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If Writing Were Like an RPG

Game Master: Your character is a level one writer. You've got 7 ego points (EP), and you put your skills into . . . wait, why did you put all of these points into Psychology?

Jim: I kind of changed my mind mid-way through the character creation process. Now I want to be a Writer.

GM: Fair enough. Writers are good for multi-classing. The adventure begins in a library. The year is 1995. You're alone in the stacks. Cramped shelves block most of the light, save for the flickering fluorescents directly overhead. The air smells musty.

Jim: I make a search check. [Rolls a 17]

GM: Not bad. You find an old tome marked "Writers Marketplace" from 1992.

Jim: Sweet!

GM: [Reads from the module] The Writers Marketplace is a compendium of monsters, complete with summoning instructions. As a first level Writer, you might want to start out with some of these lower-level--

Jim: Screw that! I need to build some XP! [Flips pages] What about this one? She's got a pretty high challenge rating.

GM: [Raises an eyebrow] Are you sure? We already spent the whole afternoon making this character, and now you want to--

Jim: Yes, I'm sure. I read the invocation.

GM: You've cast "Summon Marion Zimmer Bradley". The casting time is three to six months, but--

Jim: Three to six MONTHS? Are you freaking kidding me?

GM: For the sake of gameplay, we're going to speed things up. MZB has a Challenge Rating of 98. Roll your dice.

Jim: Can I get a +2 bonus to my cover letter for talking about how I'm a level 1 writer? Oh, and I'll tell her all of the spell components I used for crafting my manuscript. [Rolls dice] Um. Does a 16 make it?

GM: [Laughs] Against a CR 98? Marion Zimmer Bradley smites you for-- [Rolls] 3 points of ego damage. Wait, MZB gets a bonus to crush young egos. Make that 5 points of damage. Also, you've failed to craft your manuscript properly. You're left sprawled on the library floor. Bradley shakes her head sadly and disappears in a cloud of blue smoke.

Jim: I bandage my ego wounds and crawl back to the book. What about this one? [Points to another page in the book]

GM: You're down more than half your ego points, and you don't even want to take time to heal? Your funeral. At this rate, we'll be done in time for Battlestar Galactica. Fine, you cast "Summon L. Ron Hubbard". Casting time is . . . wait, casting time is supposed to be another three months? Who writes these rules? Forget it. We're jumping into the next combat. L. Ron steps out of the shadows. His contest has a CR of 96.

Jim: [Rolls] Critical hit! Go me!

GM: Wow. Roll to confirm.

Jim: [Rolls again] Holy crap! Triple damage!

GM: L. Ron fails his save. You finish your manuscript and hold it high. Bunny-shaped knives leap from the pages, driving your opponent to his knees until he bows his head in surrender. You didn't score high enough to win his gold, but you claim his silver and receive a place in his tome.

Jim: Yeah, yeah. Get to the experience points! Come on, lay those beautiful XP on me.

GM: [Calculating] You level up. Congratulations. Roll 1d4 for Ego Points, and you also get 10 skill points to add to your writing. You'll have to decide where to distribute those points, and whether you want to start specializing in any particular concentration.

Jim: My friend said this game was hard. Hey, what's that other sourcebook you're hiding there? Editors and Agents Compendium? When do I get to fight some of those?

GM: [Evil smile] Any time you're ready. . . .

Should I continue the adventure in future posts?

Yes! It's wonderfully silly and fun!
No! It's boring and stupid!



( 85 comments — Leave a comment )
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Nov. 25th, 2008 04:15 pm (UTC)
*falls over laughing* That was great!!!
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:17 pm (UTC)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:53 pm (UTC)
I don't remember! I have to look back at my notes and figure out what I did after the whole Writers of the Future thing...
(no subject) - wistling - Nov. 25th, 2008 05:28 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - livia_llewellyn - Nov. 25th, 2008 07:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:32 pm (UTC)
"It's funny because it's so true."

