that moment. My eyes, I'm sure, had the kind of dead, semi-sentient look seen in zombies, although nobody I know can verify that fact.

Not sure how far I walked. When next the call of consciousness came to me, I was being bumped and jostled like so much meat in the back of a pickup, circa 1930's, a dog sitting their whining away giving me mopy eyes that just scream, 'Love me.' Only, it has the opposite effect on me and I sit up getting ready to lash out when a voice calls from the front cab.

"Hey, Pa, look, he's awake."

I turn me head spying this so-called "Pa" and his brat. Pa wears what you expect a gritty, down-to-earth man who spends his life farming where he to live in the 1930's. He's got a look of trust about him, dependable, stalwart, a wonder of humane morality. His son is freckled, red hair, blue eyes, scrawny with a straw hat. He seems to look at me and think I've got to be God...or Satan, and he's hoping that whichever I am, he wants to buy in and get a plane ticket outta this hell hole. Sorry kid, I don't do jack shit for nobody but me.

"What's your name, sir?" Pa asks.

Now this, folks, is where my cognitive functions fail me, my tongue somehow becomes molasses in my mouth and someone decided it was time to play "Put acid in the fuckers mouth and listen to him try to enunciate his A, B, C's." Lotta fun that was. So, here I am, the mentally fucked and retarded fucker making noises like a squalling brat in the rapture of some God-Forbidden seizure, shaking all over as I try to say my name. The kid starts screaming, Pa pulls over to wonder just what the fuck went wrong with the machinery that is me and I go limp like someone sucked my bones out or turned them to powder. Damn, I wish I had that for a super-power.

I black out. End phase one infiltration into new land by being morally corrupt idiot. Check.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Act your age, not your shoe size

Of all the elements in a traditional character sheet, I think the one that gets overlooked the most by ordinary RPers and duelists is age. Think about it for a moment. You take time to come up with a really awesome sounding name; you pore over your character's personality; you give tons of detail when it comes to describing hair, build, facial features, weapons and armour; you painstakingly develop a deadly arsenal of fighting techniques and/or spells for your newest badass hero or heroine; you may even decide to create an entire new race, complete with history, for your character. But let's be honest, here: when it comes to your character's age, most of you just pick a number, any number, usually between 15 and 25 for humans. While there's nothing technically wrong with a small army of teenaged wunderkinds fighting each other to the death, it's worth noting that there's also nothing technically wrong with variety, and that it can actually help improve your skills at the same time.

A character's age can have a lot of influence over many other elements in a signup sheet, from personality and description to techniques and history. By far, the most obvious element influenced is a character's looks. Usually people get wrinkles and grey hairs as they get older, unless your character goes in for hair dyes and Botox injections. But beyond the superficial aspect of it all, there are other things to consider. Can your 15-year-old really wear a full suit of armour? Can your 75-year-old really swing around a heavy spiked mace like nobody's business? Issues such as these tie in with a character's history and abilities. Young characters should normally have limited experience in fighting, unless you were an abandoned orphan found outside a dojo and were trained in martial arts since the age of 2. On the other hand, older characters may have the necessary experience in times of war, but might be plagued with physical difficulties such as arthritic knees and lessening strength. And then there's personality: usually, people get more conservative and, for lack of a better word, wiser with time. If your character is not human, of course, then your character may have different age milestones depending on the race you choose. If so, think about the race's average lifespan, coming-of-age, middle age, old age... Think about your character's general personality, description, training, and so on; then you can peg an approximate age in human years and adjust it to fit the race's scale accordingly.

Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. There are plenty of healthy older people around today, just as there are relatively sensible young kids. But the trick is knowing when to break the mold and when to go with common sense. If you think your character is too ordinary (even with kickass powers), then you may want to go against the norm in one aspect of the character sheet. Go with your instinct, here, and keep in mind that too many exceptions make a character look too good to be true.

In closing, I'd like to share an anecdote about this particular subject. I've been RPing for the past four years now and I've known several RPers who managed to get away with the silliest things because they were long-time RPers and had somehow gained respect. Many of them had characters with the most exorbitant ages imaginable, but one really stood out for me. This particular character had many... issues that I had problems with, but I'm sure at least one reader can relate to my frustration when I found out he was over 9 billion years old and looked not a day over 19 -- and actually acted about that age, too. That's something to think about when you think you can get away with your age because it looks cool on paper.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The General Malaise of Spreads and Cheezes

God-Modding. Cheeze Wizzing. Omnipotent. If you've been dueling on GameFAQs for a while, you've probably heard of those terms at one time or another. They're catch words, key phrases we're told to memorize and given a vague idea as to what they are. As we progress in our dueling careers, we begin to understand more and more what they are, what distinguishes them from ordinary attacks and why they are the bane of dueling. All three words can be summed up thus: over-powering.

Over-powering is the act of making your character far stronger than your opponents, generally in the middle of the match when both parties (or more) are committed to it. However, there are instances where one can be 'cheating' without ever using one of those words, yet we use them to describe it. I'll give an example.

I'll approach the problem from a widely understood True style, in which no auto hits are allowed. Were I to be battling against an opponent in the True style and I were to grab his wrist to use as leverage for an attack, I would thus be over-powering, God-Modding, cheeze wizzing, etc, and would promptly be called foul for the act; the duel would fill to the brim with OOC's complaining about wha I had done and die shortly after. However, were this same tactic to be approached in the Mix style, it would be allowed--in fact, it would be expected and no one would complain about it at all.

Same motion, two different instances, two different answers. A strange phenomenae, this over-powering. It seems to be subjective to the style of a duel, or perhaps it is subjective to the amount of power a character wields in battle, or perhaps both?

Another example.

Suppose I am using a technological armor set capable of launching dozens of missiles at once and I'm fighting against, say, a simple warrier incapable of magic and only uses a sword. In the True style, you could consider this God-Modding. Now, substitute my opponent for someone who also uses technological armor like me and has shields and the means to defend against such an attack. It is no longer God-Modding, is it?

Amusing that the same character was used, but in the two different situations under the same style, yet there were two different outcomes. God-Modding, over-powering and their ilk are completely situational, tied to the circumstance of the duel, to the characters and the attacks unleashed. When you fight toe-to-toe with an opponent on equal terms with equal abilities, your opponent can't, or shouldn't, cry wolf on you because you can keep up. It's asinine and childish of your opponent. However, were you to fight against an under-powered opponent with your max abilities available to you, you would then be God-Modding.


- W. Visarett

Monday, November 28, 2005

Splitting the Atom -- Compact Personality Disorder

So, how would you describe his personality? Well, he's paranoid most of the time. No, wait, he suffers from chronic anal retention. Was that it? No, he was raving mad and them some. But then there was that ego--arrogant son of a bitch, I'd say. No, no, no. I'm sure he was my Knight in Shining Armor, come to rescue me from the drudgery of daily life. Nope, he was funny, giddy, elated, a lark, truly. And then perhaps...

