"Don't mention the gyrda!"

From: John Hughes <john.hughes_at_X_pPW0v_BsJJ-03pbRYLsiwnkNBUbquZhJe7kZtJMJXEiQcgooRlujEMVO7cXcY_>
Date: Tue, 22 Jul 2008 11:07:56 +1000

Gedday Comrades

I am typing very slowly so as not to confuse people.

"Don't mention the gyrda!" is of course the latest variant on a time-honoured Gloranthan adage, "Don't mention the women".

'Gyrda' is a term used several times in Thunder Rebels, and not just by me. It's in the glossary. However, it is obviously outre and totally beyond the conception of most beginning roleplayers, along with other such difficult terms as 'cottar', 'godar' 'jarl' and 'dice'.

While KISS is a noble goal in design, meaningful talk about its implementation can only be meaningful in specific contexts and about the broader question of what Glorantha is *about* as a genre and a world, how and why it developed, what works and what doesn't, what rewards creative effort and what merely confounds. And there are many, many examples from all of these categories. KISS (and its cousin MGF) can easily come back to bite those who advocate it too forcefully. It is usually applied selectively, sometimes as an excuse for other motivations. What is selected for simplification and what is not is always instructive.

I think Ian's two pronged approach is the way to go here.

By way of balance, let me throw up another adage:

NO INVESTMENT, NO RETURN. I'd write it out as a Heortling triad, but I don't want to scare off the newbies, or the more nervous oldies.

If I wanted flavourless, juvenile generic boys-own fantasy, I have plenty of choices, many with much better support than Glorantha. I could always port the ducks ... Glorantha may be an eighties ghetto, but its a wonderful, flawed, idiosyncratic and deeply detailed ghetto that I love. Mostly.

Its partially horses for courses of course. I plead guilty to having an person-centred, story-centred, rich-textured approach which occasionally throws up new words or concepts. I have literary pretensions that sneak in from my other roleplaying activities as a systemless designer. I'm more interested in humans than heroes, in everyday life than king lists, in emotions rather than power. Our community is broad enough and open enough to include all sorts of approaches. Or at least, it used to. Glorantha has a reputation and a richly developed world. It also has a reputation as a world of lists and turgid, unreadable source documents, all structure and no story. Perhaps the answer lies in teasing out the implications of these two contrasting readings.

If we want to implement KISS thoroughly, may I suggest a few equally pertinent issues to consider, apart from purifying the holy writ from *gasp* fan contributions. (And I'm hoping, seriously, that some of these have been picked up for HQ2).

That one of the few terms for women of power is the one to get picked for Jeff's ideological purity drive makes me, not for the first time, wonder. His non sequitur response about Jesse Byock not only confounds, it confuses. Of course there is discussion about the term 'gyda/gyrda' and its meaning. But equally, the same sources tell us that 'godar' as described in Gloranthan sources (and in RQ Vikings) didn't exist either. maybe they shouldn't appear in COS? KISS. Normally this sort of discussion would go to the Digest, where it would die an unlamented death. But the Digest went away. And sorry Jeff, last time I checked, Glorantha was a fantasy world. History inspires, history textures, history gets stolen from. But history doesn't dictate. Surely you understand this?

Glorantha has always worked because of a number of tensions. One of the main ones is that between Greg's highly idiosyncratic, protective, very personal vision and the demands of a playable RPG world. At times the marriage has been very strained. I invite you to think about the tensions, and suggest it may reveal as much.

Genre, as always, is everything.

I'm gonna scribble some thoughts about this. More reasonably soon.

Techy? You bet.

Cheerio :)


John Hughes
Publications Editor
Centre for Aboriginal Economic Policy Research College of Arts and Social Sciences
Hanna Neumann Building #21
The Australian National University
Canberra ACT 0200 Australia

T: +61 2 6125 0649
F: +61 2 6125 9730
W: www.anu.edu.au/caepr

CRICOS Provider #00120C

The CAEPR website has a large and growing electronic library of publications available
for free download, including Discussion Papers, Working Papers, Monographs and Topical Issues.

Powered by hypermail