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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on February 24, 2003, 08:03:12 PM



Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 24, 2003, 08:03:12 PM
Hello,

Yesterday, we played two short RPG sessions, first run each for two different games. Each one lasted a couple-plus hours. Now wait for it ...

The first one was Le Mon Mouri and the second was kill puppies for satan. Julie was GM for the first, and I was GM for the second.

I can legitimately say that playing these two games in succession, in one afternoon, is a unique experience. They are ... um, well, depraved. Each one challenges the players to perform more and more heinous actions, more and more outrageous goals, and to get deeper and deeper into bizarre, messed-up relationships. I think the only game I have ever seen match either of them in this regard is Violence Future, the brilliant brainchild of Dav Harnish which he shamefully is not getting around to finishing. To play all three of these games in 24 hours would, I think, be beyond my capacity.

In Le Mon Mouri ... let's see, we had a tea party with a guest who, having been accidentally killed during her invitation, nevertheless participated with one player-character sitting next to her chair, propping up her head, holding her teacup for her, and providing her conversation. One of the characters also spent an evening sitting quietly side-by-side with an NPC, openly watching an undead poet and a living lounge-singer have wild sex.

In kill puppies for satan, lemme think ... oh yes, a character made lutefisk out of a prized goldfish collection and then, when surprised by a blind man in a wheelchair, used Evil to drench him in a phenomenal amount of semi-liquescent shit in order to make his escape. Another character had sex with her boyfriend, partly in public, in the kitchen during a party, and turned herself into a horde of mice halfway through the action, in revenge for having caught unspecified itchiness from said boyfriend. Then she went after the university mascot, an inoffensive marmot ... And another one found herself in a pet store ... oh, I can't bring myself to tell you about that part.

We have lots and lots of questions about the system for Le Mon Mouri and a couple of kpfs questions too. But for now, I'm still in recovery. I mean, this is a group who routinely dealt with issues of rape and incest and adultery in Hero Wars (by "dealt with" I mean addressed, not committed), and combined sexual rituals with insectoid sorcero-biology in Sorcerer & Sword (and here I do mean committed, indeedy), and broke all land-speed records for double-crossing varmint skunkery in Dust Devils.

But I've never seen them ... well, enjoy being utterly depraved quite this much before. I can't talk about the mechanics questions and penetrating* analysis yet. Hold me close ... [shudder] ... just for a little while ...

Best,
Ron

* Penetrating? Did I say penetrating? Aaggghh! The horror ... the horror ...


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Comte on February 24, 2003, 11:34:19 PM
You know I have heard of and read kill puppies for satan but I am sadly ignorant about Le Mon Mouri.  A quick search of this page has left me with no information to go on could you point me in the right direction where I could find out more about this game?


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: lumpley on February 25, 2003, 06:35:19 AM
This is probably still Le Mon Mouri:
http://www.memento-mori.com/lmm

But for reasons of workplace netnanny interference (cursed, cursed workplace netnanny) I can't check to make sure.

-Vincent

Ron: There there.  There there.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Comte on February 25, 2003, 08:36:09 PM
thankyou.  I knew I had seen that name before I just couldn't put the two together.  Ah well tis what I get for trying to think on nothing resembleing sleep.


Title: We [censored] a [censored] with [censored]
Post by: Maura Byrne on February 26, 2003, 10:25:57 AM
I saw Ron's post, and sent him a couple of messages about his apparent misgivings about these two games.  I'm part of the group that played these games, and Ron thought I should post my thoughts here.  (Despite the fact that I haven't been lurking nearly long enough.)  Personally, I was shocked to see that he was so revolted by the stuff we were doing, especially because  Ron openly rewarded nasty, evil, icky things when we played Sorceror.  In fact, he had no apparent misgivings when, in Le Mon Mouri, I caused a woman's face to fall off.  I was also the character who "animated" the tea-party guest when she was killed before she could be seated at Ron's own suggestion.  In fact, I thought that the nasty stuff we did in Le Mon Mouri was far worse than what we did in Kill Puppies.

"So what gives?" I thought.  

It's the puppies.

