Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hard decisions in an RPG; KODT helps.

I gotta blame it on KODT, the comic makes me want to role-play. I can really relate to what the GM agonizes through when characters act psychopathic and unrealistically. Reading more on Emotional Intelligence, I gain more appreciation on subject matters like Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. I got a lot of ideas when I saw excerpts about Restrepo, that documentary about the lives of soldiers in isolation during their afgan tour.

In the traveller game, my best friends character, min-maxed marine with subdermal armor took my dying character and used him as a human shield.

Since rounds are simultaneous, Adrian, our mild mannered civilian angel-investor had just gone limp from a shotgonne scatter when he was caught by a enhanced marine and used as a body shield witnessed by his his young and scrappy bodyguard, Finn. The young man, never saw such inhuman disregard for a comrade especially his mentor. After the battle, when the marine Maguay Jones turned his back, he basically let loose with the primitive alien WWI submachinegun. He kept shooting, ignoring the "captian" who was called him out to stop. Finn just kept walking, dropping the submachine gun when it ran out and taking his autopistol to finish him off at the head. The subdermal armor more visible more than ever, I could Finn was asking himself
"WHY!?! you're a freaking monster! You could have taken those slug throwers, why did you have to use him as a shield!" - Finn thought.
Before he even had a chance to avenge his principal and mentor, he was gunned down with a MG, by the captain. I found that over kill, in the point as a director and the audience.

No one tried to use Psychology bring him out of Shock because the only two people who had the skill were my characters.

Considering what I should do, before the act, I imagined what one of those soldiers would have felt, or I would have felt if I saw my captain abused like that. In many airsoft games, the cheating and the trash talking, it wouldn't be hard to lose one's temper, see red and resort to violence.

Its funny to be a Psychopath in DnD, Hackmaster or in stories of KODT. I guess if I were playing DnD, and the game was like a slapstic comedy that would slide. But, if it was an episode of Firefly, I think the audience and myself would be scratching our heads if it the reaction wasn't appropriate.

After the act everyone did agree it was the right thing to do. Strangely, before the action was about to happen I pointed out to my BF that it is highly unrealistic for anyone to take an ally's recently dead body (because death is not that instantaneous as they would make you believe) and use it as a shield without any consequences. Quickly the term: Marine was used in defense... of course studies regarded PTSD have a different take on what a REAL soldier would do in a situation. I was imagining Nitro, what his reaction would be if the term Marine was besmirched in that way. Being one doesn't excuse a person to act like a psychopath and I feel confident many would agree.

In my critique, a Captain should not have tried to gun down a Civilian Bodyguard and should have first made a check at the context of the action and the appropriate response. Good leaders are not trigger happy, and when it comes to morally ambiguous circumstances they quickly weigh rational action against the humane one. In these instances, they would use diplomacy or pep talk to snap a soldier or civilian out of the trance.

I'm happy that both characters died, while the marine survived (yes he took point blank burst shots, rolled 2 11s). It would have been weird and unfair if the marine died and I wouldn't not be able to face by BF so easily. I was worried he would take it personally, and the character death and his surviving despite the action would have very interesting consequences if played out- if the players decide to act on it. I guess if they do decide to act on it, it would be more interesting and people would begin thinking: how would a person really react in this circumstance?

It was fun that like the old school tradition, I gave my characters to the GM after they died. That was cool.

Freethinking and RPGs... hmmm...

Anyway, our GM said it would not be a great feat to introduce 2 new characters in our game. There are XPs being dished out for RPing, its just more interesting to watch in the mind's eye when humans interact more realistically.

All that KODT, made me appreciate characters dying for the actions they did with the information and the behavior they have established. None of this Acting on Player information or motives. Anyway, I didn't spend any effort making or min-maxing the character, I just rolled them both up in the 1001 Traveller UPP book (really just rolled and took what came up in a 1d100 in the merchant section).

Strangely, I've think of BA and Sara as the Quintessential RPG players and wonder how they would have played it out.


Sean Holland said...

Wow, just, wow. Your character's reaction seems entirely reasonable.

Any marine who used a civilian as a body shield, especially a friendly civilian, should be up on charges so fast after the firefight it would make his head spin.

justin aquino said...

Thanks Sean,
I am of the school that think that Marines are not supposed to be played like psychopathic monsters, and such stereo types are severely disrespectful for the many who die in the service of their country.