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Author Topic: Questioning chirine ba kal  (Read 1342506 times)

Bren

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Questioning chirine ba kal
« on: June 14, 2015, 02:55:18 pm »
This is spun off from here.

Quote from: chirine ba kal;836342
What I prefer to do is answer your questions; I work better that way, I've found. This is what I'm not getting from gamers, or from the various forums I've been a part of.
Fair enough. Put up or shut up for Bren it is then. :) Let me start with....

1) So "chirine ba kal" where is that name from? Sounds Tsolyani to my untutored ears. Is it the name of a PC or a nickname for you, the player? Does it have some particular meaning, clan, etc? Are any of the words supposed to be capitalized?

2) You mentioned that you see yourself not as a player of RPGs or miniatures but as a model builder. I've seen some pictures you've posted of an Tsolyanu Temple. Is that something you've built? What other things have you modeled that have been based on or used in someone's RPG or miniatures?

3) What is it about modeling that grabbed and has held your interest over the years?

Parenthetically, I like models, I've done a bit of modelling and a bit more of customizing miniatures. But I find I like the outcome more than the process which is probably why I would never describe myself as a modeler. As a matter of coincidence or synchronicity one of the more customized miniatures I created was adapting an EPT miniature to a character I ran in the Glorantha setting - Tamlorn Two-sword. This was way back in the early 1980s before the glut of D&D-inspired two-sworded miniatures had hit the market and the EPT figure had two baroque bladed weapons that I cut down to look like a couple of Western European style swords. The beaked helmet and speckled pants (painted to look like leopard skin) gave the miniature a nicely outre look that worked from my conception of some parts of Glorantha.

Quote
As an example of this, we had one very memorable WWII game where I was playing the Allies on a table in one room, using "Tractics", and at the same time I was fighting an air battle in another room to keep the Luftwaffe from shooting up my tanks using an Avalon-Hill board game. Same thing out at Phil's: we moved from individual adventures using EPT across mass battles using my "Qadardalikoi" miniatures rules to grand strategy using Phil's PRESTAGS sets on his Tekumel maps.

We played the world-settings, historical or fictional, and we used any and every set of rules that we had to make the games happen.
That sounds fun. My current players though don't have a war gaming bent and aren't too interested in all the details of politics and military combat so I think it would be difficult to add in anything like a board game or miniatures battle into our game. I had to work hard to keep the siege I put their characters in the midst of both interesting for the characters without being too rule heavy or protracted for the players. I did have fun using the actual siege of Bergen op Zoom as a setting. This actual map of the city made a dandy game board

Quote
...mass battles using my "Qadardalikoi" miniatures rules to grand strategy using Phil's PRESTAGS sets on his Tekumel maps
I am not familiar with Qadardalikoi or PRESTAGS. What can you tell me about them?

5. You mentioned you don't play RPGs, though from your descriptions of some of the stuff you did, I'd say you did play RPGs. Did you act as the referee or GM for other players for any kind of RPGs,  Braunsteins, or games that someone might call roleplaying?

Thanks in advance for any answers you care to share. :)

And other folks feel free to chime in with your questions...

      ...Like you need my permission. ;)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2015, 02:59:00 pm by Bren »
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Phillip

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Questioning chirine ba kal
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2015, 04:39:50 pm »
I'm not Chirine, but I can tell you that SPI's "pre-seventeenth-century tactical game system" was a common rules set used for a series of boardgames such as Chariot, Spartan and Viking -- much as other rules sets spawned multiple games in other periods.

I'm not familiar with Qardadalikoi except as one of the first products advertised by Empire Games (or whatever Barker's post-TSR publisher was called). I stuck with Dave Sutherland's Legions of the Petal Throne.
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Phillip

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Questioning chirine ba kal
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2015, 05:03:03 pm »
Quote from: Chirine in post linked above

And I think that's what may be the crux of the matter; back in the day, we played anything and everything - the division of the hobby into very separate and distinct genres didn't exist for us. We moved across a spectrum of play that included all of what are now the various genres - we played what we needed to play in order to make things happen.

Before my gang got turned on to D&D, we made up our own "galactic empires" game with a game-master, pressing into service all sorts of stuff at hand (including Outdoor Survival, which got a mention in D&D too). I'd say there was an element of role-playing.

I remember GDW's En Garde getting billed as an rpg, but nowadays it might not fit a definition that has finer time increments and other details as assumptions. It's notably stereotyped in presentation, but folks added aspects they liked just as people did with D&D.

After all, En Garde started as just a duel game, and D&D spun off from Arneson's dungeon-game elaboration on the Chainmail Fantasy Supplement.

