My Girlfriend. (#yesALLwomen)

My girlfriend, is really worked up about this #yesALLwomen thing.  She’s been writing about it.  She’s been talking about it to me and anyone who will listen.  She’s been bringing up painful memories.  She cries.

It makes me uncomfortable when she cries.  It makes me upset when she tells me about the times she’s been sexually assaulted.  It makes me scared and angry that she’s scared that if she keeps talking about this, men will get angry.  It makes me so sad, that I can hear it in her voice that she’s worried that I will get sick of her talking about this and I will leave her.

But I won’t leave her.  And I won’t tell her to shut up.  I won’t tell her “most men are good”, because that would invalidate her experiences, experiences I can’t imagine dealing with.  She’s weathered several sexual assaults, had dozens of close calls.  Endures harassment every day.  She’s in the trenches while I’m in the theatre watching a war reenactment.  She has PTSD from the horrific shit that has happened to her.  She has to mentally prepare herself to be touched or she flinches away.

She knows that by speaking out about this that more and more “good men” are going to get angry with her, and some of those men may try to shut her up.  Violently.  But she also knows that if she shuts up, she’s still not safe.  So she keeps talking.  She’s brave.

She’s amazing.  She’s brilliant, and compassionate, and self-sacrificing and beautiful.  She’s geeky in all the best ways, she wears a Tardis dress that I bought for her like it’s high fashion from the streets of Paris.  She writes so much better than I do.  She’s a rising star; people say they could see her writing laws in DC some day.

And when she curls up in my arms she tells me she feels safe.  She is.

I may not know much, I may not have gotten many things right in my life, I know that in my arms she’ll always be safe.  No matter what she does,  no matter how bad I feel, no matter how frustrated, or annoyed, or tired, or poor I am, she’ll always be safe in my arms.  That doesn’t feel like a big deal to me, but apparently it’s a big deal to her.

I worry, that not enough women in the world feel safe in the arms of their boyfriends, husbands, or lovers.  I worry that men don’t like to hear that and will tell the woman saying it to shut up.

And worst of all, I worry that they will.

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How I Became a Male Feminist

ImageI’ve claimed the title “feminist” for almost 2 years now, but it’s a topic I don’t speak or write about enough. I was not always a feminist, but was the result of many revelations I’ve had and decisions I’ve made.  Today, on International Women’s Day, I think it’s appropriate to try and share some of those steps with you.

The first of those steps was several years ago with a song by a Canadian folk-singer named Sarah McLachlan.  It had originally been written as a rape fantasy to her by a deranged fan.  When she published the song on one of her albums, he tried to sue her.  The song is called Possession, it’s both beautiful and haunting and it’s one of my favourite pieces of music.

It was no secret to me that Mrs. McLachlan was a feminist even back in the late 90s.  That younger me didn’t have much respect for feminists.  I believed the movement to be composed entirely of lesbians and the sexually repressed.  What did women have to complain about?  They could vote, they could go to work as I could, and had all the same freedoms as me.

When I heard the story behind Possession, I began to understand.  This woman, this Feminist did actually have something to complain about, but she wasn’t complaining.  She didn’t hide and play the victim, she turned that horrible letter and made a beautiful song.  I admired that.

Other revelations came to me.  The phrase “culture of rape” started to crop up here and there.  I distinctly remember in the movie Ted when Mark Wahlberg’s character, standing on a street satirically says to his girlfriend; “I’m ok, if I get raped it’s my own fault for what I’m wearing.”  (He was wearing slacks and a jacket.  Not that it matters.  Ever.)

Even in my own circles I began to see incidences of rape culture.  When women who played the sorts of games I played spoke out about mistreatment and abuse by other gamers were shamed and marginalized with no repercussions.  The YouTube comments were a toxic sludge of filthy language towards such women.

I like to believe that most everyone considers their actions to be morally justified.  That they’re not bad people, just doing what they know.  But when I read those comments I wondered, “How can these people consider themselves to be good? How do they rationalize their behaviour when they looked their mothers, wives and daughters in the eye?”

I decided then that I didn’t ever want to be that kind of man.

I started to read more about sexual assaults of all kinds, from football teams passing around an incoherent teenager while sexually abusing her and filming it – to rape being used as voter-suppression in Somalia.   From the exceedingly grey area of taking a drunk girl home from the bar and not really knowing what happened afterwards, to the quiet shame and internal conflict that even men can feel at being raped by a woman.

