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<   No. 1501   2007-03-07   >

Comic #1501

1 Iki Piki: I pack some extra mining explosive for our trip to the seedy side of town. Just in case.
2 Serron: We need to be a bit careful. We don't want to make things difficult for ourselves in the future. How likely are we to return to this planet?
3 Iki Piki: Never, after this.
4 Serron: Good point. Let's go! {walks out of the ship}

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Ah, bridge-burning. Or blowing up, in this case.

Iki Piki is using the "gamer's first person present" tense, used by roleplayers to describe their characters' actions to the GameMaster:

I roll for initiative.
I fire my blast pistol at the alleged "police officer".
I tell the judge that even so, he was acting suspiciously.

2016-12-18 Rerun commentary: There are two usable alternatives to "gamer's first person present" tense:
  1. "Gamer's third person present" tense: In this case something like, "Iki Piki packs some extra mining explosive for their trip to the seedy side of town. Just in case."
  2. "Gamer's zeroth person present tense", for want of a better description. This involves adopting the persona of your character and saying exactly what they would say in the situation. It's essentially what an actor does in a role. In this case, it would be something like, "Well, Serron, I think I'll pack some extra mining explosive for our trip to the seedy side of town. Just in case. Meet you at the ship's exit ramp in 5 minutes." In this mode, you can't realistically describe your actions directly to the GM - since your character is unaware of any game framework around them. You can take part in dialogue with other characters, but to get your actions across you need to either imply them in your conversation, drop back into one of the other modes (first or third person), or get up and act out your character's actions physically. For this reason this mode is very hard to sustain for long, though it can be fun and is often used for dialogue-intensive interactions.
First person tends to be the most popular, while third person is rare. So much so that the latest edition of the Dungeons & Dragons Player's Handbook mentions only the first and zeroth person styles (though it doesn't call them that) and makes no mention of third person.

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