Archæology

The assorted finds of Artefact Publishing

September 19, 2005

Relating mechanics

Neel Krishnaswami describes how:

[HeroQuest]’s augment mechanics lets you turn the “flavor text” into completely systematic and rigorous mechanics. All the informal, English-language essays and notes describing the relationships that you want to hold actually become perfectly good mechanics describing the relationships that actually hold.

This is a marvellous notion, and exactly the sort of mechanism I would be happy to play with. Not only does it aid in the descriptive context before the resolution, but it also serves to give some sense of why any particular resolution occurs (or at least a set of plausible possibilities). There are many concerns which interest me when it comes to what factors into a resolution point, and almost never is it simple skill — yet that is what so many resolution systems are based on.

For example, in one Glorantha game I played in briefly, my character engaged in an impromptu (‘desperately spontaneous’ might be more accurate) drum-playing competition with some Uz that the group had disturbed. I had in mind a particular approach that the character took (starting off with the simplest beats, varying them into the accompaniment of a particular ritual, etc), and certain story elements that I wanted to see arise, but after some descriptive back and forth, a dice was rolled and success determined. The point being that the roll was not linked (in my mind at least) with what had preceded it, and so didn’t suggest any reason for the outcome. It sounds as if the HeroQuest mechanics would have helped a great deal here.

Posted by jamie at 22:27+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

September 18, 2005

Lack of understanding

Yesterday Anita treated me to a run-down of five arguments used by National and ACT supporters to demonstrate that they’re not selfish bastards. And, indeed, I was forced to concede that the “hand-up not hand-out” argument isn’t a veiled defence of selfishness. It is, however, a position of stupidity. Once again the symptoms of a real problem are identified, and a fix is proposed which treats the symptoms and not the cause, and creates its own batch of problems.

As for the other arguments, they are both selfish and stupid. I imagine that many of those who voted National or ACT yesterday would fail the following simple test:

The Content of the Propositions

#1: That this is a rich planet. Therefore poverty and hunger are unworthy of it, and since we can abolish them, we must.

#2: That we are a civilized species. Therefore none shall henceforth gain illicit advantage by reason of the fact that we together know more than one of us can know.

The Outcome of the Plebiscite

Well — how did you vote?

John Brunner, The Shockwave Rider

Posted by jamie at 10:37+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink

September 07, 2005

Learn to read!

Hullo, I’m a fundamentalist Christian, and I believe in the literal truth of the Bible — that’s why I read it in translation.

Posted by jamie at 20:53+12:00 | Comments (3) | Permalink

September 05, 2005

Schedule change

My next lecture, on Tolkien’s construction of Faërie, will take place on Wednesday 28th of September, in HM206, at 11am.

Posted by jamie at 21:11+12:00 | Comments (0) | Permalink