Friday, August 31, 2012

Dickbags in the Game Store

So, my friend C works in a high-profile video game retailer. She is a girl, and that comes with some interesting side effects. Most of the guys pretty decent dudes, but once in a while you get a dickbag. And that sucks, because it's your fucking job and you can't go anywhere. In my own personal life, I have a rule about my girlfriends' other lovers: I don't want to meet them at the store because I can't run away.

So C met a dickbag, and he started following her on Twitter.*  An onslaught of posts that assumed a relationship with her far more intimate than one she has with him were what followed, and she felt that this was generally uncalled for. And then she made the mistake of saying something to him. Shit has gone downhill from there, and while I would love to document the whole thing, I wasn't really there for it.

The gist of it: He did not stop communicating with her. Even when her boyfriend relayed that it would be very good for him to stop that. Even when she blocked him. Even when her friends started getting into it with him. This is my reply to him attempting to defend himself to me.

I don't like him very much.

There are a few points you made that I would like to quickly address.

What you did was uncalled for. It was deeply creepy and a huge overreaction to a person you did not know. It clearly made her feel uncomfortable and it has had a direct and upsetting effect on her. Once that was brought to your attention, you attacked the messenger with baseless accusations of jealousy; he wasn't jealous, he was protecting someone he cares about from a person that represents a clear danger to her well-being. By continuing this conversation and harrassing her friends, you are being a dickbag. This is indefensible. This is deplorable. This makes you a horrible person and you should stop.

You can't help people understand a point of view that is clearly wrong and misinformed. What you are trying to do is feel better about a course of interactions that has left someone feel victimized and horrible. That is not what you should be doing. You should be apologizing, and then shutting up. You were a dickbag. That happens sometimes, and we all have to deal with our various occasions of dickbaggery. But the mature thing to do in those situations is not to continue harrassing people; it's to admit it and shut the fuck up.

You are trying to drag her work into your abuse, and that is unconscionable. Any workplace worth working at will take one look at your behavior and then ban you from the premises. If you acted like this to any of my employees, you would be immediately asked to leave, and never, ever come back. Because I will not let my employees feel that work is an unsafe place for them to be. I will not let my employees work in conditions that are bad for their psychological well-being. The fault is not with her. The fault is with you, and if anyone is going to be facing repercussions for it, it will be you.

*EDIT! Apparently she followed him first.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Bad Days Make for Bad Blog Posts

I was supposed to write up an awesome blog post about how cool the last day of GenCon was, and I usually wrap up the whole series with a note that talks about my trip in general. I have not written those things yet. I might not. I’ve got a nasty case of Con Crud, and the last week has been pretty brutal for other reasons. I haven’t been in a great place for writing.

So instead, have a picture of my school scarf. I found it while rummaging around in my closet.


Saturday, August 18, 2012

GenCon Journal 2012: Day Three

We started today with the infamous Tracy Hickman’s Killer Breakfast. Now, I’ve never been to the Killer Breakfast proper; I’d been to the inaugural run of the Second Breakfast (which actually happens before the Killer Breakfast), but I’d never been to the actual event before. So I was ready for some awesome treat time with it, but it was actually less entertaining than last year. Tracy seemed really tired and less into it than previously, Laura took a much stronger back seat to their daughter (and I actually like Laura quite a bit, so that was a bummer), and the creativity and energy seemed way down.

Then we hit a seminar called Pink Dice and Pony Dungeons that was supposed to be largely about how to design games for women. The secret, of course, is don’t design games with women, but instead design games that are inclusive of women, and design games that are targeted at an audience that includes women, but not specifically for women as a demographic. Except, that isn’t really what we talked about; the seminar quickly devolved into another discussion of table politics, and as much as I enjoyed the previous talks about table politics, I was looking for something a little meatier on the design side. I’m a System Matters kind of fellow, I make a lot of noise about how system should and can influence and change the social contracts that come into play when we hit the tables.

