Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Monday, September 06, 2004

Wow...I think I needed that

I just woke up, having slept from 7:30 pm to 11 am. I feel a lot better, so I'm thinking I really needed it. On today's agenda, for a holiday:
  1. Sleep late (well that's one accomplished).
  2. Do unpacking/work on the house (i.e., make it less likely to kill me once the electricity's off).
  3. Wash dogs at a friends.

That's pretty much it. Not exciting, but really needed. I also need to check on Dwana, who was feeling better last I talked to her, but I haven't seen her in over a week (!), and maybe see if I get a hold of my mom, check on John, and set up a trip home while I still have gas certificates.

Of course, yesterday was the last day to get my grandmother's ring. But I became resigned to it, and of course it won't take away my memories of her, so I feel a little better. In a way, maybe it is better...I couldn't use it without some major resizing, it wasn't a style I would tend to wear, so maybe it would be better that someone who could and would use it will have it. (Yeah, I know, I'm justifying, but it does help in this case.)

Meanwhile, our gamemaster managed to shovel out some true horror for us. No, not some eldritch thing. Much worse.

Raleigh is a girl.

Picture if you will a very tall, very gorgeous large Australian man, red hair, blue eyes, buff chest; a pilot and mechanic. The character was created by a former player who basically created him as a love-muffin for another player who never took the bait. Raleigh's not the brightest, not the most talented (except in certain areas :) ), but he was the only unattached male in a bevy of women, strong, regular kind-of-guy, who liked his Foster's and endeared himself to everyone. One of my characters, a fairly demure ex-novitiate, had come to him to solve her 'problem' (it sucks to be a virgin when your hunting evil cults...you tend to be the main sacrifice'). She'd wound up falling for him. At one point, there was a mission where he died, and we were able to send a message back in time to prevent it. In the general relief that ensued, my character got pregnant (in game terms, it was nearly impossible, since she was taking measures, but she rolled a 1 out of 100, and hey, there you go). They got married, had a honeymoon where they almost were killed by alligator creatures and Tessa and the baby were exposed to a strange serum, discovered that the family of Tessa, my character, was part of a psychic underground, had the child, who has some unusual abilities, and generally have been playing proud parents since then. But Raleigh had gone on a mission where there was an evil statue that was an elephant-headed god that came to life and tore people to shreds, and it turned out this was going to change our lives.

One of the other characters, who has a gift for precognition (seeing visions of the future), had seen two visions that made no sense to her. 1) Raleigh had the face of the elephant god and 2) Tessa and his former fianceé, Violet, were locked in a passionate kiss. All is becoming clear.

Because Raleigh was out for his morning jog but never came back to the house. When we tracked him down via farseeing, he was at Violet's house, locked in a dark room, and in Violet's body. Violet is something like half the size of Raleigh, very delicate looking, dark hair, dark eyes, although at least still Australian, and still, very high in appearance. But she is a girl. We had to hand him a mirror, then called the rest going, 'well, I have good news, and bad news'.

Meanwhile, Raleigh's body was off on a motorcycle he suddenly couldn't start without help, no doubt going off somewhere to be an elephant-headed thing.

Sigh. I got a little more info about what's going on (helps if you shampoo the gamemaster's carpet) that I won't share here, just in case Brenda and Dee happen over here.

But that's one great thing about playing a science fiction game. Strange ethical dilemmas. Most marriage vows are for 'in sickness and in health' or 'until death do you part'. Not 'until some evil spell switches your mind with another person'.

From a game perspective, there are interesting problems because the woman in whose body Raleigh resides isn't psychic, so he can't access the very skills that make us able to fight against those eldritch horrors and protect humanity. You don't need to be very psychic, but you do need that spark. So if we can't get the minds switched again, there's the idea of what happens to Raleigh as a guardian of humanity. He could be a sort of aide, but it makes him a lot more vulnerable.

From a relationship perspective (and we've been playing this game for 13 years, so there's a lot of depth) there's a lot more. One of the basics of roleplaying is that you always tend to stay within character in terms of your actions, and you must be able to switch between characters to give them greater authenticity in play. There are some characters I have which couldn't deal with this at all and would--even if they wanted to make it work--wind up hurting Raleigh and leaving. Nor would it be right to sudenly change the character. On the other hand, Tessa has a background where she had a 'crush' on another female character. She is one of three characters I have that are at least somewhat bisexual (I also have one lesbian and everyone else is straight). In terms of her background I had given her a brother who was gay and an aunt who was probably a lesbian, albeit a celibate one (she's an abbess). So, just from an orientation sort of thing, I think she could handle being in a relationship with a woman (who happened to be a man inside). Also, I think she is very much someone who fell in love with Raleigh for him, his personality, not his body, and I think she can seperate the two in her mind. Plus, as a devout Catholic, she would tend to stick to her vows and would not see any reason to abandon the marriage.

Of course, no one else would see it that way. Our advisor, a priest, would see the marriage as ended, and that to continue would be unnatural (but I think he's a little homophobic). I'm not sure what to tell her family. On the one hand, they're psychics who are used to some odd things, but I'm not sure 'well, his mind was switched' will work. But I think what matters most is how Raleigh reacts. He was really horrified when we gave him a mirror. Just imagine his first menstrual cycle. :]

This is what I love about gaming. How would you react?

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