Monday, March 23, 2015

Don't call me cute and tell me my opinions mean something...

Mom, the saying is - don't pee on my leg and tell me it's raining!

I love the word cute. Cute is my word ^o^. Cute means a lot of things to me - it means adorable, it means friendship, it means love. However, recently, I have been called cute a few times and the meaning was perverted. Cute was a mask for other words.

"Oh, you designed a game? That's cute."
"It's cute that you want my feedback, but you should know I am difficult to please." 
"You're cute, but let me explain how this game works."
"It's cute that you think that..." 

Each time I heard the word cute in that way, it was totally demoralizing. These are things you say about child, to pad what you mean, because you don't want to hurt them. It is something you say to put someone down, while bolstering yourself with power in a conversation. You cut off communication by speaking to someone in a way that says 'you're not grown-up enough to engage in the conversation I am having'.

I am a woman, I am not a child.

Please, when giving feedback, while in a serious discussion with someone (anyone, even if you don't like them and even more if you do), never call them cute. Be direct, say what you mean to say.

"You designed a game? Why?"
"I can give you feedback, but you might not like what I have to say."
"I think you are wrong about the game and this is why..."
"I disagree with you."

Being direct and to the point, without putting someone down, is the best compliment you can give when providing feedback. Speaking to a person as an equal presents you well and allows the other person to feel safe speaking to you. It makes people want to listen to you, to engage with you, and to take your opinion seriously.

Outside of that, I really hope you use the word cute, cause it is a good word.

"Your outfit is super cute!"
"Omg cute dog!"
"Hey cutie!"

Thanks for allowing me this rant!


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Beautiful Things Sunday

It is Sunday and I am going to a con to promote WITCH. However, that doesn't mean I have forgotten about you :D.

I hope you had those beautiful moments to pause in your week. To take a breath, to reflect, to let out a sigh of relief. I hope that if things were moving too slowly, you were able to speed them up. I hope if you had none of that and you were feeling overwhelmed that you had a great glass of wine and a few good friends to cheer you up. If you didn't, I hope you know you are awesome :).

First of all, let's talk about music. 

I finally figured out what I am going to do when my Kickstarter is over. I am going to bring my duvet downstairs, I am going to get my favourite bottle of red wine, a pint of Ben & Jerry's double chocolate fudge brownie, and I am going to play the entirety of the Mass Effect trilogy from start to finish for the fourth time. Mass Effect, I feel, has some of the most haunting music of any video game I've ever played. If only for the times when they use the music to create magic in the narrative they are telling with you.

This is my favourite song:

Have you heard of John Bauer

He was an amazing Swedish illustrator and his work is straight out of fantasy and wonderment. His work is heavily influenced by Swedish nature scenes, but also fairy tales. He drew princesses, princes, mermaids, and trolls. What I love most about his work is how he plays with light and dark. I look at his work and I am inspired to write dark and strange tales, ones that focus on the adventure and not where they story ends up. 

Finally, sometimes adorable things can also be beautiful. If only there was a game where you played a hamster-sized hero who had to protect their home from human invaders and then get rewarded with an most decadent feast, oh wait... There is^^. I just found out about Michtim a few weeks ago and my core rule book came in the mail two days ago. This system is adorable, you can play anything from a cook to a courtesan to a wizard and more! Everything is this book is super kawaii and all the words the little michtims use are super tiny and cute like what a hamster would use. If you want something to make you happy while you play - this is the game for you. I'll be doing a full run-down of this game sometime later, but if you want to see something beautifully adorable, you should really check this game out.

I hope you have a lovely Sunday!


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Secret Spaces: Numenera: The Resting Pond

This is my first entry for blog posts I will be writing about Secret Spaces in the role play games I love. They are tiny setting ideas for you and your campaigns. They can be horrifying, wondrous, epic, or lovely depending on how I am feeling :).

The Resting Pond
For: Numenra

They say there is a place you can go, somewhere away from the crash and bustle of the road. A break from utter adventure, from terrifying explorations, a place to pause. Away from the oil, the slick, the crush of machinery. A place lost to time and the crashing of worlds. A place that will be only yours for precious fleeting moments.

