Author Archive

They might look cute, but....

As promised, here are the pregen Hunters for Hinamizawa Syndrome, the Monster of the Week Mystery posted earlier. They’re all based on the main cast of the original story.

If you’re not familiar with Higurashhi When They Cry, it might seem a little strange that the main cast is all under the age of 18. The Mystery will work perfectly fine with adult Hunters. These are mostly provided if you want to run the Mystery as close to the original story as possible.

The biggest change that needs to be made with these is that if Rika is in play as a Hunter, she can’t be included as a Bystander for obvious reasons.

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Do You Know Oyashiro-Sama?I recently completed a short campaign of Monster of the Week. It… went places, but I’ll discuss that in a later post.

The following mystery is not one I wrote for that campaign. It’s something I threw together after I was shown a message board thread that discussed how to build the Groundhog Day time loop in the series Higurashi: When They Cry (Higurashi no Naku Koro ni) as a Dresden Files Fate powerset. After some thinking it occurred to me that pieces of the story could be easily developed into Monster of the Week Mystery fodder.

Please note that the following does contain spoilers for Higurashi: When They Cry. It’s a complete Mystery, so there’s no way to hide spoilers.

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It’s a half truth when I say that I’ve been only roleplaying since 2009. I got my start roleplaying in the weird and hodgepodge world of online roleplaying; a land of instant chats, journals and forum posts. Hours of late nights staring at text prompts and pondering what my characters would do next. Freeform RP, the most pure and honest form of roleplaying! Well, according to some.

Mary Sue - Dice

Dice or, as they are known in some circles,
“The Devil’s Plot Device”

I don’t buy the argument that the the biggest difference between freeform and structured RPGs is dice. It’s an easy comparison to make, but it doesn’t really say anything intelligent about the divide. All it does is set up the “roleplay and rollplay” puns that make freeform supporters feel clever until a tabletop support points out that Amber exists and the already weak debate breaks down into mudslinging.

The biggest difference I’ve found is the freedom for a female player to play whatever she wants without fear of repercussions. This might not mean much in the male domained ends of the RPG community, but it was a game changer for me.

A large part of the problem in Freeform RPG lies with the concept of “Mary Sue”. For those not familiar with the term, “Mary Sue” is a term from fan fiction that refers to an character based on an idealized version of the author. Mary Sue is promoted to Starfleet Captain, discovers that Force is strong with her and is sorted into all of the Hogwarts’ houses before her lunch date with that sexy boy who’s been staring at her in biology class.

Mary Sue is also a label tossed on every female character that rubs someone the wrong way. Too many flaws or too little flaws? Mary Sue. Too much success, to the point of being perfect, or too little success, to the point of ridiculous angst? Of course a Mary Sue! Too strong a character, too weak a character, a name that was just a bit too exotic…

Needless to say, I was paranoid about playing female characters in Freeform RP for the longest time. I tended to gravitate towards male characters as if playing a guy made me a better person and storyteller somehow. When I did play female characters, I ate accusations of playing a “Sue”. There was no escaping it.

Mary Sue - Streets of Fire

Really, Tabletop RPGs are about playing the cast of Streets of Fire in varying scenarios. This includes the ladies.

A couple of friends invited me to a tabletop game in 2009 and I discovered something marvelous: women gamers not ashamed to play badass ladies and who didn’t ponder if their characters were legit or not. They were too busy having a good time. It took me awhile to get used to the idea of playing a woman who chewed scenery, was larger than life and wasn’t a carefully-designed-to-be-as-inoffensive-as-possible, but I eventually got over myself.

The nature of Tabletop RPGs solves most of the Sue problem. Ideally, everyone is playing a character who’s over the top already. The character sheets and stats keeps the PCs mostly in line with each other, if not the rest of the world. The dice randomly determine success or failure. You can have a character who’s had a ridiculously bad go at it, but the assumption is that you had bad luck with dice rather than created a character for self wallowing. And, if you have a winning streak, the whole party cheers with you. That party support makes all the difference. You don’t have to be afraid of a stranger judging you for playing your gender “wrong”.

I miss some of those old Freeform games I was in, but I doubt I would ever make the switch back. A Tabletop session might only be a few hours every other week or once a month, but it’s worth the wait for a few hours of gaming glory instead of hanging out in a chat room and being ignored for daring to play a woman in a roleplaying game.

Welcome to Thac0s at Midnight, my roleplaying-and-other-nerdity blog.

Who?

My name is Rachelle. I’m a nerd living in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. I’ve been roleplaying since only about 2009. This means that I’ve somehow dodged the full impact of the nostalgia waves driving parts of the RPG industry, although I’m enjoying the benefits of the current state of the industry.

My experience in the gaming industry is much longer. I worked in Fantasy Sports for five years. I’ve since left the industry but industry hasn’t left me. Your debates about jocks vs geeks mean nothing to me.

My tastes in gaming are all over the place. My household’s gaming collection has everything from D&D to Dogs in the Vineyard. My true gaming love is unquestionably West End Games Star Wars. The engine shows its age, but I adore the fluff written for it. With games I’ll try almost anything once. My breaking points are more along the lines of terribad GMs.

Why?

I talk about gaming a lot. It’s a hobby, but it’s fun to rip apart game systems, see how they work, and figure out what they can do. Several of my friends have suggested writing a gaming blog discussing my opinions on games, especially given that some of these opinions are related to smaller systems or systems that have very little coverage online.

Consider this less “Let me tell you about my characters” and more “Here’s some ideas on how to get more out of your gaming experience”.

I have no dreams of discussing the flaws of games on the market and how my world’s greatest game will fix them. I’ve done my time in the gaming field already.

Wait… Thac0s at Midnight? Huh?

Tacos at Midnight was the name of a Doritos flavour. It was a lovely name, but the chips were horrible.

I also have a soft spot for the idea that late night TV being the realm of the nerdy and quirky before informerials and the internet.