ysabetwordsmith: Damask smiling over their shoulder (polychrome)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
This poem is spillover from the December 2, 2014 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired by prompts from [personal profile] alexseanchai and [personal profile] dialecticdreamer. It also fills the "bluffing" square in my 9-29-14 card for the [community profile] origfic_bingo fest. This poem has been sponsored by Anthony & Shirley Barrette. It belongs to the Antimatter & Stalwart Stan thread of the Polychrome Heroics series.

"Bluff and Show"

Lawrence was putting his books
into his locker when Stan came up
and bumped gently against his shoulder.

"So hey, we've got a guest speaker
for Activity Scouts this afternoon,
friend of my dad's needed to get
away from home for a little while,"
Stan said. "Would you like to come?"

"It costs money for visitors who
aren't actual scouts," Lawrence said.

"My treat," Stan said, smiling.

Lawrence felt tempted, but he also
didn't like the sense of debt. "We could --"

"No, we can't go Dutch because I'm a scout,"
Stan said, "and no, we're not splitting it either.
I invited you, so I get to pay. If you want,
you can invite me to something later,
and then it'll be your turn to pay."

"I guess that's fair," Lawrence said.
The idea appealed to him, although
he didn't know what to suggest
or how he might pay for it.
"What's the presentation about?"

Stan laughed. "Forgot to say, didn't I?
"There's a tolerance talk and then
some kind of gaming session."

"Okay, I'll come," Lawrence agreed.

The Activity Scouts made a lot more noise
than the chess and science nerds that
Lawrence usually spent time with,
seeming more akin to Stan's jock friends.

Stan made introductions, though, even
pointing out who might have common interests.

"This is Maurice," said Stan, introducing a black boy.
"He likes environmental science and emergency response.
Maurice, this is Lawrence, he plays chess and he's
on the science team at school too."

"Hi," Lawrence said. "What games do you like?"

Maurice shrugged. "I'm not very good at games.
I'm dyslexic, you know? I'm better at things
I can get my hands into, like grubbing in the woods."

"Oh, I know a couple of dyslexic chess players,"
Lawrence said. "Let me know if you need a hand
reading things, I've done that before."

Maurice's shy smile gave Lawrence a warm feeling.

"And this is Tycho, he goes by Tyke though," Stan said
as they caught up with a redheaded boy whose body hair
was so pale that it disappeared against his fair skin.

"Really? Like the famous scientist?" Lawrence asked.

"Yeah, my mom is like this gigantic science nerd,"
Tyke said. "You know the name?"

"I do. Tycho Brahe demonstrated that
supernovae and comets could not be
atmospheric phenomena," Lawrence said.

"Oh, now you've done it," Stan said.
"Tyke's been our troop's best astronomer
ever since he was a Cub Scout."

Lawrence was surprised to discover
how much he had in common
with the Activity Scouts once he
started talking with them.

He signed the attendance book --
wasn't even the only guest there --
and didn't argue over Stan paying
the admission fee for him.

Stan's father Stuart called the troop to order,
gathering the boys (and a few girls)
into a loose half-circle audience.

The speaker turned out to be a muscular black man
of middle age, who rolled easily into position
in a wheelchair that looked sturdy enough for hiking.
Deep, furrowed scars marked both calves and
disappeared into the long white socks.

Lawrence shivered a little, wondering what
had tried to get a piece of the man and failed.
Whoever he was, that made him formidable.

"Ladies and gentlemen, this is Simon,"
said Stuart. "He's going to talk about tolerance
and then teach us some fun strategy games."

"Hi, folks," said Simon. "Let me start with
my credentials. I'm a black man in a wheelchair."
He waved a hand over himself. "What you can't see
is that I'm also homosexual. So I know a lot about
tolerance and intolerance. How many of you
have sat through an anti-bullying presentation?"

All the hands went up.

"How about anti-hate crimes, basically
the same thing but more grown up?"

Everyone raised their hands again.