I started to re-examine conventions that seemed to be good and proper.  When a very respectable gentleman said, “There’s no reason for a man to use physical force on a woman, ever.”  I answered, that while I discourage violence towards anyone, I could certainly see reasons why a man would need to use force against a woman.  When asked what that could possibly be?  I responded, “If an enraged woman was violently abusing a child.  That’s a reason.”  I honestly believed (then and now) that it was a disservice to women to claim that they weren’t capable of the sort of heinous actions that would warrant a physical response.

I found myself silently disagreeing with fathers who would speak proudly about how they would “put the fear of God” in their daughters’ boyfriends, as if that was going to ensure that her purity would remain intact and prevent her from being stung by heartbreak.  I decided that I would rather raise my daughter to choose the right man and if I didn’t trust her enough to do that then it would be my failure.

Some of the hardest parts of my new outlook were where I examined my own behaviours and found that I wasn’t always as upstanding as I’d hoped.  I have been slapped. Twice.  And while there was a playful tone that helped whitewash the reasons why, I came to realize that lines had been crossed and I resolved not to cross them again.  I know I still have work to do on that front, but it’s good work and I’m happy do do it.

So today I’m acknowledging my feminism along with great people like Sheryl Sandberg, Sarah McLachlan and Malala Yousafzai.  I don’t hate my gender or believe sex is wrong – as female feminists are often accused of.  I don’t believe that men are meant to be subservient to women, or that we are obsolete.

Instead, I stand for strong, confident, independent women all across the world standing shoulder to shoulder with men. No defined roles or gender-based codes of behaviour.  I stand against sexual slavery, spousal abuse, wage inequality, gender bias/privilege, rape and the cultural norms that condone it.

That’s the way my parents raised me, it will be at the core of the woman I fall in love with, and it’s how we will raise our sons and daughters.

Maybe by doing so, we’ll make the world a little bit better.


Happy International Women’s Day 2014.

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The Boys

The Boys

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What’s Not on Fox Today – Sunday Edition 07.29.12

Mitt Romney isn’t making any friends in the UK right now.  

Some international grudge matches to watch for in the Olympics.  US vs China… eeeteresting…

A “secret” website is selling weapons to anyone who wants them.  This is something to watch as far as internet civil liberties are concerned.

And last but not least… Mitt Romney is visiting Israel and if this article is true then I sure hope the American’s won’t be voting him in.  I’m going to be verifying this article’s sources for a few hours.

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What’s Not On Fox Today

I’m trying a new thing where I consolidate the news stories I found interesting here.  I try to keep it just to things I wouldn’t find “on the news” but are still relevant in my mind.  Hopefully I get better at making them seem interesting, but for now, here’s the first instalment.

The USA is smuggling guns into Somalia.  

An Old Canadian News Article Detailing the “Possession” Stalking of Sarah McLachlan.

Technical Drawings for various modern firearms.  As an added note: you can 3D Print them too.

Minecraft is still updating.

Saving Lives: There’s an App for That.

Hoards of Ancient Gold are still being found today.  

Canada’s contribution to the Webb Telescope.

Smart discussion about Corporate Political Opinions. 

Canada’s political rhetoric on Gun Violence.

I wonder if the anti-leak policies potentially effecting the press even matters at this point?  It’s pretty obvious that the only real news is coming from independent bloggers and by the point that they get press passes, they’ve likely been bought already.

Optimistic assessments for Renewable Energy.  I’d love to get in on some of this.


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To Those Who Unconditionally Oppose the Enbridge Northern Gateway Project

In light of the recent announcement from the BC Premier’s office regarding the pending approval of the Enbridge pipeline and the seeming universal backlash over it, I’d like to address those who are unconditionally opposed to it.

Allow us to pretend for a minute that you get what you want. The pipeline is not approved to go through BC, the BC environment is saved from the inevitable bitumen spills and the BC coastline remains pristine for future generations. A win for all the world to be sure.

Since the pipeline is denied the Canadian economy stops. BC and Alberta develop unemployment rates higher than Ontario overnight. Unemployment rates in Ontario and the Maritimes go up because Fort Macmurry employs tens of thousands of workers flying them in from as far as Nova Scotia. Fort Mac isn’t the only place to stop though, all the liquid natural gas production in Northern BC is put on hold as well because all that growth was based on a pipeline heading to worthwhile asian markets that would pay 3 times the North American rate. Overall this oil industry slowdown would amount to a minimum of 1 Million Canadians losing their jobs. The ripple effect of that carrying into their families and the commercial businesses they support amounting to an immediate hole of 50 Billion Dollars pulled from the Canadian Economy. How did I get that number? A low end oil industry wage pays $50,000 per year. 1 million people losing that amounts to 50 Billion. That’s at a minimum.

