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Thursday, January 29, 2015

The day my character was raped...

Yes, Wheaton's law applies to RPs

My cardinal rule of GMing is: don't be a dick. I've broken this rule on numerous occasions the two of which I regret most are: the little horse farm known as 'fecking kill me now' and getting my most level headed best friend to yell 'you're a bitch!' at me during an OC conversation (might be persuaded to write a post about these later).

These were also times when I broke my second rule as a GM: shut up and take it. You literally control your player's characters lives - if they have feedback sit down, shut up, and listen to what these nice people who are putting up with you have to say. If you know me, you know that for me to shut my mouth and listen is a big thing, so I pride myself in the ability to do this as a GM.

These two rules I have set myself come from years of being a GM, but also being a player. Namely, they come from the time one of my most beloved character's got raped.

Like every group who has played far too much Vampire the Masquerade, after numerous chronicles, my friends and I thought it would be a cool idea to play a super high-powered campaign set in the First City. Being a University student with a shameful amount of time on my hands I planned my character down to the last details. I made drawings, I wrote a forty page backstory (very badly), and I had millions of meets with my ST to flesh out every detail of my 4th Generation, Lilith- worshiping, Malakavian character.

Still have some of the things I drew for it!

Then we started to play. The First City, the time before Christ, and everything was just too awesome. My friends and I were having a fantastic time playing - OK our character's lives sucked, but that is World of Darkness and why we loved the game.

Then, I managed to piss off a low dharma Kueijin, who my very honourable character considered to have no honour...

One night my character was meditating on a rock, in the middle of the desert, and my ST asks me to come into the hallway with him. I am nervous, nothing good ever happens when the ST asks you to go into the hallway.

"Liz, you are sitting on the rock in the middle of the desert and you feel a presence behind you." ST

"OK, I turn to see who it is." Me

"It is Chen, he holds you down and he rapes you." ST

My eyes go wide, I literally do not know what to say. I just stare at him.

"OK, can I do anything about it?" Me

"No, do you want me to describe it to you?" ST

"No. Is that it?" Me

"Yeah, that's it." ST

"OK, thank you." Me, as I walk back into the room.

While the loud Italian-American part of me is kicking the conformist Thai part of me for saying thank you, I sit back down in the room.

Erik, then my boyfriend, whispers to me excitedly, "What happened?!"

"My character just got raped." Me

"What? Do you want me to say something to X?" Erik (X being our ST at the time)

"No, it's OK." I was quiet for the rest of the session.

The next session things got worse, but this time for my best guy friend (bgf). The ST asked him into the hallway, he comes back in and announces, "Well, my character just got raped!" As my bfg flopped down onto the bean bag next to me the ST went back to his chair, rolled a few dice, and said, "No, you enjoyed it."

This is when the entire room exploded. I won't go into the discussion we had, because after a few hours it just got ridiculous, but sufficed to say no one was happy.

I won't discuss in this post whether or not rape can be a story telling tool or not, I don't want to offend people and I have never really been able to be eloquent with my words. I can just talk about how it made me feel as a player and why I swore that day never to do it to a player and to not be a dick when I was an ST.

So, I am gonna ask myself some questions now:

Liz, how did it make me feel? Like shit. I wasn't allowed to fight back, I was never asked if I was OK with this happening, and in the end my ST asked me if I wanted him to described my character's rape. I felt (and feel) a keen empathy with my character that only comes from being given literally no choices as a player. I felt powerless.

But Liz, seriously now, WoD is a dark setting... I acknowledge World of Darkness games are dark with adult themes. I friggen love darkness and adult themes - browse my book shelf all you will find is vampire novels and smut. However, there are boundaries.

But did the rape enhance the story? The rape had no purpose to me. I think it was meant well by my GM, trying to confront me with a situation and improve my RP, but it didn't. I just felt paralyzed as a player, I was afraid to take any action with my character for the rest of the short-lived chronicle for fear that it might happen again.

As a GM I have threatened my players with rape a few times. I find it scary, utterly terrifying actually, and so do my players. In these situations they have fought tooth and nail against it. They have triumphed, they have sunken to depths they never believed possible, and this was all done without taking power away from them as players.

Was your character ever the same? No, but I still love her and would love to play her again. While what happened to my character can never and will never compare to this happening to someone in real life, I very much feel about her as I do about any rape survivor: what happened to my character had absolutely nothing to do with her and everything to do with the person who hurt her. This happening to her, while it changed the character, it never detracted, lessened, or tarnished who I believe she would have been as a person.

I want to end this post on a happy note, something that will make you laugh, and undoubtedly the thing that made my ST want to punish me in a really horrible way. In full acknowledgement of how utterly crappy it is (and that I almost plagiarize a line from Poe), I give you a piece of my backstory for the chronicle we played, unedited, uncensored, for your reading enjoyment.