"So those talk about what you shouldn't do.
Did you learn anything that you should do
from those presentations?" Simon asked.

Long pause.

"Stick up for people?" someone said tentatively.

"That's a good start," Simon said. "Today, we're
going to skip all that 'anti' stuff and talk about
positive principles and how to use them in real life."

That sounded interesting. Lawrence leaned forward,
opening his notebook so he could take notes.

Simon's attention snagged on him,
a penetrating gaze that made Lawrence
feel anxious even though the man
didn't look particularly angry.

Lawrence sat back, trying to edge
behind Stan despite being in chairs.

"First, diversity benefits everyone by
making life more interesting and offering
different perspectives in solving problems,"
Simon said. "Second, everyone is an individual
and nobody should be judged just because
they belong to a particular group. Third,
accepting difference makes the world
safer and happier for everyone."

Those were all good rules.
Lawrence scribbled them down,
trying not to attract attention.
The rest of the principles
made just as much sense.

"Now let's put those ideas into practice,"
Simon said. "As Activity Scouts, we
aim to set a good example for people.
When you stick up for someone,
you make friends. When you help
someone, their skills improve."

Lawrence thought about how Stan
protected him from bullies,
and played chess with Arnold,
and generally encouraged people
to be nicer to each other.

"But tolerance means more than just
putting up with people you may not like
or giving them token roles," Simon said.
"It means learning how to weave them
into the community in significant ways."

Stan had gone to chess club with Lawrence,
and talked Lawrence into coming here.

It wasn't just Stan, though -- his whole family
acted like that, from Sloane's clumsy pranks
trying to help Lawrence fit in, to Stephanie
finding people to play Kaverns & Krakens
with her friend Vanessa.

Lawrence wrote down the list of tips
and techniques, wondering if he
could make them work as well
as Stan and his family did.

After the presentation, the scouts
milled around setting up card tables.
Tyke and Maurice got into a conversation
about what kind of games would be played.

Simon rolled over to Stan and Lawrence,
still with that clear appraising gaze
which made Lawrence feel torn between
wanting to hide behind Stan and
protecting him from a potential threat.

There was just something about Simon
that made Lawrence think the man
could pound him to pudding if he tried,
wheelchair or no, and nevermind
Lawrence's superpowers.

But Lawrence could make him work for it.

Simon gave them a casual smile.
"Did you enjoy the lecture?" he asked.

"Yes, you gave me some new ideas,"
Stan said easily.

"Why do you keep staring at me?"
Lawrence asked, shaking his hands out.
"I haven't done anything but take notes."

"One, you look like you've seen some trouble,
and two, you look like you've caused a bit of it,"
Simon said, not even trying to evade the challenge.
"That's worth keeping an eye on, just in case."

"He's with me," Stan said, stepping forward.

"Simon, try not to spook my boys,"
Stuart said, coming over to them.

That phrasing, my boys,
made Lawrence catch his breath.

"I'm not spooked," Lawrence said, but he was bluffing.
As if sensing that, Stan wrapped an arm around him.

Simon tipped his head, looking at them both --
and then shook himself, whole body relaxing.
"Sorry, boys, I forget that I still look scary
to people who actually know what they're seeing,"
he said. "Most folks just see this now."
One hand rapped the wheelchair.

"They're idiots," Lawrence said fervently.

Simon laughed. "People often are.
Truce?" He stuck out a hand.

Lawrence had spent enough time with a gang
to have learned the rules for offering and
accepting a truce. He decided that Stuart
wouldn't be friends with someone untrustworthy,
and that if Simon was calling for peace then
the sensible thing to do was accept it.

So Lawrence lifted his chin and stepped forward
to shake Simon's hand. "Truce," he agreed.

Simon grinned at him. "You've got pluck,"
he said. "Play any strategy games?"

"Lawrence is the captain of our chess club,"
said Stan before Lawrence could frame a reply.
"He's teaching me how to play."

That was a nice thing to hear, our club,
like Stan meant to keep coming.

