From: Ramos-Tavener, Doyle Wayne (st670@Jetson.UH.EDU)
Date: Thu 09 May 1996 - 02:23:26 EEST

Ow. Ow, ow, ow, ow. Nick has generously expended time, energy and logic in
replying to me. I'll see if I can do the same. BTW, if I did not reply to
something that Nick addressed in his reply, you may assume that I agreed
with it, or did not think it relevent for my reply.

Doyle wrote a long-ass reply: I'll follow suit. But you know, Doyle, I wish
you'd stop using me as a straw man for arguments you dislike

: The idea that Heroquest will never be published ... is an attitude
: that I find worthy of derision and scorn and deserving of attack ...
: this is Nick Brooke's position, I believe ...

So you'd *guess* that I believe something you find worthy of derision, scorn and
attack? You really know how to make friends!

: Some declare that LARP is the saviour of role playing or similiar
: nonsense. To be fair I have *never* heard Nick Brooke claim this...

So why the hell do you link my name with this nonsense?

I link your name with it because I find this view implicit within comments
that you have made. They have seemed to be a logical consequence of your
views. However, I must admit that the reason you are implicit, as opposed to
explicit, seems to be so that you don't have engage in discussions like the
one I have shanghied you into. This assumption, is of course, *another*
asssumption of your views (sigh). My apoligies to you Nick. I will endeavor
to restrict myself to addressing what you have actually said, as opposed to
what I think you have said, in the future. BTW the "derision and scorn"
remarks should have had a smileycon stuck with them, as I meant them to be
ironic. I have avoided their use in the past 'cause I thought they were a
little cutesy. I think I will use them a lot more in the future.

For "relies on", you could also read "depends on". I can't believe you're saying
"Play TTRP: it's less satisfying than LARP!" -- from your article, it seems that
if you're unsatisfied with the situation in a TTRP game, or if one player
refuses to compromise, you're stuffed.

Agreed. But this is why I find TTRP to be more challenging than LARP. How do
you get to the point were everybody is on the same wavelength? I have very
definite opinions about how to get there (what is necessary to get everyone
on the same wavelength) that don't seem appropriate to address here.
However, I'd be willing to e-mail them to you Nick. Given that you don't
seem to be to happy with me right now, I'd rather wait and see if you *want*
to hear them as opposed to dumping a 7,000 word essay in your mailbox.

Not so in my experience. The Broken Council freeform from RQCon2 is perhaps the
best example: as for SEX, I'll cite my wife Penemara, ably played by a guy named
Jim (who certainly had the best ankles at the Con); as for CLASS, I was an
Emperor in that game (though not in real life, alas!); as for RACE, you can look
at photos of David Cheng practically skyclad as a Wind Child (I must upload
these to the Web some day); as for ATHLETICISM, I *really* don't see what you're
getting at (unless maybe you're confusing our somewhat literary games with the
Rubber Sword brigade!).

Most of my experiences with LARP (or Freeforms) have had settings that are
at least based on the real world (Masquerade, CoC). Differences of class,
race and sex are more problematic in these games than a Gloranthan freeform,
but are not totally absent. When I ran a Masquerade one-shot, I was
concerned that the lesbian, black, and chicano characters would be misplayed
by the straight, white, male players that I was inviting, if they decided
they wanted to play these characters. I would not have some of the same
misgivings in a Gloranthan LARP. As for athleticism, I find it difficult to
suspend my disbelief if that Storm Bull Beserk is being played by a real
mousey guy. I would find it less difficult in TTRP, because he has
statistics that impact more importantly in the game world.

It's *because* each freeform can define its own rules on a couple of sheets of
paper that such games are easier to write. This means sneering that:

> LARP's goals seem loftier, if for no other reason then that they are
> easier to acheive and so seem acheivable, as opposed to tabletop role
> playing goals

is like saying that tabletop roleplayers deserve credit for smothering
character, setting and plot beneath a mountain of rulebooks, because doing so
makes playing an enjoyable game more difficult, and therefore more of an
achievement! :-)

My own philosophy of rules is much the same, Nick. Use only the smallest
amount of rules that are strictly necessary to simulate what you need to be
simulated. It was not a sneer, Nick, just an observation.