When that was finished, we did some more Exhibition Hall, but this time I had a plan. We found the Indie Press Revolution booth and bought every book they had that I don’t. That, for the record, always feels really, really good. Then we went and took a big nap. Then, N got a pair of boots she’s been obsessing over for over a year. Which I think is something that is very cool about GenCon; you can see a thing one year and then obsess over that thing for a whole year and then you can come back and buy those things.

We went to the playtesting hall again and played a cool game built with wooden pieces and leather board tiles, and the game itself was actually a lot of fun. It was something of a mixture of monopoly and RISK, bringing in some of the best elements of each and leaving the boring shit out. There was a distinct lack of a catch-up mechanic if things went against you, and the way the cards were built meant that some players were catching cards that were more relevant than others, but the overall theme of the game was pretty sweet and most of the mechanics were really elegant and smooth.

N then went to a Cards Against Humanity tournament and got a trophy. Like so.


I did not win any trophies. Instead, I went to play Fiasco at the Games on Demand room, and was not at all disappointed in that choice. Fiasco is a very different role-playing game from most that I’ve played in that it focuses on two-player interactions and builds stories from a mixture of relationships and conflicting goals. I’m pretty sure I was the only person at the table who really understood what was going on and how the game is supposed to be played. But I get that feeling a lot…

Then we went to the restaurant in the JW Marriot where we got to hang out a bit with A and C, I met a Conservative Christian American business owner who I got along with famously (he bought me tequila, the fine bastard), and we had a great dinner and great conversation for the rest of the night.

Tomorrow is the last day of the convention, and the last day we’ll be in the United States. I would be willing to say that this go at GenCon has been my favourite. I’ve played more games, met more cool people, seen more cool stuff than I have at any of the conventions beforehand, and I would be more than happy to go again. When we were on our way here this year, I was a little on the fence about whether or not I’d want to make the trip out for a fourth go as soon as next year. There are other places I want to visit; I want to get to Asia one of these years. I have dreams of seeing Australia and New Zealand. I want to visit Africa. So do I really want to invest in yet another GenCon in such quick succession?

Yes. Yes I do.

Friday, August 17, 2012

GenCon Journal 2012: Day Two

N and I got off to a later start than normal, which is great because we needed the extra sleep. Conventions wear you out, whether it’s from the constant walking around or the incredible press of people, and most folk simply don’t get enough rest to have a productive day at the Con.

We started off the day with bagels and muffins. Turns out, if you’re a retailer and you paid for a Trade Day badge, you get free bagels and muffins, and there is nothing in the world more beautiful than a free breakfast. Most of our seminars and things were in the Indiana Convention Center today, so moving between them was really easy, which also made the day go by in a weirdly lopsided way. Our morning was super-busy with seminars and Exhibition Hall stuff, our evening wasn’t filled with much at all, and we ended up sitting in the Westin chatting with anime fans about gun control and mail armour.

The first seminar we hit was about realism in medieval and classical combat scenarios. The panellists were well informed, experienced fighters in a variety of styles (one medieval recreationist, one MMA fighter who had actually been in a couple of knife fights, and one fencer), and they broke down how fighting in fantasy literature and games is very different from fighting in real life. Real life fighting is fast, brutal, and really hard work. Fighting in fiction is a lot more convoluted and strange.

The second seminar was on how to get women into gaming. There wasn’t anything in this seminar that was new to me, really. I’ve had women in my games for years, and a number of my favourite groups have been composed of a higher percentage of women than men, so I like to think that I have a firmish grasp on the concept of gaming with ladies. There were a few anecdotes about pastry chefs and gaming with boyfriends that I hadn’t heard before, and there were some interesting questions from the audience, but if you have ever gamed with a woman at your table, you probably know everything that the seminar would have taught you. Still, it was a fun sit-through, and the hosts were awesome.

Our trip through the exhibition hall was awesome, if much shorter than our usual span there. We focused on trying to narrow in on purchases and had some luck with that. I picked up some dice for the store from the amazing Game Science, and Natalie grabbed a sweet sword belt that she will be using as her normal belt. I’ll be heading back in tomorrow with an agenda. That agenda will be “Buy all of the stuff!”