"Well, that's great," Simon said. "You can help
lay out the games that I've brought. They might
seem familiar to you -- or maybe a bit too easy."

From a backpack Simon took out little rolls
of leather tied with thongs, which opened
into sets of nine men's morris or fox and geese.

As the scouts gathered around, he explained
the rules of the games and how to play.

"Now pay attention to the game pieces,"
Simon said. "See how simple these are?
You could play them with pencil and paper,
or draw the board on the ground and use
rocks for the playing pieces. Memorize
the game and you can play it anywhere."

That was brilliant, Lawrence realized.

Maurice noted the difference in moves
for fox and geese. "Only the fox can jump,"
he said, "so it's like having a superpower!"

"So it is," Stuart said. "Do you like
uneven games like that? I brought
my brandubh set to show Simon."
Stuart laid out that game. "The king
starts in the middle, and his men
have to get him safely to a corner
while the enemies attack them."

Simon watched the setup and
explanation, Lawrence peeking
over his broad muscled shoulder.

As some of the scouts began to play,
Simon brought out another game
that he called Bluff, which was
played with dice in a cup.

Stan proved terrible at that one.
He really was no good at lying.
Lawrence did much better at it.

"Next, let me point out what you
can learn from these games,"
Simon said. "Sure they're fun.
But the strategy games like
nine men's morris teach you
how to think ahead, how to
make predictions and plans."

"Yeah, that's true for the board games
but the dice one is all chance," Tyke said.
"It's just bluff and show, no strategy."

Simon shook his head. "No, Bluff is
about reading people. You study
their body language to decide
whether or not they're lying to you.
That's always useful to know."

That was utterly vital to know,
in Lawrence's experience.
He played more rounds of Bluff,
but he never managed to beat Simon.

Picking up a habit from chess club,
Lawrence switched to playing
fox and geese against Maurice
and nine men's morris against Tyke.
He was new to both games, so they won,
but it provided a lot more challenge.

"Bored with the simple games?"
Simon asked, sounding sympathetic.

"I'm fine," Lawrence said. "I think
I'll be able to memorize these."

"How's your math?" Simon asked.

"It's okay," Lawrence hedged,
wondering why he wanted to know.

"Lawrence is helping me with math,"
said Stan, who couldn't keep his mouth shut
when it came to cheering for other people.

"See, I always bring a backup game
that's more challenging, just in case
I happen across another serious gamer,"
Simon said, unrolling another bundle.

This one was long and thin,
marked like a checkerboard,
with wooden squares and triangles
and circles that all had numbers on them.

"This is rithmomachia," said Simon,
"also called the Philosophers' Game."

Lawrence couldn't muffle his hum of interest.

Maurice gave him a playful push.
"Go play with the grownups," he said.
"I haven't tried the bluffing game yet."

So Lawrence studied rithmomachia,
which really was all math. It had
elements of strategy but they
relied on putting numbers together.
It was absolutely riveting.

Simon turned out to be
a pretty cool guy, once you
got past the scary part.

"You said that the other games
have real-world applications,"
Lawrence observed after Simon won.
"What about this one?"

"It teaches you to see math everywhere,
and the relationships between pieces,"
Simon said. "It shows different ways to win."

Greater and lesser victories, in fact,
Lawrence realized as he reread the rules.

He thought about the other ones in play --
games about lying, about being surrounded,
and players with uneven pieces on their sides.

"So what really brought you out here today?"
Lawrence asked, watching Simon closely.
"Stan said it was on short notice."

"My partner is taking care of a friend,
so I volunteered to get out of the way
for a few days," Simon said.
"That just put me in the mood to
make the world a better place and
discourage certain things from going wrong."

Lawrence privately thought that anyone
who picked a fight with Simon was
asking to get his ass handed to him.
There was a coiled alertness to the man
that promised competence regardless
of the battle scars that put him in a wheelchair.