Personality with characters is tricky. Yeah, you say otherwise, but truthfully, when you want to stick to that underlying personality you set out to create for your character, you're influenced by your own personality. However much you might try not to, your personality will shine through your characters in some way, through some core value whether you try to have it like that or not.

But even then, the personalities we attempt to create for our characters are unique--and sometimes not so unique. We suffer chronically from "Ultimate Badass Syndrome," the cocky, cool and collected guy that oozes awesomeness and power. Too many characters like this, even some of my own. But we love it; we love to make those characters because we want to be them.

Ah, but now we push away from those and rush headlong into the belief that originality is key, that we must attain this sacred chalice at any cost. So, we create the characters of the opposite end of the spectrum that suffer from mental disorders, have shaky personalities, are bumblers and fumblers and cads and cards and resentful characters and blemishes to society characters; the list goes on. You jump in, find that happy-go-lucky badass isn't any good, so you swim to the other side trying to find the elusive deep, dark onion-man of many layers kind-of character.

But where's the middle ground? The Average-Jo's? They don't exist, and if they do, they don't last long in the world of the super-powered and under-powered and ultra-powered characters. They're like cars. You get your base models and then the ones that come with special features like mental and personality disorders to make them more "interesting." They come in various makes and models, some with leather, some with good stereo and speakers and CD players and mileage. And they all, no matter how pretty or gaudy or compact or basic, get the job done, these characters with personality.

We drive them along, and along the way their personality gets dints and pings and scraps. Do we take into account their journey and the effects it has on the character, on their personality? Or are they stuck in a kind of temporal warp, unaffected by the passing of time? It's strange, the personality of characters. They're conveyed in our words, and while we might set out to say one thing, the wording and choice of them might paint an entirely different picture. The traits and qualities ascribed to those characters come through now and again, but is it really what we want? What kind of personality are we striving for, and in truth, is it just another rehash of a vehicle we've driven before with a couple added options and bling to make people see differently?


- W. Visarett

Sunday, November 27, 2005


I've been fooling around with writing of late. I'm generally always fooling around with my writing, experimenting here and there with thoughts. I like to read, too, which only aids in my mind collecting various words and phrases altogether useless or useful and interesting in their own right.

Of late I've actually received a few comments on my writing, saying how it's improved compared to some of my old works. This only inflates my ego to massive proportions leading on to a round of ego-masturbation, by which afterward I need a good deflating to humble myself enough to fit through a door. That and the arrogant bit gets old fast and nobody likes the overly cocky, arrogant fool off to get himself killed to prove he's all that and a bag of chips.

The writing in question is this:

Oily and blackened and brazen gold, the sky boiled with dark tufts of smoke and cloud and threatened to pour out tears for the fallen, the dying and the emotionally distraught. No stars, no points of light to throw hope out to--only the flames and the heat and the labored sweat of turmoil. Blood was on the air, carried by a whisper. Orange coals, too, followed, tasting the wind and giving to it their fleeting warmth before dying cold. He couldn't feel the cold or the desperation or the fear. He only felt the hatred and the rage and the desire to murder, to kill each and every one of them, to raise his jaws to their throats and rip them free. That is what he wanted this night, and any night, from before, from now and forever forward.

Just one paragraph in seven of the set. I think it's good; could be better, but as Don said to me, "It really grabs you." I could improve my writing more, as there is always room for improvement. I'm just wondering if I'll have the time to sit down and write while I'm in the army, since I did enlist not too long ago.

And in the vein of thought brought about by that, I got for my testing to see whether I am worthy of the army life on Dec 13. Not bad, plus it's at a late enough date that I can relegate myself to working toward some kind of physical fitness, and after the testing, go home for Christmas once my exams and finals are finished up. All in all, a good thing.

Friday, November 25, 2005 the Air-Speed Velocity of an Unladen Swallow?

We can rebuild him. We have the technology. Make him harder, better, faster, stronger, and not at all repetitious like the Daft Punk song that's so addictively good. In fact, we'll focus on his speed, up his agility/dexterity stats until they're through the roof! He'll move to the song "You Can't Touch This," and when you ask him if he'd like to go light speed, he'd say light speed is never fast enough.

I've run into people who seem to think that they can move so fast you can't touch them. I'll quote Spaceballs now, something I'm sure everyone loves, and if you don't, you should be shot.

Sandurz: Prepare for light speed.

Helmet: No, no, light speed is too slow.

Sandurz: Light speed too slow?

Helmet: Yes, we'll have to go right to...Ludicrous speed!

Sandurz: Ludicrous speed! Sir, we've never gone that fast before. I don't think the ship can take it.

Helmet: What's the matter, Colonel Sandurz...CHICKEN?!

With that little snippet in mind, I think the majority actually do have this mentality--that light speed is never fast enough. Never mind that your opponent may be directing a hurricane in your direction with winds in excess of 386 kph (240 mph). Let's be honest, if you were on the Florida coast and you were at the peak of physical fitness and you tied yourself to a palm tree under the impression that you could weather the storm, that's your prerogative. But face it, it isn't that the wind is blowin', it's what the wind is blowin'. If a Volvo hits you at 386 kph+ (240 mph+) winds, it don't matter how many sit-ups you've done that morning*, it's gonna hurt.

Seriously, you aren't fast enough to outrun that. I don't expect a normal human being to be even capable of withstanding that much pressure. Sure, there are exceptions to the rule here, super-powers, magic, technological gadgets and so forth, but don't quite expect me to think you've got the kind of speed, or even the endurance to keep up that kind of speed, to evade and dodge anything moving that fast for an extended period of time, or even a short amount of time without some kind of object, device or power.

Yes, I know this is fantasy. Yes, I know we all have super powers, but what ever happened to some kind of limitations? A Chinese PL-12 air-to-air missile has a speed of Mach 4. A Chinese C.801 Anti-Ship cruise missile has a speed of Mach 8 at sea level. What does this say? It says you don't dodge or evade missiles, even on a good day, not unless you can pull off similar speeds, and in reality, considering the payload of some of these weapons, coming away alive just isn't happening even if you could dodge to the left in the split-second needed to get out of the way. Now, I know that most people aren't packing missiles, lasers or high-yield explosives in a duel, and that they don't even have weapons even capable of those speeds, but coming out of that alive just isn't feasible under any circumstance (unless you happen to be packing a massive blast shield, or even some kind of techno shielding gadget, then I suppose it is, but how many of us pack away one of those for a rainy day?).

So, back to my original thought, you aren't the fastest thing ever, you aren't capable of complete split-second movements, nor can you obtain speed-of-light as you break wind. Our characters might be super-powered, come with loads of stamina and endurance, but eventually they slow and get worn out, especially if you're facing someone of equal caliber in level to your own.

