Impractical Applications (Farren and Wallis)

Earlier this week, I talked about references: how to use them, how not to use them. Like I said, the best reference is a subtle one, or at least one that isn’t completely in your face. Such was the case with Farren and Wallis.

Farren was a friend of the group’s, or rather, a friend of a friend, and Wallis was her god-tiger familiar. They were first introduced at the beginning of my political arc. See, Farren’s place was the arena for a game known as the Sport Which, an experimental game whose rules were in a constant state of flux, and she’d decided she was going to test the people who were jockeying for a recently opened position by getting them into the game.

So midway through the party, the group finds themselves faced with a young woman with spiky blond hair and red striped robes, asking them if they’d be interested in joining her game. Of course, they say yes. What else would you expect them to do?

They met Wallis at the door of Farren’s place. Or rather, Luath did. If one can call being tackled by a mass of anthropomorphic tiger as soon as the door opens “meeting”. It didn’t last long, of course; he picked himself up, helped Luath up, and snapped immediately into greeter mode, inviting them in and leading them to where the other participants were waiting.

Soon enough, they found themselves on the field, flags in hand, masks over eyes, towels tied around waists and ready to face the ten other participants. And the game began; the dust flew, the fur flew, and the rules changed constantly. (Including a “New rule! NEW RULE! No glomping the referee!” from Wallis after Ruby got a little distracted. Guy doesn’t take it as good as he gives it, apparently.)

I enjoyed the game—the crazy rules, the crazy interpretations of the rules, and the goofy dialogue—but more, I enjoyed the joke that everyone was in whether they knew it or not. There’s something absolutely hilarious about fourteen demigods in a high-powered, no-limits game of Calvinball.

You know the best part? Despite the flags and the masks, the spiky hair and the tackling reception, and the tiger whose name was that of a philosopher, I had at least one who didn’t realize what I’d done until a week later. The look on his face when I told him was pretty priceless.

What worked for me was just making it part of the characterization. I touched on the appearances, tossed in the tackle; it was all something that could have happened anyway, or could just drift by. The Calvinball-clone was the biggest indicator, but with its “buggies” and its lack of some of the normal equipment used, it managed to squeak by. The big thing was that it wasn’t obvious it was a joke; it was just there.

It’s amazing how blatant one can be, isn’t it?


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