Archive for October, 2010

Kala, my mother-in-law, and my self went to see PARANORMAL ACTIVITY 2.  We had watched the first film on Netflix a couple of nights before just to be ready for the sequel.  I will try and be spoiler free if at all possible as far as major plot points and twists, but there  could be some minor spoilers, so consider your self warned!!!!!

The film its self is more of a prequel than an actual sequel, with the chain of events starting about 2 months before the first film. The action centering around Katie’s sister Kristi and her family; husband, Dan; step daughter Ali; new baby, Hunter; as well as their German Shepard Abby.  Katie and Micah make appearances as well.

The film does a good job of explaining the bigger picture of the two films, explaining the why of what happened in the first film.  It also felt very real, the performances were good and they felt like a a family for the most part.  Where the film breaks down is in pacing, the beginning moves far too slowly, and depends too much on the slow build style of the  first film, but since it was expected it did not build that slow feeling of dread, discomfort and unease that made PARANORMAL ACTIVITY such a great movie.  There are scares but they are more startle, boo we gotcha variety.  The end however, was very satisfying.

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Every Shadowrun game needs a few Prime Runners as opposition or allies for the player characters. Prime Runners should have a bit of a  history some flaws and some goals and things they value, not just fodder for the PCs

Today’s Prime Runners are Calvin and Hobbes, a wired up sub-machine-gun  expert and an up close and personal tiger shape-shifter physical adept.  Both Characters are around 500 points give or take a few build wise.

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So in my Shadowrun game there has been some problems with maintaining a consistent characterization in some situations. Especially when it comes to how dark to play a character. If a character who the player describes as “good” does a reasonably evil act.  The act in question is disposing of a prisoner by selling of his parts especially cybernetics to a ripper doc.  This came into direct conflict with the rest of the team, who had real in-character problems with doing that to someone, especially since the NPC was some one they had worked with in the past, but has come up on the opposing side.  

 In the past the player has described his character’s morality as chaotic-good in D&D terms and in his background he has a real hatred for human tracking and other forms of similar exploitation, so organ-legging seems like its out of character.  I have no real issue with a bit of player conflict in my Shadowrun game, often with in the genre it makes for good story telling, moral conflicts are a fun part of the Shadowrun experience, and the initial roleplaying around the  argument of what to do with their captive was very compelling and it looked like every one was having fun with it. Up until the player in question started to loose the argumentand started looking for almost metagaming reasons to end the conflict, justify the actions and get a quick and easy payday for his character, even if it looks like violates the character’s ethics. 

When do you lean on a player to play a character a bit more in character, is setting fluff enough of a reason to give the player a pass with zero consequenses? In the end the player figured out a devious way forward to pull off his plan, that the others would not know about, and  I see a way forward with the character getting some unwanted attention in the form of toxic mentor spirits and the like.  This brigns up some other questions: where does morality fit into a Shadowrun game? Is not falling on the gratuitous side of the violence spectrum just good business for a Shadowrun team?  How do you handle a loose cannon team member?