Just being who you are, you are capable of changing people -- and sometimes, the way they look at the world.
When I had been transferred to a different junior high school while teaching in Japan, as usual there is an office party to welcome the new teachers. It was usually the night of the opening ceremony, so the new teachers usually didn't know the other teachers, unless the had worked with them before.
I was talking with teachers about my background, being a military dependent, and moving around a lot, as well as my reasons for coming to Japan, as well as my opinion thus far. Unknown to me, this had a profound effect on one of the teachers who had overheard my spiel.
Fast forward to about an hour later, when nature called. One of the teachers caught me in the hall as I was returning from the bathroom. He said he was impressed by what he had said. Apparently, he was a little shocked that I had been involved with the U.S. military to some degree (the aforementioned "dependent," basically meaning a spouse or child of a military members; I was the child). Now, I was a buzzed at the time, so I'm kind of fuzzy on the details but apparently his uncle was killed due to some involvement with the military -- I don't remember the reason. At any rate, he said his opinion of me had change -- and somewhat changed his view of the military -- based on the things I had said.
It just goes to show you that things you do, you say, and your beliefs can have a profound impact on those around you. Generally, even a smile and a "hello" can make someone's day brighter.
While I have been able to change some people for the better, I'm also guilty of doing the reverse. But, you know what? You have to live and learn.
Sunday, July 17, 2011
Saturday, July 16, 2011
Call of Cthulhu.
Originally a story by H. P. Lovecraft, his brand of horror was turned into a role-playing game by Chaosium many, many years ago, when Dungeons & Dragons became popular with college students.
For those that don't know, CoC is an RPG like D&D, but the main mechanic behind it is that the human psyche is fragile, and by being exposed to horrifying elements, the mind begins to snap. One of the main statistics in this game is "Sanity Points." As the character see aliens, undead creatures, elder gods and even cast magic spells, they slowly lose their sanity. In other words, everyone eventually goes insane at some point. While the system is different than the original D&D, when the 3.5 version of D&D came out, a version of CoC using the v3.5 ruleset was also released, making them compatible (in fact, showing the main v3.5 heroes getting their heads handed to them by Cthulhu toward the back of the book). The d20 version is out of print, like all of the books from the v3.5 rule set.
I remember picking up the 5th edition (pictured above) during high school, since I didn't have any horror RPGs in my collection. We didn't play it, since my friends and I really weren't horror fans, but one evening when some friends were staying over the night after we had graduated, I pulled it out for something to do.
Keep something in mind: Call of Cthulhu is a HORROR RPG, all right? Mood is everything, where the GM is supposed to create suspense, dread and fear.
As the GM, I decided to run a basic module from the book, about a haunted house. Some who have played Call of Cthulhu know which scenario I'm talking about, but if you don't, a haunted house possessed by a dead necromancer should be enough for you to understand.
Remember, it's a horror RPG, okay?
So, we went through the character creation process. One of the suggestions was for the players to introduce their characters and their archetypes. Taking that cue, we went around the table with my three friends, and they introduced their characters. I don't know what my first two friends were playing, but I'll remember what my third friend was playing, until my dying day:
Me: "Okay, Dave, what's your character archetype?"
Dave: "Native American Tribesman." [NOTE: This is a semi-suggested archetype in the rulebook]
Me: "What's his name?"
Dave: "Squatting Dog."
Well, there went the horror-mood for the evening. My two other friends and I could barely breathe, we were laughing so hard.
Years later (about fifteen years later), I would run the same adventure again for two other friends. While there weren't any squatting dogs, there is a floating knife in the adventure that attacks the players.
I must have done a good job with the adventure, because one of my two friends actually had a nightmare that evening about being attacked by a knife. That same friend had another nightmare about a character I was playing in a different rules system, which I'll save for another time (and let's just say, it wasn't pretty).
[Edited to correct typos.]