That’s still survivable, after all the GDP of Canada is 1.7 Trillion, 50 Billion is barely a drop in that bucket. So now we get to our international reputation. It becomes better because we are polluting less and saving our pristine environment which might make up for that KYOTO fiasco. Except oddly that’s not what happens at all.

China, which has been investing heavily in Canadian oil and gas reserves is suddenly demanding it’s money back. The companies that took that money have borrow it from the banks to pay back China, except the banks are struggling because a million home owners are defaulting on their mortgages and can’t cover those debts, they petition the government for a “bail out” like Spain and Greece. The international investment community gets wind of that and the Canadian stock market crashes bankrupting everyone’s grandmothers as their pensions become worthless. Meanwhile China still needs that oil. It can’t rely on Middle Eastern oil reserves indefinitely because the United States deliberately destabilizes that region and while Russian reserves are good they don’t lessen the need to diversify as 10,000 new automobiles hit the Chinese roads every day. Energy is a country’s life blood and when you start losing blood you do something about that. War becomes more likely. China is a nuclear power, they start exercising that power. But long before that, they’d begin putting economic pressure on the USA to pressure Canada into getting that pipeline through.

Any one of these consequences would be enough of an arm twist to turn any politician from a tree hugging, granola munching, hippie into Dick Cheney. Dick Cheney is pro-pipeline, so he stops listening to all his granola munching hippie friends and green lights it right. Fucking. Now. Probably with less oversight than before because he LEARNED HIS LESSON. (And probably had his life threatened by both the Canadians who lost their jobs, and the Chinese corporations who want their ROI.)

This is the reality we live in. That pipeline is going through. Are there issues with it? Absolutely. Should we address the the issue of what port it is being pumped-to? Probably would be a start. Should we leverage our environmental concerns for a big royalty cheque that we can bank on to pay for the inevitable oil spills? We better.

So please, everyone who is environmentally conscious. I continue to fight, but fight with a bit of understanding that you can’t stop this but you CAN direct it. Do that.

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Drones: Killing Folks For Cheap

Pretty much all of us are aware that militaries are using drones now, and I’m pretty sure we have an idea about how they work.  What I was pretty ignorant about until lately was the implications of widespread drone usage.  Those implications surprised me and so I’m endeavouring to be one of what I believe to be a very small number of westerners to spread a bit of awareness on the subject.

Drones come in a lot of shapes and sizes and can mean a lot of things, but in this context I’m talking about using unmanned vehicles to do military strikes.  There are of course drones used for non-violent purposes like surveillance and bomb disarming by the military but today I’m talking about armed drones.

Armed drones are not generally remote-control vehicles with guns and bombs.  Remote control vehicles can be subject to security risks like signal jamming and even more dangerously signal piracy (not an official term, but meaning the potential for someone with a bigger/closer antenna along with the encryption codes and probably a few other security breaking measures – taking over the drone and sending it after a different target).  No, remote control isn’t used as much as we’d hope.  Usually these drones are autonomous.  They have a program with parameters and they execute those parameters without any human steering the controls.

I hope the humanitarian implications of that are obvious.  There’s going to be civilian casualties from that sort of delivery system, that’s a given.  However, while every innocent life lost is a tragedy; war is war and innocent lives have and will continue to be lost with or without drones.  And while there are some fairly questionable things a certain military power is doing to insulate it’s self from the legal backlash of using such an imprecise method of killing, I don’t think that’s particularly game changing.  There are some far more Pandora-inspiring aspects to drones.

Drones re-write the resource requirement book in regards to modern warfare.

Let me explain.
Wars used-to cost more than money.  They also require public support, and by extension; people willing to potentially sacrifice their lives.  That was the true resource.  It was more than just the wages of a soldier, it was the indoctrination, the training, the goodwill required to take a young man just beginning his productive existence as an adult and potentially send him to his death.   All that costs costs a huge amount, and that’s just a soldier.  With a suicide bomber the resources for finding a viable candidate and indoctrinating them is quite high as well which makes suicide bombers a very coveted military asset.  Drones make suicide bombers obsolete.
My point is, human resources are limited.  Money, comparatively speaking, is not.