You'll find the Resting Pond under a tree that looks like she is crying. Her branches hang low to the ground and sweep away the electric hum of the machines that surround her. Near the her lush green leaves that shoo away chips and bits of nano-hail on the floor, you can see real earth. The kind of earth that is underneath, under layers and layers of time, the kind of earth that breathes life into all things.

If you wander through the tree's branches, daring to touch the only organic thing in your metallic surroundings, you'll step into a world of wonder. A place so foreign, it is terrifying. Under the branches the electric hum outside is quiet and there is a beautiful silence. Here you will find the Resting Pond.

The pond sits at the tree's roots surrounded by the greenest grass you have ever seen. Small, glowing bugs hang lazily in the air, blinking on and off like tired stars. The water of the pond is utterly still and if you take a look into the pool you'll see right to the bottom.

Nothing is out of place here. Nothing is mixed and all is matched. You've heard a word and you finally know what it means, what wonder it can bring, this place, it is - ordinary.

"You step into the Resting Pond and its cool water welcomes you. The pool is only a small bit wider than your arm span and you fit easily on a small ledge inside the pond. The world outside seems far away.  The crash is now splash, the bustle of the road is finally still. You drift to sleep knowing all is well.  
You awaken feeling refreshed, to the sound the sound of static and beeps. The tree is gone and the Resting Pond with it. A pile of leaves blanket your body, your clothes and items are washed and placed carefully next to you. As you continue on your journey all you have left of the Resting Pond is a small, blue stone, that is always cool to the touch."

Special: Item - Cypher: Resting Pond Stone. A Resting Pond Stone is nothing special, only a reminder of where you one were. Small, soft, and cool to the touch, this stone fits easily in the palm of your hand. When you are in utterly dire circumstances, the stone calm and bolster you, making any action you perform next much easier. It will then disappear, as if it was never there.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

Beautiful Things Sunday

Happy Sunday everyone!

I have decided to dedicate my Sunday blog posts to beautiful things. We need more precious and wonderful in our lives, that is what this is going to be. Mostly things will be RPG related, because that is my love, but since I can never stay on topic I am likely to post some random things too.

I hope you are having a fantastic Sunday. I hope that people haven't dragged you down this week and if they did I hope you are bouncing back. I hope you have something lovely in your life and if you don't I hope this will help you :).

First of all, it is Sunday, you need a beautiful song. So, please enjoy this while reading my blog post :)

Have you heard of Rebecca Guay?

She is the illustrator of one of my favoruite rpg gaming supplements of all time - Revelations of the Dark Mother. This supplement was for Vampire the Masquerade and followed the life of Lilith - an epic vampiric mother goddess. Rebecca illustrated the entire thing and I fell in love with her work. I love the way she illustrates the female body and the lines she draws are amazing. If you have never heard of her or seen her work, make your Sunday better and click on the link above.

Now, you need some beautiful words. I love goblins! They are adorable and terrifying and ever since my mom read me the Hobbit when I was a kid, I have loved goblins. I don't know what it says about a kid who is cheering for the goblins and not the dwarves, but I found a Goblin Song for you. It is written for Pathfinder, but a person named Russell Jones. I don't know who you are Russell, but your Goblin Song is epic!

Goblins flee and goblins run, 
Hide in trees from wicked sun.
Longshanks chase with nasty dogs,
chase the goblins into bogs.
Boggy ground and boggy air,
But the goblins do not care.
Hunters chase the goblins round,
Never seeing pits in ground!
Trappers now the trapped they be,
While the goblins dance with glee!
Heads get smashed and longshanks dead,
And goblin bellies soon get fed!

Finally, look at this! My pledge finally got filled from a Kickstarter I backed and it was totally worth the wait!!! Fire & Bone makes castings of animal skulls (and dino bones O_O) and them makes them into tiny, adorable, wearable art. This is my bronze great horned owl. I am so happy with it. They have a webshop now so if you are jelly of my necklace you should check them out!

In my pjs, taking pics on a Sunday morning :P Super classy!

Have a great Sunday everyone :D. If you are feeling creative post some Goblin songs in the comments :D

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Playing a Person vs Playing a Character

"What pitfalls should you watch for when presenting queer, kinky or poly romances?"