Killing pets turns out to be the sort of thing that isn't really a lot of fun to plan beforehand or dwell upon afterward.  I was also the character who ... ah ... let's just say I got into the pet store, and leave it at that.  In fact, I didn't dwell on what I was going to do to generate evil, and we glossed over that part pretty quickly.  What I did was think of the violence done to the various animals as the kind of "puppet violence" done on "The Muppet Show."  All kinds of terrible things happened to the various characters (a favorite visual trope was to show two boots being pushed into a monster's giant maw while you heard the victim scream), but usually it was part of the show or the characters would recover.  So this is how I thought of those poor guinea pigs when they met their sad end.  

I have to admit, though, that I was looking forward to being an agent of the kind of devil you see in the original "Bedazzled."  You know, just picking away at the vestiges of civility in ordinary people until they do the evil stuff.  As a character, I'm already damned, and happliy so.  Couldn't I get points for bringing more people onto the team?  I tried at first to generate evil by bringing a cell phone into movie theaters and ringing it on a regular basis, but I got nothing for the effort.  And I will say that I probably would have taken just as much glee in doing that kind of evil as I would have in ... um ... [pet store].  

In the end, it means that Ron will make certain that I get tons of bad stuff coming my way.  But at least I won't have any good intentions, and I won't worry about what I did to deserve it.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: clehrich on February 26, 2003, 10:41:38 AM
Maura's post brought up a number of things for me about kill puppies for satan, particularly in the present context of sick horribleness for its own sake.

For me, what makes kill puppies funny is precisely that brutality aimed at inoffensive small furry animals is depraved but completely pointless.  Somewhere in the rules, perhaps in cockroach souffle, lumpley points out that the evil the game strives for is the sort that makes people say, "Why, God, why?"  It's absurd, in the existentialist sense (a la Camus and Sartre).

This is also why I like the fact that you shouldn't tempt people to be evil  (I also think it's hilarious that the demons will come kick your ass if you do that, because they're unionized and you'd be scabbing on them).  You have no idea what you're doing here.  If you do something really vicious and evil, people may actually turn to God, which misses the point.  If you try to tempt people to be evil, then what you're doing has real meaning.  Now that sounds like a good thing -- let's have our disgusting evil acts actually mean something -- but it goes back to the puppies.  If your evil is meaningful, then what do the puppies mean?

See, if you start taking the whole process of doing evil seriously, then you have to take killing puppies seriously, and that sounds like a game no decent person should want to play.  But if it's all just pointlessly brutal, and the only thing that really goes bad in a deep way is your own character (who starts out bad and gets worse), then you as a player can still have some moral sense about what's going on.

In my own game, Shadows in the Fog, I want to do gritty nastiness more seriously than in kill puppies, having the characters slowly slip into wells of horror and evil.  But they don't kill puppies; they think of themselves as decent people, probably, or at least not bad ones.  The fact that the universe itself is absurd and brutal is something they align themselves against.  And so when they see the really horrible version of killing puppies -- Jack the Ripper in action -- they can at least say that they aren't like that.

I see kill puppies as about wallowing in nastiness, but enjoying it because you can always wash it off later.  If you actually tried to play a game in which evil was really evil, you'd have to ask yourself how and why you came up with such things, and I think it would take a lot of showers to get rid of that soiled feeling.

[Added with edit]

Oh -- and as for the Muppet Show, you might take a look at the Vincent Price episode, in which a big monster eats a little one, then sings, "I've Got You Under my Skin," by Cole Porter.  It's so completely meaningless as an act of violence that it doesn't affect us; in fact, as in kill puppies, we find it hilarious.  The original "Bedazzled" is more complicated, and while I'd be delighted to discuss it in this context, I think it might be off-topic.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 26, 2003, 10:50:03 AM
Hi there,

Um, just to be totally clear, we're going to continue playing both games and I'm in it all the way, for all the fun. I don't have misgivings about kpfs so much as experienced a personal jolt at the time. I'll keep my "puppies are the limit" meter from getting in the way, although as Maura pointed out, in-game description is probably going to be minimal.

And again, to be clear, all the awfulness visited upon the other humans in the game (bearing in mind that in kpfs they are quite scurfy, ick-making humans) doesn't bug me a bit. Which only goes to show that the puppy-limit is rank sentimentalism on my part.