The implication here is that right now the United States is conducting the lion’s share their war against Al Qaeda without having to worry about that fickle goodwill of the American people by using drones.  No one cares about wars that are happening as long as their sons and friends aren’t dying.  There might be deaths, but those deaths are somewhere else and there are always more pressing concerns in the here and now.

But that’s a good thing, right?  More (literal) bang for the buck!  Sure, until it comes back the other way.  Drones are cheap for EVERYONE and makes payback just a little bit more accessible.

That’s problem with drones.  They’re just one aspect of Pandora’s big-ol box that’s being opened in warfare these days.  Drones can be made out of parts that could potentially be bought at Radio Shack.  The programming can be potentially stolen, imitated, and altered and the methods of detecting and stopping the construction and deployment of destructive drones becomes more of a logistical implausibility with each passing day.

We North Americans haven’t seen any widespread armed conflict on our shores in a very long while, but this is just one of the reasons why I believe this good fortune could be ending in the relatively near future.

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Social System

These rules are meant to be a more fluid way to interpret the results of social interaction in Role-Playing games, however they needn’t be restricted to that.  Game concepts like Morality and Alignments can be tacked in with some simple add ons.  Codes of honor are not a problem either.  This system also provides an easy way to implement insanity templates in a way that can be extremely gritty and realistic, or fun and amusing depending on the needs of the game.

Overall this is simply a rough generic system, and the numbers and traits would need to be tailored to each specific system and setting, but the overall core is extremely versatile.  A few mechanical concepts that help this system work are an INTELLIGENCE or REASONING based Stat, a DISCIPLINE or WILLPOWER based Stat, and a WITS or other Quick Thinking based stat.  Stats for good (or bad) looks, and/or affability or friendliness can work within this system but are not required and can be simply based on role-playing.  Social skills can be as general or as specialized as the game requires.

The system introduces two mechanical concepts called Trust and Calm that are detailed in the rules.  Some games have similar concepts and this can be adapted to fit these rules.

Mental and Social Rules
There are all sorts of situations a character can encounter during play, many require more finesse then a bullet and even when a bullet or an energy blast can solve things they can be extremely stressful.  With this in mind I’ve created a set of new mechanics to represent this aspect of Role Playing.
Social rules often get a bad rap In RPGs, and often viewed as – at best – a crutch for inept role players and – at worst – a way to force a character to do something they have seemingly no reason to do.  The trouble is that Role Playing is a social hobby, which brings up the question; aren’t rules for social interaction redundant?
The answer, is that so much of what we do well is based on our personality.  A common saying goes “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” So in this, the social rules can effect everything.  A character will fight better when he feels confident he will will win, a character that is more determined and stubborn will go on longer than someone who is weak willed.
Rather than replace role playing, this social system is designed to work without a lot of “social rolls”.  What it is meant to do is give quick and easy mechanics to represent social conditions and make them relevant in gameplay.  If a character is in a stressful situation and getting angry the social rules represent that with a loss of Calm.  If the character becomes so enraged he can’t see straight; he gains penalties.  This makes it so that the incentive to do certain things comes from the need to regain that calm so that the penalties go away, in this way the player can choose their course of action rather than it being forced on them.
The flip-side of calm is where a character is comfortable with a person, situation or some other thing they can regain any lost calm through that trust.  The down-side is that trust makes a person vulnerable to attacks on calm – the way to get at a person is to hurt the things she loves after-all.
This system creates a fluid way to influence Role-Play and get in character without a lot of extra mechanics.  It covers things like morale in combat, insanity, fear and loathing, and happiness and love. It is not meant to replace role-playing, only to represent that the things that players know matter to their characters in a way that makes the system know that as well.

Losing calm:
Calm is lost due to stress.  It can be spent to augment a [Strength Stat], or [Endurance Stat] action by trading one Calm for -2 Accuracy and -1 Power.  Multiple calm may not be spent to gain cumulative bonuses.  This calm cannot be regained until the character succeeds at the task at hand, at which point it is regained at a rate of 1 point per hour of rest.  If the task cannot be succeeded then the calm is lost until the character forgets or by confronting/coming to terms with it through something the character trusts.

Calm is lost when something or someone that the character trusts is in danger, hurt, or lost permanently.
In Danger – loses ½ the Trust rating for as long as the condition persists.
Harmed – loses the Trust rating for as long as the condition persists.
Lost – loses 2x the trust rating until the character can forget the loss or overcomes the loss by confronting/coming to terms with it through something the character trusts.