We finally made it to the Playtest Arena, which was awesome. We played a deckbuilding game about superheroes that was neat in concept, but lacked a level of interactive play that I think is integral in game design. Sadly, that game was pretty well locked into its current form (which begs the question: why ‘playtest’ it when nothing the players suggest will change the final outcome of the game? There seem like better places to market things). The second playtest I took part in was a zombies-in-high-school game that was actually a lot of fun, despite a number of interesting design flaws. The guys rocking that playtest were really interested in feedback, and they had some really nice things to say about my ideas. I also fixed a tricky wording issue that they seemed particularly thrilled about, so now I’m all proud of me.

The last seminar of the day for us was a Zombie Survival seminar, which was neat in concept but I feel failed in execution. As an introduction to broad concepts of zombie survival, it was interesting. As a practical guide to surviving the zombie apocalypse, it failed rather miserably, as much of the advice given was unspecific to the point of uselessness. While the presenter certainly talked about things like hording water and food, and while he made mention of fortification vs escaping the city, the information given wasn’t nearly down to earth enough to be of any use to a person not already trained in survival. In fact, the best advice given in the whole seminar was “Go out and learn some survival skills.”

Also, this happened.


Thursday, August 16, 2012

GenCon Journal 2012: Day One

Oh man, what a busy day… We woke up at seven in the morning, on time and without delays this time. We caught our bus downtown, rocked Starbucks for breakfast, met up with A and C while we were in line, and hustled to our first seminar: The Cadaver Synod.

Basically, in the 9th Century, there was a pope. He wasn’t particularly great or horrible, beyond being a pope in a rough political time. His successor died after only two weeks in office, and the guy that replaced HIM dug up the first pope’s body, put him on trial posthumously, excommunicated him, and had him sentenced to… execution.

Some time later, one of that pope’s successors held the trial again and exonerated the first. It was a shit storm.

The guy running this one was from the group that holds in-character debates about stuff like the Cuban Missile Crisis. While I’m sure that group of people was awesome, this guy was a bit of a dickbag. He made fun of us for choosing his lecture over doing anything else in that time slot, and complained constantly that his projector was turning his slides purple, which was an issue to him and him alone. While interesting and informative, he was not my favourite person.

Luckily my next seminar was back-to-back with his and I had to eject a little early to get to it. This one was about ballroom dancing and its evolution, from the strict and chaste dances of the Middle Ages to how saucy the tango was, to the deaths of a whole bunch of music instructors during World War One and how that influenced the rise of swing dancing and jazz. It was really interesting stuff, and the guy running the seminar was fun, funny, and the nerdliest nerd of nerdtown, which I found incredibly endearing.

After the dance seminar, I didn’t have much to do for a bit. I tried to hit up the entirely kick-ass Games on Demand room, where you can just sit around and play awesome indie games for a couple of hours, but that required generic tickets which I had yet to acquire. Rather than stand in line for an hour trying to get those tickets, I walked downstairs to the Exhibition Hall. This is what I found there.


That is but a small sampling of the crowd there, and it is fucking crazy. Moreover, I found these things:





Oh, and I totally met GeekyLyndsay in person. Woo!

After puttering around the Exhibition for a while, I made my way to the Retailer Lounge for the first time ever, and I’m super-glad I did. Free muffins? Check. Free coffee? Check. Freedom from the ridiculous press of people? Win!

I spent some time talking to a distributor there before making my way slowly to a panel on the subject of getting women into gaming and making sure there’s a comfortable place for then when they arrive. It was a great discussion and the three panellists (including the lovely Susan Morris, for whom I am developing something of a nerd crush) did an awesome job directing the flow. I was really intrigued by a few of the ideas brought up by the audience, though I think that a few of the gents in the audience were perhaps a touch more vocal than I would have liked. Believe me, I had questions, I had things I wanted to say, but when I’m in a room with a bunch of women who are telling you what they want from the gaming community, I try to focus on listening.

