About Rituals and Community Participation and such

From: Jonas Schiött <jonas.schiott_at_...>
Date: Tue, 01 Aug 2000 01:42:53 +0200

Warning: rambling ranting ahead. No solid conclusions will be reached...

David Boatright:
>when Roderick and Greg were
>questioned about another (connected) rule the questioner was
>meet with 'Oh hush' from Roderick and a yelled response from
>Greg that 'Gloranthans don't know the numbers'

Yeah, I was there too. This attitude of theirs saddened me greatly and put me completely off asking any rules-related questions.

This is probably not news to anyone, but I want to get it off my chest: 'Gloranthans don't know the numbers' is a very poor excuse for an argument. No, of course they don't know the numbers as such, but they do know about the things that the numbers are supposed to represent. A gloranthan can judge how good someone is at a skill they're using (if they have a mastery or not), they can tell who's winning a conflict (APs) and so forth. So they definitely should be able to feel if the support they're getting from their community is weak or strong. Sure, exact quantification is out of the question, but the difference between, say, +5 and +20 should be obvious.

We were told at C2K that when in doubt, narrators should go with the story, not the rules. Which is of course sound advice, not in any way restricted to Hero Wars, and could have been pushed a bit harder in the rulesbook. But it completely begs the question of how to proceed when the story depends on knowledge of how gloranthan reality works. Like it or not, the rules mechanics are the clearest (least ambiguous) window into Glorantha at our disposal. We have to be able to trust that they are, for the most part, doing a reasonably good job of representing how things would actually happen in (a story about) Glorantha.

It's possible that we wouldn't have to lean so heavily on the rules if there was a clearer concept of what a gloranthan story is like. An example of a game that does an extremely good job in this regard is Feng Shui. (No points for guessing why I chose that example...) There, in principle any situation can be resolved simply by asking "What would happen in a Hong Kong action flick?" Hero Wars lacks a touchstone of this elegance. At least I haven't gotten the impression that gloranthan storytelling can be defined so neatly into any one genre. The HW rulebook pushes the genre of heroic fantasy movies and TV series, but the myths and stories that Greg and others write about Glorantha don't fit that mold very well.

Charles Corrigan:
>One interesting new thing about rituals did come up at Convulsion.

It's a nice little fudge, but I still feel the numbers might be too low. Much ado is made at various points in the HW books about how great it is to have your community backing you, but if you look at the actual rules, doing the ritual in the right place and at the right time is much more important. Unless of course you have a whole tribe or something of that magnitude as support. I guess the only way to resolve this is to get hold of a gloranthan knowledgeable in these matters - a priest would be nice - and ask the hypothetical question: "If you could choose between doing a ritual by yourself on a high holy day, or doing it any old day with the support of 200 worshippers, which would you choose?" The answer to this should be reflected in the rules.

(BTW, why is it that when trading ritual bonuses for AP you get 2 for 1, when the relationship elsewhere is 5 for 1? Minor point, but it ties in with my doubts about the feasibility of Quest Challenges...)

Jonas Schiött

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