Powergamers

From: Philippe Krait (pkrait@micronet.fr)
Date: Wed 21 Feb 1996 - 04:06:23 EET


Hi,

Aden Steinke:

> Ah, the 'its not a general accusation... not really, only 3 times out of 4...'
> complete with inexperience disclaimer. Touching really, reminds me a bit of
> when I first discovered newsnet. After all, who didn't commit those faux pas
> and then plead ingnorance. However forgiveness is the domain of the
> Goddess...

When I say 3 out of 4, I mean that I met 4 groups, all in France, and that 3 of
them satisfied the criterium. That does not indicate a general thread, therefore
I did not claim it as a general POV.

> Bizzare - it is the orlanthi culture types who have the great temptation to
> become illuminated, the well rounded lunar citizen does not need illumination
> to hide chaos taint from their deity.... can you say Crimson Bat :). Nice
> implication that lunars are basically evil though....

My, my, my, are you defensive on this subject... Did I say Lunar are evil ?
And even if they were, did I turn that into an accusation ? I only said
that I don't like juvenile gamers playing evil twisted characters as
an example of RQ.

> >I was very sad, because it seemed to me that all their attraction
> >for RQ stemmed from that stupid and very limited POV.
>
> Hmmm... good use of perjorative language there, and a follow through that
> lunar players are ignorant human beings....

Yes, it is pejorative, but as you seem insulted (" I was going to be polite
and ignore it :)"). don't you place yourself in that group ? What I said,
is that I regret seeing them claim to play RQ when all they do is play
chaos-wielding evil characters without an ounce of intelligence. Now, I've
only encountered this with Lunar player, and I wanted to know if this was
a trend you've also encountered (It would seem so, and from very close from
your response... :-).

> >As a side note, the last time I talked to Greg, he told me that
> >he always kill illuminated characters. Did he change that since (it
> >was some years ago) ?

Why didn't you answer this ? Ar you perchance illuminated ? (:-)

> So there are not Humakti power gamer death machines, mini-maxing Yelmites with
> 150% pointy stick or ambitious Orlanthi - all possible in RQ2 and still
> possible in RQ3. But then again they don't have the obvious corrupting
> influence of the Red Goddess do they?

Again your defensive side... Did you feel personnally insulted by the
fact that there _are_ Lunar powergamers ?

To answer your question, I must say that of course there are "orlanthi"
pwergamers, but that there bias is less "evil" in outlook. It's the
culmination I find particularly repulsive.

> In my experience the power gamer types can exploit any cultural construct...
> or as we put it in Wollongong, take the GMs intent and drive a truck through
> it. The variety of the Lunar paths, and the greater free will make it more
> challenging to play in some ways than characters whose every response is a
> conditioned imitation of their god,

Ha-ha, there you are: It is more challenging to play Lunar, so you, the very
best player, liking challenge, play only the very best... How mature an
argument.

> though to roleplay a character whose
> conditioned responses are not in accord with the players desires in a given
> situation is also challenging (and satisfying, hence I suppose the popularity
> of adding Pendragon traits to RQ) in a very different way.

Who spoke of playing for challenge ? I play for gaming pleasure, not for challenge.
I'm not interested in playing different just for the difference, only if the
difference itself is appealing (and then I choose it for this reason, not
only for the virtue of being different).

Nick Brooke:

> Philippe Krait writes about the poverty of French Lunar roleplayers.

Not entirely, as I've said, I've met a very inventive one (the last of the four).

> > [French] pro-lunar groups were in the infantile powergamer stage.
> > In the groups I've seen playing Lunars, the main aim was to get
> > illuminated as quickly as possible to be able to use chaos and
> > to do evil freely with a little background justification. All
> > they wanted was power...
>
> As you say, this is terribly sad. We've always enjoyed the Lunars more because
> they are a civilised (and civilising) imperial power: this is perhaps due to the
> bias of the English educational system, which is broadly in favour of bringing
> the benefits of (British/Roman) civilisation to the natives and barbarians.

Whatever the original reason, this is a much saner outlook than the one I
was pointing in my previous post.

> Playing a Lunar allows you to look down your nose at the peculiar local customs
> of Sartarites and Praxians, treating them with lofty, imperial disdain. It's
> also easier to play scenarios where you justifiably become involved in exciting
> adventures while "just doing my job" or "only obeying orders" (i.e. doing
> something the GM is keen on) -- "The Tarsh War" and "Rune Metal Jacket" are
> examples of this.

I agree all of this adds considerably to the game. In fact, I was not raving
against the lunar way (for once :-), but again the stupid interpretations some
make of it. I seemed to me that it was easier to do with this outlook than
with the Orlanthi one.

> I'm a bit surprised to hear that this tendency isn't more manifest in France,
> which is, after all, internationally famous for its pose of cultural snobbery
> and superiority.