Calm Threshold
The calm threshold is the point where the character starts freaking out.  It is the character’s [Mental Defense] + the situational trust modifier.  ([Int -10] – [Sum of all trust modifiers pertinent to the situation])
If calm goes below the Calm Threshold the character is -1 to the Accuracy of all actions for each point below threshold.

Regaining Calm
Calm can be regained a few ways depending on how the situations surrounding it’s loss are resolved.

If the situation is fixed or resolved without significant loss then the lost calm returns automatically at a rate of 1 per hour of rest.
If the situation cannot be fixed or concludes tragically or with significant hardship and loss, the lost calm can be regained at a rate of 2 per day as long as the character is not reminded of the event.  If the character is reminded the character’s calm rating drops at a rate of 1 per minute until the character reverts to the original rating the calm was at at the conclusion of the event.  Leaving the presence of the reminder can stop this, leaving the character free to forget again.  Any time a character forgets an event to regain calm, he must record it on his character sheet under Forgotten Psychological Trauma at a rating of the # of Calm lost.  A list of triggers associated with that trauma should be added as well.  Players who include interesting and insightful triggers and role-play them in a fun and consistent way should sometimes be rewarded with XP.
Lost Calm that cannot be regained through other means can only be regained by coming to terms with the event through the aid of someone or something the character trusts.  This should almost always be role-played or described in reasonable detail.  The GM is the final arbitrator of what works and what doesn’t but this is the system.
The character can use something (ability, item, situation, place) that they have trust levels in, to come to terms with the traumatic event. (An artist could design and get a tattoo, a swordsman could go out seeking revenge, a home owner could dedicate a room etc…)  the process should take some time investment.  If the GM deems it’s a good (interesting and fun should almost always be good) form of therapy then the character drops the Trauma rating representing the lost calm by the trust rating of the therapy focus x2, at a rate of 1 point per-day, though the final 2 points are not lost until the task is finished.
The same principle applies to people the character trusts.  This generally requires conversation, sympathy and relation.  For significant psychological trauma the GM should consider requiring a quest of some sort to fully resolve the issues.  At the GM’s discretion, finishing this therapy is likely to result in further trust gained between the two parties.

Trust can be invested in virtually anything, but the most common Associations are people (a friend, contact, boss, spouse or fellow adventurer – it is a good idea for a player to consider investing a bit of trust in his fellow PC’s because it will increase the character’s morale in combat), special equipment (a favorite pistol, a custom vehicle, a lucky charm), a place (grandmother’s house, the barracks, Chi-Town), or even a situation (drinking with friends, running with the ball, squeezing a trigger from a concealed location).  Sometimes the GM assigns this trust through the results of role-playing, other times the character may decide to pay XP to gain or upgrade an Association.
Trust can be gained by having one person invest time and effort doing something good for another person.  As a rule, one trustworthy event = +1 trust. This sort of trust is permanent until broken.  Permanent trust is a bonus to any persuasion rolls.
Betrayal, threats, antagonization, and harm to someone or anything they trust results in loss of trust.  Generally trust is lost faster than it is gained, any distrust-worthy action the character is conscious of removes 2 points of trust per event.  Distrust can be as low as -5.
Comfort Zones and Tie-Ins
Trust for objects, abilities, areas, and situations are comfort zones.  All characters trust their abilities at a rating equal to the ability rating it’s self.
A character can trust a location they’re familiar with and have made their own, a safe-house, a local neighborhood, a bar they’re a regular at.  Locations should have a specific trait associated with each level of trust associated with it.  (Weapons Stash, Discreet Staff, Secret Tunnels, Broken-in furniture…)
A character can trust an object that they have come to rely on or have customized to fit their needs, a car, a weapon, a lucky charm. Characters should exercise caution investing too much Trust in an object for fear it’s lost, though temper this advice with the rule of cool.  As with locations, an object should have a trait associated with each level of trust.
A situation that a character trusts should be a signature zone of awesome for that character and will likely involve elements of other things and people the character trusts.  Each element of trustworthiness incorporated into the situation (backup from an ally, + driving + in favourite car, + eating takeout from that Chinese Place) can count as a trait to associate with the bonus.

