Tuesday, December 19, 2006

But I Didn't Get To Meet Them

So I crammed to get the above characters created, and I wasn't the only one; Amanda created the backgrounds for two and we collaborated on the episode as we normally do. I wrote a one page summary of the Marvel Universe rules, including some rules streamlining of mine. I got everything printed and showed up early.

Very few other people did. Wayne mishandled the promotion and the turnout was dismal. In Wayne's defense, it's a big job and at one point he thought he wasn't going to be able to secure the room, but not being able to see these characters live sucked like no turkey on Thanksgiving. Wayne and I discussed the importance of preregistration, and I told him that I won't be creating original episodes in future unless there are enough prereges for the event two weeks ahead of time.

We'll have to wait to meet the Everett and Lindsay families, but since I think they're such interesting people, I'm still looking forward to it.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Paige Lindsay

Here's the last that I wrote for Marvel Universe.

Paige Lindsay

I saw what happened. I just didn’t care. Once, when Gillian was little, Sam was telling her another Puxley and Poxley story, these stories about two pixies, which are like fairies or something else that doesn’t exist so-why-bother. Sam had been telling these stories since we were little. He stopped telling them to me years ago because I had no interest. But Gillian always loved them. He would tell her about how Puxley and Poxley were real, but the pixie queen wouldn’t allow them to be seen by people, so they could only appear if she were blindfolded. So she’s let Sam tie the cloth napkin over her eyes. And she believed, like Santa Claus.

So this time he told her they were going to take her up the Candy Mountain, and he held her hand as she climbed up the couch. She stood there with this huge grin on her face as he squeaked, in his little pixie-voice, “We’re so proud of you, Gillian!” A second later she’d fallen off and hit her head on the hardwood floor. Mom and Dad rushed in and started yelling at Sam, who was older and should have been watching out, and then they started on me. “Why are you yelling at me?” I said. “I knew she’d be fine.” Mom was like, “How’d you know that?” So I told her the truth. Sometimes, I just know.

Like, once Sam got real interested in my diary. He said there was girl stuff in it, but I told him that I was writing about the birds in the backyard. Anyway, he tried lots of stuff, like hiding in my closet and peeking out the crack to see me writing in it, but I heard his heart beating. Then, one day I went outside to write about this pair of cardinals, and I turned around and looked right up at the closed window where he was standing, binoculars in hand. I just knew. I had a wicked headache, though.

Sometimes it’s kinda scary. Last year Sam talked one of his friends into racing his nice car. That night I knew that something was going to go wrong. After the crash, they needed the jaws of life to get Sam’s friend out. Some nights I dream that I’m driving a car and it’s so dark I can’t see anything. I knew that boy was going to get hurt. I know I should have cared enough to have tried to stop it. I just ... didn't.

Colby Everett

You probably want to read about Garret and Abby first.