I don't know how much of a generational shift there has really been, though. We inventive types may have been in a minority, even though it was naturally that sort who appeared in the pages of hobby-game magazines.
And we are here as on a darkling plain  ~ Swept with confused alarms of struggle and flight, ~ Where ignorant armies clash by night.

chirine ba kal

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Questioning chirine ba kal
« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2015, 09:07:18 am »
Right, then; let's have a go at this... :)

1) "Chirine ba Kal" was the name of the PC I rolled up at Phil's about the spring of 1976. This was back before the original group split, as discussed in Gary Fine's book, "Shared Fantasy". I'm from the western part of Tsolyanu, the Chakas. Phil never used my real name, in or out of game; he only used it once, about three months before he passed away, to thank me and my family help take care of him in his last illness; it was the first time in some thirty-five years.

2) That's Phil's model of the Temple of Vimuhla in the city of Katalal. I used to take care of the model for him, and took it to conventions to show to people. It's huge, about 40" x 40" x 30". There are a lot of photos of my models and games on my Photobucket page - the list is just too long to post here, I'm afraid!

The tradition  - the 'Custom of the House', if you will - is that we built stuff for games as needed. New players would roll up their character, and Phil would give me one week to make their miniature. Over the decades we've been playing, that adds up to a lot of PC's leaden alter egos, and we also liked to model our stuff as well - hence all the models in the game room.

We also built our costumes / clothes, as well. My armor weighs 38 pounds all up, and has over 15,000 1/4" rings in the mail hauberk. (Photos on my blog.)

3) I don't really know. I also do model railways - the UK's Great Western in OO scale - as well as plastic kits and scratchbuilds. I think the biggest project was the 20' by 20' game playing area for my Star Wars Braunstein; the biggest model was the 4' Imperial Star Destroyer I built for the same campaign. I just like to build stuff, and I'm told that I'm both fast and good at it. I now build things for my gamers on a two week cycle, between game sessions, and it seems to amuse them.

Sounds like you modified the YK-1, Yan Koryani General... :)

Loved to hear about your siege! Phil did a lot of battles that same way, as he didn't want to slow the game down with an on-table battle unless there was a really good reason for it.

4) I wrote "Qadardalikoi" (Tsolyani for "Great and Glorious War" after I bought the Tekumel miniatures line from Ral Partha; both "Missum" and "Legions" were out of print by then, so we needed a set of rules to help sell figures. I'm currently working on a second edition, to take advantage of all the wonderful new technologies in gaming that have come along - the rules are older then my daughters!

PRESTAGS was SPI's attempt to do a Middle Earth board game without a license; if you put all the counters in piles sorted by color, oddly enough you got all the armies of Middle Earth. If you put all the maps together the right way, you got a very good map of Middle Earth. The five games in the series / set were finally marketed as historical board games, and they were actually very good; i played them for decades, and had a lot of fun with them.

5) Yes, we did play what you'd be able to call RPGs, as well as what I think you'd call miniatures. However, we played as part of continuing 'campaigns', where we played people like Chirine or the hapless Hauptmann Von Braunschweiger of the Afrika Korps, who kept running into the British in his little Pz. II when the verdammnt Englishers were off their tea break and were in their brand new Yankee tanks. ("Donner and Blitznen!!!") We played using whatever tools we needed at that point in the campaign - RPGs, Braunsteins, miniatures, boardgames, poker, you name it.

I think that, over the years, I've run all sorts of games for people. I used to run two Tekumel campaigns in parallel with Phil's; my games were the 'waiting room' to get into Phil's, as well as a way to screen people for him. I used to run games at Coffman Union for the Conflict Simulation Association, and I also used to run a game convention. I still run games, on the second and fourth Saturdays of the month, in my own game room; The Missus lets me have half the basement for it, as you can see in the photos on my blog.

I ran a Star Wars campaign, for example, long before there were any rules for such a thing. I 'winged' it... :)

I love to build the models we use in the games, and the games are a way to astound and amuse my players. The looks on their faces when they come down the stairs and see what's on the table is what's worth it to me... :)

Does this help, or have I just confused things? :)

chirine ba kal

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Questioning chirine ba kal
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2015, 09:10:23 am »
Quote from: Phillip;836425
I'm not Chirine, but I can tell you that SPI's "pre-seventeenth-century tactical game system" was a common rules set used for a series of boardgames such as Chariot, Spartan and Viking -- much as other rules sets spawned multiple games in other periods.

I'm not familiar with Qardadalikoi except as one of the first products advertised by Empire Games (or whatever Barker's post-TSR publisher was called). I stuck with Dave Sutherland's Legions of the Petal Throne.


Agreed! PRESTAGS gave us hours of fun. I think I liked "Chariot" the best.

