So I (somehow, there is no explaining crack ships) fell in love with this idea of Carol Danvers and Hank McCoy having a relationship in our X-Men RP. But the price was that I had to make Hank’s player’s OTP come true and take over playing Lance Avers, a version of Avalanche that appears in X-Men: Evolution and is frequently shipped with Kitty. Of course, I agreed.
Which left poor Piotr out in the cold to figure out what to do with him.
That’s when I remembered a character that I saw pop up in fanfiction a lot. In the comics, there isn’t much to her–she alters pigment, is covered in tattoos, that’s about it when I last looked at her Wiki article. She was very much just part of the mutant population. But could I apply her to movie verse? Well, then I remember a girl in one of Xavier’s classes in X-3 who was taking notes without a pen, just gliding her hand across the page. Ah-ha, I had a basis for Paint.
Unfortunately, not only was the actress uncredited, but there was basically a little wiki-stub article on the comic character and maybe thirty seconds of screen time. I was going to have to come up with the rest of this character, using what I had as the bones. So what did I know? Well, we had dark hair, blonde in the comics, with power over pigment (only in the skin in the comics, but obviously the movie had more fun with it). The comic counterpart eventually ends up married, which I ignored, but was kicked out of her parents’ house when they freaked out of her mutation. We’d already established the Mordocks in Remy’s history.
So I went the route of Paint being homeless in New York, hanging out with Marrow, and eventually them getting found and recruited by Storm and the professor. The actress wasn’t Hispanic, but I liked the idea of her being the daughter of a Spanish immigrant instead, which fit with fact I was trying to merge dark hair and blonde together (very Spain). Unfortunately, I needed a new playby because all of the angles were awkward, so I tagged Jessica Szhor as my new Paint, whose birth name I dubbed Isabella Cortez.
But how to make her different from…all the other characters I was playing. I had a lot of freedom in terms of personality, so I decided to try and think about the situation and what the effects would be. She doesn’t have an offensive mutation at all, in fact hers would almost be dubbed useless by the mutant community. But at the same time, she is a mutant and wouldn’t be welcomed among “normal” people. I went with her being very confident as a child and full of energy…but once she was kicked out of the house, she completely drew back into her shell.
Current Paint is very shy under the public eye, but relaxes when it’s one-on-one or a very small group. This helps with her selective mutism, which flares up when she’s feeling anxious. She tends to think very little of herself, and assumes all the blame if something goes wrong where she is. But there are two areas where she is confident–one is her art, which is mostly abstract but she has a wide knowledge base and talent, which her mutation helps her with. The other is with the younger children, who she has taken over watching over while Storm is busy with the rest of the school.
Illyana ends up being the catalyst for Piotr and Paint to meet, since she falls into Paint’s kiddies (as we call her little collection of kids who follow her like ducklings). While Paint had been one of the older kids helping with the evacuation in X-2, he was a little busy and didn’t really notice the help he was getting from the quiet girl. However, Paint has been a little in love with him, just…hiding it very well. Kitty and Piotr have just now broken up, but with her social issues, it’s going to take a while for anything to happen, but the potential is there.
I feel like Paint fills a necessary hole in the RP as well. She’s not really helpful in an offensive sense, but she can run the security of the mansion and the children trust her. She ends up being an important corner stone to guard the home front as it were, and eventually the core-teacher for the younger children which just cements that fact.
Does her and Piotr’s pace drive me nuts? Oh yes. It is the slowest of the slow burns. But you know, it will probably be one of the more steady relationships in the mansion, so it will be worth it.
Tabletop RPG: Serenity the RPG System Thoughts
(After a long drought, finally an RP post! Sorry ya’ll, I had the plague and it will not go away.)
So I had bought the Serenity the Roleplaying Game’s book ages ago, along with a big old Verse map and a giant book about a specific cargo run. Why? Because I was interested in seeing how playable it was. Now, the book itself isn’t laid out in the most logical of senses, and sometimes it seems a bit screwy to me. I’m not going to critique the system as a whole, but instead, talk about how it plays.
I ran it this last weekend for a group of three players. It was specifically meant to be short, one or two sessions, three at an absolute maximum that I didn’t see happening, and so in an effort to keep it short, I chose to use one of the episodes of the series (“The Train Job”) as my framework. Bonus, most of my players had either never seen the show, seen only a small percentage of it, or hadn’t seen it in well over ten years and had since forgotten a large chunk of it. I had no worries about them actually recognizing what I was up to.
The game started off a little shaky–I’m not used to DMing, and I was trying to think of how to describe something I had seen in a show to convey exactly the right tone. But as the players started to make their plan and I got comfortable, we all started to enjoy ourselves. This is where the good parts of the game really started to show themselves. It isn’t loaded down with rules and schematics, but instead relies on the imaginations of the players and the DM, and on the way that they RP things out. It also gives some players a bit of flux.
What I mean by that is the use of Plot Points. I know of other DMs who will deliberately fudge rolls if a character rolls poorly and it may lead to someone having a bad night, or for similar reasons. Serenity makes that almost unnecessary with the use of Plot Points, provided the characters haven’t been just slinging them around. By really using them when they can tell a roll is important, it lets them get the desierable outcome without some…somewhat shady but good intentioned shady…actions on behalf of a DM, which I can appreciate.
That being said, 1’s still happen, and critical failures can lead to problems. But I’ve taken the stance that just because you failed the roll it doesn’t mean something catastrophic has to happen, and depending on what it is, the party isn’t screwed. In my most memorable case from this last weekend, one failed the hiding roll with a 1 while the other did really well. So I did something like you’d see out of a comedy skit to explain how both got hidden because of how well the other person rolled covering for both of them. Everything still proceeds, and everyone at the table got a laugh out of it. Failures don’t have to mean instant-death, and I was glad to get to DM something like that.
Is the lack of detail sometimes annoying? Oh very. And the rate of lethal damage applied to the weapons, while realistic, means that combat is never going to go well, and I’m still thinking about how to balance that out in a longer game. I also have to figure out whether I’d want to do something similar to Whedon’s work, where there is a long arc that we’re building to but a lot of it plays out in small moments, or if I want the long arc to be the focus with occasional side jobs. But that comes back to the flexibility of the system. It really lets you run the type of game that you want to run.
I don’t know if I would recommend this system for a newbie DM and newbie group of players. It’s not laid out in a way that’s neat, there’s a lot of holes, and the combat is harsh. But for a group that has messed around with a few systems, it is pretty forgiving to let them let their hair down for a bit. As a newbie DM, I had the advantage of knowing the world best, which gave me the measure of control that as DM I need to have any kind of confidence. With a group of die-hard Firefly fanatics, that isn’t going to be the case…but other new DMs may not have my anxiety crutches, so your mileage is just going to vary on that front.
If I can trust my players to stay off my blog, I might talk about the planning I go into for longer campaigns, but that’s a big maybe. I wouldn’t want to accidentally spoil anyone’s backstory or arc for them, and that will cause sour feelings. (Plus some of the players are uber private, which I respect.) In the meantime, if you can get your hands on the book or a PDF of it, it’s worth a page-through at the very least.
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