Colby Everett
When Dad left he put me in charge. He was wearing his uniform and he said, “You’re the man of the house, now.” I knew what that meant. I’m the oldest, so it’s natural that the responsibility falls on me, but I was scared, and I didn’t want it. I think I just wanted to be a kid. I blamed myself for a long time.
Mom stayed near the base so that we could still see him when he got back from a tour. He has some pretty amazing photographs of Afghanistan and Iraq. The divorce wasn’t that strange in the sense that Dad was often gone for a long time normally, but I still felt it.
Garret didn’t seem to understand it, the full meaning of it I mean, which was probably good. But Abby started acting out pretty bad. I kept pushing her to do her karate, so she could have an outlet, so that helped. She really got into it. I’d see her practicing with Garret almost everyday. Garret really wanted to be a soldier. Well, not really, maybe like me he just wanted to understand it, because that felt closer to Dad. I’d watch them and I wanted to be in there doing it with them. But you can’t do that when you’re in charge. Dad used to tell me how when you’re in command you have to keep your distance, for their sake. I suppose it was for the best.
With the daily practice, Abby was getting pretty banged up. One day, she was doing her antagonizing thing, so I probably should have stopped it. But she does that sometimes, and Garret would get mad, but that would be the end of it. I didn’t think anything would happen. But they were sparring and he hit her, really hard. Lifted her off her feet. I heard a crack and she was holding her ribs. I told Garret to watch TV and I helped her inside. I got her in the bathroom and she coughed into the sink, and blood came out. Mom was going to come home from work in a few minutes, and I guess I like panicked then, because I held her ribs and started praying out loud. Within a minute, the swelling was down and she said it didn’t hurt anymore. The skin over the spot was just a little red. That was it. I cleaned the sink and when Mom asked how the day was I just told her that Abby seemed hurt earlier but that she was fine now. I didn’t lie.
About a year or two later, Abby came home and told me she’d fought ten boys and this time she didn’t get a scratch. I didn’t really believe her, but the way she said it, I wondered. After Mom got home I made an excuse to go out, and I started checking around. It wasn’t ten boys. It was eleven. Three of them were in the hospital, and one, a kid named Dave Soucey, was hurt real bad. People were talking. They were using the “M” word.
I tried to get in to see him, but for the first few days the nurses wouldn’t let me. Then, I finally told one of them that I was his brother. The minute I looked at him, I knew. With the tubes and the respirator, I knew. I touched him and I tried so hard, so hard I think I almost passed out, but he was too far gone. And it was going to be on Abby, because I wasn’t there to stop it. It was going to be on someone else because I didn’t do my job, so I touched him again and I wished him to be sick. I wished him to be real sick so that it would be quick. He started to shake and then he was gone.
A week later, I woke up smelling smoke. I got everybody out of the house. The police said it was arson. My heart broke seeing Mom those next few days. She worked so hard to buy that house. I talked to her for a while, about getting a fresh start, about leaving North Carolina and moving up where her folks came from, way up North in New Hampshire. Once the insurance money came in, we were gone.
It’s been hard on everybody, but living in the country is nice, and I’m staying focused. I’m taking care of them.

Abby Everett

If you haven't read Garret's write-up yet, you might want to do that first.
Abby Everett
I think it’s because I’m a middle child. Middle children get lost, or go unnoticed. Mom had me start karate early because I’m a girl, but I think Dad knew about middle children. Martial arts develop self-confidence, a competitive spirit and discipline. Well, two out of three isn’t bad.
I miss having Dad around. To be brutally honest, I wish we had him living with us instead of Mom. I’d never let her know that, even if I was really mad at her, of course. It’s just that Dad understood the way of the world more than her. I think that’s because he was a soldier. He’s somewhere in Iraq right now, as a matter of fact. Not a wavering bone in that man’s body. Well, not that I saw, though Mom thinks differently. I never worry about Dad. He’s a survivor. If I was the enemy, I’d worry.
I started karate when I was three. It wasn’t really karate then, more like team building and teamwork exercises, but it was a good foundation. I really got into it around ten years old, mostly because that’s when I noticed that some of my classmates were outpacing me.
I’d been one of the top two students in my group, so dropping somewhere in the middle didn’t sit well with me. I started to practice … hard. Everyday in fact. My little brother, Garret, would spar with me. Mom thought I was pushing myself too hard, but sometimes that’s what it takes, plus she and Dad were getting the divorce then so it was better to be gone. I worked my butt off, but I just didn’t improve. I mean, I did, but not enough. Everybody else was hanging onto their leads. It really bugged me. I got irritable about it. Even thought of quitting. I mean, if you can’t be one of the best, why do it, right?
I signed up for a tournament, half expecting to get creamed, but something happened. I was loosing the match against this taller girl. She was really pretty. Then I just found this focus. It was like time slowed down. I zeroed right in, and bang, I broke her nose. She bled everywhere.
So that’s sort of what it’s like when it happens. Like when that kid Dave wouldn’t leave Garret alone. You’d think he’d learn after that shove that Garret gave him. Kid went flying, but he got up and started mouthing off anyway. Garret just walked away, because he’s like that, but I waited a minute and then walked right up to him. Pop. “Did you like that?” Pop pop. “Hang on, let me see if your friends like it.” There were like ten of them, and I didn’t get a scratch. When I was done, and I took my time about it too, that Dave kid wasn’t even moving. He bled everywhere. Some of his friends were calling me a mutie when I’d had enough, but I didn’t care. So what if I am? I thought.
Two weeks later, somebody set fire to our house. Mom was scared. After that, we moved from North Carolina to New Hampshire. Mom worked so hard to get that house. She really loved it. I guess I did too. The day we moved, I cried like a baby. I cried everywhere.
I never told Mom, or my big brother Colby what happened. I think Garret’s too young. It’s probably best they don’t know.