Where am I going with this? Well, it comes down to dodging everything. Lightning strikes could be deflected, but unless you have the capability built in, you aren't going to be dodging those. Much as you might like to, even in a fantasy realm, some aspects of reality and physics must sink through, otherwise what's the point? You can do anything, so why didn't you just slit your opponent's throat at the start with all that velocity you could attain? Because doing so would make it boring; it's also annoying and stupid for all parties involved if there isn't any real fight.

I can't say I haven't fallen for these pitfalls before either, or that I'm anywhere near perfect in my own right now, but at least I can come down to the conclusion that I at least try. We talk about fantasy, but what about some reality to the fantasy? Or are we just speeding away from the reality of that at light speed?


- W. Visarett

* Paraphrased/taken from comedian Ron White.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

It Came From Outer Space!!!--What The Hell?! That’s Just Some Guy In A Suit!

It really hacks me off whenever people just invent new weapons, species, breeds, etc. without taking the time to explain just exactly why their character is like what it is. Let’s take for instance….a talking house pet, explain to me why it can talk, or better yet fight. It doesn’t have to be a long drawn-out explanation, but give me a reason as to why said character can do said extraordinary feats and allow me to actually enjoy what I’m reading.

I swear there have been instances where I would have rather poured acid in my own eyes as to read the crap some people write. Hell, just fall back on the excuse, “He is magic, so he can do that.” Yeah, it’s lame and cliché, but hell, it at least explains why your character is so craptastic.

Now, we move onto weapons. These are one of the most overlooked, yet well described pieces of role playing, at least in my opinion. It seems that some generation of role players just skipped over the fact that it is good to explain the weapons you are using. Alright, so there isn’t much to the land of swords and stones, but I’m talking about the high-tech gizmos that can blow up a star. Give me the specs on the power source, how can the gun hold so much energy without overloading. How does your magic integrate into the mecha’s system? Does it just “Magically” (pun intended) happen? Or is there a special modification to allow your magic to pulse throughout the machine?

I’m just saying explain it before you use it. That way, whenever you do blow up a star with it, people know why it can blow up a freakin’ star and they won’t accuse you of cheezing.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Life -- Sucks

I stop and think sometimes during the day, an old habit. As the days go by, the blur one into the other, I forget details of things that might have happened or did happen and I no longer care enough about the details at that point that it's just easier to forget it all outright and leave it at that. Well, sometimes there are events in my life that no matter how much I wish I might forget the details or the lead-up to the event I can't.

Even when I don't want to think about those somethings, my mind always reverts back to some past occurrence and lingers for a moment, forcing me to actually stop and think about it. I might not want to, and might try to force it from my mind, but this only causes those very thoughts to come back later at a time that might be even more worse for me. So I let my thoughts run their course and all is well, I suppose.

But for the fact, all is not well.

I think of a friend lost and a woman that hates me. I harken back to thoughts of how she's probably continuing to harass and stalk me to this day and I might not even know it. Maybe, maybe not. The chances for this are altogether there, I'm sure, but sometimes even when I don't want to think about it and am thinking about it, I want to believe she's gone her own way and forgotten me so as to live a better life.

But then I remember Shakespeare and the line that "hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." I scorned a woman, and no she is, possibly, hellbent on harassing me to the end of days. I take the harassment and turn the other cheek, so to say. I can't say that I'm at all happy for the harassment. I'd like to think I'm over the whole thing, although if I'm talking about it, probably not. Things turn out bad, they stick with you. Although my life is changing.

I've joined the army. It will allow me to fully forget my past transgressions, and possibly forgive the people I couldn't before, and hope for the forgiveness for my own transgressions that I don't deserve.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Disfunctional-- A better, more loving family.

Your mother, your father, your siblings, your friends, what the hell do they mean to you. Well possibly nothing but they might be the focus of your life. In a situation like that they’ll affect your writing in profound ways. You could end up involving your best friend in a story and only realize it when they ask if you based said character off of you. You’ll give them a weird look and then look at the piece of writing and laugh out loud. They’ll grin and laugh with you like a friend is supposed to and you’ll admit to basing the character off of them.

Now if you like to break clichés (We all do) your character will have a family and friends that will affect them. When you involve these family and friends they might sound familiar to you. There is a high chance that they’re your family and friends. You’re character’s bets friend could be killed and in reality your friend could have died recently. That may sound uncaring but it’s the truth, large events that happen in real life. I’ll cover that later though so I’m going to get away from that topic.

Now as you write about your characters over protective mother or their controlling father you might want to think about what this means. You’re calling on interaction with your family and your subconscious might be trying to tell you something about your life. Of course what does your subconscious know?

This is ahead of schedule so don't expect anything tomorrow dear readers.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth

So, next up comes the biography of your character. In truth, this is probably the simplest thing to do, despite what people may tell you. I have three simple words to tell you on how to come up with a history for your characters: make shit up. It doesn't get simpler than that. I mean, sure you're planning out the characters' life, but in truth, you really are just making crap up as you go. Of course you should take into some consideration what kind of person you've set your character out to be, but it always comes back to those three words.

Other than that, not much I can say. So, go out, have fun and make something up.


- W. Visarett

Friday, November 18, 2005

One Day Every Month-Ah Shit! It’s Here Already?

Alright, I want to address the moods of a duel. I really don’t think people focus enough on actually setting the mood in a duel and looking into how it may help you pave a way to victory. Alright, look at it this way- with the first introduction you get the opportunity to set the mood of the duel, whether it be happy, sad, joking, serious, angsty, crazy, or absurd- you get to choose. Now, you may be thinking to yourself, how can this mood help me? Well, I’ll tell ya how damn it, give me time!

Sorry…Anyway, let’s take the mood of Joking for example. This one can be a real pain if you catch the right duelist. Some duelists just don’t know how to handle a joking realm-like the realm of Super1mm. A duel between him and Genesis Dragon isn’t short on Chickens that fight…You heard me, chickens….that fight. Even I would have a tough time devising a plan for this; you just don’t run into a lot of chickens in this day and age in dueling. I really have to give a hand to Super; he has used things such as a talking ordinarily-sized cat, fighting chickens, or a man named Cardiac (Yeah, I thought he might have a heart condition too) who uses playing cards to duel with. You know, Card-iac=Cards, uses ‘em to fight…Ah, you don’t care.

Anyway, let’s move to the other end of the spectrum. I recently played around with a twist in setting the mood. I’ll post my first paragraph to show you a switch.

The sky slowing darkened as if dieing against the shadow of the night. He watched as the blackness ate away the cold blue sky. Such an inescapable nightmare it can be at times, but sometimes it can give way to the simplicity and elegance that leave you speechless.

