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M. P. O'Sullivan
Works at The Basement Apartment
Attended University of the Arts
Lives in Philadelphia, PA, USA
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M. P. O'Sullivan

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I've got a pitch for a possible PTA game bopping around in my head. The core cast would be the civilian and military personnel that would be the lead operators in the first First Contact situation our world has with an alien culture. It would be about their jobs as well as their home lives. So, working on translating languages or understanding biology while also dealing with media scrutiny and sustaining a family life. Very important that there is a level of personal life in there.
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+Brian Gilbert Oh gosh, no. No travel to alien worlds or crazy fight scenes. I'd like it to be something that turned on much smaller, more intimate details. Ummm... Honestly, I'd want it to feel more like a David Simon show, like the Wire or Homicide. Or perhaps a bit like the Andromeda Strain or Outbreak. Just people, very good at their job, confronted with a very strange situation that they have to work through while dealing with very real world pressures.

Like, maybe the linguist is going through a divorce. Or the head of site security has a sibling that's coping with addiction. That combined with the fact that there's a space ship that is parked someplace very public and it's their job to figure out what the drivers want.
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M. P. O'Sullivan

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Tonight feels like a Run the Jewels 2 night.
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Soooo good. Except for the sexual bragging (for my tastes).

I read somewhere that this album may have coined "fuckboy."
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M. P. O'Sullivan

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Today just proves what I've always thought: I have never wanted to be a part of any gaming "community".
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I've seen nerd-brothers turn on each other--always a shame. I'll not claim any particular nobility (I've tossed a magic missile or two at another player in my day) but in general my need for camaraderie won out over working out my inner issues on their face. I think if you are an extrovert and a nerd it presents a different set of tensions than for the introvert. 
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Hey, +Paul Beakley, I'm currently backing Coriolis to only get the book in print. Should I bump up to get the other stuff in print, too?
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That's how I use a screen.
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Important listening: For more thoughts about the Bendis/ Riri Williams thing, everyone should absolutely listen to the last twenty minutes of the July 7th 2016 episode of Fanbros. DJ Ben Hameen, Tatiana Ali, and Joseph Illidge really explore the subject from a couple of different angles.

http://fanbros.com/we-need-a-revolution/
We Need A Revolution. On the latest FanBrosShow we welcome Joe Illidge, author of the newly released Solarman comic book, back to the spaceship for one of our most important episodes ever as we discuss the insanity of the reality of police brutality today in America. Tatiana King returns from her sojourn to New Orleans …
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I think I know a couple of people that would have some smart insight for Avery, like +Allison Hurd and +Romeo Capriotti.
 
Hey, friends who like Monsterhearts!

For months, I've been considering the idea of a revised edition of Monsterhearts. I'll talk a little in the comments about some of the things on my to-change list, but more importantly: I'd like to gather some input about experiences of play.

I designed this survey: http://goo.gl/forms/NVP3diDfXzywR6V52

If you've played/MCed the game, I'd love it if you could fill it out. Doing so will probably take 10-45 minutes, depending on how diverse your play experiences are and how verbose you get.

(In a way, this is also me testing the waters for whether there's an enthusiastic market for a second edition. More responses means more confidence about the idea of moving forward.)
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Do it!, +Scout Munroe​!
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M. P. O'Sullivan

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My favourite webcomic going currently is Titan, by Francois Vineault. Set in a mining colony populated by a gene-engineered workforce and policed by the company that owns the colony, it's a story about companies, class, and feeling trapped by responsibility.

Titan is beautifully drawn, with expressive, thick linework and a striking duo-chrome palette that changes with each chapter. I really like the artist's ability to depict all kinds of different body types, with thin, fat, athletic, and all sorts of differnet nationalities getting great representation. Also, the Titans of the title are all ten or twelve feet tall, and Vineault is able to express that size in really subtle ways, using line weight and juxtaposition keenly. Just lovely cartooning.

If you like things like the Expanse or Planetes and you're looking for a little bit more, Titan is totally the place to go.

What are you guys reading?
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A couple of weeks ago I wrote about the difference in conversation I perceived between my white friends and my POC friends around the Riri Williams Iron Man announcement. A lot of people reacted negatively when I mentioned that I saw a lot of people unhappy that Marvel was creating a lot of POC characters but did very little to support POC creators.

