Feats and future canon [was Foul and personal abuse]

From: deadstop2001 <deadstop_at_...> <deadstop_at_...>
Date: Fri, 14 Feb 2003 18:26:38 -0000

At 03:23 PM 2/14/03 +0000, Mike Ryan wrote:   HOWEVER, if a person (be it
Greg or someone else) writing a Hero Wars/Quest product puts a Feat in there, it means that there's some mythic basis. Somewhere.

Lurker de-lurking here:

While there is, by definition, a mythic basis for any feat mentioned in a HW/HQ book, I doubt that Greg-or-whoever actually has the slightest idea what that myth is when the feat is first invented. Now, there may be some exceptions for feats that are meant to refer to RQ spells -- but even there, Greg and co. are clearly more than happy to say that the way things worked under RQ is not actually the way things work in Glorantha. So even if names like "Sunspear" and "Thunderstone" occur in both games, there's no requirement to restrict their meaning to the RQ version. Compared to the whole notion of affinities and feats, multiple possible uses for a feat based on an old spell is a small change.

As for feats like the infamous Sunset Leap, I doubt they were anything but imaginative names when added to the feat lists. (Some feats almost seem to be named solely for humor value, like many of the Buserian scribal feats and my favorite, the Ernaldan "Think of the Children" Cajole). I think it's very unlikely that Greg or anybody has a "real" explanation for Sunset Leap that takes priority over any others. That would undermine their whole point.

  If I
don't know it, I run the risk of colliding with it later. And yeah, YGMV, but you know what? Every time one changes something away from the original, the more the changes snowball.

This is a worry I can identify with. My major concern about running HW/HQ any time soon is the "coming soon" status of detailed information on most non-Orlanthi cultures. If I knew nothing was forthcoming, I could live with that, and expand some on the stuff in the Glorantha Intro and other publications. But knowing that something as nice as the TR/ST combo is on the way, someday, does make me fear ... not so much "getting it wrong," I guess, as coming up with something "less good" than what is eventually published.

Again, though, I don't think this worry applies to the definition of feats or spells. When Greg was finally bugged enough to publish flavorful prose on Sunset Leap, he didn't give one defining myth. Instead, he provided a story which explicitly canonized the notion that different clans, tribes, and nations of Orlanthi have different notions of what is meant by Orlanth's Sunset Leap. There are contradictory myths in which different results are ascribed to the same feat. Some clans have only one such myth, and thus enshrine their own "correct" Sunset Leap. But apparently someone like Javern Spithorn can still travel around, learn all the different interpretations of what Sunset Leap means, and then use *all* of them.

So Sunset Leap, at least, *has* a canonical interpretation, and it reads "There are many different ideas of what the Sunset Leap was when Orlanth did it and how it works for us today, and they all work for those who practice them." Which, if it can be generalized to other feats (and I suspect that Greg was taking the most infamously vague example and using it to make a general point), means that there is no reason to fear future mythological canon upsetting any particular interpretation of a feat. A supplement may describe the way one character or one clan uses the feat, but GMs and players can go on using it however they wish, and *also* be Gloranthan-ly correct.

Now, whether this makes the game hard to sell or explain to newcomers, I don't know. I would suspect that it might, but the experience of others on the list who have actually run the game for newbies indicates otherwise. As HQ is touted as having numerous explanations and examples of actual play to answer questions raised by the first edition, I hope for a few comments on feat interpretation that explicitly describes the "many different interpretations" idea, with examples of play if possible, and reassures players and GMs that they are never going to get anything "wrong." That would be enough to satisfy me.

Stacy Forsythe

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