OK, OK: unlike you, I've never claimed LARP can replace TTRP. But some of the
IMHO worst aspects of RuneQuest are these things that TTRP "does quite well":

o Focus on individual over time abuse of development rules;
                                        characters with no real lives
                                        outside combat and training

I am not really concerned about this stuff much either, Nick. I was talking
about the development and change of a *personality* over time.

o Mass combat don't make me laugh! I don't
                                        know any TTRP rule set that
                                        handles mass combat well
                                        (beyond saying "wing it")

Pendragon and Bushido come to mind as systems where a full Campaign relies
on the mass combat rules for balance and structure. When Heroquest comes out
*we* will need mass combat rules in order to simulate the effects of
individuals with Hero gifts on the society around them. I am not sure Dragon
Pass will cut it.

o Skirmish combat Strike Ranks, Hit Locations,
                                        and the Underwater Bronto-
                                        saurus Tail Lash Attack

Personally, I believe that the only combat "reality" a Gloranthan TTRPG
needs to simulate is that combat is dangerous. All the rest of this stuff
can go by the wayside.

They are different kinds of game. Freeforms work very well for taking a focused
look at a tense, intense, and potentially explosive situation, with pre-made
characters, tangled politics and intricate plotting. I doubt they could work for
campaign play, or if players had freedom to design their own PCs, other than on
the Rubber Sword level. Tabletop gaming can easily degenerate into skirmish
wargames (*especially* given the complexity of RuneQuest combat), where much of
the time available for a session is spent rolling dice, crossing numbers off
character sheets, and praying for a critical hit. It can also produce great
campaigns, memorable and moving events, insights into character and personality
that go *way* beyond what a freeform can ever provide (I don't know about what
Australian psycho-freeforms can do!) -- but this is not achieved through the
agency of the rules system, but rather is down to the chemistry and composition
of the playing group.

I agree with all of these statements, but for a single point. Rules *can*
help define and direct proper roleplaying. CoC's Sanity rules and
Pendragon's Personality Traits are two of the best examples.

You know, Doyle: I've played RuneQuest for years, and I like playing RuneQuest.
(Although I dislike some things about the way RuneQuest is written and played,
to be honest, don't we all?). But I'm *not* going to let that blind me to the
benefits of other ways of role-playing. Pretending that traditional tabletop
role-playing is an inherently better vehicle for exploring Glorantha than
freeforms is manifestly wrong, in my experience and opinion, and although you
argue well in favour of TTRP, you're only able to do so by ignoring all of its
well-known weaknesses.

In my view these weaknesses are *produced* by the rules construct of
Runequest, and I have a sinking feeling that RQ:AIG is going to be more of
the same (I hope not, but I don't think so). Part of the reason that I worry
about the privliging of Freeform (vis-a-vis TTRP)is the possibility that the
opinion will surface at AH and the Chaosium that those who want to to do
Glorantha "the right way" will stick with Freeform, while everybody else
will deal with whatever comes out of the current playtest group. A couple of
years ago, right after Troll Gods came out, I called Chaosium to place an
order and casually asked about future Runequest products. I was told (by
whom, I don't exactly remember. It might have been Charlie Krank or Lynn
Willis) that, in the future, Gloranthan material would only be coming out in
the form of background material like the Jonstown Compendium. Now, this was
at the low ebb of AH/Chaosium relations, and I am fairly sure opinions have
changed since then. But they changed because of people like you, Nick, as
well as David Hall, MOB, Mark Morrison, Martin Crim, etc. For that I am very
grateful. But I worry. In the future will all "good" Gloranthan role playing
be confined to Freeforms? I hope not.

In the end, Nick, I realize you have been a bit of a straw man for my
concerns. Freeform and Tabletop are different forms, each with their own
strengths and weaknesses. I just don't want to see TTRP in Glorantha disappear.




End of Glorantha Digest V2 #546

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