Well, I have nothing against snobbery and superiority IN A GAME. But the evil
chaotic POV (a la chaotic evil of AD&D) also includes thoses aspects. So,
unfortunately, this only goes as a point in favor of both of us.

> As well for as inflicting Chaotic Atrocities on innocent South Pacific islands...

Well, well, we don't want to start this in here, do we ?

Pam Carlson:

> Philippe fears that the Lunar way lends itself to power gamers:

This is not the only point, but it is a good part of it.
>
> I'm afraid the Goddess would say that the lust for power is in the player,
> not the game.

True, but there are incitations in some games that other lack. I think
that the incitations were less present in RQ II (probably because of
its limiteed scope). I've almost never met powergamers in CoC, for
example, while there are legions of them in Vampire.

> >RQ 2 permitted only chaos-fighting barbarians PC, and the game was great.
>
> I dunno - I played RQ 2 and thought: "Hey - what's this wierd empire to the
> north? What are they like? Why do they have it in for these barbarians?
> They must be reasonable people - what makes them different?" And the game
> was great.

Curiosity (and satisfaction of it) is a great motice, of course, and this is
not what I discuss, as the cultural aspects are fine. The problem is that, in
the 3 cases I reported precedently, they were "conviniently" ignored in favor
of the freedom to do chaotic evil (and the parallel with AD&D is intentionnal).

> >In the groups I've seen playing Lunars, the main aim was to get
> illuminated as quickly as possible to be able to use chaos and
> to do evil freely with a little background justification. All
> they wanted was power.
>
> Unfortunately, this is an easy trap. But you're right- - the key is player
> maturity. And the ref can steer the campaign to one that involves
> non-combat solutions, cultural issues, and social plots. 195% Sword attack
> and six Mindblasts won't find your lost nephew in Pavis!

As I've said, skills and spells are only part of it. It's the evil outlook
coupled with chaos that bothers me more.

> In my experience, the power-gamers always go for Humakt or Urox. Lots of
> combat skills and spells, few commitments, and combat-advantageous geasa.

Yes, this was true even with RQ II. But I think the phenomenon was amplified
by the difficult balance of the Lunar way and the power of Lunar magic.

> My Lunar character was a Yelmie/Shargashi adrift in Pavis. He had lots of
> rune spells and great combat skills. But he couldn't sleep on the ground,
> or dig in the earth (which precluded him from being a 'free man' in Orlanthi
> eyes), or eat food cooked over a dung fire. Consequently, he was cold and
> hungry a lot. The only rune spells he ever cast were to protect his friends
> - that was his choice as Yelm the Protector. He wasn't one of the
> illuminated, chaos-using type of Lunars, but since his vow (and reason for
> exile) was to bring down the Red Moon, the extra abilities wouldn't have
> helped much.

Ah, but you weren't a true Lunar, were you ? Almost an Orlanthi in outlook (:-).

> It's a role-playing game, isn't it?

Yes, very true. But there are games I like and games I don't.

Richard Ohlson:

[Nasty horrible Lunar Chaos Warriors]

Yes, these are the games I don't like. It would seem that you did not enjoy
it very much either. What I said is that, out of 4 lunar groups I met, 3
were that way adn I didn't like it much.

Andrew Joelson:

> Subject: Krait/Anti-Lunar

First, let me say that I disagree with this title, as I said (this time :-)
nothing against the Lunar themselves.

> The guy closest to Illumination in our group was an Orlanthi
> Initiate; he kept on running into Tricksters with odd questions....
> While _I_ know about Illumination, my Priest had only heard a little
> bit about it, and had decided that he didn't have years to put into
> the effort. Sounds like your players can't separate what _they_ know
> from reading the rules from what their _characters_ know very well.

Second, they are not _my_ players, only groups I've seen play.
And I'm not sure that this is the true problem. Of course, it's a part,
but as in Richard Joelson's example, the Gm urges them on and gives
them all they want to know on these subjects.

Frederic Moulin:

> And as for Phillipes comments, I think (IM"not so humble"O)
> 1/ That is sample size is way to small to draw any conclusion concerning
> "The French RQ players" in general.

Yes, especially since I am myself one of them. Do you feel a target of
my accusations, Fred ? You shouldn't because, even though you never played
lunar with me, you were quite different in outlook, and I don't fear
you falling in those "easy traps".

> 2/ That being a notorious power gamer himself (personnal experience), he is
> is particularly poorly positioned to juge other players on the subject,
> unless you concider of course, that he has first class experience.

Oh yes certainly, probably of the "Wargame" class, according to Martin
Laurie's excellent classification (:-), but never an evil chaotic
twisted one.

And look who's talking (personnal experience also, :-) ! By the way, neither
your campaigns nor mine were Lunar, and neither encouraged power gaming,
if I remember correctly. Do you remember Blackfinger's rivers crosses
or my character's hiding in a pigsty to evade her pursuers ?

                                          Philippe

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