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Old 03-23-2017, 04:03 PM   #1
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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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pyramid 3/101

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