Zedeck Siew Profile picture
Writer of small fictions.
Dec 31, 2021 27 tweets 5 min read
Two weeks ago I ran a roleplaying game for a teenager. Somebody totally new to RPGs.

Context: this was the evening Sharon's #ilikethisplace / #sayasukatempatini exhibition flooded. Sharon, Audrie (the show's producer), and I were wet, tired, and somewhat in shock.

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We had to cancel the film screening we'd planned for the evening. (Sharon wanted to show "Princess Mononoke". Given the circumstances "Ponyo" would've been more on the nose.)

Lisa, our 14-year-old neighbour, was pretty disappointed.

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May 16, 2021 26 tweets 6 min read
Playing #AThousandThousandIslands in #dnd5e :

Here's the house-rule document, in PDF- athousandthousandislands.com/download-5e-ho…

And that post *already* has long-ass notes. But talking shop about game design is fun, I guess? So, thread:

1/ My fave RPG rule texts are ones that trust players.

Games like Knave and Troika! set their ethos by what they *don't say*, as much as the rules they provide:

"You are sharing a cool experience with friends, here's a scaffold, climb all over it and build something together"

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May 15, 2021 5 tweets 4 min read
🦋HOUSE RULES FOR A THOUSAND THOUSAND ISLANDS🦋

Some light hacks of 5E for #AThousandThousandIslands. This is basically the first time we've thought about RPG-system stuff for the zines.

Yeah yeah, it's D&D -but hey, *I* play D&D, okay?

athousandthousandislands.com/download-5e-ho…

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I'm pleased with the tweaks to xp and skills. (These may seem like trivialities, but I'm the opposite of a rules-design guy, so ...)

Also: Mun Kao made a character sheet, inspired by the flow-chart-y excellence of #MothershipRPG . (Note the "Allies & Pets" column!)

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Mar 20, 2021 19 tweets 4 min read
🚨RPG DISCOURSE ALERT🚨

This has always been the most obvious thing to me:

"TTRPGs are a conversation; how you get people into the conversation is design. How you describe a particular place, how you’ve drawn a particular character are as important as mechanical rules."

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"TTRPGs are a conversation", particularly-

It feels like a useless thing to point out; every instance of RPG play (that isn't solo play) is obviously "people, talking".

But I've come to realise that this simple observation underpins everything I want do, re: RPG design.

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Mar 18, 2021 4 tweets 1 min read
🚨US FOREIGN POLICY FUCKS THE WORLD ALERT🚨

" Gul and others's mistrust [of vaccinations] stems from a much more sinister source ... hunting for Bin Laden in the Pakistani city of Abbottabad, the CIA organized a fake hepatitis B vaccination program to aid in their search. " " ... though the White House announced that the CIA would no longer use vaccination programs as cover for espionage, Pakistan moved from being a country that had almost eradicated polio to one whose polio cases accounted for a whopping 85 percent of the global share. "
Mar 18, 2021 13 tweets 4 min read
To contextualise my thoughts re: incentivizing ethical decisions in RPGs:

Yesterday I played in a game, running through @DonnStroud 's "The Isle of the Plangent Mage". At the start of the adventure, a scene of townsfolk slaughtering beached whales.

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The parent whale had already been killed; its three children were still on the beach, breathing.

The bulk of our session became: "How do we save these whale babies???"

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Mar 18, 2021 10 tweets 2 min read
This is my main problem with mechanically rewarding pro-social play: a character's ethical choice is rendered mercenary.

"Being good for a reward isn’t being good - it’s just optimal play. " Bear in mind I'm not saying that pro-social play can't have "rewarding" outcomes for players:

Any decision should have (diegetic?) consequences in the fiction. The townsfolk are thankful; the goblins remember your mercy, etc.

But extra XP tickets for ethical decisions stinks.
Mar 15, 2021 19 tweets 3 min read
Tried reading Lancer RPG several times now. (It's been on my bedside table for a month.)

And it is *genuinely* difficult for me to see its setting's central polity, Union, as anything but an analogue to imperial US America. Union:
* centralised polity with clear metropole worlds
* absolutely intertwined with megacorporations
* "safeguarded" by a secret intelligence bureau a la the CIA / KGB
* foreign policy against its "periphery" is expansionism / corpocratic brush war
* sure of its moral rectitude
Feb 1, 2021 19 tweets 4 min read
🚨HOT TAKES ABOUT AUTHENTICITY IN CULTURAL EXPRESSION🚨

Authenticity begins with the stories old people have told you, and ends at the tips of your own skin.

In other words:

Authenticity is only ever lived experience.

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However:

"Authenticity" is not "truth", or "art".

From a bedrock of lived experience, with the details you've gleaned from the world around you, and the empathy you exercise in your heart-

The artful and truthful things you can make slip the confines of the earth.

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Dec 15, 2020 13 tweets 2 min read
Modern cyberpunk's problem isn't dystopia. Cyberpunk fiction has always had dystopia. Punks need a bad world to resist.

Modern cyberpunk's problem is tone. Feels like there's more stories of surrender / evil-ultimately-wins cynicism now. We've stopped resisting the bad world.
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Maybe this is natural:

As we slip further into dystopia, cyberpunk begins to dress in the costume of realist fiction.

In real life, as we discover the insurmountability of the corpo-state; as we realise that evil wins not because it is ruthless but because it is convenient;

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Apr 4, 2020 22 tweets 8 min read
🦚d20 PLACES YOU MISS🦚

Another weekend under quarantine. This morning there were sirens, where I am.

I'd like to leave the house for a bit. Come with me?

Drop me an object-themed emoji? I'll write you a place you've seen before, and long to see again. 1:⛽️At home, with your husband carrying your crying son; your mother on the phone, chattering-

You miss the rig.

It was no less of a pressure-cooker: sixty crew in a football field crammed with gear, crude, a gas flare.

But there, on the deck -wind on an open sea.

@adibzaini
Mar 28, 2020 102 tweets 37 min read
🐾d100 ADVENTURE BEGINNINGS🐾

Week 2 of quarantine, where I am; no walks, no meeting friends. Even I, hermit as I am, worry about going stir-crazy.

So- was thinking we can embark on journeys, together.

Drop me an emoji? I'll write you a prompt. An adventure, just beginning. 1: 🥐 The sandwich comes to you via delivery. You unwrap the foil as the quadrotor buzzes away.

There's something in your sandwich, between tempe patties -an oil-stained slip of card. "Come alone," it says. There is a street address.

@_seanofhue
Jan 25, 2020 12 tweets 3 min read
My grandmother often rode on the North Malayan train alone, when she was twelve, buying goods & supplies for her family.

She did it because her ticket cost 23 cents. (It would've cost 46 cents for her father.)

Other passengers often jokingly threatened her with abduction. 1/? "We'll grab you and sell you!" they'd say.

"I'll *grab* you and sell *you*!" she'd reply.

She remembers a kindly train conductor, an Indian gentleman with a massive mustache. "Girl you tell me who is threatening you, I'll come whack them." 2/?
Feb 2, 2019 8 tweets 1 min read
Hello! Alternate-reality Zedeck here. As some of you may know, for the last year or so I've been working on a medieval fantasy epic drawn from the cultures and myths of the Far West, tentatively titled A TALE OF PALE ALE: 1/? Listen: beyond the edge of most good maps lies fabled, mysterious Angleland- where the winter chills are interminable, and folk huddle in steepled inns, sipping mulled wine from toby jugs ... 2/?