Also, I got to chat more with Sarah Darkmagic and her lovely man-friend, and they are both awesome.

After that panel, N and I spent some time touring around the Exhibition Hall again, looking at some costume pieces for her. I really appreciated having her there with me, because the Hall is great, and I love looking at all the cool-nerdy-weird stuff that people have for sale, but it’s a lot more fun when you have someone to share the experience with. And watching her happily shopping is infectious; it’s hard to be grumpy when she’s talking about how awesome her costume-for-nothing-in-particular is going to be.

I had a long chat with Richard from Wizards of the Coast about their brand and how weird it’s been lately. He’s a good dude, and I’d like to keep in touch with him, I think. I also finally met Tyson, my contact at Wizards of the coast, and I made sure to hug him in the creepiest way I legally could.

After N had to get to her next seminar, she passed me a few Generic Tickets so I rocked a quick game of Dungeon World in the Games on Demand room. The Game Master wasn’t strictly prepared, and I was easily the highest-energy person at the table (and also the only person capable of projecting his or her voice across the full length of the table), but I had fun anyway and died peppered with arrows before heading off to my last seminar of the night, a discussion on travel food in medieval Europe.

The guy doing the last talk had a lot of information, and I learned a TON about medieval food in general. Turns out, the whole Adventure Stew trope is actually totally a thing, and people would often travel with beans, salted meat, and grains, and together they would make a tasty soup. Though, to be fair, you wouldn’t need food on the road often, as there would be a town roughly a day away on any given road. Cool things to know for the future.

After that seminar, we ate, and headed to Hall C for a couple of rounds of “Werewolves of Miller’s Hollow.” N got into two games, I got into one, and I was the first person killed in that game. Still, I had fun, and it’s always entertaining to watch people flail around trying to figure out who is killing them in their sleep.


Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Gen Con Journal 2012: Trade Day

So, we got into Indianapolis last night fairly late and I didn’t have a chance to blog about anything. It was already late when we got in, the cab ride to our residence was far longer than it needed to be, and there were some interesting issues with our lodging. We’d also just flown for some six hours, and were pretty exhausted.

So let’s talk a little bit about yesterday, and then I’ll get into Trade Day stuff.

Saw this guy at the conWe got up pretty early in the morning. I was actually up earlier than N because I’m a lot easier to wake up than she is, and I was super excited to get to Indianapolis and the meat of the vacation. I got up, packed up all of our stuff, and was ready to go even before the first wake-up call came in. N took a little extra time getting up, which was fine, and we managed to grab some breakfast at McDonalds before we got going. At the airport, she started feeling a little sick, and the US Airways process proved to be entirely too much bullshit for her in that state. It’s ridiculous. You have to sign into the little automatic kiosk thing, then you have to go and check your bags with the baggage check-in people, who are also the agents who can check you in if something goes wrong with the kiosk. The line-up was insane, filled with people who didn’t get their stuff processed properly, and everyone (I mean EVERYONE) was confused and upset by the whole thing. Why not just let the agents deal with your shit? Because technology. I guess.

Anyway, after a good half hour of fuckery, we got our stuff, and then got rushed through the security line. Twice! We got randomly selected for hand-wipe-bomb-duty, and the nice lady doing that let us cut in line to the fastest security station. Then the guy in front of N killed the Radiation Machine of Death that everyone’s so upset about and we got to go through a normal metal detector. And they didn’t even touch my junk! A winrar is me!N doesn't dig the Spouse Activities

Then I won some money at a slot machine. The lady beside me hid her jealousy not at all.

Charlotte airport is not nearly as horrible as Phoenix, and the land around the city was simply gorgeous. It reminded me of what Edmonton would be like if Edmonton sucked less at city planning. All the buildings lined up really nicely.

We ate some burgers, got our gate changed on us again, and got on the plane to Indianapolis. Like all of the flights on US Airways, this one sucked, but it sucked less by only being two hours.