Best,
Ron


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: lumpley on February 26, 2003, 11:34:09 AM
Sort of randomly, if you ever get the chance to watch the old Muppet Family Christmas, do.  Underlying the sappiness and puns is some real tension, as the Sesame Street muppets are thrust all sweet and virginal into close quarters with the Muppet Show muppets.  Kermit's in a rough spot between them, but most stark is Big Bird vs. the Swedish Chef.  The writers handle the crisis deftly, with a lot of self-awareness, and manage to resolve it without undermining the essential difference between the two sets of muppets or serving Big Bird up with chestnut stuffing.

Also, Gonzo in the Alice Cooper episode might very well be my first, earliest model for a puppy killer.

-Vincent


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Maura Byrne on February 26, 2003, 02:34:23 PM
Quote from: clehrich

For me, what makes kill puppies funny is precisely that brutality aimed at inoffensive small furry animals is depraved but completely pointless.  Somewhere in the rules, perhaps in cockroach souffle, lumpley points out that the evil the game strives for is the sort that makes people say, "Why, God, why?"  It's absurd, in the existentialist sense (a la Camus and Sartre).


This is interesting, because there's lots of movies that include pointless nastiness of many varieties, and they suck.  And there are others that succeed.  I think it has to do with how "natural" the brutality is in its context.  For instance, the example:

Quote from: clehrich

[Added with edit]

Oh -- and as for the Muppet Show, you might take a look at the Vincent Price episode, in which a big monster eats a little one, then sings, "I've Got You Under my Skin," by Cole Porter.  It's so completely meaningless as an act of violence that it doesn't affect us; in fact, as in kill puppies, we find it hilarious.  


What you have with these two monsters (singing a duet, mind you) is a setting where the characters are acting according to their natures.  Big monsters eat little monsters.  The monsters would have it no other way.  A fish quartet singing "Go Tell Anchovy" would naturally be grilled and eaten by a vengeful audience, leaving their quaking skeletons to return backstage.  But a nondescript teen in a recent movie gets his arm stuck in a cow's rectum for no discernible reason, and it's not funny.  I think that my escapades in the pet store are perfectly natural for my character, who is "sick of people" and gains satisfaction out of making other people miserable.  If we were playing characters who were not inclined to be evil, or who were not inclined to be anything, it wouldn't really work.  (Unless, of course, we played especially hapless people trying to do good and accidentally killing beloved pets in our attempts.)

In any case, I don't really want to belabor this issue, so I'll just mention that, I can understand and agree with the points in this post.  Although now that I might have been scabbing a demon's job, and that Ron may interpret it that way, I know where my next payload of Bad Stuff will come from.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Ron Edwards on February 26, 2003, 02:41:53 PM
Heh,

Two of the characters seriously scabbed demons' jobs during the first session. Session #2 on Sunday.

Smiling contentedly,
Ron


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: clehrich on February 26, 2003, 03:07:26 PM
Quote
This [my remark about meaningless brutality] is interesting, because there's lots of movies that include pointless nastiness of many varieties, and they suck. And there are others that succeed. I think it has to do with how "natural" the brutality is in its context.

I agree, not just with the naturalness of brutality, but also with the remark about such films sucking.  The thing is, in a film, you stand at a considerable remove from the characters; a film of kill puppies for satan would suck, too.  But if you actually create the horribleness, it's a bit different.  I think you could do a film (or write a novel) which does this well, but it would dwell on the very meaninglessness of the events, a la Camus.  The problem is that it isn't funny (nor is it intended to be).  The cool thing about kpfs, for me, is that it manages to make this sort of thing funny by capitalizing on the involvement of the players and making it their problem to deal with.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: James V. West on February 26, 2003, 04:29:26 PM
Suddenly having a "Fuk't" condition in Black Wing doesn't sound so extreme.

Also, wouldn't "A La Camus" make a great title for a game?


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Comte on February 26, 2003, 07:32:26 PM
You know I think it is odd that a conversation involving both muppets and pointless violence is strange in the first place.  What is even stranger that no one has brought up meet the feebles yet, considering that it is a perfect conglomeration of the two.  It's violence is often times pointless to the point where you have no choise but to either laugh or be sickened at it.  Its humor is much along the lines of Kill Puppies for Satan, it is utterly depraved charecters doing utterly depraved things.  Part of the brilliance of the movie is that instead of useing real people Peter Jackson instead decided to use puppets.  It is the movie I would choose to watch in order to put me in the right frame of mind to make a KPFS game session.  

