Q&A with Gary Gygax - Part I - Page 65




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  1. #641
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    Re: Optional Post Subject

    Originally posted by PA


    Now, do I think it would work for any game, for any universe? Nay. I am talking about Amber here, a world in which those "lucky shots" that you mention never seem to happen. In the novels, the best fighter wins, unless he is outsmarted (as Benedict is tricked by Corwin).

    I guess what I was trying to get at above, is that just about any book I've ever read in the fantasy genre seems to eschew the "lucky shot," or at least makes it seem like there was a higher reason for a supposedly random event to happen. It doesn't strike me that Amber is unique in that regard. Take "The Worm Ourobouros" by E.R. Eddison as an example - everything happens because it's supposed to happen, the good guys win in the end because they are supposed to win, because they are the best at what they do. In scifi, look at Asimov's original "Foundation" trilogy as examples - Seldon figured everything out millennia ahead of time. I understand the argument, that the best swordsman (or whatever) isn't going to be beat at his own game due to some random occurrence, but, as I said, this doesn't seem to be something confined to Amber at all.
    "Illegitimis non carborundum." - General Joseph Stilwell

 

  • #642

    Re: Re: Re: Santa PA

    Originally posted by Col_Pladoh


    Yes, when variables and outcomes are known, and the random number generation is done so all can see, there is no railroading--make that GM fudging--possible in regards the probabilities and the outcome. When the GM is able to pull "results" out of thin air, there goes a structured game.

    Cheerie Holidays,
    Gary
    On the old 1e charts where it was possible to have some weak monster guarding a random treasure (which turned out to be - say a +5 sword) the DM had to fudge the rolls else lose the balance of the game. that is one thing that I am glad has been adjusted for 3e. giving the monsters a treasure based on CR was a really good idea.
    Scribe to the Scarred Lands Sage

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    Re: Re: Optional Post Subject

    Originally posted by Baraendur
    Having said that though, I wouldn't choose to run too many sessions like that simply because the focus does shift a bit from the risky elements of combat or whatever to cunning plans and diplomacy.
    Welcome to Amber. It is true that, though swashbuckling at times, the series is more about... cunning plans and treach... I mean, and diplomacy.

    I've not been a GM at it very often. And I've not been a very good one (I'm never very good at using someone else's NPCs). But I loved it as a player, and I didn't feel like I was walking through a pre-written script. On the contrary, I was let free to come up with my own "cunning plans", I had my own agenda, as had most of the players, and the GM often had to improvise.

    It is very hard to (discreetly) railroad players in a universe where so much is possible, where most characters can just go wherever in Shadow (a multiverse) they want, find whatever they want, try whatever they want. Of course, most Amber DRPG GMs will have a plot in mind, will have an idea of what important is going on (after all, NPCs have "cunning plans" of their own), but I have never played another game that lets so much freedom to the players... and asks so much improvisation skills from the GM.

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    Re: Re: Optional Post Subject

    Originally posted by ColonelHardisson


    I guess what I was trying to get at above, is that just about any book I've ever read in the fantasy genre seems to eschew the "lucky shot," or at least makes it seem like there was a higher reason for a supposedly random event to happen. It doesn't strike me that Amber is unique in that regard. Take "The Worm Ourobouros" by E.R. Eddison as an example - everything happens because it's supposed to happen, the good guys win in the end because they are supposed to win, because they are the best at what they do. In scifi, look at Asimov's original "Foundation" trilogy as examples - Seldon figured everything out millennia ahead of time. I understand the argument, that the best swordsman (or whatever) isn't going to be beat at his own game due to some random occurrence, but, as I said, this doesn't seem to be something confined to Amber at all.
    Seldon's predictions finally failed, remember? And even before that, he specified that his psychohistory could in no way predict the actions of individuals, only of populations, and very large ones at that.

    I remember many books in which a fight seems to have that "random element" that the dice can represent in RPG. Fights by the Grey Mouser, by Conan, even by Elric at times (though not often, with Stormbringer in hand, and a destiny laid upon his shoulders).

    Amber does strike me as particular in that respect. It is not just that "it is not random since it is a novel, with a purpose." It is really part of the universe, not of the meta-universe (the writing).

