lapis_lazuli022: (boots)

Last night, while trying out 5e for the first time, our gaming group once again proved that we will distort any names that we're expected to remember.

The town of Phandalin became Finland. The Redbrands became the Rembrandts, and "Sildar Hallwinter" became "Coughdrop."

lapis_lazuli022: (Default)
me: the ideas are the hard part. i can't get my own ideas, some opportunity has to seed them. the curse of collaborative roleplay, maybe?
[livejournal.com profile] xannish: There is no magical idea bucket.
me: there is!
[livejournal.com profile] xannish: I haven't found it. :(
me: I saw it on LOLcats!
me: The walrus always wants it.

on control

Dec. 30th, 2006 09:10 am
lapis_lazuli022: (blackkats)
a.k.a., the haunted house analogy


When I was about thirteen years old, my father took me to the county fair, and I went through the most terrifying haunted house I have ever experienced.

Nothing jumped out at me, nothing sprayed gore or cackled or threatened to bite my neck. It was a single long hallway, just too wide to be able to put my arms out and feel the walls. It was pitch black. I couldn't see my hand in front of my face. All I could see were the geometric patterns my eyes made to fill in the darkness. I'd entered during a quiet lull, so I was the only one in it, and there were no moments when a door would open to provide me with any hints of light. And all I had to do was walk the length of the room.

I didn't see the challenge at first, so I started across... and stepped into something rubbery and squishy... and completely freaked out.

In this completely dark room, the only point of reference I had was the floor... and the floor, every time I would get used to its new state as I walked forward, kept changing. It was squishy. Then it was sticky. Then it was a series of wooden rollers (handrails provided for that one). There was a stretch that vibrated. I was shaking as I moved forward, testing each step, not sure what I would encounter next. I could see the faintly lit outline of the door at the end now, but it seemed impossibly far away.

And then my toe bumped something solid. It was a step. There was a small flight of about five stairs. Stairs weren't a big deal after all those other things, so I thought that would be a simple one, but it wasn't. The stairs were equipped with thick, flexible rubber projectiles that poked out from the walls to brush my ankles from both sides.

I think I jumped straight up in panic. My head was racing with thoughts of insects, spiders, slimy things... My heart was pounding, and I actually backed up a few steps and crouched down, trying desperately to see what those things were before I let them touch me again. I couldn't see a thing, but I refused to move forward until I knew what it was that was invading my personal space. I had to know what was touching me. Finally, after what felt like about five or ten minutes, someone else entered the room to start their own adventure, and it gave me enough light to see the projectiles for what they were. Then I could finally cross them, and leave.

The experience impressed me and fascinated me. It had a profound effect on me. I was in awe of how deeply something so simple had been able to make me so afraid. It taught me a lot about the nature of control, and the nature of fear, and I've drawn on this heavily in my writing and in my study of psychology. I reference it to people most often when talking about one of two things: GMing in roleplay, and BDSM.

I learned that the things unseen can sometimes be far more frightening than the things that are seen. The imagination, left to its own devices, can fill in much more terrifying details (and, details personalized to the very own fears of the person doing the experiencing, at that).

And I learned to what degree I take the floor beneath my feet for granted. We expect that when all else fails, when all else is uncertain, we'll still have what's beneath our feet as a frame of reference. As something sure, that we can count on. Cast someone's most basic expectations into uncertainty, whether it's the solidity of the literal floor or a metaphorical one, and you strip away all their control. They will be left with nothing. Nothing will be sure.

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lapis_lazuli022

February 2015

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