Tuesday, 16 March 2021



Its well known in quality narratives that the darkest and most reflective moments can be found in the best comedy. There is something about the juxtaposition of hilarity and pain that offers a stark contrast that captures attention and which drives home the poignancy of a situation. There are classics such as Blackadder Goes Fourth that retain all the dark humour and absurdity needed to convey the horror of trench warfare without actually showing you a single dead body. I am strangely reminded of the first Alien movie where the presence of the creature was enhanced by its scarcity; in the same way humour distracts from the true reality of a situation by veiling the inevitable death and destruction. Whilst we are all familiar with using humour to cope in difficult times its more that the mind is opened up to a wide emotional range between laughter and horror that gives us the experience of having been on a journey. This is a challenge to bring to the table top as its more interactive so humour can tend to flow down slapstick veins.

Irony and sarcasm  however are somewhat different beasts and as high forms of wit are more naturally at play in our games. There are systems specifically cut out for it such as Space 1889 and not forgetting the increasingly relevant Paranoia. In recent media there was the somewhat light hearted Knights of Basassdom as a nod the genre and the upcoming D&D Movie has confirmed the casting of the evil villain as non other than Hugh Grant. This is not someone who instills fear not exudes malevolence in my opinion so I have to presume that this will be another tongue in cheek adventure, which could work I guess but difficult to see how they will make a series out of it.

More interestingly I note that there is a Terminator RPG in development and whilst the the film was a classic by the time we got onto the Sarah Connor Chronicles it was becoming farcical and once you realize its not taking itself seriously then you can just follow along. From a GMs perspective I think its likely better to let a group express themselves comically speaking as everyone is different and dead jokes are as popular as dead characters in RPGs.

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