There was no Big Awesome Dragon in the lobby this time around, which was disappointing. Because we’d decided to stay with some locals instead of at a hotel, we couldn’t take a shuttle-bus to get where we were going; we hired a cab, who then quickly screwed us out of $25 while taking us roughly the distance I walk to get to my job. The place was a bit run down, but there was a multitude of cats, which made me more inclined to like it.

We paid our rent. We got shit sorted, which took forever because the lady I’d made the arrangements with had forgotten we were coming a day early, and we got to our accommodations for the week. They were crap. It’s an attic. It’s barely a proper attic, even; it’s roughly a third of the attic, with a busted window and a ceiling so sloped you can’t properly stand upright. It’s not the worst place I have ever stayed, but it’s certainly not my favourite. Still, we showered, brushed our teeth, and quickly fell asleep.

This morning, we got up a little later than planned. We had hoped to be out by seven to get an early start on the day and get our badges and such figured out. That didn’t happen, because the new alarm-clock app I put on my ipad didn’t go off. So we got up fifteen minutes late, caught a bus to the Convention Center, and halfway there I forgot my ID back at the house. N tried to pick up my badge without me, but couldn’t, so I had to go all the way back to the house, all the way back to the Con, and by then the seminars I’d wanted to see early in the day were over. We went shopping instead.

N bought a hot new pair of jeans. I bought a $50 data package that won’t work in the device I brought because of our Advanced Canadian Technology. We are too Advanced. Which sometimes sucks.

We got back to the Convention and sat in on a seminar about getting games into schools by theI took a picture! lovely Susan Morris (a person I believe should write more games), and another about how to use games to encourage literacy. The former was brilliant, the latter a little more scattershot and strangely paced. Don’t get me wrong, I learned things, but the lacking presentation made me much more aware of it than it should have.

We met up with A and C, who are both awesome, and went out to eat some food at the nearby Steak & Shake. We headed back to their hotel for some scintillating and sinful… CARDS AGAINST HUMANITY, which N won by an incredibly narrow margin (namely, haiku). The game was a lot of fun, the company was awesome, and I finally got to meet Sarah Darkmagic and DavetheGame face-to-face. Apparently GeekyLyndsay will be in tomorrow after some interesting complications with her flights, so I didn’t get a chance to meet her yet, but it’s a long convention and I still have hopes.

Buses in Indianapolis, for the record, suck balls.

Monday, August 13, 2012

The Tournament of Kings

If you’ve never read any Arthurian Legend, and if you’ve got an appreciation for World Wrestling Entertainment, the Tournament of Kings would be pretty great. Having read quite a few books on Arthur and his court, and not really digging on WWE, it was awesome.

N and I were prepared to have a nice night in. We’d decided against the Tournament mostly because we were running a little short on cash prior to her getting paid – and there seems to be a hiccup in that direction – and because the guy at the desk told us it would have been $150. My boss, the incredible Dave Bryenton, insisted we go, using money he’d given us for purchases for the store if need be. Turns out, we didn’t really need it, because the guy at the box office desk was a total sweetness and gave us the Staying at the Excalibur Discount because we seemed sweet. He even tried to get us some seats together through the Talk to My Boss pointer. While we weren’t able to sit next to one another, he was still awesome.

So Dave, Kevin, you guys rock. Horses, you suck, and you are not allowed to eat my flesh.

So we sit down, me on the stairs, N at her seat, me on the stairs beside her until the food gets delivered. I was seated next to two lovely ladies, one of whom was on her fourth go at the Tournament, and one who was there for the first time. Both were pretty great, and we chatted for a bit while we waited for the tournament to start. I let them know about my phobia, and they were even sweet enough to check in on me when the action started.

