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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 258 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Two [censored] at once!  (Read 28479 times)
CowperColes
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« Reply #30 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...
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #31 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.

Quote
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.

Quote
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.
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