Thursday, October 07, 2010

MZB Takes JB to School

Hey, remember me waxing enthusiastic about books targeted at gals? JB over at B/X Blackrazor has a fascinating post up today, inspired by his recent reading of some of Marion Zimmer Bradley’s Darkover novels. Here’s a teaser to whet your appetite:
In some ways, she’s RE-teaching me things I already knew but forgot. For example, fantasy/sci-fi adventure doesn’t have to include combat to be powerful, dangerous, dramatic, or life-and-death.

Really.

I remember reading a comment on someone’s blog (maybe even mine), that fantasy role-playing games require some sort of combat system because, for a game to BE a fantasy adventure RPG, COMBAT needs to be involved. I know this echoes a sentiment expressed by my brother in a discussion we had awhile back (when talking about RPG design) that people EXPECT some sort of combat/fighting action to take place in any role-playing game.

Bullshit. Bullshit, bullshit, bullshit.
All I’ll say on that front is that it’s been literally over a month of real time, with weekly playing, in the game Oddysey is playing in, since we last rolled for to-hit. And that was in a game of skill, not combat. And we’re having a blast! Though she does accuse me at times of playing not-D&D with her. ;)

As for JB's discussion of motivations, this is also great stuff. Speaking of Paizo, one of the things I appreciate about their Pathfinder adventures is the option for personal motivations and quests for the PCs. I do think they work better if they come from the players and the intersections of their interests and the themes of the setting, but having a goal beyond just completing the grand quest (or amassing great wealth, as is the default in traditional sandbox play) just makes the game richer to my mind. So it’s not something I push on players; if that sort of thing interests them at all, there’s more than enough time after the game begins to develop goals, rivals, and conflicts a-plenty.

1 comment:

N. Wright said...

George R. R. Martin's novels are also light on the combat, and although they're fairly low magic in the sense that role playing games measure such things, they're high in superstition and religion.

A game set in his world would necessarily have minimal combat rules since, although there is a great war going on, the battles themselves are of interest only insofar as they dictate which faction will come out on top. Far more interesting are the personal stories of manipulation, betrayal, and feints-within-feints.

I ought to take a look at these novels- they sound interesting.