"Thanks for coming," Lawrence said.
"Your lecture was good, and so are the games.
I've told Stan that chess is great practice for
strategy and tactics in other contexts."

"Logistical thinking is always useful," Simon said.
"Good game, by the way." He offered his hand again.

Lawrence accepted. Simon's handshake
was warm and dry and oddly gentle,
without the crushing grip that some men
used in attempt to impress people.

At the end of the session, Stuart came over,
followed by Stan who settled next to Lawrence
as they packed up the various games.

"Are you coming over to our house for game night,
Lawrence? Simon is staying with us," said Stuart.

Lawrence looked at Simon, who was quiet and solid
and maybe not altogether scary after all.

"I'd like that," Lawrence said,
and this time, he wasn't even bluffing.

* * *


[Character concept by Dialecticdreamer]
Simon Alston -- He has milk chocolate skin, brown eyes, and short nappy black hair. Although he still has some use of his legs, he's more mobile in a wheelchair than on foot. Simon is homosexual, and the partner of Tolliver Finn. They live in North Carolina, about an hour from the Blue Ridge Mountains. Simon spends a lot of time outdoors, so his skin rarely gets lighter even in winter. His wilderness skills span both recreation and survival aspects. His favorite sports include wheelchair racing and bobsled. He enjoys teaching his skills to other people.
Qualities: Master (+6) Activity Scout, Master (+6) Paralympic Martial Arts, Master (+6) Veteran, Expert (+4) Gamer, Expert (+4) Paralympic Track & Field, Good (+2) Family Values, Good (+2) Insightful, Good (+2) Sniper, Good (+2) Wilderness Skills

Maurice Stevenson -- He has short nappy black hair, brown eyes, and brown skin. He is a friend of Stanley Wood from the Activity Scouts. His badges include Emergency Preparedness, Environmental Science, First Aid, Fishing, and Small-Boat Sailing.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activity Scout, Good (+2) Diligent, Good (+2) Naturalistic Intelligence, Good (+2) Science, Good (+2) Water Sports
Poor (-2) Dyslexic

Tycho "Tyke" Norris -- He has fair skin with freckles on his arms, blue eyes, and wavy copper hair although his eyebrows and body hair are blond. He is named after the famous scientist Tycho Brahe. Tyke is a friend of Stanley Wood from the Activity Scouts, who later becomes friends with Lawrence. His badges include American Heritage, Astronomy, Citizenship in the Nation, Communication, Emergency Preparedness, First Aid, and Space Exploration.
Qualities: Good (+2) Activity Scout, Good (+2) Amateur Astronomer, Good (+2) Family Life, Good (+2) Follower, Good (+2) Stamina
Poor (-2) Vision

* * *

Dating presents challenges over who pays for things. Stan's generosity pitted against Lawrence's wariness and lower income add up to a lot of negotiation, but they're making good progress.

Tolerance lowers stress. There are tips for teaching tolerance in the workplace and with children in the community.  One useful trick in activism is to sidestep the bigot's attack, and strike back directly at their goals; in this case, Simon is undermining bigotry by teaching concepts that bring people together and encourage them to think deeply.

Diversity has many benefits. Understand how to increase it in clubs, schools, and businesses.

Historic games are fun! You can still find historic board games and other amusements. Check out nine men's morris, fox and geese, and brandubh. Simon is right; these all make great travel games and you can easily assemble your own set. Bluff belongs to the category of Liar's Dice games.
Rithmomachia is more complex; there's an applet for it now.

Reading people is a useful skill. Know how to read people and how to detect lies. Try to be gentle with it. Lawrence isn't used to being clocked as a person of significance because people usually overlook him due to his age. Simon is getting used to people overlooking him because of the wheelchair. But they can both see each other's relevance in their body language -- that if something happens, this guy isn't going to be part of the fleeing crowd, he'll be either causing the trouble or flogging it against the floor.