As the red dusk sun glowed upon the rolling hills and flowing rivers. The deep blue of the water faded into an inky black. The last of the gallant sun’s rays bounced from within its shallow depths refracting prisms of midnight light upon the dulling surroundings that claimed home nearby. The river had rolled across the landscape for ages, carving out a deep valley, met by two extremely green hills, equal in height. The rocks on the bed had been smoothed into crystals and rubies over the vast time they had resided there. It was a thing of splendor; the piece of land had long since been untouched by the murderous hands that were humankind. Its rolling fields of barley and wheat gave nourishment to the animal kingdom that called the area home. Up until now, it had been the perfect example of grace and exquisiteness, but unfortunately it would be destroyed in the blink of an eye. It would be represented by but a single grain of sand on the timeline of the Universe, in a matter of hours, it would become a wasteland.

So, as you can see I start off dark, notice the use of dark, deathly words and metaphors such as the sky dieing to the shadows of the night, etc. Using the negative words like nightmare, but yet the next paragraph goes on to explain a rather beautiful scene with a river and valley. Kind of confusing, right? Well I clear it up at the end with a bit more depression and destruction to make sure you know were I’m going.

Now you may ask, “How will this make the opponent change?” Alright, you remember Super from up above a few paragraphs? Probably not, I know how short of an attention span you all have. Well, he uses a lot of not-so-dark characters as mentioned above, yet faced with situation he falls into a perfect trap set up just by the intro. He is lured into using a dark marauder named The M Man, who seems to be a death-bringer of sorts. Also one of my favorite characters to combat…especially with the outlook that my character has towards death.

All you really need to know is how to set your opponent up, and hopefully he will fall into a category you know how to defend and overcome. That is the main case from setting the mood of the duel-placing your opponent in an environment that you are accustomed to, and hopefully giving you the other hand.


Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cracked Mirrors -- 3 Steps to Fixing That

What's he look like? Eh, ugly, over-weight middle-aged and balding male character, whose weapon of choice is a loud voice, an itchy ass, a bottle of Ex-lax and a TV remote with batteries clad in his bathrobe, slippers, boxers and a hot-sauce stained stripped shirt. Best sword master in the world too! Wait...Are you telling me the best sword master in the universe? Isn't he supposed to be a tall man with board shoulders and a long shock of silver hair that cascades over those shoulders, with a hawkish nose and deep hazel eyes, with small, slim hands and a slight build? Naw, we don't want another pretty boy being our sword master.

Appearance is a funny thing. We all want to be the most beautiful things out there. Nobody is really a gritty sort of man, with bags under the sunken eyes and a hallow look to the face, or a woman with wrinkles or a plain face with a too-wide mouth. When we talk about the appearance of our characters, we talk about their looks, how attractive they are to the opposite sex. It's a bad habit for pretty much all role players, myself included, to make our character's the most beautiful things to walk the catwalk. But I want to see a new wave of characters that emanate both power and ability, but some sense of reality to them. To no longer be a pretty-boy (or girl), but be realistic. To have strange features that set them all about.

Female characters are (almost) always independent, powerful and sexy. Some aren't, but we don't see those too often. Male characters are (almost) always badass pretty-boys. It's like there is no opposite side to the spectrum, but I want to see it today--no yesterday. But of course, chances of that aren't likely. Anime and video games heavily influence new role-players to the scene, and of course the characters there are always handsome and wonderful and cunning and all things marvelous.

So, how do we go about fixing that? Well, as the entry says, I've got three sure-fire (I hope) steps to get away.

1) Make the character more realistic in looks. Give the guy a beer belly, even a slight one. Give the chick frizzled hair. Give them facial defections, like too-wide eyes, or hawkish/hooked noses. Big hands, small hands, big feet, small feet. Anything and everything can be done, and the end result will give your character more life.

2) Don't stick to that slim, muscular and exceptionally fit body-type. Space it out a bit. Be scrawny, wiry, over-weight or big-boned. Be petite or somewhat flabby or any kind of type in-between. To see the whole spectrum of human body-types would make things so much more interesting.

3) Be dull. What do I mean? Dull hair, dull eyes, dull expressions, bored and annoyed, with plain faces.

It's probably not the best advice, but it would create characters more original and full of life characters than the ones that currently populate the role plays and duels with their angsting pretty-boy (or girl) -ness. But maybe I'm asking too much? In the end, though, it's you who decide the appearance, so make it a good one. Remember, not everyone is, or has to be, a gorgeous character.


- W. Visarett

Monday, November 14, 2005

Race Against Myself

Races. They are varied and plentiful. We can either start with stock humans or move on to the often used and clichéd celestial angels and demons, winged creatures and wingless creatures, or even go so far as to use other creatures we've seen before. Reptiles, mammals, avian or insect, the races we come up with for our character are many. There are the often seen or the custom created.

I, myself, prefer custom races. I have several: Aouyen, Baajin, Fri'di'nar, Fehrahzii, Galandrian, Grak, Hagasian, Jan'ri, Jyet Nyural, Je'Kenkari, Jorgani, Kaus, Krykor, Lai'git, Lan-Weih and Vadasian. That's sixteen various races I've come up with. Kinda overkill, if you ask me (of course, I was trying to come up with a universe all its own, so all those races are explainable to an extent).

Most people when creating a custom race generally take a stock human and modify it. Add wings, add claws, add extra reflexes, maintain a human form, or humanoid form, and just slap on a name. The simplest approach and probably one of the best, too, since it gives you a wide variety of things you can add and subtract from a given custom race while maintaining a specific bodily form you want. The flipside of the coin, though, is that people add to much and make the custom race just another god-modded creation. Add something, but don't add too much.

Another look at it is the wings department--I've seen WAY too many winged people going around, so I'd say stay away from those unless you feel you absolutely need to have some kind of winged creature. Seriously, though, another pretty-boy with wings makes me thing you're another Final-Fantasy-Fanboy on a Sephiroth binge in need of a slap upside the head. Think about it before you commit that kind of atrocious crime, will you?

A lot of people lean either toward lupine (dog/wolf-like), reptile-like (as in dragons and their ilk) or feline (cat-like). The avian in and of itself is generally covered within the realm of a celestial or winged creature of some sort. It's rare that you see insectoid races done by role players, as then they're a bug, and what can a bug do? Quite a bit, like lifting more than its own weight by dozens of factors. Don't discount the bug just because they're grotesque looking. Maybe that's what you want all along.

I myself lean more toward lupine or reptile-like, although my reptile-like races take on more characteristics of a lizard than the more well-known dragon counter part.

When it comes to creating even a custom race, anything is possible, and you can do anything you want with it. I'll give an example, using one of the species I've come up with, the Aouyen:


Aouyen are naturally green-scaled, like a reptilian species, with small short barbs or horns along their entire body. They are bald, and sport a set of red eyes set in a flat, nose-less and narrow face with pointed jaw. They have simian-like hands and feet (three digits with an opposable thumb) with retractable claws--their palms and feet also have soft pads to soften the noise they might make in movement. Thin, tall and lithe, these creatures are built for short bursts of speed.

