Adventure-Building and The Ecology of Murder
4 hours ago
The tomes which held Turjan's sorcery lay on a long table of black steel or were thrust helter-skelter into shelves. These were volumes compiled by many wizards of the past, untidy folios collected by the Sage, leather-bound librams setting forth the syllables of a hundred powerful spells, so cogent that Turjan's brain could know but four at a time.Spells are almost alive with power. Memorizing a spell is kinda like putting a demon in your head.
Turjan found a musty portfolio, turned the heavy pages to the spell the Sage had shown him, the Call to the Violet Cloud. He stared down at the characters and they burned with an urgent power, pressing off the page as if frantic to leave the dark solitude of the book.
Turjan closed the book, forcing the spell back into oblivion. [...] Then he sat down and from a journal chose the spells he would take with him. What dangers he might meet he could not know, so he selected three spells of general application: the Excellent Prismatic Spray, Phandaal's Mantle of Stealth, and the Spell of the Slow Hour.
In this fashion did Turjan enter his apprenticeship with Pandelume. Day and far into the opalescent Embelyon night he worked under Pandelume's unseen tutelage. He learned the secret of of renewed youth, many spells of the ancients, and a strange abstract lore that Pandelume termed "Mathematics".Magic as hyperdimensional mathematics, similar to Lovecraft's The Dreams in the Witch-House.
"Within this instrument," said Pandelume, "resides the Universe. Passive in itself and not of sorcery, it elucidates every problem, each phase of existence, all the secrets of time and space. Your spells and runes are built upon its power and codified according to a great underlying mosaic of magic. The design of this mosaic we cannot surmise; our knowledge is didactic, empirical, arbitrary. Phandaal glimpsed the pattern and so was able to formulate many of the spells which bear his name. I have endeavored through the ages to break the clouded glass, but so far my research has failed. He who discovers the pattern will know all of sorcery and be a man powerful beyond comprehension."
So Turjan applied himself to the study and learned many of the simpler routines.
"I find herein a wonderful beauty," he told Pandelume. "This is no science, this is art, where equations fall away to elements like resolving chords, and where always prevails a symmetry either explicit or multiplex, but always of a crystalline serenity."
The Magician climbed the stairs. Midnight found him in his study, pouring through leather-bound tomes and untidy portfolios... At one time a thousand or more runes, spells, incantations, curses, and sorceries had been known. The reach of Grand Motholam--Ascolais, the Ide of Kauchique, Almery to the South, the Land of the Falling Wall to the East--swarmed with sorcerers of every description, of whom the chief was the Arch-Necromancer Phandaal. A hundred spells Phandaal personally had formulated--though rumor said that demons whispered at gus ear when he wrought magic. Pontecilla the Pious, then ruler of Grand Motholam, put Phandall to torment, and after a terrible night, he killed Phandaal and outlawed sorcery throughout the land. The wizards of Grand Motholam fled like beetles under a strong light; the lore was dispersed and forgotten, until now, at this dim time, with the sun dark, wilderness obscuring Ascolais, and the white city Kaiin half in ruins, only a few more than a hundred spells remained to the knowledge of man. Of these, Mazirian had access to seventy-three, and gradually, by stratagem and negotiation, was securing the others.
Maziriam made a selection from his books and with great effort forced five spells upon his brain: Phandaal's Gyrator, Felojun's Second Hypnotic Spell, The Excellent Prismatic Spray, The Charm of Untiring Nourishment, and the Spell of the Omnipotent Sphere. This accomplished, Maziriam drank wine and retired to his couch.
"Most spells can be infused into potions. Any liquid base may be used: water, juice, milk, liquor, or even blood. Evil types really like to use blood as the basis for the potion. More civilized types prefer brandy while specialists prefer various herbal teas. The Wizards Guild sells two versions of their potions--one in sweetened water and one in brandy. The warriors guild uses brandy and blood for their potions. The Thieves Guild just uses blood. The Merchants Guild uses half a dozen varieties of booze. The Healers Guild uses chicken soup as a basis for everything."Claudio!
Anyways, I think you're right about D&D. D&D is primal fetishism. It makes relics out of old character sheets and totems out of a stack of hardback rulebooks. The dungeon crawl itself is a ritual with no obligation to make sense beyond the circle of participants. In that sense, it's a lot like a cave painting of some ancient hunt. It's a convergence of random events in a controlled setting that forms the basis of a heroic tale in the minds of the participants. Powerful and primitive social magic that can't be reliably explained but only experienced. And IMO, a much more 'real' experience than the forced plot you see in most 'storyteller' games.
