First, let me dispense with the new Shining (Norway) song, “Off the Hook.” Their album is due out today in Norway and will soon be hitting our shores.
Secondly, a number of articles were released Thursday that made me think of dramatic situations or events in RPGs and what constitutes characters. Rudimentary English/Literature courses provide us with enough examples of how to deconstruct characters and their actions and what they represent for the scope of the story. Think of Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, Emma in Emma, Alexander D’Urbeville in Tess of the D’Urbevilles, MacBeth and his wife, &c; I could continue this list for more than a thousand more words, but that would belabor the point. Ultimately, these characters and their failings are that from which we learn when reading their stories, their dramas entice us to continue reading, and their resolution leaves us with our general regard of the story.
For a good number of people, this is why we want to play games of Imaginative Fiction or RPGs. We want a story that plays similar to a collection of short stories or a novel. We want our characters to experience something that we may not normally get to experience.
Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the family of Roger Ebert, a wondrous writer and critic and for all accounts a great person. Will Leitch’s story (My Roger Ebert Story) in which Mr Leitch describes his interactions with Mr Ebert. It is an interesting story and a touching one that describes how Mr Leitch was able to befriend the writer through a prank his peers at journalism school drunkenly dared him to do. It details the efforts that Mr Ebert took on account of Will Leitch. The documentation of this personal experience between the two is amazing in its effort and emotion as it is the events that occurred and I recommend reading the piece in its entirety. Essentially, young journalist Will on a lark befriends the old critic through his brashness and their shared Alma Mater (University of Illinois). Will’s career and efforts are bolstered by this personal connection and he receives Roger Ebert’s help to get a job. Will, later in his career during the heights of the blog boom, writes a highly offensive article regarding Mr Ebert and his show (offensive in its nature because of undeserved criticism). This wounds Mr Ebert who responds privately to Will Leitch. It is an example of cognitive dissonance on the part of Mr Leitch, and reveals a very personal failing on a choice, and the graciousness with which Mr Ebert took this poor decision and responded.
In something completely different, the ICIJ (International Coalition for Investigative Journalists released the “RichieLeak” files today. Needless to write, there are enough tales of wanton corporate greed, personal greed, and general exploitation of the rule and spirit of law, morality, and ethics to go around. This is a tale of people doing what is allowed, but not what is right ethically. Take your time to read some of the accounts on their website; it’s rather amazing.
Sticking with the realm of politics, Anonymous announced today that they hacked North Korea’s twitter. The group, whose efforts have been labeled as hacktivism or criminal (depending on to whom you speak), is a great example of those doing what they perceive as correct outside the scope of what is correct. Remember the Thomas Theorem when deciding how you feel about this: “things that we perceive as real become so in their consequences.” To an extent this seems a very Robin Hood tale and a very ballsy one at that; another viewer could look on it as an American Terrorist attack against a sovereign nation (yes, I realize I just wrote that and I feel dirty here for doing so, because of North Korea’s disgusting history of human rights abuses).
Finally, a character profile came from Grantland today on Don King, the boxing promoter. In a Lion in Winter portrayal of the fiery and flashy promoter, his intelligence is unquestionable, his longing tangible, and his perceptions completely informed by the reality he crafted for himself. This article hits on an amazing perspective: one person can be a great many different things at once. He is a tyrant and bully, a fast talking charmer, a civil rights activist, a bigot, a crusher of bigots, &c. He is a great man with a great many things, but is also a small nervous man.
I choose to present these as inspiration for stories for games of imaginative fiction because these are real world events that people may never get to experience and things that real world people very rarely do. In each of these events and narratives there are more than enough angles for meaningful, impacting stories. It is my hope that Cultura will be amble to allow the cultivation of a mentor-student relationship that frays due to the student’s hubris over his ravenous success, be host to politicians and conglomerates that do all they can to shelter their secrets from the public eye whether for their profit or to skirt around the rules, to contain organizations whose actions are generally under speculative regard such as Anonymous, and to have a diverse and wide character such as Mr King whose history and story is open for interpretation. These are the essences of great stories found in the real world, and these are the reasons why news can be so interesting. You do not have to travel to Krynn, Abeir-Toril, Azeroth, or Middle Earth to find interesting events, people, and narratives. And, you can craft them easily by relying off emotion.