Gifted people get bored easily and require stimulation. There are many ways for parents and teachers to meet their needs. Rule #1: Use Layers! Always have a progression of options, whether for fun or for work, suited for different levels of experience and aptitude. Let people go through those until they reach their level of comfortable engagement. More than once I've had a panel where the audience was obviously not on the level advertised in the schedule, and if I'm the moderator, I just say, "Okay, where are you guys at with this topic? What do you want to talk about today?" They tell me and we go from there. This works because I know to do that and if I'm speaking on a topic I can handle it across a wide range of skill levels.


Date: 2014-12-12 01:16 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Oh, squee and joy and SQUISHES FOREVER!

Needless to say, I am DELIGHTED with Simon's first appearance. (Yes, I also have a competence kink!)

I love, love, love that you've got more than one layer of development going on simultaneously, and the games... squee again!

(several minutes of off-keyboard dancing and cheering.) Whew. More coherent now, at least.

I think my two favorite things are (a) "my boys"-- it's inserted so naturally, and still /gobsmacks/ Lawrence. LOVE it.

And, (b) Tyke, the poor guy. Local problems with people not being able to spell MY NAME are the exact reason I didn't name either son after a favorite scientist. Picture the problems with people insisting that Nikola is a GIRL'S name. Or misspelling it. Or shortening it (SHUD-DER). I can completely understand his rush to a nickname he can live with!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-12 02:32 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
Love, love, love.

Poor boys, it's not easy figuring this out, but I think they're doing ok.

I like Simon.

I love Stuart.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 03:21 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
"Opposite sides of the cape"

I love this turn of phrase.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 04:28 am (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
I like that, it seems more realistic that way. People are rarely all good or all bad.

I love clever turns of phrase, word games, puns, and things like that. I also love when a setting/universe has unique slang and idioms, it feels more immersive and realistic.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 04:10 pm (UTC)
helgatwb: Drawing of Helga, holding her sword, looking upset. (Default)
From: [personal profile] helgatwb
Hee. *happydance*

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 06:41 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I tend to use "side of the cape" --adding "white" or "black" depending on who's talking about whom-- and "white cape" or "black cape" the way we shorthand "white hat" and "black hat" in ways which are only very, very distantly related to early movie-making conventions for Westerns.

There are also conventions about /teaching/ a person with a new superpower, regardless of whether the teacher is a hero or villain. It's an accord with several /major/ rules, enforced most strictly, oddly enough, by the villains. No pressuring someone to /be/ a hero, or villain. The goal is learning to use and control the ability. (Note that Granny Whammy breaks this one A LOT, and it annoys the villains in particular that she gets away with it when /they/ don't have the same liberty.)

Much like the nightly news, of course, the rare exceptions where courtesy and negotiations /break down/ are gossip fodder for years or decades. Today, everyone knows the phrase, "Remember the Alamo" but-- remember it for /what/? That part doesn't get discussed nearly so often as it is a quote used more OUT of context than anything else.

I still say, however, that Haboob is a grade-A nutjob, the closest thing I've seen in the Polychrome verse to a villain like the Joker or Two-Face.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 07:52 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Specifically for Haboob-- he needs to be /contained/ for everyone else's safety, like Charlie X from Star Trek: TOS.

The problem? So far, no one's managed to corral him.

Another major difference between the two universes-- I think that if anyone /could/ get past the brain injury to work on the emotional issues, they would try. It's not just a plan to warehouse him and forget he has some legitimate complaints buried under the madness.

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 09:51 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
Then the crux of Haboob's problem is that /he/ has to decide that he needs to be somewhere safer.

It could be done, with someone of Dr. Infanta's skill set or power set, but her Guardians won't let her within a hundred MILES of Haboob, knowingly!

Puppetmaster might do it, but he'd have to basically /sneak up/ on Haboob to not twig the crazy man's crazy into high gear beforehand.

It's a mess, blast it... I'd love to see the problem from the viewpoint of a devout Muslim, as charity is one of the Pillars of the Faith, and wowee, getting him to /accept/ potential help would really stack up some points!

