Fabletop: The Player Manual

What Is A Player? A Miserable Pile Of Motives!

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The campaign begins. And inevitably, the journey will involve colourful, exotic creatures that may prove to be the greatest challenge of all. Creatures with extremely defined, some would say exaggerated, strengths and weaknesses, cultures and habits. Creatures that represent a threat to the best laid plans, capable of killing off a story before it even takes off with a single roll.

It may seem difficult, or even impossible, but learning to deal with them can often prove to be the most rewarding part of adventuring. And the more DMs learn about them, the better equipped they are.

I am, of course, speaking about players.

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Analysing: I Did It My Way

Why WOULD anyone go into such detail instead of just sitting back and enjoying the ride?

How it should have ended. The sins of cinema. Why X Is Better Than Y (And The Reason Is MINDBLOWING!). Why Z Is A Disappointment. The Implications Of Everything I Just Said. Why You Shouldn’t Enjoy This Popular Series.

Once, reviews and thoughts on entertainment were the domain of Siskel and Ebert, of columns that newspapers actually paid for, of having a certain mindset and skillset that meant someone’s opinion should be taken seriously. Once, the voice of the public was measured by applause, by surveys, by aggregate numbers.

Now, any yahoo with a computer, an internet connection, and an opinion can get on a soapbox and start belching out ideas online.

These are critical analysts. And in the age of the internet (the second home of the nerd), in the renaissance of popular sci-fi/fantasy media (the bread and butter of the nerd), in the nature of mankind (the software of the nerd), their numbers will only increase.

And I’m here to explain both what they do and why I don’t see myself as one of them.

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Anti-Heroes: On A Razor’s Edgelord

They’re the guys who’ll decisively travel back in time and kill baby Hitler.

Stories, sides, life. Things tend to be seen in black and white, evil and good, dark and light. It’s a distinction that lies in our most primal archetypes, a desire for epic scales and stakes, for the world to make sense.

And then there’s the reality of everything in-between. Those who aren’t wholly good, nor wholly bad. Those defined by the codes they reject as much as by the codes they hold. The grey. Fifty shades of…what do you mean I already used that title gag? That was a completely different topic!

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Hope: An Audience’s Odyssey

After all, Charming Orphan Annie singing her way to a family is more optimistic than Malnourished Orphan Annie decrying the wealth gap created by the capitalist system.

Last week, I expressed the heretical opinion that Logan is excellent but miserable, a one-view-only masterpiece that is bereft of hope. This week, I thought I’d elaborate a bit more on just what hope means.

That’s a tall order, of course, just like it’s hard to express something that’s so subjective, as well as being a fundamental word, like trying to describe “hot” or “soft” without using those words. But perhaps there’s a way to narrow it down. Perhaps by grasping to explain, I can clear up the picture and feelings behind it for others. Just what IS hope in stories?

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Logan: Les Miserables Masterpiece

I don’t feel hopeful that they’ll beat the odds and succeed; I feel resigned to their deaths, and think it’d be nice if they met it with dignity.

Logan does a lot right. Well-paced, good balance of action and emotion, very elegant conservation of information that is transmitted smoothly in a plot-relevant way, all of which are difficult to achieve in any film, let alone an action-fantasy. Does a lot for the comic book movie genre to bring more mature storylines to light, along with all the other ‘serious fan’ pontifications. Proves that good writing can transcend genres and categories, surpassing supposed restrictions with creative execution.

In fact, there’s only one thing it fails to do: Make me happy.

…WHAT? How can I be UNHAPPY with Logan? That’s like saying I enjoyed the Star Wars prequels! …Except wait, I DID enjoy the Star Wars prequels…

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Feedback Shades Of Grey

Heck, if trees could talk, pruning might be as horrific as amputation.

No, YOU’RE derivative and formulaic!

Whether it’s art, relationships, or just plain drudgery, one thing is certain: feedback comes, whether it’s wanted or not. Somewhere, out there, someone is telling someone else how to do their job. It is a fact as inescapable as living, dying, and paying taxes.

Some do it because they sincerely want to help improve something. Others do it because they have no brain-mouth filter and just blurt out whatever’s on their mind. And of course, some just do it because they wish to exert dominance over something. But all the recipient can control is how they react to it.

As life goes on and people enter phases where they have to deal with more people, it’s only natural that they’ll have to learn about dealing with it and growing from it. But aside from the usual platitudes, there’s actually more to feedback than one would expect.

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Fabletop: By Special Re-Quest

The call goes out. The adventurers answer. And so begins an epic tale of…killing 10 slimes and collecting 50GP.

The call goes out. The adventurers answer. And so begins an epic tale of…killing 10 slimes and collecting 50GP.

Whether it’s saving the princess or getting the plot device, one thing is certain: Every character’s on a quest of some kind.

In any story, there needs to be a conflict. For that, there needs to be a problem that needs solving. And naturally, the problem must be special enough that one does not simply use a mundane solution any rational person can easily think of.

But in the midst of the most gripping sagas and interactive games, it can be easy to overlook that the proud tradition of a storied tale has its origins in the mists of time…and can seep into even the most mundane contexts.

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