Thursday, January 26, 2023

Random Musings of Gaming-related Nature

 I had it spelled out to me recently (not in so many words, but the implication was pretty clear) that I am exactly the sort of gamer that isn't really welcome in the SJG Forums. After the stinging of the semi-public rebuke wore off, I came to the conclusion that they were probably right to do so, and since I have had poor luck with getting my own questions answered there I have, somewhat reluctantly but with resignation, decided to not participate there anymore (note, they have not asked me to leave, but I'm not likely to change my ways and those particular ways are ones they have made plain they don't want around). Better for us all. And thus passes from me the last forum-style internet site I had any interest in participating in; which I guess is a milestone worth marking in some way, thus this comment here. Blogs and social media work better for me. I should probably get back to paying attention to TikTok, though, as I am not really interested in social media with marked learning curves like Mastodon.

Speaking of SJG, they have hinted that they might be thinking about a 5th edition for GURPS, using similar language to the last time they were preparing for a new edition (20 years ago!) I've answered them as to what I'd like to see, but it's pretty clear from other responses that my interests for that game are not those of the majority of their customers so I don't expect to see them enacted. Meanwhile, I was reminded that Basic Roleplaying has an Open License (and is working with other companies like Paizo on a new one that WotC can't pretend to touch). I'd have to do some work to hammer that into the sort of game I'd be interested in getting deep into in the same way I've been getting into GURPS, but that remains a thought.

The ridiculousness of WotC, in trying to create a power in regard to the OGL 1.0a that is not granted to anyone, has certainly upended D&D significantly. Nobody knows what the future is going to hold, and so it feels like most of the industry is holding its breath, even the people who are loudly declaiming their disinterest.

I continue to think about the idea of a city-as-dungeon project and its practicality. Coincidentally, there's been an interesting series running on Mailanka's blog (I, II, III, IV) that is directly relevant to such a project. So, perhaps it draws closer to actual realization. I'm definitely thinking about a post on the concept.

I spent a lot of today thinking about The Beastmaster, a film from 1982 that was widely considered to be a low-budget coattail-hanger on Conan the Barbarian. Certainly, there are some similarities, but the differences are also pretty pronounced. One thing that both films have in common that I notice is a reliance on a sort of implicit Bronze Age setting, even though the tools and weapons are obviously made of iron. The village in The Beastmaster, especially, reminds me (vaguely, not in detail) of reconstructions of Bronze Age settlements on the Central Asian steppe. The same can be said for a number of "barbarian" films of the era. Deathstalker doesn't have a medieval flavor, The Warrior and the Sorceress employs Cyclopean masonry, which is a Bronze Age hallmark, nearly. So, I looked at Bronze Age architecture and design. Lots of fun sword & sorcery ideas to be found there. It also fits in with a recent interest I've had in sword & sandal adventures… with sorcery. A lot of adventure ideas to be found in Genesis, and there's a lot more sorcery in there than people want to say, apparently. The bit where Abraham forges his compact with God reads like a goetic blood rite with all the animal sacrifices going on.

Speaking of those films, The Arcanum includes a character class, aptly called the Beastmaster, directly modeled on Dar from The Beastmaster, and Tales from the Fallen Empire, a setting supplement for Dungeon Crawl Classics, includes a character class, called the Sentinel, modeled on Kain from The Warrior and the Sorceress. Those would seem to go along well with the Thief, modeled on the Grey Mouser, the Ranger, modeled on Strider/Aragorn, or even Unearthed Arcana's Barbarian, modeled on Conan the Cimmerian (though in my opinion that last was not very well done). For that matter, the Cleric owes much of its form to Peter Cushing as Van Helsing in the Hammer Studios Dracula films and perhaps Christopher Lee's character of Nicholas, Duc De Richleau in The Devil Rides Out (aka The Devil's Bride in the US release, because the studio worried that American audiences would mistake it for a Western). I wonder what other characters from fantasy fiction might deserve to have a character class modeled after them?

More later, I think.


  1. That forum has been leaving me with an increasingly bad taste in my mouth of late. I didn't appreciate having one of my own (rare) posts being lumped in with the "This is exactly the kind of posts we don't need to see" BS when I was trying to help a fellow newbie in all earnestness. C'est la guerre. I'll still visit to pick up a few tips, but my already minimal engagement rate will dwindle further...

    1. Yeah, I may read it once in a while (or I may not—I've been going weeks without reading it recently and not felt I've lost anything), but the currently prevailing wisdom of how to grow that system seems to leave no room for earnest enthusiasm. Enthusiasm is overwhelming, and tends (or perhaps tended, we'll see how this shakes out over time) to be my default state with that system.

      But that combined with my perspective on that game being one that is very obviously an increasingly minority one and my preferences being deemphasized in favor of "bigger and louder", I don't think they're holding room for me.

      For the record, I don't think my post was a "catalog", despite having had the number of products in it counted up. I was looking at each aspect of the request and trying to give a relatively complete look at what things could potentially provide value to such a game setting, with reasons for each.