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Old 03-23-2017, 04:03 PM   #1
PK
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Default Pyramid #3/101: Humor

Never spurn humor;
Minus laughter and joy, life
Would not be living.
Lana Wu, part-time philosopher, part-time clown
Humor and tabletop gaming have gone hand-in-hand since the latter first existed. Who hasn't laughed at the tale of Eric and the Dread Gazebo? Or caught a mistake that changed a rule from sensible to hilarious? And what would be the point of sitting around a table with our friends and some dice if we weren't cracking the occasional joke? Even the most serious and grim game demands the occasional moment of comedy, if only as a counterpoint to the rest of the campaign's darkness.

In fact, in many ways humor requires even more complex and careful thought than roleplaying. As the Grand Clavister once pointed out, "A conversation requires local knowledge. A story requires local knowledge and global information. A joke requires local knowledge, global information, knowledge of human nature, and one more thing: self-awareness. [...] The fact that people can share in something as complex as humor is a miracle of evolution."

So prepare for a master class in class-clown mastery with Pyramid #3/101: Humor. Shall we begin?
  • Whether you're a player who wants to craft a PC in a funny game or a GM building an NPC for comic relief, at some point you must ask yourself What Fools These Mortals Be? Phil Masters (a bit of an expert on the subject) breaks down character creation with an eye for humor, exploring the different roles you might fill and the traits and advice that will help you pull it off.

  • Of course, a comedic campaign requires more than funny characters. As the GM will quickly learn, Dying is Easy; Comedy is Hard. Fortunately, Matt Riggsby offers plenty of solid advice on running a not-so-serious game, from slapstick to satire to social farce. Learn what comedy and horror have in common, when to push the humor versus when to pull back, and how to master everything from literalism to incongruity.

  • In your GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game, there's always room to add another wandering monster to The Monster Mash -- and in this month's Eidetic Memory, David Pulver offers three funny-yet-plausible encounters to shake up your campaign. Learn what happens when kobolds find religion! Face the wrath of a demonic chef or, for the truly brave, sample her cuisine! And learn why a teenage lich is out for your heads!

  • While there are arguably better games for playing an all-animated campaign, the idea of a cartoon character dropped into the "real world" is familiar enough to be its own trope. (And, as examples like Roger Rabbit and Marvel's Slapstick have shown, they can even work well with action, drama, and horror.) So consider Animating Your Life with a new template, power, and advice from Kelly Pederson.

  • Some of the best comedy exists from simply turning expectations on their ear. So when a group of teen sleuths and their animal mascot try to uncover who's wearing the rubber suit in The House of 10,000 Sock Monkeys, the true dark humor begins after they've cracked the case. Tremlett and Rice give you options for playing as the Puzzle Pals in a straight satire or as your own PCs in a wide range of games; either way, expect the unexpected.

  • And funny enough, this month's Random Thought Table adds "mystery" and "anticipation" to the GM's back of comedic tricks.

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Old 03-23-2017, 04:12 PM   #2
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

Stopped reading till the sun goes down and out of my window :)
Animating Your Life by Kelly Pederson is freaking awesome.
I was hoping for something like this in the issue and would have been very disappointed if there was not.
I even had my own variant I am really glad I did not finish or get it ready enough to submit. What Kelly wrote was so much better and I love it.
A nice metatrait as a race package and a nice set of abilities, some obvious and others less so.
The standouts of the article to me where "Perfect Comedy Timing" and the Comedic PM.
They were really well done, both the crunch and flavor text.
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Old 03-23-2017, 04:21 PM   #3
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

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Originally Posted by Refplace View Post
Animating Your Life by Kelly Pederson is freaking awesome.
Glad you liked it! I've had the idea of doing animated character in GURPS for a while, so I jumped at the chance to do it in such a perfect issue theme.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Refplace
The standouts of the article to me where "Perfect Comedy Timing" and the Comedic PM.
Very happy you liked them. I'm quite proud of the Comedic limitation, in particular. One thing I didn't have room to put in the article, but though might be useful, is that it can be logically extended to other characters who run on other sorts of "rules of drama". A character who's a refugee from a teen TV series could have the "Melodramatic" limitation on certain abilities, for example. Or a character who escaped from an action movie, a la Last Action Hero, could have a similar limitation on their traits that forced them to be action-movie-y.

So far, I've read "What Fools These Mortals Be" and "Dying is Easy, Comedy is Hard" myself, and they're both excellent! I like the more general advice on comedy that both provide, and I'm glad that sort of thing made it into the issue - I was a little worried that all the articles would be like mine, with little room for general comedic advice, and I'm happy my fear was unfounded.
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Old 03-23-2017, 07:47 PM   #4
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

Haven't had a chance to read very much yet (although "Animating Your Life" does look fantastic), but I'm disappointed this didn't include the (at least temporary) return of Murphy's Rules.
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Old 03-23-2017, 08:34 PM   #5
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

This was pretty awesome overall, and I don't usually do comedic stuff. The animated template was hilarious and I kind of want to see that transported over to Monster Hunters - 'cause a cartoon vs. a werewolf is pretty funny.
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Old 03-23-2017, 09:53 PM   #6
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
This was pretty awesome overall, and I don't usually do comedic stuff. The animated template was hilarious and I kind of want to see that transported over to Monster Hunters - 'cause a cartoon vs. a werewolf is pretty funny.
I quite deliberately aimed for around 200 points on the Animate template because I thought it would be a good Inhuman template for Monster Hunters, yes. :)
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

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Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
I quite deliberately aimed for around 200 points on the Animate template because I thought it would be a good Inhuman template for Monster Hunters, yes. :)
I think I'm going to use it by putting PCs into a toon world for a session or two. :-)
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:09 PM   #8
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

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Originally Posted by Ghostdancer View Post
I think I'm going to use it by putting PCs into a toon world for a session or two. :-)
Sounds fun! If you blog about it, I'll definitely look forward to reading the summary. :)

I wanted to put in something about "real" characters visiting places like Toontown, Cool World, etc., but didn't have the space. Toon rules should tend to apply to them, though, I think - the whole world essentially has the Comedic limitation.
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Old 03-23-2017, 10:15 PM   #9
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

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Originally Posted by Kelly Pedersen View Post
Sounds fun! If you blog about it, I'll definitely look forward to reading the summary. :)

I wanted to put in something about "real" characters visiting places like Toontown, Cool World, etc., but didn't have the space. Toon rules should tend to apply to them, though, I think - the whole world essentially has the Comedic limitation.
I will when it happens. I'm thinking more the looney tunes episode of Farscape though.
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Old 03-23-2017, 11:12 PM   #10
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Default Re: Pyramid #3/101: Humor

So can you make Bonkers from the cartoon of said name then?
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