Marvel has since announced at SDCC the hiring of Roxane Gay, Afua Richardson, and Alitha Martinez to create Black Panther: World of Wakanda. It will be a comic about women of color, created by women of color.

It will be the first time in the history of Marvel Comics that a black woman will be writing for the company. And just in case you weren't aware, Marvel comics is 77 years old.

That happened because of the conversations that black people were having in public spaces. Those conversations that I was talking about two weeks ago, like the ones here:

http://www.ebony.com/entertainment-culture/marvel-riri-williams#axzz4F5Prgl7Z

or here: http://fanbros.com/we-need-a-revolution/

The conversations that a lot of people were trying real hard to ignore.

And it's great that this has happened. There's a lot of love for Marvel for taking this step. We should all be happy that we've seen this happen.

But we've got to make sure that Marvel continues to do this. That they don't wait for the heat to die down and then wind the wagons in a circle again.

Roxane Gay, the first black female writer to ever work for Marvel, said this after the announcement of her hiring:

"And no. It doesn't make sense that I am the first, in 2016. But I won't be the last."

That's not her job to make way for the next black female creator. That's our job. To make sure that the conversation continues, and that there is always a space in our world for those voices to be heard.
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+Robert Bohl Thanks, dude! And yeah, I think that's an incredibly important part of the narrative. Recognizing change without doing so for the voice that called for change... well, that's deafness.
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A new RPG hit kickstarter that has me incredibly excited!

Coriolis (from the creators of the very interesting Mutant: Year Zero) is a space exploration sci-fi RPG with lots of great texture. Elevator pitched by the publishers as "Firefly meets Arabian Nights", it's a scifi setting of many different peoples and cultures, lost to each other during a dark age but coming together again in the wake of advancing technology. Cultures meet, religions clash, war is made.

As I made my way through the introduction video and text, I realized this: Coriolis is the Silk Road in space. At least, that's how it reads to me. And that's exciting as hell.

Game play will put characters together in a ship that travels through a newly reconnected panoply of stars. They will come from different cultures, have different gods. (Oh! The gods effect the game! This is where the Arabian Nights stuff comes in, with the strange and mystical being real.)

There's a decidedly un-Star Wars feel here, to me. With mentions of all of the different faiths and peoples and cultures, and the importance they seem like they have mechanically, the game really seems to put personal character belief and culture at its center.

Gosh, I can't wait to play this one.

Thanks to +Paul Beakley for bringing this game to my attention.
Firefly meets Arabian Nights in this unique sci-fi RPG. Crew a starship and explore the ancient mysteries of The Third Horizon!
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My wallet tells me not to even look.
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In the last couple of weeks I've seen friends reacting to two events in pop culture: the latest season of Orange is the New Black, and the announcement of Riri Williams, a young black woman, taking on the role of Iron Man.

Most every white friend that I have that have reacted to either one or both of these events have reacted in the positive.

My white friends have said how powerful and moving the latest season of OitNB is. You see, a young black woman and member of the regular cast is killed in the show, leading to a multi-episode exploration of institutional racism and violence from places of power.
My white friends have said how progressive it is to have a teenage black woman take on the role of Iron Man. You see, she's a young tech genius who comes from a place of violence that she had to struggle out from in order to accomplish her goals, proving her courage and wit along the way.

These are both powerful stories about the black experience in America.

Most every one of my black friends have reacted negatively to both of these stories. They've been angry at and made nauseated by them.
You see, the OitNB writer's room, which doesn't have a single black person in it, wrote a story wherein a black character is killed in a story told from the perspective of a white main character. The new Iron Man, written by a Jewish man, is about a young black woman surviving inner city violence so that she can take on a role most associated with a white man.

Both stories are seen by many black people as emotional tourism, using the black American experience to tell stories while the institutions these stories come from have few, if any, black voices.

OitNB has no black writers. At all. None.

Marvel has very few black writers. Only two on regular series as listed in next month's solicits.

I know so many people that watch Orange is the New Black, but I know very few white people that watch Empire. There's a lot of talk about Riri Williams, the new Iron Man, but very little about the new Power Man and Iron Fist or Nighthawk books, both written by a black man.