-from Kellri (emphasis mine)
Mutant Future Anonymous 06/06/08(Fri)20:01 No.1923671 [Reply]Who knew that anonymous 4chan deviants had such good taste?
Yeah! Finally got in a session of the retro-almost-clone Mutant Future.
Rolled up an awesome mutant – Spark, the Human Bee, with the following
Complete Wing Development
Did not get to kill any spidergoats, but session rocked anyway.
>> Anonymous 06/06/08(Fri)20:06 No.1923730
How does the system work? Retro-clunky or retro-awesome?
>> Anonymous 06/06/08(Fri)20:26 No.1923850
It's pretty much Labyrinth Lord (Moldvay D&D) mechanics adjusted for a
Gamma World-like experience.
Lots of hit points (CON * 1d6/1d8), classless and awesome random mutations.
There's also an appendix (Mazes & Mutants?) outlining how you can
blend Labyrinth Lord and Mutant Future if you want levels to mean more
(in base MF a new level gives you a random bonus, either to hit, to
damage, or to a random attribute).
Yeah. Totally retro-awesome.
It's no Encounter Critical, of course, but what is!
>> Anonymous 06/06/08(Fri)22:14 No.1924471
>It's no Encounter Critical, of course, but what is!
Nothing. Encounter Critical rocks on toast.
- Oh yeah, and I don't think people 'just got it' because of the common culture either. Ken St. Andre wrote T&T because he couldn't even figure out the rules, just the idea of dungeon crawling, and he was a fantasy wargamer of the time.Now, I don't disagree with the general point that it was possible to be a wargamer and not understand D&D when it came out. Clearly there were plenty of misunderstandings. Anybody got a handy link to the early review where the dude thought it was played over the phone or something? I can't find it at the moment.
Someone brought a copy of the original boxed set of Dungeons & Dragons to a gaming get-together in Scottsdale. No one knew how to play it. The owner was off playing some Avalon Hill wargame, so I sat down with his rules and began reading. I read for about an hour and a half, alternating between feelings of "this is nutty" and "this is great." There was much I did not understand. For example, why have both inteeligence and wisdom? Weren't they pretty much the same thing? Why bother with all these many-sided dice? How was I, or any other normal human being, going to acquire four-, eight- and twenty-sided dice? They didn't exist!I know he explictly says "There was much I did not understand." and "I was pretty confused", but he also criticizes specific mechanics. That doesn't sound to me like a fellow who can't make heads or tails of the rules. What I see is someone who has digested the game sufficiently to question specific design decisions. In terms of the ongoing 'grand debate' regarding whether OD&D sucks or not, St. Andre's grasp of the rules back in 1975 is a trifling point. I just wanted to lay my position on the table because I think the other interpretation sells Mr. St. Andre short. The dude was smart enough to spend 90 minutes with OD&D and then crank out a nifty rpg like Tunnels & Trolls over a long weekend. Everyone should give the guy a little credit.
Yes, I was pretty confused that April evening, but there were a few things that had gotten through. You described your player characters by rolling three dice, you could arm them with weapons that also rolled dice, and you took them into a hole in thr gound to fight monsters and collect treasure. I couldn't play Gygax's game, but I could write one of my own that would make more sense.
Since I was both out of school and out of work, I had time to do it. For the next three days I worked feverishly to put together a rough draft of my version of Dungeons & Dragons. It was written largely as a revolt against Gygax's game. First to go were the funny-sided dice--my game would use all six-sided, which can be obtained from any old Monoploy or Yahtzee game. Next, let's get rid of clerics. Religion was not very important in my life, so why should it clutter up my game? Next, I changed Wisdom to Luck. I didn't understand the function of Wisdom, but Luck was something that everyone needed. Next to go was alignment. Why should characters be Good, Evil, Lawful, Chaotic, or Neutral? In the real world people made their own choices and characters. Hit points? Why bother? Characters already had an attribute called Constitution that would do just as well. Armor class making things more difficult to hit? I didn't understand that at all. Armor obviously would take a fixed amount of damage depending on how good the armor was. Magic? Yes, there must be magic, but I really didn't get into Gygax's magic system.
When wargamers assault each other with massive armies of miniatures, they use dice to represent the element of chance in warfare. In the late '60s, a number of wargame designers - Mike Korn in Iowa, Dave Wesley and Dave Arneson in Minnesota, Gary Gygax in Wisconsin - pushed wargaming toward roleplaying.Who the heck is Mike Korn and where can I find out more about him? I know those other dudes, but I don't think I've heard of this Korn fella.