Coded green.

Wednesday 21 February 2001

Winter landscape

Pic of the day: One thing I love with real life is the graphics. Don't you agree? Even without colors, the detail is striking.

RL vs RP

OK, first a health update for my friends who worry about "real life", meatspace or whatever you call it.

Little-sister-in-law tells me that my mother is still growing worse from the brain tumor, but some new medication seems to alleviate the nausea at least. They're not trying to cure her, just ease her suffering while she slips slowly toward the final coma. From what I remember, I am sure that my mother would prefer to have died before this - not because she feared suffering, but because she would not want to be a burden to anyone or a source of worry or anguish. But I think it's still for the best that it has taken this much time. Her family needs time to get used to the fact that her light will not continue to shine forever down here. Death is hardly ever a friend, but still less an enemy when he comes as a liberator rather than a sudden visitor. Well, I hope it's OK that I say it so frankly. While miracles of biblical proportions do happen occasionally, I don't have that faith this time. Your mileage may vary. Compared to those who are cut down at the height of their bloom ... I think this is better. And it won't last forever.

In much brighter news, the adorable SuperWoman is back out of the hospital, it seems, and doing fine. Staying in hospital on Valentine's Day must be less than fun, even if it was of her own choice. Nothing dangerous, people, relax. In other news, her family is quite productive (or should I say reproductive) these days, but will she ever have a niece?

As for my humble self, I've not been laid low yet by the flu roaming our city. But some hostile bacteria have settled in my nose, spreading to the sinuses again, and the throat. Today the bronchies (tomorrow the world ... OK, let's hope not!). I'm not feeling my best, but no fever at least.


In very unrelated news, I dare say, a member of the Acid Reflux forum pointed me in the direction of the roleplaying system GURPS, a Generic Universal RolePlaying System. I've played various roleplaying games, but almost exclusively computer-based. In part I have had other things to do than structure my life around roleplaying evenings with friends, and in part I haven't had that kind of friends in the first place. I may be a geek, but not that kind of geek. Probably a good thing too, but enough of that for now.

Reading the document "GURPS lite", laying out the basic rules, had a quality almost like revelation to me. In other documentation of role playing I have read, the details drowned out the basic principles. Not so here. The GURPS is a set of rules that can be applied to humanoid characters across a staggering array of different worlds, from the utterly mundane to the fantastically weird. Whether you roleplay a policeman in Oslo, a werefox in a fantasy world, a superhero in Metropolis, or a robot in a galaxy far away ... the same basic rules apply. And if I am to summarize them in one statement, it would be one of my favorite statements already: Everything has a price.

Constructing a character in GURPS means to choose a reasonable balance of advantages and disadvantages that can be applied universally, not just within a certain campaign. It makes creating a roleplaying character almost a strategy game in itself!

But that was not the only thing that struck me. No, I also came to think that this new way of looking at characters could also apply to written fiction. I'm not sure that I'm going to actually fill in a character sheet for my fictional characters, in case I am to write any more fiction again, but the whole principle of balance appeals to me. Very strongly so.


If you've read my recent diaries, you know that I really believe in this: Everything has its price. You have to choose. And your choices are real, they have real consequences. Over time, our choices reshape us. We may not change our "starting points", but we can change what we buy for them. We trade time for money, revenge for peace, fame for privacy, spiritual growth for sensual pleasures, stereotypes for truth.

So, to sum up the difference between "RP" (roleplay) and "RL" ("real life"): In RP you create a character and then act accordingly. In RL you act, and your character is created accordingly...

Well, more about real life on a later day, if it's still there!

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