The things that make them dangerous though are these: The Aouyen are capable of changing their skin color to hide within their environs. Their chameleon skills are in fact astounding, allowing the Aouyen to run at a good pace and not appear to the eye. The second dangerous aspect about the Aouyen have is that they have a set of glands in the back of their throat. The Aouyen can control the molecular makeup of whatever is produced within these glands. They can secrete anything from sedatives to poisons to balms. They can also spit an effective range of twenty meters.

Rather simplistic, isn't it? Yet it gets the job done of saying what the creature is, what it looks like, and what its skills are. While the creatures are described as reptile-like, there are also characteristics of a cat-like abilities.

In reality, picking a race is completely set upon both your style as a role-player and your preference. Some people like celestials, some like stock humans, some like custom races and creatures, or even mutants. You can do nearly anything with a race to make it unique in its own right. It's all up to you and what you want out of it.


- W. Visarett

Friday, November 11, 2005

Honey, It's a, AH!-- What In The Hell IS THAT!?

It's a boy! And what a boy! Honey, that's the umbilical cord--it's a girl. Damn, and you thought your little "boy" would be the ultimate son right there. Too bad, eh? Oh well, maybe she'll be a tomboy, and you can teach her all the sports and make her into a highly aggressive child to stand-in for the boy you hope to get some day. Or maybe she'll be your darling princess. Either way, when choosing a gender for a character, it can sometimes be a bit of a trial. Guys and girls both probably know that getting into the mind of the opposite sex isn't the easiest thing, so choosing a gender for a character probably is a tad harder still.

Now, I won't say that one sex is better than the other. That's just plain stupid--plus I like girls, me being a guy, and saying guys are better than girls wouldn't exactly help my life out, now would it? Of course, if guys aren't better than girls, the reverse holds true as well, that girls aren't better than guys (although this might be a dismaying thought to some women out there).

So, you choose a gender appropriate for your character. I see numerous guy characters, usually pretty-boys, angelic with wings and fire users--cliched, badass, but apparently works for a number of people. The opposite is that when I generally see female characters, they're sexy, seductive, demon-like babes from hell that use of all things ice. Ah, stereotyping, where would the role playing world be without you?

You rarely, if ever, see anything that could be classed as asexual (meaning both genders or sexless). Would be interesting to find such characters that couldn't be classed as a particular sex. Few, if anybody, plays this kind of character. I don't even know why, since I think it might be easier as you wouldn't have to deal with the generic, stereotyped male emotions or their female counter-parts (emotions-wise).

But, for the most part, we're going to be stuck with boy and girl and no it. Not to say that this is a bad thing. After all--when something gets overused, like an asexual character, they're no longer original. Just another cliche we're told to stay away from.

For those that don't know, today is Remembrance Day in Canada; solemn day where we honor the dead who fought in WWI and WWII for freedom. Probably too late to say that we pause nation-wide on the eleventh hour (AM) to reflect on it, but that's what we do. Anyway, just a random Canadian fact for the non-Canadian's out there who read this (although I think today is Veteran's Day in the US, similar to Remembrance Day in Canada or something).


- W. Visarett

Monday, November 07, 2005

She Does What? Oh….Ew!

That’s right, this next one will cover the great realm of personality. Now, when you get down to it, you will realize that I can’t cover every personality out there without writing some sort of short novel or long short-story, but what I can do is give examples as to how a personality will affect the atmosphere of the duel.

Alright, we shall first cover our, pardon my language, clichéd bases (is it just me or is calling something cliché actually starting to get cliché itself). Alright, so we move to the loner dude who wears lots of black make-up and never smiles, while fighting because he just plain hates the world (Veggie’s Angst anyone). This type of personality gives way to that of a boring air in the duel world. Not a lot of spice, although this character does tend to be a bit on the dark side as fair as attacks and speech patterns go (For the most part, there are always exceptions). I can imagine one to use Fire or Dark attacks while controlling the aforementioned character while either not caring what the opponent says at all or getting very upset at their foe’s words.

Doesn’t sound like much fun, huh? Well, I have a way to spice things up…Check out this character sheet.

Name- Morgan Zolgalman

Age- 17

Sex- Male

Description- Morgan dresses in all black, wearing a long trench coat that drapes around his ankles. He has jet black combat boots and always has an assortment of silver jewelry that studs his eyebrows, nose, lips, and ears. His hair is spiked into a dark, black mohawk, and he wears jet black lipstick. He is the perfect image of goth.

Short character sheet, I know, but I didn’t want to put spoil the twist. Now, I want to show you a good way to surprise anyone after reading this sheet.

Morgan walked drearily through the streets as a fine downpour of rain fell upon his ebony locks. His makeup was running and he looked like a scary funhouse attraction, but he wasn’t looking for fun, he was looking for a fight. He pulled a pack of cigarettes from his pocket and bent over, keeping the precious smokes dry, with a flick of his finger, the cigarette was lit and in his mouth. He pulled long and hard and then flicked it into the drainage ditch nearby. His opponent had arrived.

As the other man gently drifted into the street, Morgan’s heart began to race. His mouth just couldn’t keep it shut in any longer, “Wow, aren’t those jeans just so cute! Oh! My! Gosh! I just can’t believe how vibrant your eyes are! We have to go shopping, I saw this pair of torn jeans that would look absolutely stunning on you!”

Alright, you probably weren’t expecting that right? Exactly, thanks to a comment by Clovis, I thought about this. Taking the cliché and making it unique, a very good trait of any writer, taking what they are comfortable with and making it something actually enjoyable to read. Now, when you read the first part of that sample, the tone of the duel is dreary and dark, correct? But as it nears the end, it turns into something…well, fruity.

Not only can you deceive your readers, but you can start it off with something fun. Make your character spit out random, lame jokes during a fight, or make some cheesy fighter who uses a bunch of lines from…I don’t know, E.R. You can do a limitless amount of things to make your writing unique, because in truth, isn’t that what we all aspire for?

Take Libram’s writing for example, he has a stunning ability to integrate characters with truly charming and creative personalities into his writing, such as Big Boy, the child-like Android who is an excellent example of man-made machine, or his creator Amy, who is very nerdy, yet has a sexy side like Laura Croft.

All I am saying is, people need to find ways of making the same old, same old into something new and worth my time to read. The days of heroic, Hercules type fighters should be gone, and an era of frightfully charming, or devilishly cunning characters should begin.


Next Blog- Setting the tone of the duel in the intro.


Friday, November 04, 2005

But Grandpa, I Don't Wanna Go to the Fair

Age. Connected with aging. Nobody likes being old, so lets all be young! Yes, let's all pretend we're sixteen year old guys with super-powers and thirteen year old female teenyboppers aching for our first sexual encounter. 'kay? 'kay. Now quick, don't forget, if anyone's over 22 they can't be good at anything, right? Fucking wrong, dipshit. Apparently a good many morons missed the memo about "with age comes wisdom and experience." Don't worry, though, you've still got time to learn...I hope.