Merlin came out and made some announcements, introduced Arthur, and then introduced us to some crowd participation stuff. Then our “kings” came out. Ours was Ireland, as we were seated in the green section of the stands. One of the more entertaining aspects of the Tournament was that England was not represented anywhere. N and I chalked this up to American independence issues. It’s interesting to note that the Tsar of Russia was also a douchebag. A hold-over from the Cold War? Maybe. I dunno. Regardless, Ireland was a hot Maori dude, and easily the most personable of the fellows. We cheered as loud as we could while he was competing, and he returned the favour by being awesome and interacting with us freely and charismatically. He kind of reminded me of one of the store’s Magic guys. N didn’t see it.

The first bit was a song and dance bit during which some Gypsy Whores came out and danced seductively for the kings, and it was ridiculous and racially insensitive and weirdly fun. The the evil Dragon King (Mordred) came out and made some threats, and then we started the tournament itself. There was a race, there was a bashing of heads on sticks, and a joust. Out of all of them, the jousting itself was the most interesting to me; it was so fast. Faster than I have ever thought it would be. They filed up on the ranks, and then BLAM! Crazy action! Shit exploding! People falling off of horses (shudder)! Sword fights!

The sword fights were easily the most WWE part of the whole thing. Clearly choreographed and performed by people who know every move. It’s quick-paced and practiced and professional. It’s also clearly fake, and that’s part of the charm. Much like the action in WWE, the awesome isn’t the fight itself, the awesome is in the athleticism and the scale of the things they’re doing. Every move may be already planned and practiced, but those moves aren’t easy to do, and to perform them is clearly difficult and requires years of training. These guys are incredible stunt people, and they do some amazing work.

The mythology on show is utterly ridiculous. Did you know that King Arthur had a son named Christopher? I sure didn’t. And Mordred apparently has a bunch of dragons or something. And those dragons are dudes in ridiculous rubber suits. Also, Arthur apparently had dominion over France and Hungary and Ireland and Russia… And Britain only as long as it isn’t called Britain. They called it Albion, which is cute.

The food was also pretty decent. A small roast chicken, some potatoes, and a McDonalds apple pie. Woot!

Game Stuff

I don’t have any game stuff for this entry yet. Give me a day or two and I’ll come up with something.

Travel Days: Las Vegas

I love busted shit. I’m not sure why exactly, but I find some joy in things that aren’t exactly what you would expect. Versailles has squeaky floors. The Mona Lisa is tiny and ridiculous. My plane’s wing was obviously experiencing some technical difficulties.

That isn’t to say I ever felt unsafe; I love flying and I trust that they would not let the plane fly with a flap that they knew wasn’t working. And I can’t be the only person to have flown in that plane and seen that the flap was clearly blowing in the wind. It’s just not something I think about often. How busted can my plane be before I need to worry about it? When I think about airplanes, I almost always think about the jets in an idealized, pristine form. I’ve never worked with planes as an occupation, I don’t get to see their guts or deal with them in anything approaching a real way, so when I get into one, I just assume that everything is top-notch.

My plane was not top-notch this time around, and that’s sort of interesting for me to see. LikeLet's DO This! checking out the inner workings of a cruise ship, or staying in a hotel room that is set to be refurbished soon, it’s a cool look at the inner workings of the travel world. I’m usually so detached from that industry – even when I worked in the travel industry, it was at a remove from the nitty gritty bits – that to see something very clearly real on the trip is a strange sort of exciting for me.

The Phoenix Airport is shit, by the bye. I’ve been to a remarkable number of airports in the past five years, and Phoenix is the second worst of the bunch so far. Understand that the worst airport I’ve been to was worse by an incredible margin (do not go into the washroom in a Cuban airport, guys; it left me shaken), but the experience I had there was pretty stupid.

Maybe it’s a cultural thing, but when the airport is starting to fill up with people, I put my bags in front of me, or under my seat, or both if I’m travelling heavy. Often, I’ll put them there anyway, because I don’t feel like my bags deserve a seat of their own. They’re bags. People need those seats.

