One of the best movies of the 80’s, John Carpenter’s Big Trouble in Little China, includes one of my favorite Kurt Russell performances of all time – Jack Burton, who just wants his truck back. This movie never fails to disappoint and one of the best elements of the film is that Jack is completely ineffectual and lost the entire time, regardless of his presence and confidence.
Reflecting on this recently, I realized that I had been unconsciously playing this character in many of my RPG characters with my gaming buddies. Probably since ’86 when this movie first came out, if not longer.
I enjoy making and playing effective (in theory) characters and putting them to the test. My long-time gaming group also enjoys having fun while playing so many of our games involve some fairly wacky plans and execution thereof. These actions generally involve me dropping the ball in some way or another, usually to only my own detriment, thanks to rolling on the ends of the bell curve most of the time rather than in the middle of it; hitting once in a melee lasting 10 rounds, rolling a 4 for just about anything but especially stealth and perception and so on. Reflecting on many of our adventures, I’m basically playing Jack; getting boarded and held captive on my own ship (Star Wars), heroically – and terminally – leaping off of cliffs and flying objects (Star Wars again), holding some kind of record for broken weapons (Stormbringer), getting hit in the face by a boulder while driving the first Cart o’ Pain (D&D), and so on.
Yes, my friends are all enjoying a hearty chuckle at this point, and so am I because it’s always a good time. The perfectly executed plan is a beautiful thing but pulling one out of the fire is so much more fun to pull off. And I’m not upset about all of it in the least.
Posted by Mike Loseke on October 30th, 2012 :: Filed under Uncategorized