Re: Yay!

Date: 2014-12-12 10:16 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
See, just getting ENOUGH through to him to get Haboob to contain HIMSELF is a major miracle.

And /enough/ of one.

Otherwise, I believe the rest of the concerned parties are already chanting "go home Charlie!" quite loudly. He's just too dangerous to /ignore/. The problem so far has been opportunity to either contain him or cash him out.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-12 04:00 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
I love watching them negotiating who pays. (I've got a bit of that in my first-time fanfic, which is still kind of stalled out near the end. It's going to be an ongoing issue.)

I used to have a black friend named Maurice. We were very close for about 20 years. Then he turned into the Crazy Roommate (long story, but I am not using the adjective figuratively or lightly), and the relationship never recovered. I still miss the person he was before all that.

Does dyslexia become a problem when moving the chess pieces? As in, does the player mean to move a knight forward-and-left and accidentally move forward-and-right instead? That doesn't seem as though it would be likely, but I don't know.

A Name is a Name (aka The Weird Name Song) by Carla Ulbrich. She sang this the first time she came to GAFilk, and you could tell who in the audience had name-spelling issues, because we were howling.

Good to see Lawrence taking Simon's abstract statements and realizing how they can be applied IRL -- and have been applied, to him and others, by Stan and his family. That's the point at which things start to sink in, when you see them concretely demonstrated.

But Lawrence could make him work for it.

Heh. Good for you, Lawrence! You might lose, but you'll go down swinging.
And that's a significant change in his self-image right there.

"My boys." AWWWWWWW!

Using games to teach strategy, tactical thinking, and people-reading is nicely subversive. Ooh, and that gives me an idea for the next Fishbowl!

It's not just Lawrence's age that makes people underestimate him, it's that he's also slight of build and not very prepossessing. OTOH, being underestimated by an opponent can be a valuable advantage.

Moving chess pieces

Date: 2014-12-12 07:59 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
I'm not dyslexic.

However. I am so spatially impaired that I still can't tell my left from my right without holding up my hand to make the letter L. At the store last week, I turned from the entrance toward the aisle I knew I wanted, BUT when I came out of the aisle, all my reference points were so wackadoo that my kid had to turn me around again and point me in the RIGHT direction.

So I sometimes have trouble with chess. I remember the moves in /relation to the edges/ of the board. Identifying King-side and Queen-side is harder, determined by which color leads in the march toward the edge of the board. It's a LOT of cobbled-together tips to keep me from constantly touching pieces, and one of the reason I'm still barely above a novice player.

Oddly enough, I can picture Lawrence having the /patience/ to work with even these limitations if I showed up at the Chess Club. He seems to draw patience from the thing he /loves/ to do and applies that patience to the parts he finds more difficult (like noisy people).

Re: Moving chess pieces

Date: 2014-12-12 08:53 am (UTC)
dialecticdreamer: My work (Default)
From: [personal profile] dialecticdreamer
But that means Lawrence /has/ skills he isn't even aware of, and he is using them /effectively/ in the context of the Chess Club.

Please, please tell me his mother is not a Bradstreet relation? (private joke, basically 'not fit to raise house plants, let alone humans)

Or, that she's willing to do some serious work to recover the relationship?

Re: Moving chess pieces

Date: 2015-01-01 09:54 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Sort of like emotional intelligence done with logic instead of intuition, and not from the inside out, but from a desired result worked backwards to a prerequisite action.

This just pinged something else for me -- Mark, in the Vorkosigan books. Occasionally Lois writes him doing exactly that, and it's fascinating to watch him working this stuff out in his head because it doesn't come naturally to him.

For that matter, I sometimes have to do it myself -- I'm a Thinker, not a Feeler (MBTI) and don't have the emotional reflexes that women are "supposed" to have. But, having figured that out, I can remember to remind myself to make the right emotional response.