Garret Everett

Here's the first of the characters I created for the Marvel Universe session for Games Day. I'm happy with how they turned out.

Garret Everett
I don’t talk much. It ain’t that I’m not listening. I listen pretty good. I try to listen a lot more now.
We used to live in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Dad was stationed at Fort Bragg, and Mom stayed nearby after the divorce. She said it was important that Dad still be close by, even though we wouldn’t see him much since he went to Iraq.
We got a house, and that was nice. Mom worked real hard to save up for that house. It was better than living in the apartment. We had a backyard and everything. Me and Abby would practice her karate. I wanted to go to class with her, but Mom said we didn’t have the money for me to go too. It was ok because Abby would teach me.
Abby said that the most important thing about karate was that you were supposed to walk away from a fight. I don’t think she really believed that. Colby gets mad sometimes, and you got to do a lot to Colby to get him mad, because Abby doesn't do like she’s told. But I kinda felt like since I couldn’t go to the class that I should try to listen extra hard, so I believed it.
One day after school Dave Soucey kept starting on me. I told him to cut it out and he kept going. So I told him to stop, and he didn't. He said something about Mom and Dad, and I guess I was pretty mad by then.  I shoved him. He kinda went flying, and I don’t remember what he said when he got up. I just walked away. It didn’t get then that I was real strong. When I was walking home I picked up a rock. I used to throw them but Colby got real mad at me once for that, so I just squeezed it. It broke into little pieces. Like dust. But even then I didn’t figure it out.
The next day Dave Soucey wasn’t in school, and somebody said he was hurt bad. After I pushed him he didn't look hurt. But people started saying it was me. The other kids started looking at me funny. Then teachers and people in church were giving Mom looks. Dave Soucey’s parents went to our church too.
Two weeks later, Colby woke me up in the middle of the night because there was smoke in the house. The police said it was arson.
Then I figured it out.
Mom said we’d move up North. She tried to say that Fayetteville was getting too crowded. We’d like the country, she said, but I figured that out too. It wasn’t because of those things. It was because I was a mutant. Mom still doesn't know that Abby and Colby are too. I ain’t gonna tell her. I don’t talk a lot. I try to listen more now.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Preparing For Games Day

Games Day is this Saturday, and Wayne got back to me with his vote for me running Marvel Universe. I’m psyched as I’ve wanted to run this system for a while.

I’ve got very little time, so let’s cover goals. I want this game to be well written, which means fun and relevant. I also want it to be interesting. No stock characters, no clichés. I can’t remember ever seeing a supers game that took place in a rural setting, so I might just set this in Farmingham (or a similar town nearby).

I’m expecting the participants to be middle school/high school, so an episode featuring mutants should work nicely. We’ve got themes of alienation and marginalization. Junior high and high school. You’re awkward and it hurts. Then, you develop frightening abilities that empower you while notarizing your certificate that reads “I’m an outcast. Ask me how!” You have difficulty overreacting when you get your freak on, or your fancy power isn’t applicable. The latter might be more interesting. Who cares if you can fluently speak any language when the bully is shoving your own underwear down your throat. Maybe a mix of both is more interesting; some PC have typical super powers and some don’t? Will the kids who don’t have the power struggle with the kids who do, to try and stop them from misusing it? Or will they live vicariously and take revenge.

Ah, so we’ve got a theme of revenge. I hadn’t fully realized that before. Some of the kids want to be just like the popular crowd, but others want to use their super strength to break the clavicles of the popular crowd. And how gendered is that? Do girls want revenge? If so, what form does their revenge take? I’ll talk to the wife about that.

Do the sneeches without want to be like those with? Or do they want to hurt those with? Hmm, sounds like humans … do they want to be mutants? Or kill the muties? Makes me wonder if the PCs shouldn’t be humans … but that would be too far a stretch, and would change the theme to one of being happy with what you have, as it was in Marvels.