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A comment I can agree with - RonO's Ramblings

Aug. 10th, 2007 01:24 pm A comment I can agree with

In the annotation of today's Irregular Webcomic!, the Author, David Morgan-Mar, makes the statement "Even the simplest of problems can appear incredibly complicated when there are distracting factors and blind alleys floating around."

I've definitely seen this as a programmer where I or someone else has spent hours looking for an obvious bug hidden in plain sight by other complications. But perhaps the best example of this comes from role-playing.

Back when I was in college, I was reffing a Top Secret/SI came and came up with a novel idea for a contact clue. The characters would receive a tape with a bunch of music that was a message for help and they needed to decode it in order to move forward.

After thinking of all sorts of complicated ways to do this, and working with my brother, I came up with a much simpler way to do this, simply make the message the titles of the songs. The message we came up with was, "Help!{Beatles} Spies in the night {Manhattan Transfer} Tell Me {I don't remember} I Want You {ibid} Back in the USSR. {Beatles} We'll be together {I'm not sure again} Saturday in the Park {Chicago} (MacArthur Park {Richard Harris}) Twenty-five or -six to Four{Chicago}." {At least one of the three songs I don't remember was by Al Jerau}.

So we get to the gaming session, and I set up the scenario and played the tape with the music for my players (and even gave them a chance for their characters to know the name even if the player didn't). Then we sat for probably an hour while the players discussed all of the possible hidden clues. Finally I had to do a secret check and had one of the characters notice that the titles made a message.

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