Emergency Response Committee – Part I

I first brainstormed this silly game about seven years ago. Here’s a first installment.

Emergency Response Committee

Instruction Manual
(The perfect game for killing time)

Gadzooks! The world has been imperiled again and thanks to the quick thinking of your leaders, you have been nominated to save the day! So take your place alongside the other honored members of the EMERGENCY RESPONSE COMMITTEE, and be briefed on the situation (by rolling 2d6 and looking up the result on the Evil Menace Emergency-At-Hand Table). The player holding the Instruction Manual should read the text corresponding to the dice roll aloud, preferably in the voice of…

Evil Menace Emergency-At-Hand Table

Roll: Result

1: A Real Emergency!
You’ve never learned what 2d6 means. Allow us to explain, lest this gaming injustice be allowed to stand another day. When confronted with a moniker like 2d6, the first number represents a quantity of dice to roll (or 1 die, if absent). The ‘d’ in the middle serves as a convenient reminder that dice are the required gaming tool and not something else like swords, capes, goat’s blood or playing cards. The final number represents the type of dice to roll, or the number of sides (usually 2, 3, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 20 or 30). Don’t panic, because in this game we’ll only use six-sided dice, or d6, which can be stolen out of just about any board game. Typically, the dice are rolled together and the numbers showing are summed for a total roll. Try it out for yourself a few times. As you’ll learn at any gaming table, rolling dice for no reason can be fun all by itself. When you’re ready, and if there are still other people around to play the game, roll 2d6 and lookup the total on the Evil Menace Emergency-At-Hand Table (continued).

Evil Menace Emergency-At-Hand Table (continued)

2 – 4: Die Alte Dingen
Strange Forces are causing insanity across the world’s entire population. The cause of these Strange Forces is unknown, therefore negotiation is not yet possible. However, the forces seem to be moving slowly, so double the number of days in the next result.

5 – 6: The Wrong Hands
The latest in massively destructive weapons technology has fallen into The Wrong Hands.

7: Astronomical Ticket Sales
The planet has accidentally wandered into the path of a gargantuan asteroid. Unfortunately, negotiating with a rock is not helpful and all soldiers are now occupied with crowd-control duties.

8 – 9: Kentucky-Fried Alien
Aliens from the planet Sandor have entered orbit and threatened invasion unless all of our women are sent to their nearest General Tso’s Kung-Pow Fried-Chicken fast-food store to await mass abduction and take-out.

10 – 12: Evil Arch-Warlock for Hire
An Evil Arch-Warlock for Hire has crossed the barrier of space-time and threatens the ultimate annihilation of this world. He claims to be looking for his book. If unsatisfied he will make your world blow apart like so much bad bubble gum (in order to avoid having to look here twice).

Those in the know will recognize the reference to Tabriz from 9th Level’s KAMB. Around that time I was doing some work for them on Ninja Burger. (The 2nd edition was not published by 9th Level.) Emergency Response Committee was never pitched to 9th Level. They take great pride in their games being funny and fun. This concept, while potentially funny, didn’t seem like much fun in this incarnation.

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3 Responses to Emergency Response Committee – Part I

  1. Anonymous says:

    This is technically a Comment intended for the Thursday, March 29, 2007, entry, “Guild Wars 2: The imminent death of my (real life) social life,” which, for some reason, did not have a “Comments” link for me to click.

    While Guild Wars 2 undoubtedly has enough cool features to quash a person’s social life on their own collective merit, just keep in mind that, in terms of romantic plots, *there are no women on the internet.*

    I know that’s a bold statement. And I know that you could forward this comment to plenty of real women who would disagree…but when you consider the entire population of Cyberspace, the population of women gaming on-line — either in MMORPGs, PbEM games (be particularly wary of anyone with a “free” e-mail address, such as gmail.com, yahoo.com and so on), or what have you — is so negligible as to be practically non-existent. That’s my theory.

    Now you’re probably rattling off to yourself the “names” of half a dozen allegedly female players you’ve gamed with on-line in response. I’m telling you now, unless you’ve actually spoken to this person on the phone or video conferencing, or met her in real life, she’s a he, baby.

    Now that may not make a difference to you. Some guys don’t mind romantic relationships with other guys, and that’s just fine, if that’s who you are. Other guys might not swing that way in real life, but have no qualms about RPing a romantic relationship with another guy, being able to detach enough from the game as to look at it as simply interactive storytelling with other authors.

    But for those who feel uncomfortable at the notion of RPing a romantic scenario with another guy’s female character, take heed, because I would estimate that under 5% of female characters on-line are actually played by female players.

    The homophobic need not be concerned. Gay guys are not playing female characters. The internet’s anonymity provides a veritable paradise haven for the gay community. In the anonymous realm of Cyberspace, gay men are freed from the fetters of any real discrimination or ill consequences from being outwardly gay, outspoken about their sexual preferences, etc. So gay guys are whooping it up being gay guys without any worries.

    No, rather, it’s heterosexual men who are playing female characters in on-line MMORPGs (with the possible exception of The Sims Online). Specifically, it’s (mostly) heterosexual men who can’t get girlfriends. You know the types I’m talking about: gamer geeks; computer nerds (present company excepted); the Comic Book Guy from the Simpsons; and those with such social handicaps as chronic body odor or halitosis, a penchant for gas expulsion in public, or the irrepressible need to constantly quote Star Wars or speak Elvish in everyday conversation. And the females they pretend to be on-line are their fantasy women…the girls they know they will never get in real life so, like Pygmalion, they create her in Cyberspace, and breathe life into her themselves. In that way, they get to have an intimate relationship with the virtual girl of their dreams.

    Some will rationalize and say, “Well, look, if I have to stare at a backside for eight hours at a time when playing an MMORPG, I at least want to look at a woman’s backside.” That may be true…but they’re downplaying the reality of it all.

    So next time you come across that hot Ascalonian mesmer in Merchant’s Row, or the sexy twi’lek dancing girl in Chalmun’s Cantina, or that cute Draenei shaman in the Badlands of Booty Bay, think of the guy in the prescription pants and the “C:\DOS, C:\DOS\RUN, RUN\DOS\RUN” t-shirt who translated The Lord of the Rings into Klingon for his master’s thesis. THAT’S who’s playing opposite you.


  2. Matt Hicks says:

    Dear R.P.,

    When I was playing MMO’s regularly for 40+ hours a week, I also used voice chat. (Any guild worth the trouble they cause will encourage voice chat.) So, I’m well aware of who is really on the other side of the screen. My experience does not match yours. In fact, I’ve personally met many guildmates, several of whom were women.

    So, while I agree with your assessment that many men masquerade as women on the internet, I think this practice is only beligerent in the context of dating sites or ‘blue’ chatrooms. In these cases, I believe the main reasons are phishing for spammers, identity thieves, and free material for those ‘letters’ magazines. Personally, I’m about ready to give up on internet dating–much in the same way you’re ready to give up on “co-ed” romantic roleplay online, it seems.


    P.S. Since your initials match with both an attractive ex-girlfriend of mine and a guy gamer friend, I choose to imagine these words being read (breathlessly) by the ex-girlfriend.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Okay…well…voice chat…that’s what I was saying. That, at least, ensures that you’ve got the real McCoy on the other end. The boys masquerading as girls aren’t going to go after you, because you’ve got the voice chat. They’re going for the saps who don’t have the voice chat…the ones they can fool. Stay the course, baby.

    Oh…and sorry to disappoint, it’s the *other* R.P. — but I was breathless when I wrote it. 😉


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