Wednesday, June 30, 2010

M.A/C.C Fluff - Critique Wanted

So, for those who have been keeping up with the blog, you know I've been working on designing an RPG. The game is almost ready for editing on a large scale, and I'm basically going through and tightening things up as I get feedback from the people play testing it for me. Meanwhile, I've started to write the fluff for the book, and I think I have the intro fluff down. I am however looking for constructive criticism on this piece, ways to tighten it up, is it good as is? Is it chunky and jarring? Does it make you interested in the game, the world, the characters, anything at all? I gave it a couple passes last night with a friend, so all the truly horrible things should be fixed (like tense, damn you tense!) but if I missed something please let me know.

For those not in the know M.A/C.C (Masked Avengers, Caped Crusaders) is yet another superhero RPG. Only it is one approaching the genre from the perspective of the highly trained but non-powered people who try to make a difference in a world full of gods and goddesses. The Batmen, Green Arrows, Punishers, Johnny Saturns of the comic book worlds. If you hit the M.A/C.C tag on the right you can find the game design journals which are still mostly up to date 

As I said, this is the first piece of fluff for the book. It is the first writing a reader would come across after the cover, credits, and a short disclaimer note I'll be putting in (effectively giving people permission to print/copy the book as they want). So, it is kind of important. Thank you for whatever time you do give it.

Please leave constructive criticism. Saying it sucks doesn't help unless you say why it sucks. There are a couple turns of phrases in here I'm still not happy with, but unsure of how to fix at the moment so by all means don't feel shy about offering suggestions if you have some as well. Thank you again. Ok, enough rambling, lets go.

The Fluff

Vesper's hand grabbed for the rack as she half stumbled and half fell off the stairs. Her leg, unable to take the weight, buckled and sent her to the ground with a loud crash as the rack came down with her. Pain throbbed up her side and set her shoulder ablaze, not easing in the slightest even as she worked a leg under her stomach and shifted her weight onto her good shoulder. Teeth clenched tightly, she made the slow and painful journey back to her feet and took a few steps forward. The inviting comfort of the large command chair was in view but just out of reach as she was forced to stop by a sudden sharp jerk at the base of her neck. It took her disoriented mind several moments longer than it should have to move her hand up and hit the release clasp for her cape. The material made a puddle on the floor as it fell. Freed from the garment partially trapped under the rack she continued forward.

The soft cushions of the chair were welcoming, but could do nothing for the fresh stab of pain that shot up her side as she dropped into the seat. Her hand instinctively moved to protect the more tenderly placed of the two injuries. A sharp hiss escaped through clenched teeth as even that light contact was enough to make her vision blur. She breathed out slowly, an attempt to recenter herself. She couldn't afford to lose consciousness at the moment, not while she was bleeding out. A hand pulled the mask and wig from her head and let them both drop to the ground by her feet a moment later. The air once more filled with clatter as the same hand carelessly sent items from her desk to the ground in a blind groping quest for scissors. A frustrated growl joined the din until she found what she was looking for. Teeth clenched once again, she used her injured arm to pull the material of the suit away from her skin, and worked the scissors into the small gap between flesh and uniform. The cutting process was long and strenuous, taking nearly thirty minutes before the scissors won their battle against the cut resistant weave and finally popped out the other end. Dropped from tired fingers, the scissors found their place among the rest of the debris on the floor.

After grabbing the cut material and setting her jaw against the pain, she pulled fast and hard. The wet sucking sound and feel as the uniform pulled at her skin and the wounds was sickening but she managed to persevere, working her arm free of the top. She wasn't looking forward to the next part. Her good hand reached once more to the desk, and grabbed the bottle of rubbing alcohol, as well as a needle and thread. She unscrewed the bottle with her teeth, jaw clenching down hard enough to shatter the plastic cap as the liquid washed over the open wounds. Her breath came heavy in the moments after, spitting out shards of white plastic before she picked up the needle and thread. She allowed herself a brief smile, it probably wasn't the best sign that the needle was already on the thread, ready and waiting to be used as if knowing it would be needed. She had gotten quite good at stitching up her own cuts of late, a skill that was about to be employed once more.

It was nearly another thirty minutes before she let the thread drop to the floor and join the rest of her discarded tools. The bleeding was stopped, her cuts cleaned and sealed, and the antibiotics had gone down easier than expected. As if knowing the worst was over, the tension fled her body and left her collapsed in the chair. A glint of light on the desk caught her eye, a glint she sleepily reached out to grab. A picture frame, two girls sitting on a balance beam and laughing inside of it. That had been a good day, only a week before her sister had stopped talking to her, aside from when forced to at family gatherings. Maybe one day that would change she mused as her arm went limp, fingers clenched enough that the frame didn't drop to the floor like everything else. One day...

…She awoke with a small start, the pain was almost completely gone. The stabbing bite of her tended wounds had faded to a faint dull throbbing. Her head was still a bit fuzzy from the pain meds she had taken with the antibiotics, and she was thirsty. Behind her the radio crackled to life, reporting shots fired and an officer down just a few blocks from where she was. Her shoulder throbbed, and she sunk a bit further into the chair. Someone else could handle it, she wasn't needed. Out of the corner of her eye she caught sight of the picture, still held loosely in her other hand. Someone else could get hurt if she didn't go, a voice in the back of her head reminded her. She scooped the mask and wig from the ground, eyes already looking to where she'd hung the spare uniforms. It was time to get back to work.

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