RE: The merits of relative and absolute resistances (HQ1 and HQ2)

From: Matthew Cole <matthew.cole_at_...>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 01:15:27 -0000

Eetu wrote: This gave the whole world structure and order,

This structure and order is false though. The real Glorantha comes from the text. The crimson bat, hidden greens, gonn orta, harrek the berserk,. all are described in wonderful emotive ways that give the potential for their own parts in our own stories.

If you need an ability, read the text and pull the name from there. Also pull the difficulty for the resistance from there too. This way you'll *never* have the problem of players beating Harrek (if you are using him as written).

Eetu wrote: wouldn't have come across from bare text.

I seriously doubt that this will turn out to be true. Perhaps the text to which you refer didn't contain the detail you wanted. Many times this will be true - no designer can invent everything you need to tell the stories you want to tell. I'd add that it's not reasonable to expect that the designers of Gloranthan game supplements come up with numbers for everything - in addition to the large amount of work put in already. The great thing is: we can invent those details for ourselves - by finding them out in-game, by discussing them online, by thinking in a darkened room, by divine inspiration! I'm sure this has been said already: if you make up something cool that has been missed it could take its place among the published works someday. Imagine if everything were done for you? There would be no scope to contribute!

Eetu wrote: But still, even though you had to fudge those skills, the scale itself wasn't useless. With fudging, you just restored the order that was there before the augmenting frenzy.

Now you have to rely on story logic published in text form instead. The text says that the only person that ever survived a fight with Harrek was that nice Mr Argrath. If it didn't say why we could invent that part pretty easily, right?

Eetu wrote: And in no way is this now tied to pure simulation gaming - for a game where you based resistance on story concerns, you used the scale to pick a suitable opposing force or manufacture suitable circumstances to the available opposition that set the resistance where your story (or the pass-fail-cycle in HQ2) needed it to be. You used it to give your story Gloranthan verisimilitude.

Oh but I think it *is* tied to simulationist concerns. Simulationism doesn't mean 'to simulate' - this is where the term from GNS fails big-style in my opinion. Sim means "the right to dream". Unfortunately I lack the ability to describe it concisely enough to be right for this forum - and I'm sorry to cop out like that - I can only suggest further reading at The Forge. For a more pertinent point of view - maybe Robin would care to give his perspective as the sole designer of the HQ2 system. I'm sure it would give insight that I'd simply fail to provide.

As to verisimilitude, believability, in narrative terms, comes from the story as it is developed and doesn't need to come from a scientific measurement. Could you read Lord of the Rings and play in Middle Earth without writing down Robes of Amman 15W5? You bet your sweet bippy you could! (In England we might bet our mum's sweet bitty! :-) )

Eetu wrote: Now, if HQ2 is more story-oriented, I very much understand wanting to give relative resistances in published adventures. It's just easier to present and maintain the dramatic arc and balance that way.

HQ2 is more story oriented. It's *all* about that. I post later on just how much.

Eetu wrote: But, these relative resistances really can't exist in thin air. There must still be some at least assumed baseline range for the adventure or it doesn't make sense. A player hero that could beat armies or seduce any woman alive certainly isn't going to have a 'very hard' resistance swaying a moot. That adventure just isn't for that hero.

Actually, the adventure *is* just for those heroes. Played by the same players and different heroes it's a different adventure. Or at least I'd hope so! The baseline for the adventure is: it's about the heroes. There's your baseline.

Eetu wrote: Which in the end takes me back to the question the absolute resistance people have been asking: why can't you have both?

In my opinion you can't have both in the same way that you can't combine creative agendas. They are incompatible and it would be impractical to create a game system that tried to cater for all methods of role playing. HQ2 can't be "all things to all men".

In a later post I mention that Mongoose have published RuneQuest which is intended for gritty simulationist Gloranthan fantasy. One of the things that people loved about Genertela: Crucible of the Hero Wars was that it was comprised almost entirely of vignettes that inspired sometimes whole scenarios (or even supplements, if I'm not mistaken). This type of writing is where you can get your ideas of how to portray things, in terms of abilities and ratings. Have you seen my posts on how to create narrative resources for just about anything based on the elegant 100-words method?

Eetu wrote: Just state the baseline range at the start of the adventure and /then/ use relative resistances in the adventure itself to tell the story. Or even better, give the opponents absolute numbers by which to place themselves in the Gloranthan canon, and then give suitable possible circumstances and reasons that can be used to shift that number to where ever it needs to be in terms of the story.

If nothing else, this is just so much work. I just wouldn't have the time, personally.

Eetu wrote: With only relative resistances we can run the adventure, yes, but it makes it that much harder to extract the NPCs out of it, into more general resources.

If you want to use a character in your story - look at what function you want them to play. Hopefully it won't be the same function as last time around so you won't be needing those old numbers you used. Of course you will have a group experience of what they were like and you can base your numbers on that?

Eetu wrote: If you already know Glorantha like the insides of your pockets, you don't need this. If verisimilitude isn't important to you, you don't need this.

But it matters to some, and it might not cost that much in the end to also cater to those for whom it does.

Actually I think it comes at quite a high cost. Preparing a scenario or supplement for publishment :-) is a great deal of work.  



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