Dude, where’s my PBeM?

Okay, here’s the straight scoop on my PBeM writing.

I’m trying to turn the PBeM into a once a week posted on Monday can just check in once and get it kinda thing.

I’m not saying I wouldn’t do it more often than that once things got rolling, but I would like to emulate the writers and creators I love by getting on a reliable schedule.

I was well on my way for this last Monday… but I play the game straight, and Jame’s character Terin had as his next goal to question Redwulf for insight and background.

I roll for the characters, and Terin rolled a crit. I do things a little wierd, a holdover from my gaming days that Manny could tell you… I do believe in freak luck, in real life as well as in the game. Good luck, bad luck, and FREAK luck.

So, when someone rolls a crit, I have this sliding scale on how significant the crit ends up in terms of affecting the game.

See, If it’s a crit, say the system uses a d20 and it’s a natural 20, I have ’em roll it again.

Let’s use as an example of what I’m talking about, damage.

For a straight natural 20, that’s max damage no matter what. But I have them roll it again.

A low number, say below 8, and the max damage stands. An average roll, say 9 to 12, and it’s possibly double damage.

13 or above, and you start getting into specifics. The woulnd injures or destroys an arm, or blinds the target, or something. Or possibly it hits a vital spot and penetrates into the vitals, or bypasses armor.

And then there’s that rarest of rares, but it DOES happen, the second natural 20.

I let ’em roll again, same deal.

Damage is just an example. It also affects things like… fate. Impressing someone. Intimidating someone. Trying to find secret doors. Looking for the pearl of great value hidden amongst the swine of crap the quartermaster has in his storeroom.

I rolled for Terin, to determine how favorable his encounter with Redwulf would be, a reaction roll coupled with how much Redwulf would trust him, and how forthcoming redwulf might be inclined to be.

Terin got a natural 20.

Followed by two more natural 20s.

So, I have been working pretty had at being honest with the results. That kind of rolling deserves a reward, you ALWAYS want to feel like luck can strike like lightning when you’re playing, and that’s a legitimate part of the game.

On the other hand, I ain’t Monty Haul, and I ain’t prepared to hand over the script and say “Here’s the entire story on a silver platter.”

So, I’ve been doing what has always worked well for me on a tricky creative problem. I’ve been doing other stuff and letting it all just sit in the back of my head, and stuff rises up, I examine it, and then it sinks back again. It’s all bubbling away while I turn everything in the game around, looking for that perfect middle ground between honoring the triple 20s, and keeping the suspense and flow of the story at the right level (by my standards).

Tonight, while drinking Red Dog beer and watching Death Race with Jason Statham, I think I’ve got the right middle ground. So I’ll be resuming writing tomorrow.

Apparently, I can’t just write this kind of stuff to my satisfaction at the drop of a hat. Funny, I never thought I’d get any form of writer’s block, but when it hit, it wasn’t that I couldn’t write, it was that nothing I could write felt… well, felt right. It didn’t feel like the right direction to take, the right thing to say, the right way to say it.

I finally understand that impulse to crumple up wads of paper filled with half written sentences because they’re crap. Granted, I didn’t use paper, but I came back a few times this week, started writing and just stopped, and walked away because it wasn’t right.

Anyway… I’m feeling that sweet spot that i’ve got the tone and the intent right now, and I can move on.

And it’s gonna be EPIC.

10 thoughts on “Dude, where’s my PBeM?

  1. They still make Red Dog beer? Holy cow. I haven’t seen that stuff since I left Montana in 95. Couldn’t find it at Ft. Drum, and they don’t have it up in Alaska either. Thanks for triggering the memories!


    • Hey, I drink Red Dog when I’m too broke to afford Guinness, can’t find Keystone Light, and I love their slogan from my old Marine Corps days… “Be your own dog.”


    • Well, she’s an amazing person, and I’m sure most of the folks that know her, if not all, hope that she has more opportunity for smiles and laugher come into her life.

      And Tesh… Tesh is just a marvel. SO much talent, and so much heart.


  2. “You see a door”.

    “I check for traps”

    “Roll d12”

    “Shit, a 1”

    “Poison darts shoot from the latch and penetrate your glove. Roll d20, save vs. poison”

    “SHIT!! A 2?? A fucking 2??”

    “Heh, heh, you pass out. As you fall to the ground your dagger makes a loud noise when it hits the stone. Before you fall into unconsciousness you see the door open and a large, green Orc staring down at you. He is salivating”

    Ah, how I miss the old days…..


    • yeah, you bring up a great point… if someone rolls a 1, I instantly ask for another roll… Elune save the poor bastard that rolls multiple 1s for an epic fail. 🙂


  3. *cheers at the thought of regular updates and sits back happily to wait, preparing virtual popcorn*

    Whenever you can is fine. Your stuff is good, and good stuff is worth the wait 🙂


  4. I suppose I should clarify, I didn’t get inspiration from Death Race, I was just wathcing it when I felt the pieces dfall into place. Funny, there was just this one element missing that I’d never thought of before, and suddenly it clicked, and i realised it had always been like that, I just didn’t know it yet.

    You hear writers say that the character is a person, and the person takes over? And all you have to do is just write what the character does, and you discover it along with everyone else? Yeah, I was talking to Redwulf in the back of my mind, and now I understand what he wants to get done. Not what I thought he was going to do, but what he wants, and why.


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