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Episode 1854: Live Action ARPing


As a GM it can sometimes be difficult to describe things that only exist in your imagination, in a way vivid enough to impart the same image into the players' imaginations. One useful method is to use comparisons to a common point of reference.

A fantastic beast is "about the size of a horse, with a shark-like maw". A piece of technology "looks like a lava lamp shaped like a microwave oven". The only vehicle available to flee the scene is "even more beat up" than the car owned by one of the players.

Using evocative descriptions like this is a handy shortcut, and often superior to trying to describe something from scratch without any external reference.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

The standard will for roleplaying games seems to be something along the lines of, "I leave everything to my next of character", including things like underwater breathing apparatus. You never know when that will become useful.

Here, we see Pete's next character rummaging through what might be Pete's old star destroyer/dreadnought. We are told it is a ruined hull, And the lighting (especially the last panel) seems to indicate sunlight is coming through.

And, the wiring on server racks - it really doesn't matter what the wiring is on the server rack. You have documents stored elsewhere that tell you which ports on this rack should be connected to what port on that rack by the appropriate wire, and no one is going to pay for the time to clean up a wiring mess. As long as the wire gets through, no one cares about the messy tangle.

If you are saying that his server rack is nine times as messy as this, all that means is that this star destroyer—or more accurately, whatever this thing that he is looking at—simply has not been modified since installation. In comparison, his server rack has probably been altered/upgraded/new parts/whatever multiple times, and each time the wiring gets just a little bit messier.

(Personal experience? Me? Messy server racks, and dealing with people who have horrible messes that I have been called in to do an additional wire on? Whatever makes you say that?)

Oh yeah. I now know there is both a Ren and a Rey. You can stop spoilering my ignorance.

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

Just a human? No min-maxed people familiars, not a robot with none of the usual limits of biology? It's early, but this doesn't seem like a Pete character yet. I'm sure we'll get more ludicrous character traits soon of course; it only took two comics of Pete doing something to get from intro to ludicrous after all.

Maybe there's something special about those goggles. They look extremely silly to me, especially in the last panel. Almost like a two-eyed bug being of some sort. They do look tough enough to stand up in a sandstorm though. And I'll be surprised if that's not a ten foot laser pole on Rey's back too. A treasue hunter type character would have a collection of various tools like that, and would fit right in with Pete's play style.

And oh boy, wiring messes are so easy to make and so difficult to fix. I've never heard of one getting a name, so that must be some mess the server has. And I've seen some pretty bad cabling messes, both in online pictures and in person. And with a name like that, I bet the next comic has Rey cutting through the wrecked wires to extract some of the more intact hardware.

Hmmm, my movie meta logic says that after the big opening fight and bad guy trauma, we're due for quieter scenes and possibly exposition. But I'd still be worried about malfunctioning and rampaging security systems or robots in a broken star destroyer. At least, until I've made sure it's permanently disabled anyway. Giant star ships don't just get abandoned for no reason; either everyone died in the crash (which would mean no graceful equipment shutdowns) or all of the remaining crew decided it was a better idea to leave the hulk where it was over attempting a salvage mission.


GM: Let’s start with Pete this week. His new character is a human named Rey.
GM: Rey is exploring the vast and ruined hull of a crashed star destroyer.
GM: Motes of choking dust puff into the air at your footfalls.
Rey: I have my goggles on, and cloth wrapped over my face.
GM: Okay.
Rey: I begin my search of the next grid cube. I try to locate a likely installation point for what I seek. Investigate... 16.
GM: You remove the corroded cover of a panel and peer inside. You see scorched circuit boards and a mess of wiring.
Rey: How messy?
GM: You know your server rack?
Rey: What are you saying?
GM: Maybe 10% of that.
Lor San Tekka: {dead} The Gordian Knot, as we call it.

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Published: Thursday, 18 June, 2020; 03:11:17 PDT.
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