Darths & Droids


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Episode 1858: Rules of Encagement


Players need to follow the rules of the game, but it's most important that the GameMaster, in the position of authority, also follows the rules.

There is generally a Rule Zero or similar, which states that "The GM is always right". The benevolent interpretation of this is that the GM is there to act as a referee and make sure that everyone has fun and enjoys the game. If a game rule as written is getting in the way of everyone having fun, then the GM has the power to overrule it, and the players should respect that authority (rather than argue about it, which is no fun).

But of course with great power comes great responsibility. The GM has a responsibility to only invoke Rule Zero when necessary to ensure that everyone is having a good time, and not to do it arbitrarily or spitefully.

In terms of game inspiration, you can build whole adventures out of abuse of power, and having the heroes be the ones to try to restore balance, by dethroning those doing the abuse, or by bringing them into line by enforcing the rules somehow. Power abuse is also a good way to develop a villain organically. Have someone in a position of authority, more or less trusted to begin with, but secretly engaging in various covert operations with the privilege that power brings. The heroes can then follow clues to uncover the abuse of power as a first step towards stamping it out.

Commentary by Keybounce (who has not seen the movie)

So, Pete wants to make sure "the rules are followed". Clearly, this makes sense for a rules lawyer, and an actual lawyer. Doing things by abuse of power...

Perhaps a reference to Annie having the resources of an entire star fleet to search for someone? Oh, right, the ships were mostly useless, it was a plot-drone that found that planet and her Force sense that let her know it was the right one.

Doing things by GM fiat? Well, that was during his time as guest GM, and it was undone by the main GM next week. That might count.

Now, lets look at the comic panels. X-wing, star destroyer,... wow, that hill basically is the star destroyer. It's been acting as a sand catch over the years, stopping sand being blown by the wind, and getting buried in the process. The camera is pulling back even as the speeder goes off into the distance.

Not really sure what else to say. Tech in this universe never made much sense to me. Walking up a hill of sand, with equipment on a sled that you drag behind you uphill so you can slide downhill. Speeders with exposed engines in a sand environment. No wheels, no paper. Apparently no sand shoes to avoid sinking. Nothing like the rails you see on ice sliding carriers to prevent sinking in the same manner (as well as dealing with unevenness - moving over sand should be very similar to moving over snow.)

Commentary by memnarch (who has not seen the movie)

I'd have said stalker as well if I was in the conversation, but I get why Pete made the correction. From my understanding, in a court of law, things need to be proven true in order to be stated as such. But I'd have a hard time sticking to the language framework that being a lawyer would require, especially in an informal setting.

Annie's second question reminded me of a journal entry by Neil Gaiman with the quote "The Law is a blunt instrument. It's not a scalpel. It's a club." In the quote's context, Neil was talking about Freedom of Speech, and the reasons for defending speech people might not agree with. I don't think I agreed with the sentiments 12 years ago when the journal entry was written, but I've grown a lot since then as I've experienced many other viewpoints than my own. I don't see the government as an ideal organization anymore, but as impersonal groups of people all pulling in different directions. Now, I feel that the way we (in the USA) currently work in trying to ensure laws apply to everyone equally and that the Law doesn't favor any one group is better than trusting the government to support or censor so that everyone has an equitable chance in life. It definitely doesn't always work this way in practice, and laws are also not always written fairly. So while I like to have things done by the book like Pete does, I feel the metaphorical book still needs improvement.

Nah GM, I think this is a bit more of a look into why Pete is the way he is. Some people like to have opposite work-home experiences, some people need to have them match. I've usually seen that more in a "regimented routine" vs "take things day by day" or a "neat and tidy place" vs "messy place" way. The most memorable work-life difference I remember hearing about was a clean lab engineer with a fastidiously cleaned home and a car that looked like a hoarder's house. So I can definitely see this as a "always by the book" vs a "free-form style" in terms of RPG gaming preference.

Also, wow. Rey just left one wrecked star destroyer, and now there's another one passing in the distance. I'm thinking this is less of a single ship wreck and more of a spaceship boneyard or old targeting range now. Maybe these ships were targets for working around the "can't scan" feature of Tatooine.


{Rey zooms across a an expanse of desert, passing a crashed X-wing}
Finn: Isn’t it a bit... odd defending a stalker?
Rey: Alleged stalker.
Finn: How to put this... How in good conscience can you defend people who, realistically, have most likely done such awful things?
Rey: It’s not about that. The state is trying to lock someone in a cage against their will. It has huge resources at its disposal.
Rey: The defendant has me. The state doesn’t get to lock up citizens if it can’t establish guilt within the law.
Rey: I’m there to make sure the rules are followed.
[SFX]: vrrrrooommm!
Finn: Hmmm.
Rey: That guy was found guilty. After the fact, I’m glad he got put away.
[SFX]: vrrrrooommm!
{zooming out we see the wreck of a second star destroyer in the background}
Rey: But more glad that it was done by the book, and not by abuse of power.
[SFX]: vrrrrooommm!
GM: So... Is this a hint or something?

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Published: Sunday, 28 June, 2020; 03:11:28 PDT.
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