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When, exactly, did the "white people can't dance" stereotype start? I mean, granted, I certainly can't dance, but Fred Astaire was white, Gene Kelly was white... Is the stereotype still in effect? I haven't heard it in a while, and Dancing with the Stars had plenty of white people on it.

Anyway, for people who may not recognize the term, "phlebotinum" refers to whatever thingie causes the magic of the plot to work (think of dilithium crystals in Star Trek, or the Force in Star Wars). This is not to be confused with the "macguffin", a thing or person that drives the character's motivations (think of the Maltese Falcon, or the briefcase in Pulp Fiction) - although certainly, the two can very often be the same thing. And no, I'm not linking to TV Tropes. You're welcome.

Also, ten points to anyone who can guess what Disney movie Max got this "Beat" idea from.


(Sunday afternoon, INT: EB and JH's apartment)

MH: Here's the plot-driving phlebotinum, as I picture it.
MH: There's a universal Beat to the world that pervades all life and all physics, kind of like the Force in Star Wars, but without the light-and-dark moral implications. For whatever reason, the player characters are all Hearers, people that have always been able to feel and use this Beat instinctively. They're Beat-sensitive.
MH: You get two kinds of abilities - downbeat abilities and breakbeat abilities. Downbeat abilities, you move with the Beat, and it makes things easier for you. You jump higher, you hit harder, you heal faster, whatever. Breakbeat abilities, you move against the Beat, and it forces the Universe to react to compensate.
MH: In practical terms, this means you can use breakbeat abilities like a sort of minor telekinesis, use them to fuck with things at a distance that, in theory, should be unfuckwithable.
MH: All characters can use both breakbeat abilities and downbeat abilities, but if you use downbeats too much, you get caught up in the Beat and can get distracted from the mundane reality of the fight, and if you use breakbeats too much, you can lose the Beat and not be able to hear it for a while.
JH: And what happens if you use too many downbeat abilities and breakbeat abilities at the same time? Do they cancel each other out?
MH: I haven't worked that out yet, but I do know you'd probably look like the most spastic whiteboy chicken dancer ever born.