Left to Right: Safana, Imoen and Aerie, from the Baldur's Gate series by Bioware.
Imoen wanted to do some role-play. Safana turned up, but unfortunately had misunderstood what Immy meant. Oh, and Aerie isn't acting like a tough looking barbarian there; she actually is just furious at Imoen for making her dress like this.
In any case, Imoen and Aerie later had a little chat about the role-playing experience, presented here as part of Imoen's new talk show:
Imoen: C'mon, Aerrers. It'll be fun!
Imoen: Seriously; I don't get what you're worried about. It'll just be you, me, your bestest friend who'll never let anything bad happen to you, and maybe one or two other… just talking about stuff.
Aerie: No. W-what's the point?
Imoen: I don't know; some people might be interested in what you have to say. And I'll make sure you don't get asked somethink totally buffleheaded.
Aerie: I… I don't want to. W-why can't you just accept it and leave me alone?
Imoen: Because, kid, whenever you're in a room and there's anyone else besides me, you can sort of… clam up. Get all anxious, worried and nervous. But when we're alone, you relax and you're smart, sweet, and even very funny, sometimes… and I want more people to see the real you like that.
Aerie: I… I-I'll hardly be relaxed, will I? N-not if I know there are hundreds of people watching…
Imoen: Oh, I doubt there'll be hundreds. There'll be about fifty, maybe… if we're lucky. But they'll be your fans, so they'll be ultra-nerdy, I expect. The kinda guys who ain't interested in just looking at someone's cleavage, although that's nice sometimes as well... but they really just wanna be around a nice girl who will look after them when they're not feeling well, and help them glue the nacelles on their model Enterprise…
Aerie: I-I… no! A-absolutely not. I am not doing it.
Imoen: You won't see any of 'em, thank the gods. And we'll get to talking 'bout stuff you're really interested in, like science, and art, and philosophy. It'll just be us at first, but we'll get others involved and the it'll be like a brainy version of The View, and I'll be like a younger, less terrifying Joy Behar.
Aerie: Right… a-and, who am I in your little role-play?
Imoen: Well… you're blonde haired, and pretty…
Aerie: No, no, thrice no! I-I would actually rather you backstabbed me and then garrotted me with my own intestine, than be compared to that… thing.
Imoen: (snortles) No… that… that is shocking, Aerie. Coming from you, too. Imagine she somehow read this? You could have really hurt her feelings.
Aerie: There's no way she reads.
Imoen: Well… what about her family? You don't wanna upset them, do you?
Aerie: No… look, I-I'm sorry. I just… I don't want to have people gawking at me.
Imoen: It won't be like that. It won't be a sideshow… no one'll be prodding you with a stick. And, it'll be a chance for you to prove wrong the people who misjudge you and give you all them labels.
Aerie: I just… I-I don't want to do it. And that's that.
Imoen: Do you need a hug? I'll give you a hug if you do it.
Imoen: And some cookies?
Imoen: And a box of chocolates… mmm?
Aerie: I-I… oh, all right. I'll do it.
Imoen: So, I thought we'd play a game. Not just any game though. Because, y'know, it's funny; none of us have ever played a role playing game before.
Aerie: It's… not that funny, really. We just don't have time. We're too busy fighting real monsters.
Imoen: Yer right… we don't have time. After we played a game yesterday, I'm not sure who does, to be honest. Whose lives are so empty, so devoid of any meaningful kind of contact, that they can just spend all day in doors with the curtains drawn rolling dice, making up dumb rhymes like 'black is the sky, and green is thy hue. The night is mine, and you are too…' I mean, what kind of pitiful, basement dwelling, sub-human troll can just sit on their arse all day and come up with that kind of nonsense?
Aerie: Well… y-you did. Just now.
Imoen: Well, it was boring though, wasn't it? Half the day had gone before we could even start playing. It was the dullest thing I've ever done. And I've sat through one of Garrick's poems. It was boring.
Aerie: Maybe if we dressed up, y-you might have gotten more into it?
Imoen: It's just any excuse for you. But… what would be point? It weren't like we were in a play. We were all just sat around doing nothing, really. Just wasting time.
Aerie: But, i-if people didn't waste time like that, w-e might not exist…
Imoen: Hee… yeah; the fans are gonna love all this, right? But, y'know, it wasn't me. I'm an active person. I like to actually be doing stuff.
