Episode 67: What is a hero?

Hosts: Megan, Lexx, Timo, Todd

How better to address the topic of what a hero is than by me (Timo) being a douchebag? Oh, the humanity! We get together to discuss the nature of heroism, and how it applies to characters in gaming.

We don’t banter about hero’s. We also call out the Brilliant Gameologists a couple times as an exercise in completely pointless intellectual one-upmanship.

Main Topic: What is a Hero? (1:14)
The Game Master Show and the male vs female heroic story (1:14)
Breaking that stereotype (3:30)
Intro (finally) (04:20)
Our Dark Sun game (on our wiki pages) (5:00)
Further analysis of Male vs Female (5:45)
Women dressing as men is powerful, men dressing as women is funny (6:25)
Deciding on “the hero” of the game (8:20)
What is a hero (answer: not Megan’s mom) (9:15)
Joseph Campbells definition (11:00)
Lexx: All gaming characters are anti-hero’s (12:05)
Superman: Hero, Batman: Anti-Hero (14:30)
Not everyone is Bilbo. Or Frodo, for that matter. (15:45)
Timo disagrees with Lexx (16:30)
Playing a true hero as a foil/mirror (17:20)
Can you have a flawed hero, not Anti-hero?(19:00)
Hero free-association(21:50)
Hero vs sidekick: our BASH game, 3.5 game(23:20)
Not being a hero but doing heroic things (26:15)
Genre matters: heros within different games (27:35)
Italian westerns vs American westerns (29:40)
D&D and the heros journey (31:10)
Non-heroic behavior breaks heroic games(36:30)
moving the story forward is not the same as heroism (37:30)
Can you be despicable but still a hero? (Little Orphan Annie) (39:30)
Does complex motivation make you at best an anti-hero? (41:00)
Does “hero” mean shit (why not just protagonist/antagonist)? (43:30)
Definition of anti-hero (finally) (44:54)
Dr. Who and Cpt. Jack (heros don’t compromise) (46:10)
Motivation is not enough, what you do matters (50:00)
Children of Earth spoiler (51:50 – 53:05)
Being a hero means being powerful in some way (53:15)
Being a hero in Apocalypse World (our game as an example) (54:40)
Being a hero is having responsibility and living up to it (57:10)
Most heroic things our characters have done (King in Yellow spoiler) (58:20)
Being a hero means succeed or otherwise make a difference (1:00:25)
Follower mechanics (1:02:35)
A hero is only a hero in context (1:03:45)
Birmingham School: Culture is a site of hegemonic struggle (columbus day controversy) (1:05:30)
Full circle: Megan is the Pantless hero! (01:06:50)
What to get from this: push characters to be hero’s (Sorceror‘s kicker) (1:07:40)

Rants (1:10:25)
Todd: Evanston is a great place to be heroic.
Timo: Pay me or I don’t work.
Lexx: Reality check: RPG’s are cheap.
Megan: Koth of the Hammer

Exciting Jank-cast stuff: Fiasco playsets, PARP on October 29th (details soon on Chicagoland games) (1:18:20)

You have been listening to The Jank Cast, copyright 2010 under the creative commons license. You can find out more about us at jankcast.com. All the music in the show is from the song, “Jank is a Dork Word” written and recorded by Todd and is used with his permission. You can send comments and feedback to feedback@jankcast.com Again, we are sponsored by Chicagoland Games, and this is JOHNKELLY reminding you to support your local gaming store. Now go out and roll some dice.

9 thoughts on “Episode 67: What is a hero?

  1. Just thought of one female hero that had heroism trust upon her. Buffy. Specially the original movie version. She didn’t want anything to do with all this hero/chosen/’Darth you are my father’ business. She just wanted to be a cheerleader and date cute boys. The author then did something similar with River Tam in Firefly. I have the feeling he did it on purpose.

  2. I really enjoyed this show, and glad that you guys tackled this subject. In many ways I think this is the centre of many RPGs.

    I think that one of the important factors in what makes a character a hero or not in a RPG is actually in the GMs hands. One of the big things that frustrated me as a player was being constant frustrated by the GM not letting me do heroic things. E.I. I never got to slay the dragon and rescue the princess (something that I think a lot of players never got to do) As a GM I tried to give the players options to actually do heroic things.

    Also I think a Hero is also a matter of perspective. For example Captain Kirk (Or Hornblower or Harry Dresden who share similar traits). From an external perspective hes very defiantly a hero. He’s always looking for the third option. However, internally Kirk only saw his flaws.

    From a literary perspective might I suggest the many books of David Gemmell. In many of his books are exactly about what it means to be a hero.

  3. All I know is that I agree with Megan all the way in what I’m attracted to in “heroes,” she is most definitely a girl after my own heart here. Batman and the X-men are the ones I love…although I enjoy Spiderman as well, it’s not necessarily his heroism that attracts me so much as his witty banter, the guy’s hilarious and in a lot of ways always kind reminded me of myself. But I definitely always loved the dark, flawed, anti-hero concept more than the glitteringly, perfect, boy scout, Superman types (can’t stand him, in fact). Which brings me to Harry Dresden, who has all the things I look for in a hero plus the witty banter….Harry Dresden is Hero Perfection…I challenge you to disagree!!! *shakes fist*

  4. By the way, just listened to episode 7 and I have to say I completely agree with Mike’s rant. At least up to a point. Truly, the only the DC really has going for it is Batma, and story-arcs. Which, of course, is just one of the things that makes Batman…Batman. So really, all DC has is good writers. Unfortunately, they have the worst character designers ever to walk the face of the earth. A vast majority of DC characters just fucking blow in every conceivable fucking way: backstory, costume, hero name, powers…everything. Superman is a big, blue, flying douche. I mean, fucking Jesus, does EVERY character in the DC universe have to have super-strength…I mean, fucking really? Oh, and flight? What the fuck is up with all the fictional cities? With a few exceptions at least Marvel will use places in the world that actually fucking exist. Once again, Batman and Gotham City, the only two truly cool things that has ever come from DC. Marvel just has the cooler characters, the names, all that. The only bitch I have with Marvel is some of their story-arcs….though Civil War kicked ass. Thank you.

  5. Pingback: Brilliant Gameologists | BGShort-2010-11-15

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