Thursday, September 11, 2003

Shot down in the night

I had been expecting to report something about some tentative progress to maybe giving HeroQuest a try. So I started to sound out the group descended from my old Wednesday night players. Karen had dropped out when they moved on to Ars Magica, Ian left subsequently after "creative differences"; but shifting to a one Sunday afternoon a month format they'd picked up Phil Masters, and Sheila, and David Chart (but he's in Japan for a year so is out of the picture). I started by approaching Neil, who ran our last essay into Glorantha over a decade ago, and who now guides the saga. Was there surprise or even encouragement that I might be thinking of getting back into active practice of the hobby? Was there heck!

No, instead, I was met with a fairly sneering bit of style snobbery, which could be summarized as "We have discovered troupe-style play and it is the one true way." And I was cited an example of this superiority from the Saxum Caribetum saga. The covenant has discovered some tunnels affected by faery magic that give them a reliable one-way short-cut into the crypt of the cathedral at Nantes, several leagues away (but they've not figured out the rule for the way back, though some characters have lucked out). Apparently a very satisfying session was had when one of the magi - with the Blatant Gift, and an in-yer-face sigil - took the short-cut, arriving in the crypt just when Mass was being celebrated. Seeing a church full of worshippers, his reaction was not to lie low until later, but to cast invisibility on himself and exit through the crowd - with predictable results. Meanwhile a number of grogs wait in an ale house and make like Shakespearean low-lives.

Earlier, agreeing rules for gifts to and loans from the covenant library had become a long-running issue that occupied much of the early real-time months of play. Now I was told how another player (the quiet and unassertive one) helps by keeping a database with the community economic model including models of death and injuries as part of the working year - not just disease, but "industrial" accidents like crushed by falling tree when felling for lumber - and that they were all happy with playing their mediæval soap-opera.

From which I deduced three things. One, the first-cited player still hasn't gotten over playing self-destructive chaotics; two, the real benefit of eschewing the party is that he can no longer get everyone else into deep shit. And three, that I don't think I'm going to find any potential HeroQuest players there.

Looking to other likely victims - One gaming couple we know, but they have children of an age where they are no longer tucked up in bed soon after dinner, but cannot yet be left to fend for themselves for an evening. Or there's the different Wednesday night group which Karen has joined, the only one of whom I've played more than a very occasional convention pick-up game including is the ubiquitous Phil Masters. The others I don't know well enough to put names to faces, let alone idiosyncrasies in playing styles. Coming in as an outsider to GM definitely isn't the environment I'd want for an all-new all-different toe back into the gaming water in terms of system and interpretation of setting. Which rather puts the ki-bosh on the whole enterprise, really.

[Now playing - Argent - Hold your head up]

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