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Rant in a Rant Thread / Being On Theme
20th and early 21st century games, movies and music

Now I hate to be this chummer, I really do... however it's something I'd like to get off of my chest. There's a tl;dr at the bottom.

So, I'm noticing a massive influx of references to 20th and early 21st century media in character. Now I don't mind this once in a while and yes, it may be fair that your character is a connoisseur in classical film or music however it's become (from my very limited perspective) something that I have to watch come up constantly in-character. It's becoming completely theme-breaking for me. I'm intimately aware of the events of the 1930s but I don't find myself slipping it into conversation multiple times a day in my real life.

It doesn't take long to bullshit a quick title and movie synopsis or what-have-you and spin a quick bit of fiction to enhance RP rather than falling back on something which is familiar to you in real life. Something I've noticed is musicians tending to cover only songs which have already been written in real life which makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable.

On another but somewhat related topic; it seems weird to me the amount of apparent history major are among the midst of Withmore. Now this complaint is strictly to do with my own personal feelings and I could be incorrect. I'd be happy to be corrected or discuss other people's thoughts on this matter.

If your character is a history major or has a good reason for being intimate with history, such as being thoroughly well bred or what-have-you power to you. I'm obviously completely fine with you doing that if there's a good IC basis. However, in a hyper-capitalist resource-war world where the human races marches inexplicably forwards with only a view for the very near future and little to no foresight for a few generations of human from now I highly doubt that many people (especially with those living in poverty being a majority in the city) take it upon themselves to care too much for the intricate specifics of history beyond major events and internationally famous historic figures.

tl;dr This is a cyberpunk role-playing game. If you're going to bring in so much that is familiar and real life to you, doesn't that massively diminish the premise?

Now I agree with you. The problem is we don't have an alternative.

We don't even know what the new genre's of music are in this era, let alone who the big muscial groups are, what movies were popular 5 years ago, that sort of thing. There's no list, no table, no information on this. So if someone wants to talk about the books they like, or bands they like, what's the alternative.

Don't post the rant, if you can't suggest a solution.

'It doesn't take long to bullshit a quick title and movie synopsis or what-have-you and spin a quick bit of fiction to enhance RP.' as it had been suggested.

If you just need to drop a line here and there, this is fine. In fact, doing this goes a long way towards collaborative writing when you put something out there and the idea sticks and becomes something shared and utilized by numerous players. I'd argue that it's better than the behavior described above even if it leaves our collective writing efforts a little unorganized (which they come to be anyway when it comes to describing the events in individual provinces and hometowns).

If you were looking for a more cohesive established history of products / musical acts / movies / etc. then I'd be willing to contribute to writing fluff as I'm sure many players would be. Now what medium this would be done through exactly, I'm not certain. But it seems like a good basis for a discussion.

I find that if you trust other players judgement, you can get away with most things.

"Hey, did you see Space Oddysey 4812 last year? Man, that flick was killer!"

There's a movie. We have an opinion of it. Cool.

Instead of saying you've never heard of it go, "You know, I heard bad things from some of the people at work, so I never did."

"What? No way, mano! That flick was aces. There were robots and android babes and that actress? Total hottie."

"Eva Kellerman? Yeah, I have to agree there."

Just go with the flow. Make up what you want. Ultimately making up a movie title, a book title, or anything like that, is not going to change the game. It's just going to add to it.

Of course, don't say :New Jersey is a shit hole and got bombed in 1957.

Why? You can always add to the world. It won't change others' RP by breaking their story. If you take things away, you never know what other players may have had in their history. Maybe someone came from New Jersey. (poor soul)

Panda gets it. The golden rule of improvised acting in a nutshell.
"Something I've noticed is musicians tending to cover only songs which have already been written in real life which makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable."

What solution would you propose for this? Writing a full song to be performed is not as easy as just making reference to some fictional band and song title.

My suggestion is thus:

We make a thread. And in this thread we make up fake bands, fake books, fake movies. Write out some information, like singles they had, when they were most popular, there genre, whatever.

This way there is an easy reference, especially for new players. And it will allow us to go "oh hey, that's something my guy would like" and let us have things in common with eachother icly. Like our favorite band.

Xenode: I'd propose writing a full song, bluntly... Of course, you don't have to write the notation... having the tool of describing the flow of a song makes it already leagues easier. I think you should at least endeavor to write your own lyrics, unless your song doesn't contain lyrics at which point it all comes down to prose. I think it falls on the player of a musician to ensure that their role-play contributes towards enhancing the experience of the universe... as with every 'role' really.

Mann's idea is also sound.

I agree, it's more work than pulling ideas out of thin air but the difference there is one is improvised and the other is prepared in your own time. If I were playing a musician I couldn't imagine not writing my character's own material...
Another alternative if you can't write lyrics... (because if you're not a great lyricist in real life but your character would be a great lyricist, that shouldn't diminish that your character is awesome) is to describe a song using only prose. Or only prose with a couple of tag lines from the song, or a chorus. :)
I made a thread under 'anything really' for making up bands and anything else.
Make a google doc, instead, Mann, and open it up for everyone to edit.

Then just post the link to it.

Then its not one idea per post, its one actual document that anyone can help and add to.

"Something I've noticed is musicians tending to cover only songs which have already been written in real life which makes me feel incredibly uncomfortable."

I'll second part of this - to me, it's not the performance of "oldies" that's uncomfortable, it's the lengthy conversations about the "oldie" songs and artists.

You know what would be more imaginative? And I can say it would be because I'e seen it done well and because I've put effort myself into doing it this way:

Performing a song which may not be original but does in some way contribute to the themeliness or the atmosphere of a particular IC event or scene, but not RP'ing it as if it were a hundred year old song by some hundred and fotty year old artist. Just not making your character refer at all to the OOC/RL history of the song or the original performer, but instead using the content of the song as part of your 22nd century RP flavor.

It's not that hard and it's more fun for all involved - it's more fun to RP when you're the one bringing it, and it's more fun to react to when you're the one it's brought to.

The problem isn't about re-using old material, It's about failing to make it relevant on the eve of the 22nd century and about the negativity of calling attention to how anachronistic it is.

To me, the solutions are to pick material that is relevant, according to (take your pick) theme, IC situations, or character concept, or to make it relevant by surrounding the actual performance with roleplay which provides cues about why it's relevant and which avoids calling attention to the fact that it's not new material in 2099.

And of course writing something completely original would be kick awesome too. But I can see why it might be a little much to ask. Still - we're all here because we're creative, we can write, and we want to roleplay, so, putting some effort into reducing the cognitive dissonance and enhancing the ongoing story with the musical material would pay of for everyone.

And just +1000 to Panda's excellent examples of how to improvise. That was so called-for, thank you. Outstanding post.
I stopped reading this thread the moment someone said 'we don't have any other choice'. Wrong. This game has 18 years of detailed, living, history. Including several notable IC media personas that have very big, easily mockable, mimicable or referencable personalities. There are over a decade of posts on the IC forums to read, stories to hear, TV shows to watch, rotating TV schedules with different things on different channels at different times, giving you even more of a look into the past IC events. There is the wiki with plenty of IC info that your character can be seen absorbing by simply reading the wiki while in a grid enabled room or hologram room.

There is ZERO reason to be referencing present day pop culture. Yes, the 2010's will be much more accessible to the people or 2099 then the 1930's are to the people of the 2010's due to digital media, but that is no excuse for you guys being LAZY and not absorbing, adopting or COINING the IC pop culture.

Consider this an adminly decree to cut the present day references so that the are the outlier, not the norm.