Phoenix Airport’s patrons included Gucci and Oakley bags. One lady had bags taking up two adjacent seats. N and I had to sit on the floor, which was more comfortable for me than it was for her. She gave me a nice massage, which was awesome because I was functioning on an hour or two of napping and trying to sleep on the plane. I can’t sleep in moving vehicles. It’s a curse. Still, we shouldn’t have had to sit on the floor. There were dozens of seats available, if people would just put their fucking bags on the floor. We weren’t the only people on the floor, either. And people got mad at us for taking up too much space.

I take up a lot less space when I sit in a chair. Just sayin’.

Getting into Vegas proper was a lot like coming home. I’ve been here three times in the past five years, and it hardly feels like a vacation spot anymore. It’s more like going to my parents’ house, if my parents’ house was filled with gambling and strippers. We got in and had aN! Being adorable! horrible/awesome buffet before heading up to our rooms and sleeping until the middle of the day. I played some poker and lost. N and I drank some vodka and watched Shark Week and the closing ceremonies of the Olympics. Today, we were going to go see the Tournament of Kings at the Excalibur, where we’re staying, but they want $75 per person to see it, and food, getting to the hotel, and one night of gambling has completely sapped our Las Vegas budget. Instead, we’re going to do nothing.

The convention itself is going to be a gong-show, and I fully expect to stress out while I’m there. I do every time I go, even though I’m having an incredible time. Having some time to wind down and chill out for a couple of days before hand is going to be necessary, I think.

I’m really looking forward to Wednesday.

Game Stuff!

On Imperfection in the World

We have a tendency to make things perfect in our fantasy, which makes sense because by its nature, fantasy is a glorification. It’s a way to make things brilliant and over-the-top and ridiculous, but still inherently believable and true. Perfection is something we’ve come to expect in our fantasy worlds; palaces are immaculate, swords are without flaw and glint in the sunlight, and when something is poor and dirty, it’s poor and dirty in just the right way.

The floors at the Palace at Versailles squeak. Take a This is what we see out the window!moment to think about that. In the world’s most incredible symbol of opulence and privilege, the floors squeak. Almost nothing in the world is perfect, and that makes perfection all the more remarkable when it’s found. The mark of the greatest artist is the ability to free-hand a perfect circle, if you believe the myths. A perfectly balanced weapon carries the same weight of legend that a magical sword might.

Work imperfection into your world. The floors squeak, the rafters are dusty, the lacquer on the tables peels, the glasses have water spots and the chairs are comfortable but shift a little uneasily when you sit in them. The dungeon walls are made of hewn stone, cut well but with years of wear; the magical sword you’ve picked up has two notches in the blade from use, and the hilt has been covered by worn leather because the original is too smooth for proper use. The dwarf-king’s throne bears a mark of chiselled graffiti three hundred years old, carved during the last succession war. The floorboards are uneven; no secret compartments or anything, the floor is just fucking uneven because it’s old.

This makes the world more inherently believable, because our own world is riddled with imperfection. And if you make perfection rare, you can give it impact that it might not otherwise have. A masterwork tool is a thing to behold, in a world where perfection is a rarity.

Have a chart!

Imperfection Chart for Indoor Places!



The floor is uneven


The door squeaks


The door closes faster than expected (slam!)


The corners of the walls don’t match up quite right, resulting in a gap


The floors and the walls don’t match up quite right, resulting in a gap


The ceiling and the walls don’t match up quite right, resulting in a gap


A piece of the furniture has uneven legs


A piece of the furniture’s varnish is peeling


A piece of the furniture’s varnish is cracked


A piece of the furniture has a sizable chip in it.


The wall has a large dent in it.


The floor has a large gouge in it.


The floor has old scrapes and scratches in it, from furniture being moved.


The ceiling has a large discolored spot from a persistent leak. If it’s raining outside, it’s leaking.


The ceiling is a little bowed.


There is a spot on the wall that’s a different color where a painting was recently hanging.


The rug is fraying in a corner.


The furniture is recently broken and there is blood on the floor. There was a fight here recently.


The furniture is recently broken and there’s a pile of bones in the center of a charred spot on the floor.


Everything is a little too clean, like someone is trying to hide something.