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

From: Eetu Mäkelä <eetu.makela_at_...>
Date: Tue, 10 Mar 2009 09:25:56 +0200

Hi Matthew,

On Tue, Mar 10, 2009 at 01:15:27AM +0000, Matthew Cole wrote:
> 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

This is an understandable reason. I just liked how HQ1 forced supplement writers to think about this. I also very much understand that it was a hard job trying to get the numbers right and maybe well get more supplements this way.

I guess we won't really find out until we see enough texts in the HQ2 vein.

> 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.
> 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 my own posts I was very careful to not call anything simulationist or narrativist but try to explain the terms I used. That's because I'm actually quite intimitely familiar with roleplaying theory, having written and published one in which I also analyzed the variety of different meanings these terms have. I concluded that to actually have an intelligent discussion about them you had to be very very stringent in defining and agreeing upon which terminology you were using (GNS defines them differently from the Big Model, and even the different expositions of the Big Model have slightly but functionally importantly different definitions).

Now, you are (at least currently) using Ron's definitions. I was basing my usage of the terms mostly on GDS, which talks of completely different matters and did define simulationism as simulation and dramatism as story concerns. That's because from what I'd read about HQ2 thus far I wasn't really convinced it targeted Story Now (Ron's narrativism) over the Right to Dream (Ron's simulationism), but was reasonably convinced it valued GDS dramatism over GDS simulationism. Your latest reply certainly argues from a pure Story Now perspective though, so now I'm willing to also take that to be the focus.

Yet if we do take Ron's definitions for discussing this particular point, I still don't agree, as I don't see verisimilitude as being tied to any particular agenda. Definitely verisimilitude is important in the Right to Dream. And yes, it is not intrisicately involved in Story Now. Yet, I think one of the reasons to play narrativistically in Glorantha does come from the world and its verisimilitude. One can derive powerful meaning from addressing premise in Glorantha /because/ the world is so believable, alive and complete. And this completeness necessitates depth and scale. I speak from first hand experience of this, and also think I have a good base to speak from, having also tightly followed the indie game movement with weekly play and analysis of over 20 forgean games.

Whew that was too long. To conclude, you haven't dissuaded me from wanting verisimilitude in my Gloranthan narrativism, but I'm willing to believe I'll get enough of that from pure text. I still think numbers are generally better at conveying this, particularly for people new to Glorantha (I do know HQ1 numbers, not the text, gave me something new even after reading all of pre-HQ Gloranthan material). Yet, only texts published using the new paradigm will truly tell.

> 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.

Here I was talking of published adventures. Do they not need a baseline that tells to what kind of heroes the adventure can be easily applied to?

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