Re: Re: Playing Animists

From: Mike Holmes <homeydont_at_...>
Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2004 11:19:21 -0600

>From: "Oliver Bernuetz" <bernuetz_at_...>

>I'm preparing to run HQ with a bunch of unrepentant simulationalists none
>whom will ever see 35 ever again. At least one of them is completely
>uninterested in relationship roleplaying. We all love Glorantha and want
>roleplay but we're not necessarily going to storytell that much. I'm
>HeroQuest will still work with our style of playing. Frankly a little
>structure's fine with me as story telling doesn't come naturally to me as a
>GMing style and I suspect I'll need all the crutches I can get. If you
>don't need the limits, ignore them YGWV after all, but why deprive others
>who might be happier with them?

First, I'm not advocating getting rid of the percentages, just avoiding them if you can do better. Which I think anyone can given HQ's already very good system. "Storytelling" whatever that means, isn't a requirement or what I'm looking for particularly. What I want are the mechanical limits of the game to all come from the same mechanic. See my other post about how I'd handle it.

Basically, I'm not saying to not handle things mechanically - I'm hardly a freeformer. I'm advocating using the regular rules to make interesting complications out of the character's own internal conflicts. I think that you may find that your aged Simulationists (hey, I resemble that Remark!), will all take to internal conflcits of this nature like fish to water. All you have to do is to make them plausible. Which they are from the get go. Whether it's a time committment, or other religious conflicts, I think these are all themes that we can all find more than just a little realistic these days.

Basically what I'm saying is, instead of just throwing a percantage at your player, make the next conflict for your Humakti/Odaylan character a bunch of his Humakti brothers making fun of the character's desire to go off hunting in the woods. Or have the Odaylans make fun of the character for how dark and serious he is all the time. Have the player figure out how to either struggle through to make it work, or see which of the two he eventually drops. No better theme for play, and quite straightforward in terms of action.

I think people really have an overestimation of what it takes to play partially in the "storyteller/Narrativist/Dramatist" mode of play. All it takes is making the next conflict about something that interests the players on a story level, instead of having yet another attack by Trollkin, "because it's the right time of year" or somesuch. No extravagant descriptions are neccessary, for instance, or even "getting into character" or any of that. As an example, a lot of play of my games looks like:

GM: As Thrimdar is praying at the Humble Barntar Shrine outside near the fields, some of his Humakti brethren come along somberly. Seeing you, they ask him to join them on a practice quest of the death of Moordak.

Player: I tell them that I can't make it today.

GM: They start making fun of you calling you stuff like "Barley Boy." It's quite humiliating.

Player: OK, I want to use my Quick Wit to put him in his place.

GM: Augmented with?

That sort of thing. No flowery prose. Note that there's not even really in-character play above. It's not about that. It's about ensuring that the issues that come up in play are things that interest the player about the character in question. Basically, by making a character who has these abilities, the player is asking to explore what sort of issues come up with such a character. So as long as you're doing that, pushing play to be about that sort of investigation, you're playing in the "narrativist" mode (and if anyone wants to debate or talk about that further, I suggest doing it at the Forge or some other locale than here).

The point is that you can get all sorts of fun and milage out of HQ, by simply not playing the "What *Would* happen" game. That is, the Humakti in the example, above could certainly plausibly come along, no? But I wouldn't have it happen by some accident of play. I'd note what the character was like and engineer the conflict. That's the real difference in styles. In Sim play your thinking of the characters as real people in a real world, and just narratiing out the sort of things that have to happen to get from point A to point B (and don't get me wrong, I love that sort of thing). The other mode simply involves cutting out anything that's not really pertinent to the player's interest in the character. To a large extent, we all do this. You don't bother narrating trips to the latrine, or even most meals, etc. The mode in question is all about just not making things like travel, random encounters, and trips to purchase equipment conflicts, but centering on the character's issues.

Sound like your game at all? Many people are playing in the "storytelling" mode, and just don't realize it. Because it's not all that hard or outlandish if you don't want it to be.

Now, if what you're really talking about is your group having a Gamist bent, where they're really just interested in aquiring power, killing creatures and taking their stuff, then I'd wonder why you wanted to play HQ at all. AD&D 3E or any of many other systems are much better fits for that sort of thing. That is, HQ doesn't do gamism well at all particularly, all of it having to be injected through tactics of situation. Meaning that any other system would do as well.

Basically, I'd suggest that if you're interested in HQ, that you're already in the "storytelling" mode to some extent. In which case, all I'm suggesting is a change of "enemies" for your PCs.


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