Completely. That first rejection from MZB was painful ... though she was dead-on with her comments. (And she was kind enough to include a handout on standard manuscript format, which I had completely screwed up.)
(no subject) - jonhansen - Nov. 25th, 2008 05:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:22 pm (UTC)
Just my kind of thing. Thanks for the smile. Now back to that NaNaoWriMo module I'm playing through. ;)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Good luck! I hope you took the Endurance feat to help you through these last days!
(no subject) - shade_of_jeremy - Nov. 26th, 2008 04:30 am (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:23 pm (UTC)
MZB Beats everyone down - but - smotting LRH - MY HERO!!!!!!!!!!
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:36 pm (UTC)
The MZB rejection was painful, but she was also dead-on about my story. I eventually managed to roll high enough to beat her CR ... but that's another adventure :-)
Re: AWESOME - naturalfractual - Nov. 25th, 2008 05:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:26 pm (UTC)
100% yes!! Oh, the wonderful memories! The geeky joy! More, please. :)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:27 pm (UTC)
I choose Spork!

(No, I don't game - can you tell?)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:31 pm (UTC)
Behold the +3 Spork of Chaos!
(no subject) - controuble - Nov. 25th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Nov. 25th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - controuble - Nov. 25th, 2008 04:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC)
I think it's like Call of Cthulhu, where you gradually lose Sanity Points over the course of the game.
(no subject) - mt_yvr - Nov. 25th, 2008 05:29 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:35 pm (UTC)
Long ago I vowed to never get involved in RPGs -- they would consume all my time. Who'd have thunk that I've spent the last six years playing one of the damned things. And getting a saving throw against L. Ron's kneecaps!

Unfortunately the XP tables are a little unclear as to what I'm supposed to do with these Greek experience points.

Dr. Phil
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
I think the problem is that there's far too much room for "house rules", which means even if you've memorized every page of the rulebook and all of the supplements, you still can't really predict what's going on...
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:40 pm (UTC)
Nice reading for a lightweight day at work. :)
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:42 pm (UTC)
GM: You've cast "Summon Marion Zimmer Bradley".

Ow ow ow soda up the nose! XD

I still have a "tear you a new one" rejection letter from her saved...
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:45 pm (UTC)
Once I got over the ego wounds, her rejection was actually one of the more helpful ones. She included a sheet on manuscript format (which I desperately needed), and she was also right about the story. But still, after naively thinking I was going to sell my first story and be a rich and famous writer, that was quite the body-slam back into reality!
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:43 pm (UTC)
Please continue - I'm loving it.

Especially since I just got back from the post office where I sent off challenges to two high CR markets: Analog and Black Static.
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:44 pm (UTC)
Always aim high! Everyone rolls a natural 20 eventually :-)
(no subject) - rugor - Nov. 25th, 2008 05:09 pm (UTC) - Expand
Nov. 25th, 2008 04:57 pm (UTC)
::sits and giggles quietly so he doesn't disturb his coworkers::

Wait, you mean you didn't summon the feared Harlan early on? Hmm, that's where I must have gone off track. I've made glancing blows against the Hubbard, but alas, my sword does not snicker snack. It mostly just snickers. I'll need to get that +3 Vorpal Blade of Kick-Ass Critique Groups in motion to send off the latest.
Nov. 25th, 2008 05:12 pm (UTC)
Then there's the Dungeons of Clarion campaign. Always good for a laugh. If nothing else, you learn how to play Mafia.

Dr. Phil
(no subject) - jimhines - Nov. 25th, 2008 06:04 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - leahbobet - Nov. 26th, 2008 01:25 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Nov. 26th, 2008 01:41 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - dr_phil_physics - Nov. 26th, 2008 03:39 am (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - jimhines - Nov. 26th, 2008 12:58 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - steve_buchheit - Nov. 26th, 2008 04:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
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( 85 comments — Leave a comment )


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