I've been writing papers pretty much back to back all week.  Ordinarly I would go through and back up my point and validate this post.  Right now I am just too tired.  Meet the Feebles is worth watching if for nothing else than the musical number.[/quote]


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: jrs on February 27, 2003, 07:41:20 AM
Meet the Feebles.  Yeah, three out of four of the players (Ron, Tod & me) watched it recently.   The most surprising thing to me about the movie was how well crafted it is.  That, and being thoroughly disgusted by the combination of excessive amounts of various bodily fluids and textile-based puppets.

Definitely appropriate viewing for kpfs.

Julie


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Clay on February 27, 2003, 09:57:00 AM
Quote from: James V. West
wouldn't "A La Camus" make a great title for a game?


No, it would not, since it would imply play inspired by Camus' writing. I think I'd rather bath both cats at the same time, thank you very much.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: lumpley on February 28, 2003, 06:13:30 AM
Ron, Maura, Julie, when I ran puppies, we didn't spend any time describing details of the killings.  It was like,
player: We blow the seeing-eye dog's ass up with firecrackers.
me: Okay.  You get evil.

I expect different groups'll find their own (dis)comfort levels.

Also, are y'all gonna play Le Mon Mouri and puppies on the same day every time?  Cause if so, dang.

-Vincent


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Maura Byrne on February 28, 2003, 10:16:12 PM
Quote from: lumpley

Also, are y'all gonna play Le Mon Mouri and puppies on the same day every time?  Cause if so, dang.

-Vincent


Okay, it may have taken me a while to catch on, but maybe this part really is the crux of Ron's gut reaction to kpfs.  Le Mon Mouri involves violence, evil and general bad stuff, but unlike kpfs it's fairly serious and personal.  Even if we gloss over the whole "dead body at the tea party" thing, there's a whole different tone to the gruesomeness we're visiting upon our surroundings.  kpfs expects the players to have enough distance to not worry about how we're gaining our evil, but with Le Mon Mouri we're a lot more involved with the nastiness we're inflicting on our NPCs.  I know that the first time I killed anything in kpfs, when that ferret made unfortunate contact with an electrical outlet, I had a bit of a twinge.  Maybe we should have taken more of a break between the games to better clear our heads.    Given what we were doing, maybe we should have watched "Un Chien d'Andalou" or something, just to mix up our brains a little.


Title: <shaking head>
Post by: Nev the Deranged on February 28, 2003, 11:33:45 PM
Feh.  Wussies.  If you twinge every time someone throws a puppy in a blender, how do you ever expect to get anywhere in life?


Title: sad
Post by: Louis CYPHER on March 01, 2003, 02:19:13 AM
this is plain sick
u can't compare to the feebles, movie is art, rpg is gaming

this kind of thing is what make rpg a geek activity

i am offended by this thread :(


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: lumpley on March 01, 2003, 05:45:41 AM
Hi, Louis.  Welcome to the Forge.

If you haven't already, please check out a couple threads:
we killed puppies for satan (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=3443) and
kill puppies for RPGnet (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=4074).

Be sure to read Yasha's comments on the second page of the former, and my comments in the latter.

Personally, I don't see any reason for any subject that's suitable for movies to be unsuitable for gaming.  I'm interested in your reaction, though.  What is it particularly that offends you?

---

Nev, easy does it.  The conversation's been about people's empathy and conscience; tossing puppies into a blender is just going to stifle it.

-Vincent

Woo!  Hate mail on the forum!  I'm responsible for making us geeks!  I do the dance of evil victorious! Please ignore this entirely inappropriate emotional response!


Title: empathy and conscience are for the weak
Post by: Nev the Deranged on March 01, 2003, 08:35:27 AM
You're playing a game called kill puppies for satan and you want to talk about empathy and conscience?

 Your humanity makes you weak.  Purge yourself in the flame of damnation that you may better serve your infernal master.  Leave behind the human ideals that inhibit you.  Embrace atrocity and free yourself from the chains of morality forever, only then will you know true endarkenment.