You'll get this in a second...

I was just in a great panel on +Indie+  about romance in rpgs. One of the questions we were asked was, how to avoid pitfalls when portraying gay, pan, or kinky relationships? As we were answering this question, I thought to myself, there is a bigger question here and that is – how to you respectfully portray people other than someone like you?

If you have ever asked yourself this, you are a good person and thank you for caring :). You want to make sure that you don’t make anyone feel uncomfortable over how you are portraying someone they may identify with.

I feel, the answer to this question is very simple – you are playing a person not a character. Often in rpgs, we use the term Player Character or PC and while I am convinced this is because if you used Player Person there would be far too many giggles at the table when everyone declared what their PP was going to do, there is some merit in discussing this.

What if you woke up tomorrow and liked men instead of women (or vice versa)? At your core, your secret –private-wonderful self, would you change? The answer is most likely no, the only thing that would change is the fact that you liked a group of people you didn't like before. You are still you the good, the bad, and the lovely.

Furthermore, saying that you are playing a character rather than a person (or dragon-person etc.) removes yourself from your character. It puts a space between the two of you, stating to the world – this person is not real! It is good to have some distance between yourself and who you are playing, otherwise we’d be crying each time our character got  hit, but if you want to treat your character with respect you should see them as more than words on a character sheet.

I’d like to give two examples (on what not to do and what to do) that I hope help illustrate this, one is a personal experience and one is about one of my favourite video game characters.

What not to do:
Me, Liz the derp

If you don’t know anything about me, what you need to know most for this story is: My name is Liz, I am half Thai, half Italian/American, and a woman.

I played in a group with someone who played a character who was half Asian, half American, who was a woman, who was highly sexual, in a sadomasochistic relationship with someone who kept her hostage for years, and she was also called Lizzie. I feel, at its base, this was not an offensive character concept. We play role play games because we want to explore, people should not be penalized for this.

The likeness between me and Lizzie was an innocent brain fart of her creator. However, there she was, and I identified heavily with her, at least the Asian/American/woman/peoplenamedElizabeth parts of her. As the game progressed, the only way Lizzie handled things was sexually. If she wanted to convince someone of something, she’d get on her knees, if someone wanted wanted to speak to her, she’d get them in bed. While this is not a character I would choose to play, this is not what I found offensive.

What I found offensive was, each time Lizzie would fail at a seduction, the player would declare they had done all they could do and there was nothing more in Lizzie’s power to do.

This is what angered me. This living, breathing character who had such a carefully crafted back story, who lived through Apartheid, who had the strength to break free from her captor after so many years, was only able seduce or bust? This showed me that Lizzie was the caricature of ‘the slut with a heart’ rather than a person with any type of agency.

If I imagine myself with even half of the back story that Lizzie had, if I failed at seducing someone, there would be fifteen billion things I could think of doing rather than saying oeps that is my only card. Lizzie just wasn't real, she wasn't a person, she was a character of a stereotype of a person, and this was her flaw.

What to do:

Clementine is one of my favourite video game characters of all time. For those of you who don’t know her, she is a young girl of colour who is living in the zombie apocalypse of the Walking Dead. If you ask anyone who has played the games about Clementine, how I just so sparsely described her is not what they would say.

Instead, you’d get responses like, “Clementine kicks friggen ass!”or “...But she’s little!” (omg the feels O_O).  While some people may describe her as kid in passing, I am willing to bet no one is going to say “oh she is a kid of colour”.

This is because Clementine, as a character, as a person, is more than the colour of her skin and her age. Like everyone else in the world. Clementine could have been a Irish girl with freckles, an Asian girl with straight black hair, her story would not have changed, and she would be just as awesome.
Clementine’s back story and age may have shaped who she was, but it was not all she was.


We play games to explore facets of life that we have not experienced before, to put ourselves in other people’s shoes, push our own boundaries, and to have fun.

I feel like we can do that and that games are a safe place to explore. I also feel that the gaming community is, just as equally, a place to be yourself and feel like people treat you like the person you are. That you play with people who care more about who you are than the colour of your skin, who you love, or what gender you identify with.

How do you portray a character who is someone other than exactly like you? Treat them like a person :).