~
“No, no you mustn’t cry,” he said to me, “you must cry for them, for I have lived forever and a day, this shell is nothing but a price to pay.” Reached my hand out to touch his curly brown hair and as I twisted my fingers gently in it, it seemed as if a chunk of the hair came off into my hand. The man flinched again, “Shh, child come to me, there will be enough time for revelry…” He held me close in his arms claming me, “What you see is but a dream and things are never how they seem. Departing now seems the sweetest goodbye, but my eyes I fear have no tears to cry. I have lived and loved, lived a life blessed from above. And now I give a life to you. For fear, no pain, no chores to do. I shall leave, my soul remain, my child you have the world to gain.” 
~


Have you had your character raped? As a GM have you raped a player's character? Let me know how you felt about it.

I also just want to apologize to anyone who has been hurt my this post. The subject has been on my mind for a while and I thought it worthy of some writing.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Crafting Tiny Nerdy Things For Valentines

Gratuitous amigurumi fantasy animal butt shot

Valentines, Galentines, & Palentines day is coming! For this nerdy crafty things are needed. Why? Cause it is awesome and while your significant other is scarfing down the obligatory delectable chocolates they can also be playing with tiny adorable animal fantasy figures!

I present you with Rugdar the fox Barbarian and his faithful bear-companion Gunther.



*

To crochet these tiny figures you need:

  • scraps of brown, beige, and grey yarn
  • 2.5mm crochet hook
  • tiny piece of brown felt
  • optional: enough pink felt to make a heart
Rudgar the Fox Barbarian

Body (with the beige yarn):
  1. Make a magic ring
  2. inc, sc, inc, sc, inc, sc (9 sts)
  3. 36 sc
  4. dec, sc, dec, sc, dec, sc, dec
  5. FO

Helmet (with grey yarn):

  1. Make a magic ring
  2. inc in each st around (12 sts)
  3. 24 sc
  4. turn, ch1, 8 sc
  5. turn, ch1, 8 sc
  6. FO
Cut two tiny triangles and sew them onto the helmet. Cut a larger triagle for the fox tail, wrap it into a cone, and sew it onto Rugdar's butt!

Gunther the Bear-Companion 

Body (with the brown yarn):
  1. Make a magic ring
  2. 18sc
  3. dec, dec, dec
  4. FO
Helmet (with grey yarn):
  1. Make a magic ring
  2. inc, inc, 4 sc (8 sts)
  3. 8 sc
  4. turn, ch 1, 5 sc
  5. turn, ch 1, 5 sc
  6. FO
Cut off a small piece of the brown yarn and sew on two little ears onto the helmet.

*

Suit your intrepid adventurers up and send them into the world to fight evil!


Thursday, January 22, 2015

Things I am obsessed with right now

So I go through phases of intensely stalking people, places and things. I don't have a witty excuse for this, I just really love the internet and have too much time on my hands. Since I have started promoting WITCH my fanatical stalking has taken what some may call a "backseat"... however, I like to think of it as being boiled down, intensified, and focused onto things that are only truly awesome.

Therefore, today I'd like to share with you -the people (and thing) I am currently stalking obsessed with:

I wanna say Amy Poehler, cause she is hilarious, but really I just love Leslie Knope. If Shanna (below) is my real life idol, Leslie is my fictional idol. She embodies everything that has awesome in the world, and while this may also be due to a slight high I have from Netflixing all episodes of Parks & Rec. within the space of one month, Leslie is a magical unicorn made out of candy and dreams. She even inspired to make a very awkward wall of inspirational woman on my study wall that comprises of: her, Shanna Germain, Felicia Day, Tina Turner, Hedy Lamarr, my aunt Gwen (the artist, school head, everything good in the world), my aunt Jenny (amazing art curator), my aunt Rose (my craft guru and fiber soulmate), and my mom (who amongst a lot of other awesome things the woman who survived my teenage years).



2) Shanna Germain

Haven't heard of her? She's only the Managing editor of the Numenera rpg and an awesome erotica writer!!!  So basically, she is my idol. She is also the newest inductee to my wall of inspirational women (adding her prompted this blog post). Also, her blogs are beautiful and fun to read. Generally, I kinda hate reading about people's live, even famous people, cause it's just boring. But she makes her life blog interesting and uses pretty words and sentences like, "This is darkly messy and bleeding, like when you dye your hair black and it stains the back of your neck and rubs off on your sweater and sheets and lover for weeks." She also owns a friggen adorable dog (which I might be more obsessed with than her), so in the horrible narrative that is my fantasy I can imagine we walk our dogs together and geek out about role play. So let's end with this:

3) Karise Eden
I don't need to write anything about her, her voice is perfect, she is perfect. Watch this and I dare you not to cry:



4) Tormore Scotch Whiskey
So I bought this whiskey without thinking. I needed a good one for my birthday party and the sucker was on sale. One liter for 35euros? Don't mind if I do. Since the bottle wasn't finished at the party, I have started to finish it off myself. Delicious, smooth, hello alcoholism! Also, the distillery for this whiskey is adorable an makes me want to take a Ron Swanson trip there and cry on a hill while reading poetry.


Are you currently stalking anything in the non-police intervention type of way? Let me know!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Explaining the history of my RPG through music

So common sense dictated, that unlike some of my more inspired blog posts, I should not put this post on the main blog of angryhamsterpublishing.com.

Why you ask?

