From: Ian or Katts (
Date: Wed 03 May 1995 - 14:42:50 EEST

OK, my email account has been down for about a week so here goes ...

Brad Bateman : I believe the attitude of the Blue Moon trolls to the Red Goddess is that she is much more useful inside the cave and shitting outside it, than outside the cave shitting inside it.

David Durham and Nils Weinander : Yep, Systemless and Theatrical
(systemless with sfx) styles are tougher to GM and dont do campaigns
well, or indeed at all. They are also a real dogs breakfast if done badly. But done well they are as good as it gets.

Sandy : I think military history will back me up when I say proffessionals beat amateurs at war. The Lunars not only have a professional army, but also a diplomatic corps etc (lyrical waxing removed for sake of brevity :) ). This means they can play divide+conquer a lot better than their enemies - especially plains barbarians, who need a once-a-millenia hero figure to unite them (incidentally, I would argue real civilized states had a pretty good record against horse barbarians too, except I dont want to reignite the Mongol Flame Wars). As far as professional system vs professional system - I guess that professionals are smart enpough to know when they are licked, and cut a deal. It is only those stupid bloody barbarians who need to get stomped every 100 years, rather than just becoming a satrapy with local semi-autonomy or whatever. And the Lunars seem to be batting zero for one against the Holy Country :)    

As far as the Lunar Way of Heroes is concerned, I think it could have been better described as the Lunar Way of Heroquesters. And yes, I would consider one per generation to be an acceptable strike rate for the elaborate system I propose :)

Systemless etc :

Sorry, I have to put the boot in on this one. Rules do emotional stuff badly because the rules and dice get in the way. You either use the rules system as a framework, and proceed to drift over into systemless and back as appropriate (eg at the end of a cathartic bit, you figure out the results, and adjust character sheets as appropriate), or you dump the rules entirely, or you play a tactical wargame. All approaches are valid, it is just that for what I do most of the time - 1 off convention games not linked into a campaign, emphasizing mood and atmosphere above all else, systemless just works better. I cannot imagine running "At the Edge of the Darkness" as tabletop - it is, what, 1 short combat and 5 encounters. What it did, however, was force players to roleplay the bit where they would normally say "we wait for the next thing to happen"
(well, ok, it didnt force them. It's just the GMs had a higher boredom
threshold than they did :). Similarly, I cannot imagine running a campaign as Systemless - at least not given the average PC death rate in Sydney systemless games (one of the good things about a one-off is you *can* kill, maim or permanently retire the PCs without worrying about next week).
Finally, freeforms (Larps to you yanks). Yep, 48 hour freeforms would be exhausting. Heck 48 hour wargames can be cathartic too :) Give me that amount of fatigue poisons and caffeine, and I'll start imitating John of Patmos too :) Personally, I believe that 35 players over 6 hours is too big, too unweildy and too easy to fuck up, but I suspect it depends on what you are used to. Yeah, from what I saw, both RQCon II freeforms were cursed by over-optimistic designers (although I must emphasize I didnt play in either). Yes, I agree freeforming is a *good thing* and should be encouraged ... who is doing the Cafe on the Road to Alda-Chur ? :)

Enough mindless ramblings for now :)


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