Aerie: But you do spend a lot of time reading and studying spells, s-so it's not like you're bouncing up and down all the time and just can't sit still.
Imoen: Yeah, but that's different. There, I'm actually learning stuff that's useful. Like how to shrink Anomen's underpants while he's still wearing them. Important stuff like that. You did like it though, a little bit?
Aerie: Well, I think the problem was, you didn't really do much role play. I mean, t-the character you made was… just you, really. But with pointy shoes, and a hat.
Imoen: Yeah, so? I like me. Why wouldn't I want to me? I'm brilliant.
Aerie: mmm… s-sometimes I worry that you're becoming a tiny bit narcissistic…
Imoen: Yer just jealous. And what about you? You wanted to be a chaotic evil barbarian warrioress…
Aerie: I-I thought the point was to see what it would be like to be someone completely different from yourself…
Imoen: But you didn't. I mean, you didn't see it through. When the assassins asked you to help them poison the village, you decided to conk them all on the head and save everyone instead. And from then on you were just helping every character you met.
Aerie: I didn't want to be that evil. I mean, t-there were children in that village that I spoke to…
Imoen: No there weren't. It was just me speaking in an even more high pitched voice.
Aerie: But, t-they all seemed so sweet and adorable…
Imoen: Obviously. But they weren't real. And, y'know, I told you at the start that would happen. 'Cos I know you, and you're the same when you're reading a book; you just get too involved in the world and the characters. There was no way you could play anyone evil and heartless.
Aerie: But, e-even if I was someone totally unscrupulous who had no empathy... I-I don't see what I'd gain by poisoning and killing every person who looks at me the wrong way. E-even if you're a psychopath, I think you'd work out intellectually that that doesn't benefit you in the long run... I mean, you were wanting to march into barracks and just slaughter an entire battalion of armed knights. That would have been stupid.
Imoen: Not at our level. We could have taken 'em easily.
Aerie: In the game, maybe... b-but real people don't have levels or hit points. You could be the greatest warrior ever to live; it still only have to take one hit, o-or even just a scratch, sometimes, to kill you...
Imoen: It's just a game, Aerie... you don't have to worry about it. It's liberating yourself and doing things that you couldn't do in real life... I thought that was the point.
Aerie: But you didn't enjoy it, much, did you?. A-and, I just think, if you don't really immerse yourself in the world and the characters, then of course it's not going to be much fun.
Imoen: Maybe yer right. But my point was, if you want to see what it's like to be evil, then you have to detach yourself a little more and stop caring about fake, pretend people so much.
Aerie: It… it was a mistake to try being evil. Y-you're right, I couldn't enjoy it, because, well… it wasn't me, I suppose. But, I did like conking a lot of people on the head. Bad people, that is.
Imoen: Sure; it's alright if they're bad people. But, it's gotten me worried, Aerie. Do… do you not like yourself? Are you not happy with who you her? 'Cos, you know I like you, right?
Aerie: Um… thank you. But, I-I am happy with who I am.
Imoen: You're sure? There's nothing you want to change about yourself?
Aerie: I'm sure. W-why do you keep asking?
Imoen: I just find it… interesting, I suppose, that you're a character was a warrior as well. One who is easily the equal of any man in physical strength, whose legendary fighting prowess is feared by all enemies who tremble in sight of her towering presence… your words.
Aerie: Well, I-I… believe me, I am very attached to my body. But, obviously, sometimes… o-only sometimes… I-I wish I was taller. And stronger. And more confident. That's not strange, is it? I mean… you're hardly much bigger than me. There must have been times in your life when you've wished you could just… knock someone's teeth out.
Imoen: Yeah, I s'pose. What I learned to do was just humiliate them instead. Bit of laxative in their drinks, putting lizards in their drawers… classic pranks like that.
Aerie: But, you'd still be in a lot of trouble if they caught you?
Imoen: I could run really fast, and I'm pretty good at climbing too.
Aerie: Well, I-I'm not a fast runner. I used to be, when I was younger, but not anymore.
Imoen: So, who is it you'd like to knock out? Viconia?
Aerie: No. I mean, all she really does is call you names. And, you told me, i-if you ignore her she gets bored. Eventually. Although, s-she did say some creepy thing about how I wasn't so entertaining to her anymore… but, anyway, I think I've actually met worse people than her. Like Tira.
Imoen: That's not Tira from Soul Calibur.