I love Taylor Swift, like hard core love Taylor Swift. I sing her songs daily to my dog Leia and I am pretty sure she (like Jon Bon Jovi and Brian Molko) has sung a song for every memorable moment of my life.

So here we go, the utterly abridged history of the Fated, as told by Taylor Swift. (We're gonna be skipping a plethora of historic Fated decades to accommodate my need to fit this all into a fantastic lyrical trip through T. Swift's musical master pieces.)

In the beginning there was the First, the Morrigan and the Dagda. 


They sold their soul to a demon called a Fomori protect their people from a great threat.

The First giving away their soul angered the Spirit of All Things who sent a great flood to wash the earth clean of their filth.

Though the First perished, the idea of stealing souls persisted and demons began to prey upon humanity. Many humans were all to happy to oblige, ever trying to improve their lot in life. 
 


Fated society reached its height in the Middle Ages, but like every great city it had to fall. Consumed with greed and lust for powers the Fates waged war against one another seeking supremacy.

The war raged for years till one Fate, the Seers, was hunted to extinction. Face with the realization of what they had done the Fates made peace.

However, the damage of the Fate War was done and the Fated population was culled. Hunters became organized and witches and warlocks were no longer able to use their powers out in the open.


Nowadays, Fated live with being ever tainted by the loss of their soul. However, where there is despair there is always hope and while they have sold their soul, their eyes have been opened to the great enigma that is our world. A world filled with magic, a world filled with mystery, and a world filled with adventure!


The End!

And for thoes of you who really hate Taylor Swift, but still magansed to read to the end of this blog post, you're awesome and:







Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Visiting a land you have only dreamt about

At the Parthenon! I ended up taking tons of selfies cause my mom could not figure out how to use my phone's camera. Here is a picture of her inadvertently taking a selfie of herself while simultaneously trying to take a picture of me at the Parthenon.


Greece has been on my bucket list for a long time, namely Athens. When a friend of mine (a native Athenian) told me it was a shithole, my enthusiasm was dampened, but the dream was always there.

Athens has always been the place of my dreams. For four years I ran one of my favourite Vampire the Masquerade (VtM) chronicles and the city featured heavily. In the first chapter, not to get too far into a very convoluted plot, the players were recruited by Mithras to go to Greece and stop a crazy-ass circus.

There they roamed the streets, murdered lovers, and lost sanity. The city I dreamt in my mind was wild, vivid, and beautiful. When I finally arrived in Athens it did not disappoint. While the city has been hit hard by the crisis, the street behind our hotel was only filled with graffiti and a lonely sex store, it is an amazing mix of old and new. Any time I can sip a ice coffee, hear live jazzy Christmas music, and stare up at hill with a monument that is over 2000 years old, I am happy.

Here are just a few places I visited that reminded me of the awesome VtM chronicle we had.

Blanca's chest was heavy with the weight of pointless murder. She wanted to breathe, quick and shallow, try to calm herself, drink in the air greedily, hungering, but she could not. The only thing left to do was wash the blood from her hands and hope Ama never found out what she did.


Abigail took two steps forward peering into the darkness. She was a lady, but there was no way she was going to allow some unseen force lurking in the darkness intimidate her. An outline of a bestial woman crawling down the rocks appeared against the moonlight. The woman, dressed in rags, had the eyes of a cat and mouth full of jagged teeth. "Foreigner, leave now, this is not your domain..." she hissed.


The pack stood alone in at the center of the auditorium. The Cainites of Greece stared down at them, waiting to hear their plea. The Prince looked towards his advisers, never had a woman (let alone three) been allowed to speak within his court. Whatever they had to say, it'd better be good. 


No story here, it's just beautiful :) The temple of Zeus.


Sunday, January 4, 2015

So You Want To Be A Writer

New Years!

So I was on holiday in Greece with my mom (blogging about that next week) and at night I saw a scotch add on TV. Instead of something with half naked women on the screen it had a really fantastic voice over  with a man reciting a poem. I can now honestly not remember what the people were doing on the screen, except for a lot of them had very serious/very constipated looks on their face.

The words spoke to me, like I am sure they did millions of others, and I wanted to share them with you. The poem is called 'so you want to be a writer?' by Charles Bukowski. I am now officially in love with this man and have spent too many hours reading everything of his I possibly can.

If you don't want to read the entire poem, though I really suggest you do, I leave you with this following excerpt (and a youtube link at the bottom of the page) which I think it just great advice for life and what I am going to try to live up to in the next year:

don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.

so you want to be a writer?
by Charles Bukowski

if it doesn't come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don't do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don't do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
typewriter
searching for words,
don't do it.
if you're doing it for money or
fame,
don't do it.
if you're doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don't do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don't do it.
if it's hard work just thinking about doing it,
don't do it.
if you're trying to write like somebody
else,
forget about it.


if you have to wait for it to roar out of
you,
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.

if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you're not ready.

don't be like so many writers,
don't be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don't be dull and boring and
pretentious, don't be consumed with self-
love.
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
sleep
over your kind.
don't add to that.
don't do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don't do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don't do it.

when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.

there is no other way.

and there never was.