A wave of role-players, especially younger ones, influenced by both video games and anime, take on the role of some young, stubborn, know-it-all yipper snappa capable of wielding a sword the size of a mid-sized Volkswagen with power and skill not seen in their age bracket--there's a reason for that, you know. Then they have to audacity to call anyone over the age of twenty old and a has-been. A cliché that has somehow entered and doesn't look to be leaving any time soon.

Truth is, or at least you'd hope it would be the truth (and with some people you'll never really know), is that with age comes experience. You don't instantly start good at something, and even if you do, it still takes practice to get better. So it comes down to choosing an age for our character. We want to character to be experienced, to have seen things, done things, to know things; if you're trying to make a character like that, a fifteen year old just won't cut it, no matter how you stack their life up. Let’s face it, fifteen minutes of sword training won't make them an expert.

As I said in my last entry about the importance of a name for a character, choosing their age is also vital in and of itself. A good age to have some experience, but not too old to the point where they couldn't shake a cane at you without meds. While there are exceptions to the rule (strange species people concoct, or the clichéd demon, monster, angel, elf, humming-bird on crack, etc), you still must understand that the old adage is true--age equals experience.

I mean, it is understandable that a character would have some experience under their belt, even if they were twenty-two, but don't expect me to believe some up-and-coming eighteen year-old can beat a hardened warrior that's been duking it out with the riff-raff of the world for twenty-odd years. That's just plain stupid, and anyone who suggests it's even possible is basically an idiot. Now, I am aware of certain examples of this being possible, but it's so over-the-top and rare I don't want to see it unless you've got a damn good reason for doing it.

So, what do we take from all this? Age is equated to experience, skill, power and wisdom. If you're sixteen, I doubt you've seen the whole world or have the skill needed to back-up whatever powers you've got. I also doubt you've got enough experience under your belt to even make you smarter than a half-wit, let alone superbly wise. So next time you decide to come up with an age for a character, make it appropriate for what you're having this character do. Otherwise it's a strain on the mental facilities of the people forced to wade through your writing.

If you hadn't noticed, I seem to be on a binge of writing about traits for characters and their creation. Or if you even bothered to notice that funny little trait, I've now put it out explicitly so if you say hi to me you can blab about how you knew it all along. Sure ya did. Anyway, I'm doing a series on character creation, running through all the main points; name, age, gender, race, appearance, personality, history, etc. If you think what I've done so far could use some improvement, drop me a line. Hell, leave a comment or two to critique Corbs and my work and we'll make sure to improve ours so you can improve yours. Something like that, yeah.


- W. Visarett

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

You Know That Guy Who Never Showers?

No, of course you don’t because almost every damn character out there is the typical run-of-the-mill buff, sexy guy who wears black/red outfits, has a really cool katana, and uses fire… Alright, so not all characters are like that, but I know of a lot that fit perfectly into, “List of Top Clichés, The.” Now, I admit, I fall into this category with some of my characters as well, but I really do try for creativity and uniqueness. Now, take for example my beloved character Ares (who my first ever character, and boy was he clichéd);

(Hybrid) Ares is the definition of suave. He stands just over six feet tall with long flowing black hair and chiseled muscles. He likes to wear casual clothing because his power supplements a natural armor. He is most usually seen wearing a dark red, silky t-shirt that exposes his ripping biceps. It fits nice and tight for the joy of the many ladies he meets on his travels. He also wears a set of black leather pants accompanied by black combat boots. The most unusual feature that sets Ares apart from normal mean is his beautiful angel-like wings. The long, crimson red feathers are all almost a foot long. The wings stretch almost half a foot above his head and extend all the way to his lower calves. His skin is tanned giving him an even better look as well. His eyes are also very sheik; they are an odd silver, smoky color and whenever he gazes upon something, it feels like they are able to look into the thought of the subject.

Ugh! Now, I really do love Ares, I have used him for over three years now, but he is full of clichés. Let’s start off right- he is of course of human/dragon, duh. I thought that was a given. We then move on- Yep, very smooth and sexy, par for the course. Just over six feet…what a perfect height. Chiseled muscles…ewww, tempting. A dark red shirt and black pants you say? Well, I just described that up there! Black combat boots?! No way! Never would have guessed…combat boots. Angelic wings?! But of course. With long, crimson feathers? Fancy! Tanned? Even more appealing. And to top it off, we have the classical silver eyes, couldn’t do without…

That’s right, Ares is terrible when it comes to being unique, but you must forgive me, for I didn’t know this at the time of his conception. I have since found the error in my ways, and would like to show you another character that is a bit more, comical and distinctive;

Ringer- Such a funny thing is luck. Clyde had a sort of ironic luck; he always seemed to get himself into trouble, but he always came away unscathed. He was one of the most peculiar men you might ever happen to meet, but he had a certain air or contentment. As long as you could get past the black ring around his eye, thus the name Ringer, you might actually enjoy his company…or make his life a living hell, whichever happened to be your fancy. Such was the destiny of the lowly Pirate-tormented by the oddity of his luck, and the cruelness of his crew, he was doomed to live a life of not caring, and being made fun of, but as long as he was happy, that’s all that truly mattered. Such was the black ink-ring around his right eye. After falling asleep in the nest as he usually did, his crew mates decided to line his favorite telescope with a think, tar-like ink. With a blast of a whistle, he was abruptly woken and yelled at for not keeping his eyes at sea. He then naturally picked up his scope and slammed it to his eye to make sure as to not get in trouble again.

From that day on his nick-name was Ringer, and to this day, he hasn’t figured out the reason why his alias is such. He simply goes on about his business and doesn’t think much more of it than possibly being glad that they even gave him a nickname.

Such is my newly beloved pirate named Ringer. Now, first off I would like to point out that pirates are not used near enough in a duel setting. It seems they may always remain synonymous for battling the ninja in the many polls that once littered GameFAQs, but that doesn’t change the fact that they have a special place in my heart. Now, first off you can see that Ringer has a defining feature that may make him an outcast or laughing stock- the dark black ring around his eye. Now, in a duel setting you may be able to use this as a distraction of sorts, but to do so you must first lure you opponent into noticing it. Secondly, Ringer lends to more uncommon attacks and counters because of his unusual luck. Instead of purposely dodging a knife or sword, you can describe a situation between him falling into something and it takes the blunt of the attack instead of the beloved Pirate. This will help in that ever-sought after category of creativity, and if you know how to play your cards right, you can give your readers a good laugh or two while they browse through your posts, thus making it more appealing to others.

For now, we shall only look at how the physical aspects of a character can change the very nature of the duel itself. In my next blog I plan to address the different personalities of each character and how they can be a very cunning adversary, or a very boring foe in terms of your writing.