Aerie: No. Although, I-I don't like her much either. She keeps trying to make me hold her sword…
Imoen: Yeah, it… sounds even more creepy when you say it like that. But the Tira you're talking about was someone who used to bully you when you were up and about and actually working in the circus, right?
Aerie: Uh-huh. I-I don't know why she didn't like me, because I never said anything around her at all. At least, not before she started tripping me all the time as I was trying to work. Then kicking me, throwing dirt in my face while her friends held me down. A-and that was the most frustrating thing; she was never alone, so it was never a fair fight. So, yes; I wished I was a six foot tall barbarian warrior so I could smash her face in. A-and not feel guilty about it later. But… e-even if I was six foot tall and had… muscle… I-I suspect I would feel guilty, so I'd be hurting myself again anyway. That's frustrating too. That's why I thought it would be good to role play as someone not inhibited by their conscience, o-or restrained by any ethics.
Imoen: That's horrible! But, y'know, I know you pretty well, but it does seem like when I talk to you that there hasn't been a single time in your life when there hasn't been someone making you suffer. It is amazing that you don't snap more often.
Aerie: No. Well… I-I don't know. I guess I'm lucky because, e-even when things have been at their worst for me, there's always been someone around who has been good and kind. So, that helps offset all the badness. And anyway; why should I change who I am because of a few clowns?
Imoen: You're right. And, this chat reminds me of when I was very young and I was bullied.
Aerie: You were?
Imoen: I know; you find it hard to believe that anyone could be mean enough to want to hurt someone so cute and adorable, right?
Aerie: Hee… not really.
Imoen: Well, regardless of that, I was bullied by some bigger girl who was like a hundred pounds of muscle powered by a brain the size of a walnut. So, I asked ol'Puffguts what to do, and he said that I've gotta stand up to 'em. He told me, next time they start picking on me, I should just turn round and give 'em a big ol'slap across the cheek. So, that's exactly what I did.
Aerie: What happened?
Imoen: Well, before I lost consciousness, I remember cursing Winthrop for giving me the worst advice ever. I think one slap was about all I got in. But, to be fair, I was left alone after that. I think once she realised I was prepared to fight back, even if not very well, she then decided I wasn't worth the trouble. I lost my eyesight for a few days, but it worked out in the end, I guess.
Aerie: (laughs) But, I think we have strayed a bit off topic.
Imoen: Yeah, so role playing. I did ask Safana if she wanted to join us too, but she got the wrong idea and showed up in some kind of maid outfit. I don't know why she thought I would be interested in that sort of role-play, with her, but… anyhow, I guess I thought the game was okay. It was just a bit too long and slow for me, really.
Aerie: I-it was enjoyable… but I prefer fighting games.
Imoen: Well, there ya go. What we've learnt is that role playing, but Aerrers really just enjoys smashing in faces… it's always the quiet ones, I guess. But y'know, we could set that up…
Aerie: Set what up?
Imoen: You and Tira... You said you were frustrated by it not being a fair fight before. But now we can do what we want, so we could set up a ring and you could duke it out.
Aerie: No… I'm okay.
Imoen: I reckon you could take her one on one. I've seen her; she's not that tough looking. And you've had a lot more experience than her by now…
Aerie: No, I've got nothing to prove. There's no reason for me to fight her.
Imoen: What if we sold tickets and gave the money to a charity? So it was for a good cause… would you fight her then?
Aerie: W-why are you so keen to see me boxing someone? I would expect it from Coran, but…
Imoen: Didn't say it had to be boxing. I just thought it would be good for you to let out all your frustration… and buy a new roof for the orphanage. But y'know, if you don't wanna help…
Aerie: Well then, s-surely they'd pay more to see me fight you?
Imoen: Nah. See, I was trying to set you up in a match you actually had a chance of winning. Thought it might boost your confidence. But it was just a thought. Forget it.
Aerie: I could take you. Although of course, y-you would have to cheat. You'd be all 'no, no, you can't hit me! I-I'm weak and I have a heart condition! Look, is that Jane Austen?'
Imoen: Now, there's someone you really don't want to get into a fight with.
Aerie: Yes. S-she does swear a lot more than I thought she would.
Imoen: A lot more. I wasn't expecting so many tattoos either.
Aerie: O-or for her to be a man named Rory.
Imoen: Yeah. Well, that's about all we've got time for folks. Join us next time when Aerie'll be telling us all about some woman who did something with mushrooms. I've no idea, but look forward to it anyway. G'night.