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  1. - Top - End - #1
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    Default What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Now I only discovered it well after the S.U.E. files had wrapped up, but I have read all the S.U.E. Files (I, II, III & the blog) twice now. The second time through I noticed a lot of people mentioning the lessons they learned from reading the story. So I decided to compile some of mine into one list and share it.

    1 - Admit your wrong
    This applies in a lot of places outside of games too. If you can't be the first person to point out your mistake then be the second. Don't pretend to know things you don't and if it turns out you didn't know something you though you did, happens to everyone, laugh about it.

    2 - Remove things from the game if you don't want them
    Pretending they are well and good while hating them is not going to do anybody any good. In the case of science in the SUE file it led to an infinite circle of producing and denying evidence, instead of finding a different approach to the problem and moving the game forward.

    3 - Clarity & Consistency
    Very few GMs will bring things to the level of "Quantum Trees" or actively obfuscate basic information from the players. But that extreme highlights the importance of getting information across to the players effectively. Make sure everyone has a clear idea of what is going on in the world, what is around them and what the rules are.

    4 - PCs are the hero's
    Not your NPCs, not even if the story you have is that cool and meaningful. The GM can and should still have interesting NPCs but don't upstage the PCs. As a PC do not upstage the other PCs, everyone should have their time in the spotlight.

    5 - "Yes, and..." / "Yes, but..."
    Or don't shut down ideas. Even if the idea is "too good" or something give it to them, make it hard to accomplish if you must but not harder, or even as hard as the original task. They put work into creating that idea, why shouldn't it progress them towards their goals? OK sometimes they have genuinely bad ideas, but still if they must fail let failure be entertaining.

    6 - Avoid Self-Inserts
    Now there are good characters and bad characters, but nothing will turn a character into a powder keg like it being basically you. There are ways to do this, but don't take it too seriously, don't try to be too accurate and you should probably be very comfortable with the group.

    7 - Throw realism out
    OK, not in every case. But usually realism is not a good thing in games. The SUE (System that Undermines Everything) skill system was often justified as being realistic. Whether it is or not is a moot point compared to the simple fact it is not fun.

    8 - Be careful around sensitive topics
    Even if it is in game, there are some grounds that should be tread very lightly. Whether it be politics, religion or sexual assault if anyone involved is uncomfortable with the topic, just don't go there.

    9 - Oh, that is what a Mary Sue is
    This is not a big one for most people, but I didn't really know what a Mary Sue was when I started my first read through. So now I know and regularly check my "at risk" characters for encroaching Sue-ness.

    10 - Players and the GM should work together
    Now this seems to be the cornerstone of any bad GM story (and a number of bad player stories) if you needed one more example of why battling it out on the field of the game is a bad idea, there it is.

    11 - Bad things can be awesome
    But don't pretend they are good. This isn't really some great moral lesson but if here is a train wreck of a campaign that I would not wish on any one, yet I read about it, had a great time and will always be thankful to its creators for putting it together.

    12 - More Spiral Power
    Now I have never actually scene the source that the got Spiral Power from, it would have to be pretty awesome to beat out the anti-Sue force. If More Spiral Power doesn't solve your problem than try Even More Spiral Power. For best results, was it down with Henderson Blend Coffee and a side of Foraged Cheese.

    So, that is what I learned from the SUE Files. I suppose this is my belated thank-you to those who actually had to go through all of this to create the SUE Files. Make of it what you will.

    I believe Dark Orchid is #7D1B7E, I had to figure out that one myself.

  2. - Top - End - #2
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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    The S.U.E. Files, for the interested.
    I have a LOT of Homebrew!

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    The most inspiring thing about the S.U.E. Files is:

    As bad as my mistakes have been, other people have done worse or suffered far more than I have.
    Don't know your name but bring the pain.

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    I may not be the best G.M. but at least I'm not THAT bad
    All Comicshorse's posts come with the advisor : This is just my opinion any difficulties arising from implementing my ideas are your own problem

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Quote Originally Posted by JNAProductions View Post
    The S.U.E. Files, for the interested.
    Oh shoot, was I not clear enough with the links? Maybe I should laid them out in a table or list, like this:
    The SUE Files themselves are threads on Giant in the Playground, while I Rolled a Zero is a blog set up with a re-telling of the story.

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    From a DM/GM's point of view:

    It's Not My Story, It's Our Story

    RPGs are a collaborative process. Sure, the GM sets up what most of the world looks like and acts like, but the players are the ones who wander through that world and decide what to do with it. Denying them that because "that's not what's supposed to happen" is no fun for anybody.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I believe Dark Orchid is #7D1B7E, I had to figure out that one myself.
    "DarkOrchid" also works.