Monday, October 31, 2005

What's My Name? Fuck You! That's My Name

So, you meet this girl, right, and you're chatting the chick up. You think she's hot and easy to talk to. In fact, you think she's great. You take her to bed, and while you're on top of your game, you suddenly cry out, "Fuck yeah, Caroline!", only, she suddenly screams at you, "Stupid fucker, my name's Amanda!" And thus ends any chances of a repeat of the fine program you might have been participating in.

So what's in a name? A lot more than people give credit. A name is a defining thing. It's all-encompassing. In fact, as I have found with people I've run into in life with the same names, certain traits can even be given to specific names. Meaning and definition of character are given by names. Would a rose by any other name smell as sweet? Well, gotta ask yourself if you'd really like that bouquet of "Shit-buds," since I'm sure everyone wants to stick their nose in that.

The same can be said of the names we choose for the characters we role play. They define our character as they define us, giving a meaning sometimes subtle and sometimes a smash-in-the-face-with-a-hammer subtle. No longer are you simply that guy. The character is no longer that dude, either. The character is now the name chosen for him or her, and it is the symbol that represents the character indicating who they are.

A name distinguishes us from one another in the same sense that it distinguishes our characters from one another, unless of course you're Final Fantasy Fanboy #462 where you've aptly named your character Sephiroth, along with several hundred other rabid-in-need-of-Final-Fantasy-immunization-fanboys. And when that happens, any hope of being distinguished from sheer stupidity is lost.

Names not only define our characters of give meaning to them, and not only do they distinguish one character from another, they can also carry information about the character, a reputation sometimes. It sets the basic qualities of a character, their personality, outlining and channeling the actions we want to go through with the character. They aren't a simple thing, never were. Each name has a meaning rooted somewhere, and those meanings can sometimes imply further implications without our even knowing it.

In fact, the name chosen for my first character was Wolfgang. The name itself is of German descent and means "wolf path." What is a wolf? It's a pack animal, vicious and deadly, but calculating. A thinker. I later changed my character's name to "Amarouk." The word is Inuit, and means simply "wolf", or in the connotation I used for it, "swift wolf." The name defined my character. He was vicious, deadly, calculating and fast. A thinker and not someone to be trifled with. That is what I wanted my character to be, and the name I chose for him was very apt. It defined him to a tee, acting as a symbol for people to understand who and what he is.

So what's in a name? A lot more than people give credit, I think.


- W. Visarett

Sunday, October 30, 2005

Guns 'n' Swords -- The Latest in Bad Music

I see your sword is bigger than mine--compensating for something, mayhap? Or perhaps, you carry about a big gun, 'cause you know, big guns are mighty fine to have, and I can't help but think of a few women who like big guns. Or maybe it's a small sword you got there, but the size don't matter 'cause you know how to put it to use. But then again, that compact, high-caliber handgun just hits the spot just right.

But in all seriousness, when we duel, it always comes down to two camps: guns or swords. Now, I'm lumping in axes and staffs and polearms (oh my!), etc into a single generic group for the sake of discussion. You either like to "reach out and touch/frag someone," or prefer a more personal approach, where you lip-synch to badly done English acting and say "You kill my father, prepare to die."

But, which is better?

Now that there is the age-old question. Do you like big guns or big swords? You want to be splooging over distance or hitting them down up front? Now, I could say that one is generally better than the other, but in dueling, it all comes down to personal taste. In truth, if this were reality, which weapon being better would depend wholly on the situation at hand. The same could be said of dueling, really. However, the majority of people believe simply that swords are better than guns, regardless of any truth or falseness behind the claim.

A fact is, though, that in forum dueling, no matter how many rounds of automatic fire are directed in your direction, be it laser, plasma or plain projectile, you can evade them all with leet, H4X skillz. Bad dueling, in my opinion. You can't dodge every round. Sure, maybe one or two, but when that many rounds are flying at you, you're gonna be turned into Swiss cheese pretty quick, unless you of course cheeze your way out of it.

But then, you're a sword user, and this means you can hack and slash every bullet out of the air like you're (OMG! Spoilers!) Cloud from FF7: Advent Children. Now you're just lumping yourself up in the category of re-hashed, seen a dozen or more times bullshit that we're all tired of. Sure, you can get lucky and dodge a few bullets, but face it, not everyone has super-human speed. But then on the flip-side, you don't see a gun able to stand up to a sword. And I don't think fencing with a rifle would prove feasible or easy in any regard. Would be rather ungainly, I should say.

Now, I know that everyone wants to believe one weapon is better than the other, but it's not. It comes down to personal taste and the ability to be creative with said weapon. And yeah, I do know that in role-playing we create an alter ego, something to be greater than ourselves, but even in fantasy, some idea and mechanics of reality has to come into play--physics doesn't take a back seat whenever you want to bend the rules of reality, they still exist, and any good role-player will utilize physics to make their attacks both more realistic and just damn cool to see.

But in the end, it boils down to taste. Which do you like better and which are you better at using?


- W. Visarett

y helo thar

Forum Dueling -- A Conceptual Guide

That’s Fine, Just No Kissing On The Lips.

“Y helo thar.”

Yes, you may all be wondering who I am and just what I am doing posting on Wolf’s blog. No, I’m not some ingenious hacker, and no I didn’t hypnotize Wolf to let me post here. As you may or may not know, Wolf a.k.a. Wolfgang Visarett is working on a comprehensive guide to forum dueling, and to help him out Tier and I will be addressing some of the issues that Wolf intended to handle, so if you need a question answered, don’t be afraid to hit any of us up.

Now, back to my topic; it seems that in the current age of dueling, the main concept is nothing but fight, fight, fight! Now, don’t get me wrong, fighting is good and all, but it does get a tad stale when the character interaction flies out the window and we get a ten car pile-up of slashing swords and overpowered energy blasts. What ever happened to the romance, people?! Who says there can’t be a little kiss in between two duelists fighting on the same side, why can’t we save a helpless NPC and then get repaid by a sexual fav…er, I mean hug? I’ll tell you who says this, a lot of people….

DeePee: “dueling is fighting... not meant to be character interaction.”

Now, to some degree, I would say that this statement is true, but there is that other 160 degrees that leads me into my next point; wouldn’t forum dueling be a bit more fun, and a bit more appealing to the masses if there was a little background to it? For example, take a look at dueling in its most linear form;

"All right, it's starting," Lizard thought to himself as the gate on the opposite side began opening. All nervousness was lost. The feeling of battle overtook him. His hand was instinctively led to Reiniku's handle.

Then suddenly, an unexpected calm washed over the stadium. Was it usually this quiet when the fighter entered the ring? No, the noise was quite loud on his entrance. What could-

"Wait a second, it's a woman," Lizard did not commonly see women on the battlefield, and those he did see were rarely his target.

As she walked closer, more detail could be identified. Especially that of her face. Instantly, Lizard's thoughts strayed from the battle... 'Is this my opponent... or some pre-fight entertainment? I can't fight like- wait, the fight!'

