Re: Augment-only stats

From: orlanthumathi <anti.spam_at_...>
Date: Wed, 13 Jan 2010 12:16:27 -0000

It is this general point that is probably worth noting, and will probably provoke more discussion as more Gloranthan material is published.

The Core HeroQuest rules are capable of telling a wide variety of stories without resorting to adding rules for specific instances.

However, there is a narrow branch of stories that it will always struggle with, and it just so happens that this category of stories greatly overlaps with the stories told by roleplaying games.

This particular type of story has been variously and mostly unsatisfactorily described as 'simulation', 'genre', 'emulation', 'gritty realism', etc. In this style, there is a great deal of focus placed on relative competency, specific skill sets and tightly defined archetypes that help to delineate character. This is not so much a hangover from more traditional games as an expression of a style of play (** see important note below). For the sake of this discussion we will call this Style X.

Contrast with Style Y, where we are mainly concerned with an internally consistent logic, which can be malleable and even undefined.

I think the best way to describe the situation is thus:

The core rules express all types of story BUT the core rules are non-specific, so when we move into a specific genre should we narrow down or expand on the rules to help define the genre?

Early on in the development of HQ2 Robin seemed to take great pains to suggest the answer should be no, BUT at that point he wasn't really working with genre packs AFAIK.

Gloranthan specific material has answered the question with a qualified yes, and may move further down this avenue with things like animism and other cultural magic examples, and it seems Robin was involved in this choice.

There is clearly a purist argument that says no, and suggests that genre can be defined purely by guidance, and this works well if you are using style Y, because specific stories are not overly concerned with relative competency.

We could argue that a high priest of Orlanth has equal weight in our narrative as a lay member of Yin Kin, and that the comparative skill levels of the two are numerically identical and only differ in description and credibility. (I am in this camp most of the time but it can cause a lot of cognitive dissonance when everyone isn't on exactly the same page.)

I think the answer that any particular group arrives at will depend strongly on how the question is asked, or what the group is trying to achieve.

The three most common expressions of this in Gloranthan games are:

  1. We want a game that matches Greg's Fiction.
  2. We want a game that feels compatible with our pre HQ2 games.
  3. We want to take advantage of the more open style of HQ2 and tell Greg-like stories but have it feel compatible with our pre HQ2 games.

I think the published Glorantha material will most naturally slide towards 3 if only for pragmatic publishing based reasons. This means that for the group that wishes to maintain a purist stance there will inevitably be a bit of extra work, but luckily those groups tend to ignore all of the mechanical additions and just read the descriptions anyway.


**Please note, so that we don't drift off into a big tangent I AM NOT talking about Simulationism from GNS or later theories here, this phenomenon exists independently from agenda and even independently from roleplaying games. It is perfectly possible to have a gritty, crunchy, Narrativist Game with attention to archetypes and genre expectations, its all a question of priorities**

Powered by hypermail