Re: Gloranthan Facts and Game Artefacts

From: donald_at_dax0gQkyy0DWD73ptOTi5XggynABSkH-rO1LhjoQU0-avyt6odkeeqsrb6FoZnFNjhVff
Date: Tue, 28 Oct 2008 23:31:51 GMT

In message <> "Keith Nellist" writes:

>It struck me that a lot of Gloranthan background comes from games
>(rules, mechanics, settings) with backstory fitted in, rather than
>from backstory with game fitted on.

>Big Rubble - seems to be an obvious setting created for the needs of
>gamers, rather than the needs of a fantastic imaginary world.
>Somewhere to go dungeon crawling. The whole history of the City of
>Pavis comes later.

Yet the Pavis supplement came out a year or two before Big Rubble. I expect Pavis started out as a place for adventurers to rest up between expeditions but by the time it was published there was lots of background.

>I'm not complaining or criticising this route to inspiration. In
>fact I think it is excellent. I do wonder what else came from game
>balance/game design/game rules first. I am tempted to believe, for
>example, that the whole of Teleos, with its different coloured
>meeples (edit: I mean peoples) is actually a fun boardgame that
>involves insulting other players in amusing ways and trading
>children, but I haven't seen such a game.
>I'd be interested to hear what other people think - I know the
>handling of magic in the various roleplaying games does not
>(probably could not for a playable roleplaying game) quite match
>Greg's vision of how magic really works in Glorantha.

I see it as more of a two way process. Background generates the question "How do we model this in game X?" and conversely "We need mechanic Y, how do we justify it in terms of background?"

Probably more important is the constraints - what background is left out or modified because it can't be fitted into the game design.

It is probably easier to spot the background inovations than the rules ones. The idea of heros having combat abilities in a regimental scale game was new to WBRM as was the concept of dragons and monsters being more powerful than regiments. Of course this was partly due to the fact that most boardgames of the time were serious simulations of the real world. I can remember seeing WBRM and thinking "Wow, a boardgame set in a fantasy world. I've got to have that."

Dream dragons have probably the converse origin. RPGers expect to be able to interact with dragons beyond providing the dragon with a tasty snack so RQ needed something like a dragon which didn't completely overshadow the PCs.

Donald Oddy


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