 Besides, there are always more puppies.  Nobody's going to miss them.  Trust me =>


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: lumpley on March 01, 2003, 08:43:03 AM
Quote from: Nev
You're playing a game called kill puppies for satan and you want to talk about empathy and conscience?

Yes.

I'm serious.  Back way off on the cheesy posturing.  If you want to engage and participate, awesome, but please do.

-Vincent


Title: A point
Post by: Nev the Deranged on March 01, 2003, 09:16:40 AM
The cheesy posturing is to make  a point.  If you're going to play a game called kill puppies for satan where presumably killing puppies is a large part of what is expected of you, then empathy, conscience, and the rest have no place in the game.   If you are bothered by the thought of killing puppies, then you probably shouldn't play a game with the theme of killing puppies.

 Of course, nobody who actually would kill puppies should play the game either.  Or any game, for that matter.  They should be locked away somewhere dark and alone, far away from anything having to do with puppies.

 It may sound as if I'm contradicting myself, but I'm not.  Even though hopefully nobody here would kill puppies for satan in real life, when playing the game, you should be able to step outside of your own morals and embrace those the game requires.  If you are going to play a game about killing puppies, and killing puppies makes you cringe, you're probably playing the wrong game.

 Incidentally, if you want to think I'm being a disruptive jerk, that isn't my intent.  I'm sort of playing devil's advocate (no pun intended...?)  I'm perfectly willing to offend if it gets someone thinking.  And if someone is going to think I'm an ass for that, well... I can deal with that too.

 I don't want to start an argument or a flame war or anything like that.  I think I've made my point, so I'll leave it alone for now.

 No hard feelings =>


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: C. Edwards on March 01, 2003, 10:04:02 AM
I have to disagree, Nev.  I think that exploring the things that make us cringe is vital to our personal growth.  Holding up that deep, dark mirror and staring into it is good for the soul :).

If someone is playing a game about killing puppies, and killing puppies makes them cringe, I say more power to them.  The secondary effect of sharing the experience, and how it made you feel, with other people just comes naturally.


-Chris


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: James V. West on March 01, 2003, 10:32:25 AM
I'm with Chris.

I do not believe that playing a game entails nothing more than behaving in a manner implied by the game text (read: color, setting, characters, whatever). What a vapid waste of time it would be to sit around pretending to smash small animals (or hack up trolls and goblins and steal their money for that matter) if you're not going to let the experience move around in your guts a little bit. Would you watch an intense film like Slingblade and not let yourself explore how it makes you feel?

It would take some serious personal armor to do that. I haven't played kpfs (yet), but I hazard to wager that I'd take a little more from the experience than a few giggles, just as I would any game worth playing.


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Paul Czege on March 01, 2003, 11:04:31 AM
Hey Nev,

You're playing a game called kill puppies for satan and you want to talk about empathy and conscience?

You clearly haven't played the game. Killing puppies for "evil" in the game isn't actually evil. It's not atrocity. It's pathetic. The puppies are defenseless. Characters in the game are losers, and their friends are even worse losers. The game is about being pathetic, and very desperate not to acknowledge that fact to yourself. The "empathy and conscience" aspect of playing the game that people are talking about is from relating to the player characters, who are in denial about how pathetic they are, and desperate to feel like they have a little power, that they're a little significant, and mostly not to feel alone.

Paul


Title: huh
Post by: Nev the Deranged on March 01, 2003, 05:55:38 PM
You know, it sounded like more fun when it was about killing puppies for satan.  I have enough of being pathetic in real life.  Why would I play a game about it?

 To sum up,

 Killing puppies = Good.

 Being Pathetic = Bad.

 Any questions?


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: lumpley on March 01, 2003, 07:10:26 PM
Nev, no one needs kill puppies for satan to be fun for you.  Some people dig it, I can't have expected everyone to.  But do you have a better understanding now how empathy and conscience are relevant?  How, in fact, the players' empathy and conscience are key to gameplay?

Maura,
Quote from: You
I know that the first time I killed anything in kpfs, when that ferret made unfortunate contact with an electrical outlet, I had a bit of a twinge.