Rolling Social
There are two objectives to making social rolls. The first is to establish temporary trust, and the second is to temporarily lower calm. These are powerful effects but they are temporary, loss of calm or trust gained through a social manipulation roll resets at a rate of 1 per hour or instantly if a major event eclipses the situation in priority. (This is left to GM discretion, but generally a life-threatening combat, or any significant plot shift qualifies.)
Note: the forgetting process does not begin until the character is removed from the influence of the social roll.

Temporary Calm
Loss of temporary calm represents (transient) preoccupation with something. From a friend’s troubles, to the new car they want to buy, to simply how bored someone is. It is stress and imposes the same penalties as calm loss from other sources. Temporary calm loss is added to any additional calm reductions from other sources. To create a temporary loss of calm via a social roll, a character needs to focus on a negative aspect of the person they’re trying to influence (the bruises on the friend, what bad shape the old car is in, or the lack of anything to entertain) and rolls [Charisma Stat]. The subject may apply their [Mental Defense] as a passive defence if the character is not resisting with dialog and role- play. An active defence requires role play to conduct and the GM will be the arbitrator on what Stat is applicable to resist.
• The [Intelligence Stat] Generally pokes holes in an argument and sees the inconsistencies in the line of persuasion.
• The [Willpower Stat] Represents an innate stubbornness and a refusal to be drawn into the social manipulation.
• The [Wit’s Stat] Counters the influence with a new related point to turn the persuasion back on the one persuading.
The amount of temporary calm lost is equal to the threshold of success over the defence.
Temporary Trust
Temporary trust is created by persuading a character that she is particularly capable, suited or in a position to be benefitted by a particular situation, course of action, person or thing.    The reinforcement is positive with a focus on eliminating doubt and misgivings. The persuading party rolls [Appearance Stat]. when persuading verbally or [Wits Stat] if persuading through writing with a Skill 3 requirement in either Writing, Art, or Marketing.
Creating temporary trust instills a surge of confidence that a particular situation will work out for the character being influenced. Temporary trust has the capability to eliminate any temporary loss of calm instantly, and using it to mitigate the long term loss of calm is possible though the trust is unlikely to be in place long enough to fully eliminate any large loss of calm.

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To Clarify a Twitter Question…

I’m working on a mechanics idea that does away with Initiative rolls to a degree. One where attacks take time to hit and time to recover from and ready your weapon again. The jist will be that bigger attacks leave you “vulnerable” for a moment (meaning short-term penalties) that recharge. The idea is that it would always be possible to attack even when it’s not always a great idea to do so, just that you won’t be at your best form. The problem is I’m not sure how to implement such an idea without it being an unworkable book keeping nightmare… yet. Some stuff is starting to come together.

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Srys RPG’ing Sucks

Back in the day when I was playing Vampire the Masquerade, I had a good friend who explained to me why everyone played Malkavians like shit.

A bit of context: In Vampire the Masquerade there are character “classes” that are divided up into Vampire clans.  Each has their own strengths and weaknesses and some signature powers.  Clan Tremere was the Artsy/Beautiful clan, Clan Ventrue was the powerful corporate clan, Clan Gangrel was the angry/bestial clan etc… Malkavians were the insane clan.  They all had mental derangements, so most people would create somewhat cooky ways to integrate their derangements into the concept so there was a comical feel to the character.

My friend believed that Malkavians should conceal their “debility” and be nasty plotters and schemers rather than the clowns of vampire society.  The sad thing was, for many years I believed him.

Of course there’s no reason why a cooky insane vampire can’t be a manipulative power player too. But that wasn’t the point, the point was that Malkavian’s clan disadvantage wasn’t supposed to be funny according to my friend, and that people who were playing them as clowns were just ruining the feel of the game.

Which of-course is bullshit.

I now look on Malkavians as a necessary light-hearted contrast to an otherwise very dark game.  Sure in real-life mental illness is not funny at all, my sister has related some stories about people who struggle with schtzophrenia and it’s sometimes almost enough to bring tears to my eyes.  It’s always very hard to see someone willfully destroy his own life bit-by bit because the rules in his head can’t come to an accord with the necessities of his body.  But in VtM, Malkavians should be the funny ones.  The ones that paint the dark tones of evil monsterous vampires pink and yellow.  That’s important.  It’s like in Fallout, the bleak hostility of the wasteland is balanced by the light hearted tone of Pip Boy and showtunes.

I’ve always seen the new Vampire as a superior game to Masqurade, because it had more plausible structure.  Many people disagreed with me on that, and now I see why.  Masquerade might have had its structural flaws, but the game it’s self was better balanced to entertain, and that is more important by far.

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