From: Peter Metcalfe (P.Metcalfe@student.canterbury.ac.nz)
Date: Wed 15 Jan 1997 - 12:51:12 EET

David Cake:

>Peter Metcalfe defending his comments on heroquesters working by instinct
>as playable

Perhaps you could try reading my posts more carefully. I spent the
better part of my reply to Erik stating the difference between the
strawman of instinct and my position. I have not said heroquestors
work by instinct, I said they are more emotionally involved on the
Other Side. What part of this do you not understand?

>>Perhaps you were sleeping when Pendragon mechanics were mentioned?

> No, but Pendragon mechanics definately do not (in normal play) mean
>that you cannot be calculating should you so choose. You may have lustful
>15 in Pendragon, but if you specifically say the the GM before being asked
>for the call 'no way, I'm not going to get involved with this one no matter
>how alluring', then you avoid the roll.

In which case you fail that Heroquest. To act like this is like
Androcles _avoiding_ the lion through prudent caution or refusing
to drink the draught that gives you the berserkergang. Interacting
with the Lion is a *test*, not a D&D random encounter.

So seeing as Pendragon mechanics are perfectly capable of handling
this sort of thing, perhaps you will retract your allegations of

> Now, I think trait rolls are a fine heroquest mechanic. But that
>does not mean that you need to be an Illuminate or Logician to divorce
>yourself from your emotional side and act in your own self-interest.

Did you read what I said to Erik? What do you think a violent player
deciding to attempt to be kind to the lion is doing? The Illuminate
or the Logician has an _easier_ time of it.

>I think good theists do this all the time on their quests - they try to
>ignore their human weaknesses, and do what their religion says they should,
>in part because they believe that that way lies their self-interest.

This is silly. They don't ignore their human weaknesses. A cowardly
storm bull has virtually zero chance of success on the Berserkergang
Path. Yet according to you, once he gets on the Heroplane, he 'ignores'
his cowardly ways by acting in self interest.

Most Theistic HeroQuestors have spent the better part of their _life_
attempting to make themselves closer to their gods emotionally. That

way they have a better chance of success on the same quests that their
God did. From the day he is initiated, most Storm Bull Warriors
attempt to be as brave as they can.

>But if
>you are acting out of character, it just won't work as well - especially as
>exactly what myth you are following is often unclear.

But surely a cowardly Storm Bull who acts in self interest by doing as
his religion says he should is acting out of character?

> Now, there are situations where trait rolls are always called for,
>and the GM can overrule a player rightly. The character with a valorous of
>3 just will not stand up to the Zorak Zorani charge no matter how hard they
>try, unless they have a very good justification. But situations where a
>simple choice of action is offered is not the right time.

This is totally Bass-Ackwards. Standing up to a Zorak Zorani charge
is a simple choice of action (Fight or Flight!). Furthermore, the
character has at least a 15% chance of standing firm, if he chooses
to stand and fight. Yet you think it is okay for the GM to disallow
the dice roll when the player announces that the character will
find some spine for once in his miserable life? Who is disallowing
MGF and free will in a PC now?

>>1) You could make a Judgement call on the PC's character from
>>his previous record and ask him to make a POWx5 roll if it was
>>out of character for him to heal the lion (ie he has a history of
>>pulling cats by their tails).

>Telling he a PC that they can't do the right thing
>because the GM doesn't think its in character is going to really really
>piss them off, and besides I don't think it works like that.

David, I have never said that a PC should be told that he couldn't
do something that he wanted to do. I have always said that he had
to make a POWx5 roll (or what have you) to _succeed_ in doing what
he wanted toso. So stop raising this strawman!

>Giving them a
>single roll (trait roll or otherwise) before doing so upsets them only
>slightly less. A good roleplayer, or course, will just act in character OR
>justify it by other aspects of their character

Of course by this logic, we can eliminate die roll for skills as
giving players a single roll to hit would 'upsets them only
slightly less. A good roleplayer, of course, will just act in
character...'. Do you have more concrete objections?

>(a cruel but pious character
>might be following the myth, for example), which can amount to the same
>thing as acting in a calculating way.

Um, a cruel but pious character following a myth which emphasizes
kindness? Wouldn't his piety have made him kind? Yes, I know
there is a Pious trait in Pendragon, but that refers to reverence
for sacred objects and other things, *not* how close he is to his
god. An example of a pious person whose behaviour was shitty would
be a Christian King who spent all his time praying but neglected
his royal duties so that the land fell into anarchy. An example
of a worldly person who was close to his god would be a Proud
Saxon boasting to his Gods. Once again, you are muddling the

>Heroquesting should be testing and
>exploring the PCs character, and a transformative experience, not simply
>punishing or rewarding for past actions.

Er, wasn't that the whole point behind Androcles and the Lion? It
is a side-quest that rewards a secondary virtue (kindness) so that
the Hero succeeds in his major quest. If that isn't punishment
or reward for a past action, then I don't know what is.

> A better way to do it is to turn your conception around - the
>heroplane may not be able to probe the characters mind, but it knows about
>their actions. If the character has a history of pulling cats by their
>tails, the lion feels it, and flees and maybe tries to fight him off when
>he tries to aid it. [more examples of the same deleted]

But then you are denying the PC any opportunity for _change_ while
on the Other Side. What ever happened to free will? Surely that's

going to piss them off even _more_ then making them do a die roll?
"No, You can't have the Berserkergang Draught" said the Lord of the
Table, "We all know you can't hold your piss so bugger off!"

>But if the cruel character succeeds anyway, they might learn the
>value of mercy and soften.

Which would happen if he made his kindness roll, methinks.

>>2) You could look at the magic that he knows (spirit and divine)
>>and count up which points he has in War magic and which he knows
>>in Healing magic and make an opposed roll (love versus war) to
>>heal the injured moggie.

> This idea, while a reasonable idea, I like even less. The character
>who wants peace and love, but is forced to turn to warlike ways to protect
>his family/way of life/loved ones, is a truely classic archetype.

Like the Household of Death perhaps? Like those who fight against
the Kingdom of War (remember the danger is that they can be corrupted
into being a New Kingdom of War)? Like the Orlanthi War Clans (their
fertility *plummented*)?

The dilemma of the hero who turns to war when the hero only wants
peace is that he or she runs the risk of loosing sight of what is
being fought for. Consider Argrath, now there's a sterling example
of a hero who fought the Lunar Empire with the intention of restoring
the traditional Orlanthi ways - last time I heard, he killed all the

To say that the decision to cry "HAVOC!" and let slip the Dogs of
War does not _affect_ the Hero because he acted with the interests
of his community at heart debases the very concept of a hero.

>Besides, the most warlike characters often accumulate masses of healing
>magic, finding the most frequent use for it.

But they will almost certainly accumulate _even_more_ masses
of war magic than healing magic. Do the math. Some war cults
don't even like cultists using healing magic!

- --Peter Metcalfe


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