Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Can you RP on Twitter?

So, that's the question. It's kind of intriguing. I have no idea if it's going to work. But I'm giving it a shot.

I ran across a post on Dice Monkey ( about this TwitRPG game. It sounded intriguing. I left a comment. I'm in the game.

(Ed. note: The game lasted about a week. Turns out Twitter has a lot of noise that interferes with the flow of the game. Also, Twitter has an odd pattern of asynchronicity, in that you often post a lot of things during the couple hours you are active, then go inactive for several hours. That makes it hard to do one or two tweets, then wait for the other people to log on and respond.)

It's a four-color supers game. There's four players. So far, we have a speedster, a brick, and I'm playing a gadgeteer. You can follow us by watching the #trp hashtag. Looks like there's a lot of collision on that hashtag, but I think the point was to not handicap us on characters. See, each action has to fit into a single tweet. I sense a lesson in txtspk coming for me...

My character's name is Dyson. The intro tweet was "Dyson smartass 20yo Hisp gadgeteer/hacker w/wearable puter & perm internet Pym+Oracle." I'll unfold that a bit here. He is a smartass at heart, in the classic "too smart for his own good" sense. Think Hardison from Leverage, Claudia from Warehouse 13, or any number of similar characters. He's only 20 years old, because part of the character arc in my head is that he lacks emotional maturity, perspective, and still hasn't shaken that teenage sense of immortality. By the end of the campaign, I hope to see all that tempered. He is Hispanic, from Miami, though both he and his parents were born in the US. He's pretty thoroughly American middle-class, but has dealt with a lot of prejudice and assumptions where he grew up. His contribution to the team is building, repairing, and improving equipment. Tony Stark, Hank Pym, Forge, that kind of character. He is also a pretty talented hacker. Not world-class, but talented. Where his abilities really shine, though, is finding information. He can pull up credit histories, blueprints, police reports, schematics, etc. on just about anyone or anything (excepting the highly classified).

His signature item is his wearable computer. It is a system that would put most small networks to shame. Multiple processors, high RAM, 2TB of hard drive space. His glasses function as a heads-up display. Over the earpiece on the right side is a camera. Up one sleeve of his trenchcoat, he has a joystick that he can use in place of a mouse. Up the other sleeve, a touchpad that can act as a keyboard. On the collar is a microphone, that is connected to voice recognition software. It has an always-on cell connection, wifi, and a satellite phone connection. Various pockets contain other interface options, like barcode readers, fingerprint scanners, etc. And it's all contained in a very stylish black leather trenchcoat.

The other signature effect is his custom-built PARIS system. That stands for Personal Augmented Reality Interface System. Basically, the camera and heads-up display are connected with various bits of software to allow the computer to recognize portions of his surroundings and overlay information onto it. For instance, it can perform facial recognition against its internal database and bring up a business card next to each person he sees. It can talk to Google Maps and identify local businesses. It can integrate with CAD drawings of the building to overlay structural, electrical, and plumbing indicators (or, at least, where they should be). In a TV show, this would be a major effect. In an RPG, it's pretty much just a note.

He also has a lot of pockets on his uniform, filled with tools and basic supplies (solder, duct tape, etc.). Unless he's stripped naked, assume he has at least the function of a Swiss Army knife available.

Finally, he has a pretty cool gun. It's a sonic-based stun gun. It basically uses low-frequency waves to knock people out. the only problem is that it is still highly experimental, and very unreliable.

You can see what he looks like here.

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