The steel gates from behind closed. "That's it," Lizard's eyes widened, the direct focus taken off his opponent. He took this opportunity to make a strike.

He made a direct charge towards the female fighter, making a jump just a few feet in front of her. Propelled by the extra force from his tail, Lizard would attempt to end the match quickly by taking a slash at his opponent's throat...

Look at this, I give my opponent the outmost opportunity to take a stab (Not literally, but emotionally) at the female character, and yet he could care less how beautiful she is, and instead charges headlong in to kill her. Now, if I see a female character that I am about to fight, I shall at least hit on her. Now, I’m not saying this guarantees some sort of relationship, which would be up to the other writer, but it does give way to a bit more fun and clever ways to play out the duel.

Now, everyone can run and slash, but to try and plant a gentle kiss on the woman’s cheek while you attack, now that is an art my friend. So what if you leave that attack with your face imprinted by five fingers and an angry palm, it’s better than a slice by a sword into the gonads, right? Now, the reasoning behind this isn’t to just put interaction into the duel, it may also put your opponent into an unforeseen corner, somewhere that they may not be familiar, and it will lead way to you holding the upper hand.

Now, instead of being a gun-totting, magical sword-wielding robots that live to fight, go out there and show some emotion. It lets the readers enjoy the duel more, and it may give you that key advantage to winning…


Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Hey Pa! I'm Gonna Go Hunt Me Some Zerg!

I had a chat with my older brother a couple days ago about my decision to join the army. He was shocked and surprised, but said that whatever I do, do it for me--which is why I'm doing this. He also asked if I had told our parents about this decision yet, to which I said no I hadn't. He wanted to know if he could tell them. I replied saying that "it'd be best if they heard it from me."

Well, I got a phone call today from my folks with my dad saying "Your brother says we should call you, says you have something important to tell us." It was around there that I began to both laugh at the situation that was about to ensue, and to slightly rue it. So, I told my dad flat out, "Yeah, I'm going to be enlisting in the army in the next couple weeks."

Now, I'd both seen and heard my dad flip out thousands of times in my life. I wasn't prepared for the amount of surprise/shock he espoused over the phone when he heard that. He literally yelled back into my ear: "WHAT!? You're joining the army!? You're crazy!"

About now I could hear my mom launched into laughter and hysterics over this. While I know she didn't see this decision coming, although I've been brooding over it for nearly eight months, she probably understands my reasoning behind doing it more than my dad. So, I ended up explaining to my dad that yes, this is something I wanted to do, yes I know I could get sent off to a foreign country to get shot at, and yes, I know it'd be tough, but it's something I want to do.

The end result was that my dad, although shocked, wished me well. My mom even wished me well, which wasn't what I had been expecting from her at all. Of course, my parents' reaction to my decision wasn't what I had been expecting. I'd thought they would be screaming and telling me I was insane, although my dad did say I was crazy for even thinking this. Either way, turned out well. Of course, with me enlisting, it might mean dropping the courses I am taking part in and heading home for the remainder of the wait before I ship out for training--because I'm pretty damn sure I'll get in without any hassle or problem whatsoever. Only time will tell though, eh?

And, this Friday, I will be seeing two movies: Domino and Two For the Money. The follow-up might be me seeing another two movies on Saturday, The Legend of Zorro and The Weather Man. Here's hoping they're all excellent movies, although I'm pretty sure they will be.

And speaking of good movies, Doom was okay, better than I expected (although I hadn't had high expectations to begin with), but as I've told many people, if you want something with good acting, a rich story and a great amount of plot, don't see it. If you like guns, monsters, and killing said monsters, then this would be something for you. I, honestly, believe anyone should see if just for the sake of seeing it to give it a chance and decide whether it was good or bad. I'm pretty sure the 'Net's already filled with reviews for and against the movie; so really, it's up to you whether you want to see it.


- W. Visarett

Monday, October 24, 2005

So, I Knew This Guy, Right--Real Asshole

Well, since I've started on the path of character creation, the only thing is to actually create a character, as an example, mind you. I'll create it all on the fly.

Now, me personally, I like to start with a name. You can try either Behind the Name or Baby Names for a name of choice. Or, you can use my strange method of coming up with original names.

First, you take an ordinary name: Matthew

Second, you take the name and split it in half: Matt hew

You then switch these two pieces: Hew matt

Add a "yk" to the end of "Hew": Hewyk Matt

Subtract the "tt" and add "nz" to the end of "Ma": Hewyk Manz

Finally, change the "a" to "ae": Hewyk Maenz

Pronounced: He-EW-ick Muh-enz

My method doesn't work for everyone, so only try it if you feel comfortable with it. The trick is the addition and subtraction of specific letters to produce a certain sound.

As a follow up to the name, then we decide whether the name is masculine or feminine, as this will decide whether the character is a guy or gal. I, personally, think the name Hewyk is masculine, so our character in question is male. Next we then describe the character, what he/she looks like, how he/she acts, etc.

Most people follow a preformatted guideline, using name, age, gender, race, appearance (eyes, hair, build, clothing, etc) and finally some kind of personality. I, on the other hand, try and just start writing about the character. Put the character in a situation and then write a way for the character to get out of the situation, and based on that, ascribe specific traits to the character. But for the sake of convention, I'll use the traditional method.

  • Name: Hewyk Maenz
  • Age:
  • Gender: Male
  • Race:
  • Appearance:
  • Personality:

Now, when filling all that out, you have to think about the character, what's he like. Most people already know in some subconscious portion of their mind what they want the character to be like. Each character is really some small extension of ourselves in a small manner.

  • Name: Hewyk Maenz
  • Age: 29
  • Gender: Male
  • Race: Human
  • Appearance:
  • Personality: Calm, cool, collected with sarcastic/wry humor

Notice I left off the appearance bit for the moment. I'll throw together a small writing piece, as that's generally the best way to capture what a character looks like, at least in my mind. Remember, though, what might work for me doesn't always work for someone else, and it's best to experiment until you get something you like or feel comfortable with.

It's ten PM. The sky's dark; pissing rain. His trenchcoat is soaked, the fedora atop his head along with it. The streets are turned slanted under the streetlights. It's twisted how the world changes in the dark. He stands about six foot, with cruel blue eyes, and a glint of blonde hair beneath the dripping outcrop of hat. A business suit, he wears, with one hand at his face holding the smoldering remains of a cigarette while the other is perched in his pocket. He holds himself like a man of class, but the shifty look in his eyes says anything but.

That's a pretty good description of the man's appearance. What you really need to do, then, is take the key points and put them into the appearance portion. The hardest part, mind you, is creation a back-story, a history or origin for your character, and there I can't help you. It's completely up to you what to do.

Anyway, I hope this little example proved at least somewhat useful. I'd hate to think that I'm wasting my time writing all this.


- W. Visarett