Wednesday, January 28, 2015

The Light Side of Deadly Force

I have a confession to make: I liked the Klingons before it was cool. Long before they were remade into a proud misunderstood warrior race I rooted for them. They were great villains as they had no scruples, blinding ambition and plainly liked their work on a certain level. Then The Next Generation re-imagined them and they were positively grim all the time. It gets boring after a while. It's the same story everywhere. Ka D'Argo is n ray of sunshine on Farscape. The Narn on Babylon 5 are almost uniformly badasses and grim. It's become an industry-wide standard

(Read this For a really fun look at TOS Klingons I suggest you get hold of The Final Reflection and How Much for Just the Planet? by the late great John M. Ford

Most proud warrior races we meet in SF range from humorless and stiff necked to as much fun as a tax audit combined with root canal. Why? As I was putting together some background for a game I decided to make my required proud warrior race a bunch of jovial optimists.

I have some reasons to support this. People with a positive outlook are more likely to spot opportunities (or are luckier if you buy into luck). Optimism and positive thinking result in shorter healing and recovery times in humans at least. I think optimists are just easier to get to follow you in a suicidal attack or similar maneuver. 

Athletes practice something called positive visualization. They picture themselves succeeding at a task. Certainly that could apply to a warrior. That act alone screams optimism. If all things are equal between two fighters: arms, ability and training but one is basically a pessimist and the other an optimist who would you bet on in a fight?

Having a pleasant disposition also makes people less defensive. You might like that if you're going to beat the snot out of them later.

So when my players encounter my proud warrior race they will find them cheerful to a fault. Infuriatingly cheerful. That's easier to achieve than it sounds (think about it.) So yes my badasses are going to be genial right up to when they knock your head off your shoulders or blast your ship to bits. Why not? They love their jobs (up until they lose). After you beat them they might even laugh it off and have a drink with you.