> I was making the comment in the context of an extended contest
> rather than specifically a heroquest although I don't see it
> matters much.
I'm not talking about heroquests at all. I was referring to the game HeroQuest. In RQ3 at least is was clearly a designers choice to have the PCs look foolish - comical even. Why, I remember decapitating my friends character after having my own characters foot cleaved clean off. IMO RQ3 combat was dangerous slapstick humor that was to be avoided.
In Hărn, my characters were cowards, because after one heroic fighter, you learned that you have to be smart and not fight. Making up a new character after the old one had died from wound infection was severe enough penalty to teach me that. The game system strived for realism seldom seen in fiction. So I made a bad judgement call about the genre we were playing with my first character.
BTW, I'm not criticizing those systems, it's just that they reward a rather different sort of heroism and play than HeroQuest. In HeroQuest, the system is geared towards heroic, mythic and cinematic play. I see no reason not to play the games strenghts and drive the game that way.
So I guess that for me it would just as "off-genre" to play a Jar-Jar Binks -style loser in a heroic, cinematic and mythic HQ/Glorantha campaign as it would be to play a conanesque character in Hărn.
A comic sidekick or relief may work now and then though.
Good point, but what's a fumble?
If a fumble is something stupid done by the character like tripping on his own feet, then yes, fumbling characters will always look foolish. If on the other hand a fumble is the game system telling us that something will go very, very wrong, then it's not certain at all.
When playing HeroQuest, I want to foster a open, creative atmosphere with cool ideas flying around. If you constantly get negative feedback for your characters actions, let's say every 1/20 of the time you do something, you learn to be careful and block your own ideas. Next thing you know, it's awfully quiet around the table.
I admit that I'm exaggerating, but when HQ gives me so powerful tools for keeping those ideas freeflowing, I don't hesitate to use failures to keep the story going or perhaps to escalate the tension.
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