Re: Moving chess pieces

Date: 2014-12-13 06:52 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
black for black's side, white for white's side, red for queen and blue for king

The first two of these work. The third and fourth fail because the queen-side is to White's left and Black's right. (I looked that up to be sure.) I suppose you could have each side switch colors at the midpoint of the board, but that would probably be confusing as well.

Re: Moving chess pieces

Date: 2014-12-13 01:14 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Right, that makes sense. That's sort of what my back-brain was trying to pop up, that it wouldn't be dyslexia per se that would cause problems with moving the pieces, but the sort of spatial impairment that makes it hard to keep right and left straight. The dyslexia would come in if he was trying to study books about strategy, because he'd be able to follow the pictures but would have trouble reading the analyses.

Re: Thoughts

Date: 2014-12-13 01:21 am (UTC)
stardreamer: Meez headshot (Default)
From: [personal profile] stardreamer
Secondary thought: I wonder what Stan told his parents about Lawrence before inviting him over for study/dinner the first time. Actually, that's probably pretty easy to figure out -- but would he, or they, have said anything more after he and Lawrence came downstairs holding hands? There's a fine line to navigate between "I need to know the basics of what's going on in your life" vs. "I don't want to pry into your business" when parents are dealing with kids, especially as they get to be high-school age.

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-12 05:13 am (UTC)
thnidu: glowing light bulb. tinyurl.com/33j2v8h (light bulb)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
Really good, insightful, and informative. I looked up a couple of the games. Your link says that Brandubh is an "Irish version of the Nordic Tafl games that go back at least to the 9th century"; and "tafl" means "table"; and when they said "King's Table" I had an Aha!, because I've got a set of that game— or had, anyway.

• Rithomachia
→ Rithmomachia
> The page's spelling isn't always consistent and has "Rithomachia" as a typo at least once, but "Rithmo-" is by far the usual spelling on that page, and in Wikipedia as well. The name is evidently derived by apheresis from "arithmomachia".

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-13 06:09 am (UTC)
mdlbear: the positively imaginary half of a cubic mandelbrot set (Default)
From: [personal profile] mdlbear

Had never heard of Rithmomachia - that's wild!

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-12 01:04 pm (UTC)
ext_74: Baron Samadai in cat form (Default)
From: [identity profile] siliconshaman.livejournal.com
Like this one, too many stories about super-heroes tun them into super-jocks flexing their muscles with no real thought as to how those powers can be used. Strategy and tactics, not to mention bluffing, are important part of that.

As an example: I had a character in Champions, a soup rpg, that probably had the least power in the game. Basically, I could generate coherent light, laser beams. In-game the team went up against Sun-up, who was a walking fusion generator and had super-man level powers. Thing is, my powers were solar powered. So I managed to convince him to shoot me, over-charging my character [I rolled a natural 20 and thus just avoided dying!]... problem was, if we just killed the guy it would level the city [and kill us]. Solution; generated a harmless laser beam, like a red dot sight, and tracked it down to his crotch [which given that Sun-Up was a hyper-macho jock was very obvious] and quietly informed him that although I wasn't sure I could kill him, I sure as hell could turn those into charcoal briquettes permanently, and if he surrendered now peacefully no harm would come to him... That and a 19 on a d20 and he went quietly. [pure bluff, my character wasn't that powerful even over-charged, but he didn't know that, I'd just adsorbed his best shot and the display of leaking energy shimmering around me all gave me plus points to intimidate roll.]

As an aside... soups seem to come in one of three sorts, they're born with powers, grow into them.. or something happens and they acquire them. Lawrence and Stan are both the latter sort and I can't help thinking it would be cool to see them handle the aftermath of that happening, talking the brand-new super down as it were... [I'd nominate Tyke for the role, just because he's the least likely soup!]

(no subject)

Date: 2014-12-13 04:02 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
As with so many of these, I find little to say except: that was gorgeous. These two are some of my absolute favourites and they always delight. <3<3<3


Thank you!

Date: 2014-12-13 09:27 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
I'm glad you're enjoying the poems.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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