* You are viewing the archive for September, 2011

Mouse Guard: Setting and Conflict

I studied literature in school, in both French and English. It may not be apparent to an English speaker who didn’t study French literature, but to do any reasonable criticism you need to change mental gears and come at the book as a French speaker would. Language is more than just a code for ideas. History and worldview are part of language, and if you don’t understand that you won’t understand the book. You might pick up the basic plot, but so much of it will make so little sense that you’ll come away with just a hazy concept of … Continue Reading

Revised Mouse Guard Conflict Cards

I download the Mouse Guard playing card set (available from here), scrubbed all the text off the conflict cards, and put my own text on instead. I did it for two reasons. First, the text was rasterized, and as a design professional this offends my soul. (Just kidding, I don’t have a soul. But text through a JPEG meatgrinder like that. Ouch, man. I appreciate why it was done, but I can still hear a sad little dirge for every artifact-laden letter-halo.) The second reason was because I didn’t find the text entirely helpful. I … Continue Reading

Building Beliefs from MG Recruitment (pt 1)

I think the Mouse Guard recruitment section is well done (as is all of MG) but it is missing two things to make it really great. First, it’s not apparent from the text that this should be a collaborative process. Nobody should be making this stuff up in a vacuum. You bounce each piece off the other players and the GM, everyone contributing. Second, I wish there was more guidance, or at least a set of questions, to turn character-building choices into roleplaying backstory.

My inclination is to build some of this second part. We’ll see how it goes. … Continue Reading

Lying for Jesus, Explained

People without religious faith are often flabbergasted by the things believers say in defense of their beliefs, not least because what can come out of their mouths is unequivocally false. ¬†Atheists will joke about “lying for Jesus” — the idea that Christians, or people of any faith, would deliberately lie in order to prevent believers from doubting, or to bring doubters back into the fold, or even better to convince the unbeliever to believe. Could they not know they are lying? Well, it’s possible, but as far as I can detect they’ll continue to employ the lie even after the … Continue Reading

Clay and Air

Creationists point to the eye as evidence of design. This is a sorry strategy, because the human eye is not very well put together. But it isn’t the poorness of the design that gets me, though, it’s the inability to explain the poorness that I find most intriguing. This, I find, is absurdly common in religious belief. When confronted with the question of why the eye sees things upside down, for instance, the creationist must shrug his shoulders and proclaim that this is a mystery we are not meant to understand. What this really means, or ought to mean to … Continue Reading

Static Violins

People claim to talk to God all the time. Some high-profile people claim to not only hold discourse with The Almighty, but to receive hand-crafted mandates from him as well. Often these mandates involve running for public office. Or perhaps the message is broadly moral, always cessationist, some awful (but not really awful) behavior stirring the wrath of a supreme being, generally expressed in a turn of the weather. This cold snap was sent because of gay marriage, for example. Everybody must halt their support of it at once, or things will only get chillier.

At first it seems the silliest … Continue Reading