It went TSR - Imperium Publishing - Gamescience - Adventure Games - Tekumel Journal - Tekumel Games - Different Worlds - TOME - Guardians of Order - UniGames. Tekumel Journal was the publisher of my rules, after AGI didn't do it.

Moracai

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Questioning chirine ba kal
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2015, 10:11:03 am »
Quote from: chirine ba kal;836554
Does this help, or have I just confused things? :)
It does.

Me being born in 76, you gave me a lot to think about. The closest you are describing that I've attempted or even thought about would be Warhammer 40K going from orbital bombardments to individual fightin' guys in rules that are always bit sameish. Ballistic Skill for nuking that pesky city to Weapon Skill to stab that knife to your opponents gut.

Going from one platform to another must've been one of the off-game exciting things to discuss and come together in agreement thingies.

Sorry for bad english. At the moment I'm coming high with alcohol (vacation, yay) and dont care too much.

Bren

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« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2015, 01:49:14 pm »
Quote from: chirine ba kal;836554
1) "Chirine ba Kal" was the name of the PC I rolled up at Phil's about the spring of 1976.
Have you posted tales of Chirine ba Kal on your blog? A character that memorable (to you and to Prof. Barker) must have some good tales to be told.

Quote
2) That's Phil's model of the Temple of Vimuhla in the city of Katalal.
Yeah, that's the one I was thinking of. That was darn impressive. I'll check out your blog (which I see is at the bottom of your post).

Quote
The tradition  - the 'Custom of the House', if you will - is that we built stuff for games as needed. New players would roll up their character, and Phil would give me one week to make their miniature.
I'd have loved that. I can see why there was a waiting list.

Back in 1974 we didn't use miniatures for D&D. Just scratch paper and the very detailed graph paper maps the players made as they went along. Well most of us had a player in our groups who made detailed maps. The exploration/mapping aspect was one of the parts of OD&D that appealed to me from both sides of the DM screen.

Starting in the late 70s, I've customized miniatures for most of our favored PCs, mine and my players. The only exceptions were the Star Trek campaign - where we instead had drawings of each PC and the important NPCs done by an artist friend of my co-GMs and Honor+Intrigue. Since my H+I game is all done over Skype it doesn't feel worthwhile to do minis. Also I have absolutely no Early Modern minis so I'd have to start from scratch and (for various reasons) I just haven't been motivated to paint any minis for years. I still have hundreds of Saxons and Vikings from my last buying binge for Runequest at the end of the last century.
Minis do add up.

[quoteWe also built our costumes / clothes, as well. My armor weighs 38 pounds all up, and has over 15,000 1/4" rings in the mail hauberk. (Photos on my blog.)[/quote]Sounds like SCA meets wargaming. :)

Quote
I think the biggest project was the 20' by 20' game playing area for my Star Wars Braunstein; the biggest model was the 4' Imperial Star Destroyer I built for the same campaign.
Now those sounds like a blast. Star Wars and Call of Cthulhu were the most recent games that I did minis for. I ended up with a hundred or so for CoC and several hundred for Star Wars. Of course I cheat and use green skinned Orcs for Gamorreans.

While I don't model locations, I did do a couple of large color floor plans on huge 1 inch square graph paper sheets. One for a Hutt palace that I used for the big climactic confrontation and rescue that was the climax of a mini campaign and the other for a huge place called Gazi's. Gazi's motto was "Something for everyone." It included multiple bars, lighted exotic dancer cages, Gilfi tanks of fighting fish with colored tags to identify the combatants for betting purposes, a fighting arena, holoscreens for broadcasting holonet sports broadcasts, a null G-dance floor, a casino, and an upstairs brothel. The first time the PCs went there I had it laid out with at least a hundred miniatures giving it the effect of the Mos Eisley cantina on steroids. Amazingly its one of the few bars in Star Wars that one of the PCs didn't get thrown out of, though he did have to leave in a hurry. We used Gazi's four or five times with three different groups of PCs. One time we had two separate PC groups in Gazi's at the same time. The first group's antics provided the background action for the second groups adventure.

Quote
Sounds like you modified the YK-1, Yan Koryani General...
That sounds familiar.

EDIT: Well I deleted the long description I wrote and the various minis that weren't quite right after I finally turned up this picture.
My mini is in the upper right. You got it in one. I am impressed. :cool:

I modified the miniature for my Runequest PC, Tamlorn Two-Sword. He had a Sartarite father and an Esrolian mother. He got his looks from his mom, a temple dancer. I figured the Esrolians looked something like ancient Minoans or Egyptians.

Quote
Loved to hear about your siege! Phil did a lot of battles that same way, as he didn't want to slow the game down with an on-table battle unless there was a really good reason for it.
I think I wrote up most of those adventures so I'll try and post something when I have more time.

