millenials: the rpg

Last night, on the way home from dancing class, what began as a rant about the equally predatory partners we ended up with instead of each other (along with the observation that, as part of this damnably and artificially gendered dance culture, husband’s ogling partner refused to condescend to him, or even help him much at all–clueless as he was re: the steps, same as me–whereas my male partner became more patronizing by the minute, so determined was he to shepherd this hapless lass with his septuagenarian superiority through the steps) turned into–after a slight detour into the genderedness of dance in general and this style in particular, which perhaps is why so many older vs. younger people flock to it?–a general shared feeling of unease over how people our age exist in the world, or ways they think of as acceptable to exist in the world, and how clearly the presented alternatives weren’t any better, given the sad sacks of other generations by which we’d just been pawed over on the dance floor.

To wit, if millennial upperclassmen were were characters you could roll in an early 90s RPG, this is what your options would look like:

IMPOVERISHED PEDANT

Str: Low
Dex: Med
Stam: High
Luck: Low

You don’t have to pay off undergraduate loans if you’re in grad school, and impoverished pedants took advantage to this to the nth degree. Hampered by just enough knowledge about the world to know it needs changing, but invested by default in an academic system whose very existence demands they change nothing, they are hamstrung by the numerous letters strung after their name and are frequently found self-consciously referencing the imposter syndrome as though poking fun at it would make it release its hold on them. Noted for their high stamina, however, impoverished pedants will argue with you on best practices or the “real” meaning of obscure 1980s writers forever, in part because they were trained to, and in part because it makes them feel like their parents would be proud of them.

CASTLE STOMPER

Str: High
Dex: Low
Stam: Low
Luck: Med

Castle Stompers know that only they are capable of building the right kind of sandcastle, or even knowing what the right kind of castle is. All other sandcastles and builders of sandcastles are shit, and should be told as much. Vociferously. Sometimes repeatedly, and always in a loud, arrogant tone of voice. Their high strength prepares them for these max-volume assertions of their own superior knowledge on every subject, be it mortgages or the best place to buy a burrito, but their low stamina makes them susceptible to rage-quitting arguments where their interlocutors fail to acknowledge their rightness. With medium luck, sometimes they’re making their way all right in the world, and sometimes they have fallen on hard times–which times, as they will proudly tell you, they could totally fix, if someone would just put them in charge.

TIN HAT TROOPER

Str: Low
Dex: Med
Stam: High
Luck: Low

Tin Hat Troopers know that Big ____ is always out to get you. Always. In fact, you’ve already been gotten–you just don’t know it yet. They’re that good. Unlike Impoverished Pedants, though, Tin Hats don’t rely on peer reviews or long lists of citations to arrive at their conclusions: they simply know that They are watching. They always have been. They who are behind every political movement, They who are behind every dead famous person, They who are spiking our water with Kool-Aid, our flavored water with chemicals somehow designed to turn us away from [insert beloved cultural and/or religious standby of your choice]–that They. While embracing rhetoric normally reserved for those three times their age, Tin Hat Troopers come in all flavors of the political spectrum. Like Pedants, they have high stamina for bloviation (and tend to earn extra points for coming up with the most widlly complicated and absurd explanations for any situation), but their low luck rolls mean their theories rarely pan out.

DOWN-AND-OUTER

Str: Low
Dex: Low
Stam: Low
Luck: High

Down-and-Outers have had it rough. The world is a cruel place and they know it and they just don’t care anymore. Except that somehow, fate, the gods, or whatever magical force they believe in hasn’t seen fit to shoulder them off this mortal coil yet. So here they sit, behind their desks and counters, pouring coffees and beers and tapping keyboards, bemused but not terribly troubled by their own continued existence. Their families have stopped sending them job opportunities long ago, because they and the D&Os know they’ll never be acted upon. They don’t have any plans to return to school or even to sign up for an art class or something because it’s just. Too. Hard. Of note, the dark worldview of D&Os can often be hard to discern behind the neutral or even cheerful demeanor called for by their jobs or daily lives. Only in a moment of emotional frailty or other (typically alcohol-induced) altered state will their worldviews come to light in all their bleak glory. While sometimes helped by medical intervention, it is important to note that D&Os are less a product of chemical imbalances than they are of a culture. A culture that, barring their high luck rolls, would have swallowed them up long ago without a trace.

LITERALLY JOINED A CIRCUS

Str: High
Dex: Ultra High
Stam: Med
Luck: Low

LJACs did exactly that: forget those student loans, forget those houses and children they’ll never be able to afford–they threw caution to the winds and literally joined a fucking circus. While perhaps economically screwed, they are unarguably the healthiest of the millennials, as the high strength and dexterity that comes as a result of their full-time and free-time occupation is frequently complemented by vegetarianism, veganism, or any other extremely healthy -ism currently in vogue amongst those flexible riders of trapeze and spinners of hoops. Whether their work uniforms consist of corsets or 6-ft stilts, LJACs are typically some of the most lithe, fun millennials to be around–provided you are also lithe and fun. Failure to measure up to their exacting physical and psycho-spiritual standards can, at times, result in pity and/or exclusion.

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