    Before anyone asks what the deal with Dark Orchid is, at some point during the (IIRC) second thread it became the official color for condescending insanity, on account of Trekkin using it to denote quotes or paraphrases of Marty a.k.a. Chief Circle.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Speaking about Chief Circle, why is Marty called that? I never ready Flatland before, so the reference went over my head.

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    Quote Originally Posted by roko10 View Post
    Speaking about Chief Circle, why is Marty called that? I never ready Flatland before, so the reference went over my head.
    It's been a looong time since I read it, but:
    As you might guess from the name, Flatland is a satirical tale of two-dimensional beings. In the story, they have a caste system based on how many sides they have - triangles are at the bottom, and the closer to circular one is, the higher their rank. The Chief Circle refuses to acknowledge the possibility of higher dimensions, right up until the Sphere appears 'out of nowhere'.

    It was at least partially making fun of CC's belief that he was the Ultimate Expert On Everything - in this case, non-euclidian mathematics.
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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    "DarkOrchid" also works.

    Before anyone asks what the deal with Dark Orchid is, at some point during the (IIRC) second thread it became the official color for condescending insanity, on account of Trekkin using it to denote quotes or paraphrases of Marty a.k.a. Chief Circle.
    To demonstrate:
    Basically its common knowledge that...gold is actually made from fossilized dinosaur cheese, processed through secret facilities that no government wants you to know about, so that they can control all wealth through their cheese forges.
    I'm also on discord as "raziere".


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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere View Post
    To demonstrate:
    Basically its common knowledge that...gold is actually made from fossilized dinosaur cheese, processed through secret facilities that no government wants you to know about, so that they can control all wealth through their cheese forges.
    Needs more "But I wouldn't expect you to know that, you have to have a sufficiently inquisitive mind to think to look into that sort of thing after all" at the end.

    EDIT: Also, it appears that #7D1B7E is not Dark Orchid.
    Last edited by Sith_Happens; 2015-06-16 at 02:17 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Raziere
    Monkey Playwright of the Improbability Drive Fan Club
    Hey, the Fan Club that came out of the SUE Files.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    EDIT: Also, it appears that #7D1B7E is not Dark Orchid.
    Oh. Well if there is anything the Dark Orchid colour itself represents it is that pretending to know everything is bad... er... maybe not. But it is still that is item #1 on my list. I didn't know you could use the name directly so I tried looking up the HTML colour code for Dark Orchid and that is what I got.

    Nice to see the "old guard" who participated in the original threads stop by.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    7 - Throw realism out
    OK, not in every case. But usually realism is not a good thing in games. The SUE (System that Undermines Everything) skill system was often justified as being realistic. Whether it is or not is a moot point compared to the simple fact it is not fun.
    I'm going to disagree with this one, in that it should be 'do not use realism as a justification', as some 'realistic' skill systems do a decent job at letting you roll for knowledge in similar areas (such as GURPS's defaulting).

    Quote Originally Posted by comicshorse View Post
    I may not be the best G.M. but at least I'm not THAT bad
    Yes this is it. Currently reading through I Rolled A Zero, and will read the files proper when that's done.

    I am seriously torn for what is the worst system I've ever seen now.
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  14. - Top - End - #14
    Eldritch Horror in the Playground Moderator
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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Not to be confused with the C.L.U.E. Files, a similar archive of disastrous stories from Shadowrun.

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    The thing about the SUE files is that the deeper you read, the more you realize just how egotistical and horrible a person Chief Circle is. It's... Like someone never mentally grew out of the terrible twos.

    Edit: To make things clear, the GM of the Sue files IRL dream is to become an authoritarian dictator, from what I've gathered.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I am seriously torn for what is the worst system I've ever seen now.
    THE GAME THAT SHALL NOT BE NAMED [aka FATAL] still wins by a long shot, IMO.
    Last edited by Feddlefew; 2015-06-16 at 03:29 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I'm going to disagree with this one, in that it should be 'do not use realism as a justification', as some 'realistic' skill systems do a decent job at letting you roll for knowledge in similar areas (such as GURPS's defaulting).
    That might be a better way to put it, part of why I went with what I said is that I find that "realistic" is actually rather subjective. Especially when people know different amounts about a particular subject.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anonymouswizard View Post
    I am seriously torn for what is the worst system I've ever seen now.
    Quote Originally Posted by Feddlefew View Post
    Like someone never mentally grew out of the terrible twos.
    I think that is actually the thing. By itself the SUE system is bad it is not that bad. It is the what the GM does with it that makes utterly terrible. Most of the lessons were about GMing, but you could probably add a few more to the list about game design from it well. Something about granular skills and over using immunities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Cluedrew View Post
    I think that is actually the thing. By itself the SUE system is bad it is not that bad. It is the what the GM does with it that makes utterly terrible. Most of the lessons were about GMing, but you could probably add a few more to the list about game design from it well. Something about granular skills and over using immunities.
    Pretty much. Mechanically, the SUE system isn't a completely broken, unplayable mess. It even has a few interesting ideas buried in it! But the GM's inability to let the players play morphed a poor system into a terrible one that goes out of its way to thwart the players.

