Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Comedy Gaming: The Straight Man

Today I intend to tackle the concept of the comedy game. No really, I'm going to tackle it to the ground and give it the solid whoopin' it deserves. That said, here we roll. Given how much RPGs are supposed to focus on fun, the lack of comedy games is a tiff bizarre to me. Most likely it's because we're all being too pretentious and a silly game would simply knock the train off its wheels. Or we're already too silly at the game table for a comedy game to be much different from our ordinary games. Either way there needs to be more consideration of the comedy game as a whole. Ignoring it is like studying theater and only focusing on the tragedies and not mentioning the comedies. Sheer lunacy I say!
Today I'd like to look at the most important part of a comedy game. The straight man. Someone has to be the straight man. If you don't have a straight man then the silliness just spins out of control as participants try to one up each other to make their silliness stand out. In light of that let's examine who makes the best straight men.
The Players as a Group: Not letting your players in on the fact that you're running a comedy game can be an amusing bait and switch. Instead of fighting down boring goblins and kobolds again at first level you can have them face down dreaded dire chipmunks! Bonus points if they've got 3 sharp pointy teeth. Later on they can meet their nemesis the Pompous Pantaloon Pilferer who plans to conquer the world by cornering the market on undergarments. Running a theme can make it even better. Having them fight Jello Cubes and Perilous Pudding is all well and good but imagine the look on their faces when they run into such classics as the Gingerbread Man and Strawberry Shortcake as the major villians. That said the players may not be happy in their role as the straigh men. This can lead to them switching up and playing the silly for all its worth. That isn't a bad thing in an of itself, unless you haven't planned for the eventuality and provided a straight man to replace them. Because without a straight man you're comedy is going to fall apart.
The DM: A good choice as you can control your own level of straightmanness. This does count on the players to bring the silly, but with the right players and the right input up front it shouldn't be a problem. Just remember to have a few silly npcs along with all your straight men to keep the players on their toes. Overall I'd say this is the better choice of the two.
To explain, no there is no time, let me sum up. Whether or not you play the straight man as the DM depends on two things. First, your players ability to keep the silliness going. In most cases I doubt you'll have issues with this at all. Second, your personal desire to surprise the players with a comedy campaign. After all, dropping the players down the rabbit hole can be so much more appealing than trying to find just the right monster to challenge both your Power gamer and your Storyteller. So get out there and run a comedy game dammit!

Looney out and about like saurkraut (Motivational posters will return on Friday)

Monday, September 28, 2009


You know you want a tiny AT-AT walker running around your house begging to be let in and out at all times of the day or night! The best familiars are the weirdest ones. I'm off to a rollicking good start here. I barely made this post in time for it to qualify for motivational monday instead of tardy tuesday. Be Motivated! Of course it's up to you to decided what you're motivated to do at this point but that's not my problem. See you in two days for a post without motivation. I mean without posters. Motivation may happen despite the lack of posters.

Looney out

Friday, September 4, 2009

Mission Statement!

"Your mission should you choose to accept it..." "...5 year mission to explore strange new worlds..." A mission statement is a brief written statement of the purpose of a company or organization. Ideally, a mission statement guides the actions of the organization, spells out its overall goal, provides a sense of direction, and guides decision making for all levels of management.
So that answers what a mission statement is but that still leaves the veritable questions of who, when, where, why, and how. As I'm only a sixth of the way done this post promises to be a dozy. I think I'll tackle why next as who, where, and how are fairly obvious at this point (with when being completely indefinite at this point). On with the show!
Why the heck would a blog need a mission statement? That's a good question, I'm glad I asked. My general hope is to avoid rambling creep that tends to percolate into most of the blogs I write. Additionally I want to keep on track and without a clear goal or schedule that's unlikely to happen as I'll forget to post and simply forget about the blog all together.
That's why a blog would need a mission statement of any sort which wraps up the post for this week.

Waitaminute. The mission statement.

The Looney DM blog's mission is to bring some much needed humor and levity to the RP community, blog or otherwise. An explanation is in order. Blogs in general and RP blogs specifically are prone to navel gazing. Even worse they don't have the decency to clean out the lint that's accumulated, they just shuffle it around, if they touch it at all. I mean really, some personal blog hygeine is definately in order. A good shot of humor to the face like an over charged seltzer bottle is just what's needed to get the spring cleaning started.
I'm going to rock a three day a week schedule for this. Monday will be Motivational Monday. I'll pop out a RPG related motivational poster on mondays along with commentary and appropriate links to the artist if applicable. Wednesday doesn't have a clever alliteration day but it will be reserved for amusing anecdotes and quotes from my personal games and stuff I find on the net. Friday will be more motivational posters along with the occasional tidbit of DM advice.

Since you've been a good sport and read through the whole of my ramblings, have some motivation to come back later.

Art by Paul Kidby. That is all.