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Author Topic: The Development of Glory Road Roleplay  (Read 354 times)

WillInNewHaven

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The Development of Glory Road Roleplay
« on: July 27, 2020, 05:24:56 PM »
I had to delay doing this until I had nailed down when all of this happened. The events are clear in my head but I had to ask my friend Simon about the dates and it turns out I had them wildly wrong.
During the summer of 1975 (much earlier than I had thought) Simon and I were playing what must have been an incomplete rules set that I had bought at a hobby shop on Chapel Street. I was soon running games for other friends that fall. I had begun playing "D & D" the previous Halloween after a meeting of the local SF club.
Anyway, the rules we had did not have clear rules about when you hit something. So, I worked out my own. As you got better, at combat, you got better at hitting things and at avoiding being hit. Armor mitigated damage. I did see how many  HP you got and that improved by level but I consciously rejected that, preferring one larger HP total. I think it was your Con score at first but then it became 2*Con or Con + 10, whichever was better. I retained the chargen rules and the classes and levels and, to the extent it existed in that rules set, the magic system. The players and I still called it "D & D," just as the game John Leyland had run at the SF club was D & D, even though he used something with little resemblance to the rules as written. Both games attracted a lot of players.
Then someone got a more complete rules set. I was not impressed and continued to run my rules, as did some other game masters who ran them and the other people running games in the area still did not much run RaW.
I will continue this and talk about when I decided that the game I was running was not D & D after dinner or tomorrow..

WillInNewHaven

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The Development of Glory Road Roleplay
« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2020, 11:13:33 PM »
Part II: A Complete Break from D & D
By the time A D & D came out, I had decided that what I was running was not D & D and the new version just reinforced that. I did playin D & D games, some far from RaW and some close, but I did not run it or write adventures for it. So, I decided to strip the thing down and rebuild from the ground up.
I attacked the attributes first. My attitude was ambivalent. I had some sympathy with  the early D & D concept that the player and not the character mattered and that the attributes, except the primary one for your class, weren't all that important. However, I felt that playing a character could be more than playing yourself in a situation; it could be inhabiting another person in another place and time, another reality. So, I decided that the attributes would matter and that they should be inter-related.
Each attribute would have a smaller number, a bonus, to use in quick and dirty situations.
Details follow that are not necessary to follow the history of the game. I am going to continue this tomorrow.

The four primary attributes, Size, Constitution, Intelligence and Dexterity, influence the others.
Strength is a dice roll or assigned points averaged with Size. Then the bonus for Con is added. So, it is possible to be weak or strong for your size.
Agility (athleticism) is a dice roll or assigned points averaged with Dex. Then the bonus for Str is added and the bonus for Size is subtracted.  
Awareness is a dice roll or assigned points averaged with Intelligence.
Stability is a dice roll or assigned points to which the bonus for Intelligence is added.  
Charisma is a dice roll or assigned points to which the bonus for Intelligence is added.  
Talent, the ability to generate magical power, is a dice roll or assigned points to which the bonus for Intelligence is added.  

I had to convert over twenty characters from my D & D game.

WillInNewHaven

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The Development of Glory Road Roleplay
« Reply #2 on: July 28, 2020, 03:34:39 PM »
Part B: Types of Chargen; Lethality; Source of the Name

For many years, we created characters with random die rolls and that method is still an option for a campaign. The die rolls are very different from D & D and the resulting numbers can be much larger. In the late 90's, a point buy system became prevalent. C.J. Carella, a GURPS enthusiast, used it in his campaign and others did also. It is the first method discussed in the rule book because it was the most popular method when I wrote the first draft. Then, a roll and assign system was developed and has become universal (including in C.J's campaign) Point-buy is still good for getting exactly the NPC you want.

Lethality: The system I had been running, static HP, large amounts of damage and no resurrection, made it hard to make long campaigns but I did not think heroic fantasy meant cutting up mooks with no risk. So, I decided that below-0 HP would be survivable much of the time, as long as you got healing.
One consequence of this is that the PCs often find themselves with prisoners.

Why Glory Road: Early 80's, I was not thinking about publication and I ran a scenario with some of the foes from the book. So, we started referring to it as the Glory Road game. When we printed some copies to sell at DexCon 1992, that was the name on them. When electronic publication seemed to be becoming so easy, I was on a Usenet group called alt.fan.heinlein and I mentioned the idea to Virginia Heinlein. She said that it was ok but she wanted a copy. It was far from ready for publication but I sent her a PDF of what I had at the time. When I retired and finally had the time to whip it into shape, Ms. H was gone.

WillInNewHaven

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The Development of Glory Road Roleplay
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2020, 11:16:41 AM »
Publishing History, the nature of the game and other products
As I said, we had some copies printed up and sold the ones we didn't use ourselves at Dexcon in New Jersey in 1992. When we ran out and some people still wanted them, we took their money, got their addresses and sent them copies. From then on, we had some players outside of the New Haven area. I call that the first edition. It was changed from what we were doing 1979-1985 or so but we never published the original.

In 2001-2003, one of the players would print up copies for any other player who wanted one. I call that the second edition, because it was changed from the 1992 version.

When I retired, in 2017, I intended to publish the second edition, as self-publishing had gotten so easy. However, I had so much new information, from players and from the HEMA community online, that I felt had to be incorporated, that I wound up with a new edition. The third.

In 2019, I published a cleaned up, better edited version but it's not a new edition. The game has not changed.

This is an old-school system.  It has no game pieces, like Fate Points, that the player can choose to use, even though the character cannot make the decision or even know about them. However, it is not OSR because it is not based on any edition of D & D. It's a crunchy system but almost all of the crunch takes place in the prep.

I have published several modules. They follow the events of adventures that I have run for my players and I try to inject sandbox elements wherever possible. I have published OSR translations of each of the modules. I also published a pamphlet about low-fantasy settings for the game,  a guide to shape-changers for the game, a collection of pre-made characters,  and a suggested character sheet.

WillInNewHaven

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The Development of Glory Road Roleplay
« Reply #4 on: August 11, 2020, 09:47:21 AM »
So, How Is Glory Road Roleplay Doing?
About as well as I thought it would, maybe better, but in nearly complete silence. Drivethru tells you "people who bought this bought that" which, in addition to total sales, gives me some information. People who bought the Core Rules usually bought the Encounters,  so they are probably GMs. Of course, some people may have bought the Encounters just to look at them. A minority of them bought the GM guide. However, the modules have sold and I have to think that the people who bought a low-level module and came back and bought higher-level modules have been playing the game which is why I published it. The peripherals have not sold as well as the modules, except that there was a bit of a rush on the 20 pre-generated character product recently.
The OSR/D20 conversions originally outsold the Glory Road originals, which I expected but the originals have nearly caught up. What I find odd is that some people bought both original and conversion.
I am puzzled that the people who have been playing the game have not rated it or reviewed it. The only rating I got on Drivethru was for the "Shapeshifters and Wargs in Glory Road" peripheral. Three stars out of five. I had one review, here, and that reviewer talked entirely about the presentation and the art, he liked neither. He said it was a good game but those areas needed improvement but he did not discuss the system.  
I was going to post the FAQS from my website because you lot seem too shy to ask questions but the software thinks there are non-English characters in it, so you can find it at the top link in my links below.