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If you were wondering what I mean by “Mary Sues” in a roleplaying environment, I give you Exhibit A. These are two attempts a player made to create a character for a Tolkien-based text-based online roleplaying game set in a gorgeous, lush forested area. I’ve changed none of his original text.

Coat of arms from J. R. R. Tolkien's Middle-ea...
Coat of arms from J. R. R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth(Photo credit: Wikipedia). Not shown: Chinese ninjas.


Name: zhang. Race: Human. Gender: Male. Age: 18. Build: average, medium.

Reference Keywords: Zhang, chinese, blood brother, ultimate, taiji

Short Description: a man who has undoubtably been thrust forth from the womb into

a world of warlordy goodness, albeit crudely disguised

Long Description: Reserved, laid-back magistrate of the four blood brothers.

Look Description: A man who has undoubtably been thrust forth from the womb into a world of warlordy goodness, albeit crudely disguised. He wanders with keen agility and

heightened reflexes among the turmoils of everyday life here on this forsaken, blasted place.

Background Comment: He comes from nothing, a life left behind, remnants of a darker time long since past. He has no future, only uncertainty. There is no break of dawn across the horizon, no lust for armageddon. The seismic frontier will continue to exist.

Please type ACCEPT or DECLINE for this application.

> decline

Please let the player know why this application was declined:

> While you will live forever in our memories for the phrase “thrust forth

from the womb into a world of warlordy goodness”….. NO.

From the name to the background, you need to just delete this app

and start over. For a major starting hint, we don’t use magistrates,

blood brothers, or Chinese people in this game. We are based on Tolkien’s

Middle-Earth. Thanks and see you again soon.

After I declined the first attempt, this was his second try:

Name: veltok. Race: Human. Gender: Male. Age: 16. Build: average, light.

Reference Keywords: Veltok a well-built man slumps as too look weaker, he hides in a black cape with a blood red “D” on it

Short Description: a shadowy figure

Long Description: A shadowy figure hides in the shadows.

Look Description: A strong well built man with dark blonde hair stands here, he darts in and out of the shadows all the while keeping his eyes fixed on your container. His weapons

flash into his hands like light into a room, he flashs you a quick grin and dissappers back into the shadow.

Background Comment: Veltok Deathbringer, he has no friends, he wants no friends, he is out for himself and thats the only thing anyone knows about him.

Please type ACCEPT or DECLINE for this application.

After I declined this app, I never saw him again. I guess we just weren’t hardcore enough for his warlordy goodness…

WonderCon 2011 Masquerade - Kira and Fizzgig f...
WonderCon 2011 Masquerade – Kira and Fizzgig from the Dark Crystal (Photo credit: Doug Kline). I miss cons and cosplay. That’s all.

In terms of tabletop games, I really think the intimate dynamic (and a much tighter selection process) weeds out most of the worst Sues, but one guy who tried to get into one of my games won the award for Most Egregious Sue Ever. It was in a Changeling game and he wanted a near-catatonic sluagh (read: “stereotypical Tim Burton-style Hot Topic gothling”) of the requisite totally unique House Sparklypoo variety who had two chimerical “imaginary friends,” which are supposed to be generally cute, harmless little buddies. Changeling itself is based on the magic innocence of childhood, or at least its earliest editions were, though I think this player had gotten confused somewhere along the way; one chimera sat on the PC’s left shoulder and when the PC got upset it’d shoot death-laser-beams from its single Cyclops eye. The other sat on his right shoulder and when the PC was sad it’d open its huge Fizzgig mouth and shoot paralyzingly loud audiowaves at whoever’d made the lad cry. The player was very intent on this PC and had diagrams of how all this would work. He was quite upset when I gently declined the idea.

I’ve got another of these migraines from hell, so we’ll be talking tomorrow unless it gets worse, but I ran across this file in my hard drive and thought you’d get a kick out of it. It made me smile, and I really wanted something to smile about right now.

Oh, and here is an awesome science-based response to the disingenuous “questions” the Creationists posed on that infamous notepad series on Buzzfeed. We’re going to talk about it soon in the context of true curiosity, but I wanted you to see it beforehand so you could be thinking about it.

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ROLL TO DISBELIEVE "Captain Cassidy" is Cassidy McGillicuddy, a Gen Xer and ex-Pentecostal. (The title is metaphorical.) She writes about the intersection of psychology, belief, popular culture, science,...