I think that'd be true even if you hadn't played Le Mon Mouri.  At least, when we played, we all had twingey moments.  I have a hard time imagining play without them -- there was this funny, awful oneupsmanship in our game, where everything was more appalling than the thing before.

But I'll bet Le Mon Mouri made it worse.

Chris and James, naturally I agree with you.

Paul, about the PCs being desperate to not feel alone: I think you nailed it, more succinctly than I've been able to.  Certainly that's what it was about when I played.  My prediction is (picture me holding an envelope to my forehead like Johnny Carson) most puppies play winds up with happy endings, funnily enough, in those terms.  I mean, hell, "Viper" and bicycle messenger James O. Ford hated one another with a fearsome hate, but they ended up friends in hell, with all us players grinning at each other and satisfied.  And in Maurice's game, even lame ghoul-ass Gerald Stebbins had a happy birthday, surrounded by his friends!

-Vincent


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 01, 2003, 08:56:16 PM
Hello,

This may confuse everyone, but I agree with ... Chris, Paul, Vincent, Maura, and Nev. It all works together when you step back a bit.

Best,
Ron


Title: Squee! Someone else has played the game!
Post by: sdemory on March 02, 2003, 06:37:10 AM
Ron,
    Glad to know that you and your crew had an... interesting time with Le Mon Mouri. Sounds like you hooked into it relatively well. Made my day to see that it's getting some action. Quick questions:
1) Did anyone attempt to play the "This is wrong! I am offended at the inhumanity of this decadent, depraved scene and doubly offended by the seductive attraction of evil! Shame on you, shame on me, horror, horror... Ti-bon-ange, please."
2) Feeding off of that question, was there any effort for your players to "do things" to/on themselves? I'm personally very big on systematic emotional, physical and mental self-torture as a way to keep going in the game. If one thinks of the three Aspe as individual "characters" at odds with each other, it makes sense that they'd predate on each other. Further, it helps create the aura of crazy, crazy decay that makes the game work for me.
   Alternately, one can take a tip from the playtester who warped herself to continually "bear a child" and "miscarry." As far as she was concerned, it was a relatively straightforward act... her comment to me was "When it comes down to it, your San-Souf's the only victim that can never get away from you."
3) What sorts of rules stuff clunked for you? I'm still working on the rules side of things.
4) Did anything in particular really, really sing?


Title: A rant about kpfs and Psychiatry
Post by: CowperColes on March 02, 2003, 08:52:39 PM
Quote from: Paul Czege
Hey Nev,

You're playing a game called kill puppies for satan and you want to talk about empathy and conscience?

You clearly haven't played the game. Killing puppies for "evil" in the game isn't actually evil. It's not atrocity. It's pathetic. The puppies are defenseless. Characters in the game are losers, and their friends are even worse losers. The game is about being pathetic, and very desperate not to acknowledge that fact to yourself. The "empathy and conscience" aspect of playing the game that people are talking about is from relating to the player characters, who are in denial about how pathetic they are, and desperate to feel like they have a little power, that they're a little significant, and mostly not to feel alone.

Paul


I'm new to the Forge and have never played any of these new Indie RPGs, but am dying to try.  I've been reading this thread about kpfs and it reminds me of an observation made in M. Scott Peck's "People of the Lie" (the seminal psychiatric analysis of encountering and treating patients suffering from a "evil" personality pathology).

He defines evil and "evil" people as those who suffer from a personality disorder in which they avoid spiritual and emotional growth through the process of self-reflection and the emotional discomfort or pain that can come with it.  Evil people are deathly afraid of facing their fears or experiencing such pain (they subconsciously think that doing so will cause unbearable pain or death).  They exist in a state of denial in which they harm others that remind them of their spiritual malaise, usually justifying their behavior by scapegoating their target.  Evil people are in such a deep state of denial that they usually take pains to convince themselves that they are really good and moral and/or the scapegoated target deserves whatever is being done to them.  

An exaggerated example of such a person would be a self-righteous inquisitor who has convinced himself that he is saving souls by torturing and burning innocent women at the stake, when in reality he harms women because he subconsciously hates his mother.

