Re: New game features

From: Shannon Appel <>
Date: Mon, 20 Oct 1997 10:54:50 -0700

>I also think it's important to stick to a linear probability system
>for success/to hit rolls: the current wave of d6 based systems are
>very illogical.

XD6 isn't that bad as long as X is small; on a 3D6 system most people understand the relative probabilities of rolling a 3, a 9, a 12, and an 18, at least close enough.

The World of Darkness system, though, now there's a dice rolling system that is sufficiently non-linear that I think it hurts the game. ("OK, you have a pool of 7 dice, and you need to make at least 3 successes of 8 or more... you sure you want to try this?" "Uh...")

In any case, I'd be surprised if the new Glorantha system doesn't end up d20 or d100 based.

>It's fun to speculate about the various different methods of
>gamemastering and playing, but I really wonder how many groups
>actually adopt them. I think troupe styles and so on should be
>clearly optional to cater for us traditionalists.

Keep in mind I was mainly just throwing out thoughts concerning advances in role-playing in the last decade or so, not real thoughts about what *WILL* be in the new system, since that still a ways away.

But as for your questions regarding troupe-style: I think it works well, in general, especially if the game is intended for it. Three out-of-four Ars Magica campaigns I've played in were run full troupe-style (in the fourth there was only one gamemaster). I've also played in a troupe-style RuneQuest game (though it eventually collapsed down to one gamemaster... an occasional problem), and a partial troupe Pendragon (there were rotating gamemasters, though not characters).

In general, rotating through different characters works GREAT if the campaign is set up in such a way as to allow it. Occasionally someone spends an evening playing a character that would otherwise have been an NPC (in Ars Magica, for example, grogs or visiting magicians) and a result the NPC gets fleshed out, enhancing the whole campaign. Also, it allows you to create characters who don't have to go do *EVERYTHING*. You make a scholar who likes books, and he only has to go on those adventures involving books, and isn't forced to go everywhere, even if it's out of character, just so you have someone to play.

And this element of troupe-style roleplaying is what I think would have the greatest application in Glorantha. Maybe you use siblings, children, or other clan members as PCs at different times. It could be used to enhance the idea of culture which is at the heart of Gloranthan gaming.

The other element of troupe-style roleplaying is the rotating gamemasters, and that's really more of a "trick" that really doesn't matter when you're putting together rules. It's got advantages (share the load, create a more interesting vision of the world because it's created by many people, increase interest in the game because everyone has a stake) and disadvantages (some gamemasters may be poor, no ability to do a truly epic campaign, may be disagreements in world view between different gamemasters). Of all the RPG campaigns I've played, some were very successful because they were GMed in the troupe-style, while some were very successful because they weren't.


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