thread: 2005-05-20 : Master and Commander

On 2005-05-21, Brand Robins wrote:

So far as Master and Commander goes, the only way I was able to like the movie was by seeing both Maturin and Aubrey were equal protagonists. If either one is, and the other isn’t, then the movie is structurally flawed.

However, if both are then you get a nice little theme of “a sacrifice made for a friend will result in friends willing to sacrifice for you.” Which, while not so intense as something like “if you chose friendship you will fail in your duty” is still a very definite statement. (Especially when you consider the movies secondary statement about the selfish nature of duty. Much as it is ship porn and naval-military porn it still follows the movie convention of ?its only good so long as you are nice? that caused such a shit storm elsewhere.)

Anyway, to turn this back towards RPGs, I did like the movie for the dual protagonist setup because, unlike most movies, it made for a structure somewhat more applicable to RPGs than most solo-protagonist works. When you have one protagonist whose decisions directly play into and off the others, and both of whom are very much more central to the story than the distant and faceless antagonist, you start to move towards something that I?d like to see in a game.

As for the idea of 99.9% of military men in that position not making the choices of Aubrey or Bruce Willis?s character (though I haven?t seen Tears of the Sun, despite it having Monica) ? I have to think that is part of the point. If the character is going to make the obvious choice, why should I care? The problem with such movies, generally, isn?t that the character makes the non-typical choice, it?s that the reasons and pressures behind the choice aren?t developed well enough. Which is why I?m starting to look into game mechanics that don?t just let us show what our characters chose, but why they chose it. (So far ?With Great Power? has a decent system for developing this.)


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