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    Aha! I remember reading about the Cheese Forging incident... and honestly, as a Die Cast Worker, I think I'm going to have Cheese Forges in any setting I run, just as a gag.

    Alas, the rest of the read wasn't as hilarious as the "We Do Something Significant" one, and was too depressing to try to get through. Fortunately, the Cheese Forge alone indicated how bad the system was. (He was proficient with Pistols, and proficient with Clubs, but not Club(Pistol))

    Of course, the most important thing I took away from the whole mess is "Know when to kick the DM off his throne")
    Last edited by Hawkstar; 2015-06-17 at 09:02 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Hawkstar View Post
    Aha! I remember reading about the Cheese Forging incident... and honestly, as a Die Cast Worker, I think I'm going to have Cheese Forges in any setting I run, just as a gag.
    This is how dwarves make giant grub "cheese", obviously. Gotta heat the secretions for a few days before they curdle, ya know?

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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Glad you liked them.

    I had to stop for a number of reasons, which is kind of a shame. There's been some incidents up here that could give Marty a run for his arbitrarily wished-for money.

    I may have to make Sue 2: Mary Suegaloo soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Glad you liked them.

    I had to stop for a number of reasons, which is kind of a shame. There's been some incidents up here that could give Marty a run for his arbitrarily wished-for money.

    I may have to make Sue 2: Mary Suegaloo soon.
    How about "The Sue Files 2: Eclectic Suegaloo"?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Feddlefew View Post
    How about "The Sue Files 2: Eclectic Suegaloo"?
    Brilliant. They are nothing if not varied.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    I may have to make Sue 2: Mary Suegaloo soon.


    I am both happy to hear that, because your stories tend to be hilariawful; and unhappy, because it means you STILL haven't found a good group. I hope things are otherwise OK.
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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    I wonder what would happen if we got Trekkin and Talakeal to have a Terrible Gaming Group-Off competition (minus CC of course. Nothing can beat CC).

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Glad you liked them.

    I had to stop for a number of reasons, which is kind of a shame. There's been some incidents up here that could give Marty a run for his arbitrarily wished-for money.

    I may have to make Sue 2: Mary Suegaloo soon.
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    Default Re: What I have Learned from the S.U.E. Files

    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    Glad you liked them.
    Your welcome. I did enjoy them and I did learn all of these things while reading it. These things and some other fuzzy things I can't quite put my finger on it.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    Nothing can beat CC
    DON'T say that. You might be just- Actually you're probably right, the "local situational variables" had to exist to make Marty/CC a GM that people would play with and if any candidates existed they are probably in jail anyways.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Trekkin View Post
    I had to stop for a number of reasons, which is kind of a shame. There's been some incidents up here that could give Marty a run for his arbitrarily wished-for money.
    If I am ever to believe such a thing I will require proof.

    Quote Originally Posted by The Glyphstone View Post
    I wonder what would happen if we got Trekkin and Talakeal to have a Terrible Gaming Group-Off competition (minus CC of course. Nothing can beat CC).
    Wait a second...

    Of course!

    You two have been Diarmuid U Duibhne and Cu Chulainn this whole time, haven't you? UNLIMITED OBSCURE REFERENCE WORKS!
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cirrylius View Post
    That's how wizards beta test their new animals. If it survives Australia, it's a go. Which in hindsight explains a LOT about Australia.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sith_Happens View Post
    Wait a second...

    Of course!

    You two have been Diarmuid U Duibhne and Cu Chulainn this whole time, haven't you? UNLIMITED OBSCURE REFERENCE WORKS!
    Wouldn't Lanky Bugger make more sense as Diarmuid?
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    Recently my players explored the ruins of a Dwarven Fortress, and in going through journals and records found reference to a terrible explosion which had destroyed the "Cheese Forge". They still haven't figured out that in this case "Dwarven Cheese" is a euphemism for a crude form of plastic explosive, manufactured in wheels coated in black wax.

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    Maybe not quite to Chief Circle's level of insanity, and of course the thread's not meant for humor but rather a player asking for advice, but in terms of bad DMs I think this guy might almost give him a run for his money for sheer awfulness.

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