Peck's book deals with more mundane evil than the kind perpetrated by gun-toting criminals--he claims that these guys are more open and honest about their evil acts than say, a parent like Mary Tyler Moore in Ordinary People who rather than face the grief of losing her "favorite son" in a boating accident, would emotionally torture and blame her already guilt-ridden surviving son to the point at which he contemplates suicide.

Anyway, the point to all this rambling is that kpfs seems to be a kind of meditation on the nature of evil, through the media of an RPG, at least IMHO.  The characters in kpfs fit the evil mold in a very dark comic way.  It's a very sick, entertaining meditation on evil, but then there's nothing wrong with art that entertains as well as informs.

I'd love to play both of these games...now if only I can talk my friends into trying them out...


Title: Two [censored] at once!
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 03, 2003, 07:19:16 AM
Hi there,

Cowper, welcome to the Forge! That was an impressive first post, I must say. I think that your concept is perfectly appropriate for both of the games being discussed (as well as for their sibling game, Violence Future), although they have incredibly different aesthetic hooks into the meditation. 'puppies, is, as you say, darkly comic, whereas Le Mon Mouri somehow combines visceral and mannered.

H'm, that last sentence reminded me of the column-A column B approach to movie reviewing ...

Anyway.

Sean, good to see you here again. LMM is starting to get some deserved air time, finally.

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Did anyone attempt to play the "This is wrong! I am offended at the inhumanity of this decadent, depraved scene and doubly offended by the seductive attraction of evil! Shame on you, shame on me, horror, horror... Ti-bon-ange, please."


Two of the players came close in the last session, in which my character urged them to feast upon a living Respire woman. They ended up joining in, though. A lot of our Ti-Bon-Ange stuff has been poetry-oriented, although I think that will come up more in later sessions. Julie is doing a fantastic job at bringing in Victorian-style artistic stuff, such as old-style photography with clunky plates and Romantic poets brooding over lost loves.

For me, at least, playing an undead character who is desperately attempting to construct an internal reality by shaping and manipulating the external one tends to water down the usual concerns with morality. That's interesting, because in general, my player-characters are very moral, in the crunch. Just as puppies revealed a personal uncrossable Line for me, LMM is revealing an unexpected crossing-point of another Line.

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Feeding off of that question, was there any effort for your players to "do things" to/on themselves? I'm personally very big on systematic emotional, physical and mental self-torture as a way to keep going in the game. If one thinks of the three Aspe as individual "characters" at odds with each other, it makes sense that they'd predate on each other. Further, it helps create the aura of crazy, crazy decay that makes the game work for me.


You had to say "Feeding off," didn't you? Did I mention that the above scene with the Respire woman was referred to, by all concerned, as "dinner?"

We are totally into the idea that the three Aspe are continually tripping one another up. My character transfers them around like crazy, and I'm doing a lot of Travay in order to power as many system-based complications as possible (speaking in terms of player agenda). We've also divined that Travay which affect Aspe recovery are a real key to a new level of play for the game; they take the heat off regarding the usual problems of Aspe recovery, but they are also serious windows of opportunity for a Workings-skilled enemy.

One of the climactic moments of the last session has opened a perfect opportunity to work on this issue from a less numerical basis as well. One of my character's memories is a hoarse voice saying, "You'll do as you're told," and Julie used a perfect opportunity to have an NPC say this in her presence (actually directed to someone else) ... which caused my character immediately to submit to the NPC. This was fun because until then, they were actually engaged in a brutal fight scene with him (and winning against him), and the submission permitted him to flee ... but more so, because I am now contemplating having my proud, rather classy, ingenue-style romantic character go to this fellow (a gross, foul, bloated bastard of a Sans-Souf, among the most appalling Dickens or Sweeney-Todd type NPCs I have ever seen) and become his chattel.

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Alternately, one can take a tip from the playtester who warped herself to continually "bear a child" and "miscarry." As far as she was concerned, it was a relatively straightforward act... her comment to me was "When it comes down to it, your San-Souf's the only victim that can never get away from you."


Beautiful. "Visceral artifice," indeed. And yet, it's not satirically disgusting (and wonderfully cathartic) like kill puppies, it's tragic and would make you cry if it weren't so horrible. That's what Le Mon Mouri is like for me.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Rules questions and comments are coming in a separate thread soon.