  • #645
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    Hey you guys, this is the "Ongoing Q&A with Gary Gygax" thread... if you want to debate about the merits of diceless gaming, why don't you start a new thread? Mr. Gygax has already gave an answer in regards.
    Now then...
    I am aware that you are very active on many boards Gary, and I could ask my questions at any of these, but I just discovered this one and I enjoy the new environment!
    First let me say that it took me around 5 hours to plow through this thread's entirety, but the handful of gems I recovered were worth it! The availability at which you offer yourself to the gaming community has no precedence that I know of... thank-you heartily!
    I enjoy hearing how your early play-test games (and maybe even your current LA games) were with what seems to be about 3-4 players, sometimes as little as 1 or 2! This mirrors my own gaming experience fully! I have always sort have wondered about those early AD&D modules claiming to require "8-12" players and what-not... what the hell? I have NEVER had an opportunity to play with that many people in a setting and frankly wouldn't want to! What a headache! (The closest has been about 6, I think, at the Dragonflight con up here in Seattle) I generally prefer 3-4 players tops.
    <Spoiler Alert!>
    Another thought that was triggered by a previous post... "Return to the Temple of Elemental Evil", by Monte Cook, posits the notion that the Elder Elemental Eye worshipped by Eclavdra's faction of drow is an avatar of Dread Tharizdun. It has been some time since I read the "Gord the Rogue" series, and I can't recall if this is something you put forth in those books, or it is something totally made up by Monte. (I actually DO like this explaination of things because I've always pondered about the nature of the Elder Elemental Eye and how it could be so alluring as to draw a faction of drow away from the worship of Lolth).
    (If this is NOT what you intended... in Monte's defense I will say that I believe that he wrote RttToEE in complete admiration of your original works... it simply shows in the writing).
    Anyhow, thanks Gary, and happy solstice!

  • #646
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    Originally posted by Hadit
    Hey you guys, this is the "Ongoing Q&A with Gary Gygax" thread... if you want to debate about the merits of diceless gaming, why don't you start a new thread?
    This suggestion comes with the new Moderator Stamp of Approval (tm)!
    - Piratecat, EN World Admin. Now Kickstarting TimeWatch, a time travel game - please go check it out!

  • #647
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    Happy Christmas Eve!

    Merric, I concur with your assessment. Diceless and "storytelling" games are not RPGs, but that is not to say that they are not games, nor to claim they lack high entertainment value--fun! My complaint has been that these games hould not claim to be RPGs, nor should those that tour them claim any "adult" or "sophistication" merit becasue they have no random chance.

    Of course chess has no random element, other that the state of the opponents durring the course of play. It is not a RPG, nor do its proponents claim it to be.

    As for PA's calling attention to the fact that many an RPG session has little or no random chance element interjected into a play session, this is so. However these RPGs can include that when needed or desired. In a private email I called his attention to this, and the fact that the "diceless" game can not to do, as it is not an RPG, has been emasculated by the excision of random chance

    Yuletide beast,
    Gary

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    Originally posted by Piratecat
    This suggestion comes with the new Moderator Stamp of Approval (tm)!
    Could you ban Col_Pladoh, then? He's posted on the subject after your warning!

  • #649
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    Originally posted by Col_Pladoh
    Merric, I concur with your assessment. Diceless and "storytelling" games are not RPGs, but that is not to say that they are not games, nor to claim they lack high entertainment value--fun! My complaint has been that these games hould not claim to be RPGs, nor should those that tour them claim any "adult" or "sophistication" merit becasue they have no random chance.
    I don't remember Amber DRPG doing that. The first RPG whose proponents claimed it was more mature than the rest, when it came out at least, was Vampire. And there are buckets of dice in that game.


    Originally posted by Col_Pladoh
    Of course chess has no random element, other that the state of the opponents durring the course of play. It is not a RPG, nor do its proponents claim it to be.
    It's hard to roleplay "characters" who die so often and so fast.


    Originally posted by Col_Pladoh
    As for PA's calling attention to the fact that many an RPG session has little or no random chance element interjected into a play session, this is so. However these RPGs can include that when needed or desired. In a private email I called his attention to this, and the fact that the "diceless" game can not to do, as it is not an RPG, has been emasculated by the excision of random chance
    So dice are balls? I thought only the d100 qualified. :rolleyes: And the possibility of a die being rolled is enough to make it an RPG, even if it never happens? Ah, alright, forget it, I wouldn't want to drag this particular discussion into year 2003. At least I'll have digged out this thread again for more questions to come your way. As I said when I started: consider that your Christmas present.

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    Originally posted by Col_Pladoh
    Yuletide beast,
    Could you provide stats for this beast? I'm sure many a DM/LM on those boards would be interested in including it into their holiday games.

    It would be fun, honestly.

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