Re: The Glorantha Digest V8 #73

From: Graham Robinson <>
Date: Fri, 13 Oct 2000 10:12:04 +0100 (BST)

Mike Dawson writes :

> If a GM is in the habit of doing things because they add a neat dramatic
> twist, or for color, or comic relief, or any other "MGF" reason, it REMOVES
> the reality of cause and effect from the world. The ultimate power of that
> GM's Glorantha becomes the narrative taste of the GM.

> No doubt, running a world is harder than running a narrative.
> But the rewards can be great. If I may once again polish my own apple, let
> me point to the Gaumata's Vision scenario from RQ 3. It is not a narrative.
> It is a free form. It's "plot" grows from a few actions, extrapolated
> logically given the time, place, and magical nature of those involved. The
> right characters walking into it can bust it wide open in a few hours, but
> most may completely fail to get "hooked" by it, and LOGICALLY will have to
> live with the consequenses for a generation or longer.
> I should imagine that GMs who let narrative fiat enter their games have a
> lot of trouble running games like that, where mysteries and "detective" work
> play a part.

Three problems here :

  1. Guamata's vision IS a narrative. It may be a logical narrative, firmly grounded in the logic and reality of the world, but it is still a narrative. It has a beginning, a middle and an end.

If by narrative you mean the sort of "you can't do that 'cos it ain't what I wanted you to do" or "that person can't die yet - I need him for next month's big plot line" then we have no argument. However, I think you are using narrative more narrowly than most of us do.

2. Having, as Adept and others have asked for, a single set of answers to the big questions actually makes running this sort of game harder. Players cannot discover big truths if they can read them all in a book. I'd far rather have a vague idea of these truths, and then allow them to be decided DURING PLAY by the group's actions and interests, than have them dictated by the GM or worse yet someone else.

Part of the fun in Glorantha is surely the noticing of logical connections that work, but which weren't designed in "top down". The random, make it up as you need it approach creates a far richer world - albiet one with the occassional huge hole...

3. You appear to be assuming that the rules accuratly model reality in Glorantha. While there are a number of improvements in the fit of the model with Hero Wars over Runequest, I'm still not convinced - and won't be by any game system. At the end of the day, I'll continue to choose my own sense of drama and reality over dice and rulebooks.

Part of this is because, as you say, actions have consequences. If a character does something stupid, and the obvious consequence is he dies, he dies, whatever the rules say. Equally, 35 people in the army will not cut their own head off because the rules say so...

Having said that, I suspect most of what we look for in a game is the same - - logical consequences, characterisation, more depth than the average Star Trek episode - which is why we both ended up in Glorantha.


Powered by hypermail