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Message no. 1
From: "J. Keith Henry" <Ereskanti@***.COM>
Subject: Karmic Winds (was :Re: Skill Levels) (Warning- LONG)
Date: Thu, 24 Jul 1997 22:45:26 -0400
In a message dated 97-07-24 20:53:32 EDT, MikeE@*********.COM (Mike Elkins)

Just a precursor...what I wrote after the following statement is long, and
some will construe as "flame", but it is in fact something from the heart, my
Heart. I guess you could call it "My Thesis" on Karma and it's power. And
it entails a bit of the understanding of how that "Power" is aquired. It is
something that was told to me by a guy in northeastern Arizona.

Victor, if you are reading, I invite you to read deeply. Duncan, you as
well, you can learn a great deal about "Binder-in-the-Dark" this way.

> The problem with you argument is that 20 karma
> a year is WAY above what an "Average" person
> might "get" through everyday life. I might award
> a gifted college student about 5 karma a year, an
> average student about 2 or 3.
> Double-Domed Mike
And then the problem would be just how motivated you are, they are, we are.
Mike, I understand your need or desire to see a controlled state of "power"
within the scope of Shadowrun, or problem within the state of any role
playing game.

I applaud you sincerely,


I have more ambition than that, more patience, more drive. Those things
alone are worth far more than 2 or 3 points a year, 5 if I go to college (NOW
that is arrogance, college the moment of life's highest, greatest point).
College is merely one step, and though it is a big one, it is not
necessarily the largest in life. Wait until your parents sleep at -your-
house. Wait until your wife/lover/husband says "I Do" and it means Forever.
Wait until your son/daughter says "I Love You." Wait until you bid fairwell
Forever in this light. Wait until I cross into the Light of Creation itself.
Success is measurable in ways that college can't even begin to explain. It
can only point the way.

Were I to be an actual Shadowrun Individual, within the Scope of Shadowrun by
your own definition, I would truly have discovered what the term oppression
means. I understand that SR (and many role playing games these days) have
created a "dark scenario", one where the "average joe" is never going
amount to crap.

Have you ever seen pointilism in action Mike? Where an entire picture is
formed by the smallest of dots. Taken as a single entity, their singular
image is uncertain and ill-determined. But, when moved into perspective,
taken as par of a greater image, the one dot on the wall becomes joined by an
untold, uncountable, number of dots. You and I and every other -THING- on
this list or this world are parts of those dots.

Now enters understanding, a comprehension of self. That would give this
"dot" some backlighting, perhaps brighten it up to an apprehensible point.
It would indicate that the "dot" has aquired a sense of self, a sense of
self empowement. The ability to motivate its' own path and maneuver along a
slightly better destiny.

Now, lets suppose the light were to be reflected upon the dots that surround
the first dot. Each of those dots in return gain a brilliance to their
shadow. Perhaps this "Karmic Fire" can be ignited within those dots as well,
perhaps not. But it will happen to some, and to those some, the fires will
grow proportionately. Hence, this one region of the overall picture is
brightened. It is enhanced in its' magnitude and its' impact.

Now the fire is burning, but to make it a furnace, something incredibly
intense, you have to go to distances. Yes, I do very much realize that such
intensity is often unseen in the average dot, hence the reason the overall
picture often seems so shadowy, so bleak. But that one dot, the one that
started it all, is no longer alone likely. Sure, He or She may believe they
are, but often their fire's send sparks in ripples, across a vast sea of
immeasurable distance. But those ripples will travel none-the-less.

Suddenly, the fire becomes self-burning, it has taken on a life completely
its own, but something that can only be witnessed from "a far" or "a
distance" (Bette Midler's song sort of has the idea). And it takes someone
to step back that distance, while retaining a firm grasp on the paper itself,
in order to learn from it and to gain a better idea on how to grow.


Now what does all of this have to do with Shadowrun the Game? Any Game? It
has to do with the rewards the Player is given for development. It has to do
with how enlightened or understandable the rest of the group, GM and fellow
Players, really are. If a player, even one player, can grasp their own
character and really "run with it", then the light of that part of your, the
GM's, picture will be brightened that much more. Hopefully that enlightening
will reflect upon the rest of the group, even yourself as the referee as
well. It will go beyond developing a character of integrity, it will go the
lengths of developing a game that -IS- integrity.

Yes, I have called an overdramaticist, and yes I will admit to it. But I
have also been privileged with the knowledge that I have ignited a few of
those dots around me. The character's I make, no matter the power level, are
carrying part of that fire within them. Occasionally, it takes a good puff
of inspirational wind to keep it going, but it will go on for as long as I

Yes, I have been called a Powergamer and much worse (Munchkin is just the
beginning actually folks). My response after all these years has become
something of the following:

"My Fire comes from within, be it my Soul or my Passion, I care not. Only
that it is there. If it frightens you I am sorry, for it need not be feared.

Perhaps it is because you have failed to see that it is merely a reflection
of the Fire that burns within us all. To extinguish it is to declare defeat
on life itself.

Perhaps it is because you are afraid of being burned, but like the Phoenix,
it is merely the ultimate expression in the Cycle Eternal. It will only burn
and destroy what does not grow, and from those ashes it will give birth to
new hope and new meaning.

But whatever the reason, know that it is how and whom I am. I can stand
completely upon the strength of my convictions alone, though a hand from a
friend is always grateful. My fire's have been found and fanned for many
years now. My hand is open, -My Dot- is Shining. Join Me?"


Now I admit that I probably sound more than lunatic, beyond anything that TC
or Victor have barraged at each other or anyone else for that matter. It
doesn't matter how little or much karma, experience, money, etcetera, is
handed out at the end of a given campaign, only that it is given.

Please understand, none of the preceding is an attack, it is a statement. It
is a summary of opinion. I would dare say it is a Writ of Philosophy, but
I'd be certain that los(th)alo would get involved on a lack thereof. (-wink-)

If anyone wants to believe that karma is a limited thing, then perhaps you
haven't seen the Karmic Wind in action. I have I am happy to say. Next time
it moves alongside me, I will whisper into it your name. Then maybe you'll
hear mine.

Further Reading

If you enjoyed reading about Karmic Winds (was :Re: Skill Levels) (Warning- LONG), you may also be interested in:


These messages were posted a long time ago on a mailing list far, far away. The copyright to their contents probably lies with the original authors of the individual messages, but since they were published in an electronic forum that anyone could subscribe to, and the logs were available to subscribers and most likely non-subscribers as well, it's felt that re-publishing them here is a kind of public service.