While space is being made for black characters in our pop culture world, rarely is space being made for black voices.

And that's on a lot of people. Executive producers and editors, sure.

But that's also on us.

(Crosspost from my Facebook because I have very different communities between there and here)
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For more thoughts about the Bendis/ Riri Williams thing, everyone should absolutely listen to the last twenty minutes of the July 7th 2016 episode of Fanbros. DJ Ben Hameen, Tatiana Ali, and Joseph Illidge really explore the subject from a couple of different angles.

http://fanbros.com/we-need-a-revolution/
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So, here's a thing that I've been thinking about a lot lately: my queerness.

I am what would currently be called genderqueer. I don't conform to gender standards for a man in America. I like a bit of make up or nail polish. My physical movements can be both very masculine and a bit feminine. I love, love, love clothes.

I spent my twenties much more queer than I am nowadays. I had my hair in a bob. I would wear skirts or femme-y shirts with intricate designs on them. I would regularly get mistaken for a woman in the Gayborhood, the gay community that I lived in in Philly.

There wasn't a word for it back then. I wasn't a "transvestite" as Eddie Izzard would frame it. I just... floated. Twisted along as this weird tall, fat, broad shouldered femme-y guy. Occasionally I picked up an issue of On Our Backs and read through it, looking at women like Beth Ditto as both someone I wanted to fuck and someone I wanted to look like.

Today, the Queer Self-love hashtag is making the rounds on Twitter and I love it. I love seeing so many people being strong and loving. And so many people coming out! It's lovely.

But I don't feel like my voice belongs there. I feel like I should be an ally, not a member of the choir.

You see... being what I am was never hard. Not really. I was just a weird kid that grew up into a more mellow but still weird adult. I was never beat up or intimidated. I was never hated for what I was. At worst, I was occasionally called "fag".

I'm just a white dude, I've got a penis, and I'm straight (trust me, I tried). I don't feel like I'm a part of the conversation. I feel like I would be, at best, a distraction.

When I was 20, there wasn't a name for what I was. Now I'm nearly 40 and people finally cooked up a name. But it doesn't feel like my fight. I don't think of myself as queer, and that's because I've known so many queer people and seen them go through so much struggle and pain. I'm just a guy that feels really comfortable in eye liner and sits with his legs crossed sometimes.

I'm confusing for others. My queer friends are targets of derision or hate.

I don't really know what to think. The terminology, the community... it's become so big and labyrinthine that sometimes I feel like I belong, and sometimes I feel like I don't.

As someone who "passes", as it were, in so many ways, do I even belong? Or, worse, would my belonging maybe diminish the importance of others in the culture?

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So, from another exceptionally privileged space, I think labels are great if they help you align yourself in something. There's a truth to safety in numbers and the validation that "finding your people" can offer. As someone who tries very hard to keep up with the new shifts in terminology, when someone uses a label it is helpful to me in conversation because I now have a list of associations that go with that thing. But...I don't think we NEED to pick something. Queer seems to be a large enough umbrella that you can walk about with it if you'd like, but if it doesn't feel like home, then by all means, don't live there. You'll always be confusing to the people who can't grok what it is to live outside of the strict binary, and you'll always be a perfectly normal MPOS to people who care about you.
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Guys, I know I said that I had an idea for Game Chef.

That changed.

Now I have an idea for Criminal Element.

Except it's not that any more. It's something different. It gets at the game that I always wanted Criminal Element to be. Simpler, meaner, way faster, and a lot more of a laugh with your friends.

I've been bashing out pages of rules and notes and ideas in a near-fugue state. Shit, I cannot wait to playtest this. Sorry, romantic Wuxia game, you're next on the list now.
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Freelance Illustrator
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  • The Basement Apartment
    Illustrator, present
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Philadelphia, PA, USA
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Jackson, NJ, USA - Honolulu, HI, USA
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  • MARVEL Avengers Academy Scientific Revenue Pricing Console
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Comic book writer and artist. Freelance Illustrator.
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Born in PA, raised in Jersey, lived in Hawai'i, living in Philadelphia.  I like to draw.
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Currently drawing "Orphans", a scifi adventure webcomic.
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  • University of the Arts
    Illustration
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Male