Quote
4) I wrote "Qadardalikoi" (Tsolyani for "Great and Glorious War" after I bought the Tekumel miniatures line from Ral Partha; both "Missum" and "Legions" were out of print by then, so we needed a set of rules to help sell figures. I'm currently working on a second edition, to take advantage of all the wonderful new technologies in gaming that have come along - the rules are older then my daughters!
Ral Partha made some nice minis. And I'm guessing your daughters are probably older than some gamers on this or other forums.

I missed SPI's PRESTAGS.

Quote
5) Yes, we did play what you'd be able to call RPGs, as well as what I think you'd call miniatures. However, we played as part of continuing 'campaigns', where we played people like Chirine or the hapless Hauptmann Von Braunschweiger of the Afrika Korps, who kept running into the British in his little Pz. II when the verdammnt Englishers were off their tea break and were in their brand new Yankee tanks. ("Donner and Blitznen!!!") We played using whatever tools we needed at that point in the campaign - RPGs, Braunsteins, miniatures, boardgames, poker, you name it.
Although I've almost always run long campaigns, I think the difference for us in the old days was that our D&D games never included army level actions. Part of that was due to some of DMs (cough, cough, like me, cough cough) running campaigns where players didn't succeed in getting to a level where they had strongholds and where the PCs were wandering adventurers rather than people integrated in the hierarchy of their society.

Runequest included much more societal integration, but we only ever once got to a battle scale. A group of PCs banded together with some NPCs to kick the Lunar Empire out of the Citadel of Elkoi in Balazar and put a local adventurer and PC on the throne of Elkoi. Sadly, the gaming group split up when I went out to grad school and we never did more with those characters. Trying to resist the Lunar Empire's revenge would have been...interesting.

Quote
I ran a Star Wars campaign, for example, long before there were any rules for such a thing. I 'winged' it... :)
:cool: I ran Star Wars before there were published rules. I didn't wing it though, I was a play tester for a rule set that my friend who bought the first D&D rules for our group was writing for Parker Brothers. But Parker scrapped the game and surrendered the license. Some time after that West End got the license and produced their D6 game.

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The looks on their faces when they come down the stairs and see what's on the table is what's worth it to me...
I can only imagine. It's too bad you can't rent out your models to astonish other groups.

Quote
Does this help, or have I just confused things? :)
Yeah, that was cool. Nothing you wrote confuses things. It all makes sense. It's just a bit different than how the group we had way back in the day did things. But it was obvious to me that different DMs ran D&D differently. They each had their own takes on play and their game worlds. Most of us ran separate worlds, though two guys who were brothers ran different countries in the same world. One of them was a big WWII fan. He usually wanted to play Germany in the WWII board games. We teased him a bit because his fantasy kingdom had guards who were always asking the PCs for "their papers" which some of us thought was atypical for a medieval-style fantasy kingdom. We teasingly mimicked the guards using a German accent.

I recall the DM of the game I mostly played in, ran a variant game or two which included guns and wizards. I can't recall now whether that was wizards introduced to a Boot Hill game or gunslingers added into a D&D game. But he thought mashing the two together would be a fun diversion from the usually fantasy game. And it was.
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chirine ba kal

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« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2015, 08:42:29 pm »
Quote from: Moracai;836560
It does.

Me being born in 76, you gave me a lot to think about. The closest you are describing that I've attempted or even thought about would be Warhammer 40K going from orbital bombardments to individual fightin' guys in rules that are always bit sameish. Ballistic Skill for nuking that pesky city to Weapon Skill to stab that knife to your opponents gut.

Going from one platform to another must've been one of the off-game exciting things to discuss and come together in agreement thingies.

Sorry for bad english. At the moment I'm coming high with alcohol (vacation, yay) and dont care too much.


And that's my goal - to give you a window into the past, where you can see how some of us old codgers did things and give you ideas for your own games... :)

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« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2015, 09:08:49 pm »
A short reply; more tomorrow after I get back home...

Two short excerpts from the book I'm writing, "To Serve The Petal Throne":

http://blackmoor.mystara.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=8005

http://http://blackmoor.mystara.net/forums/viewtopic.php?f=22&t=7964

I have fifteen years of games to write about. I'm going to wind up with six books at 50,000 words in each book. :0

I have a lot of stories to tell.

chirine ba kal

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« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2015, 09:31:19 pm »
And I'm back... Let me see if I can address all of your comments...

1. See my previous post for some snippets from the book. we gamed with Phil in his world for some fifteen years, four+ hours a week, 52 weeks a year. He kept an attendance book, too. I took notes at every game session, from the beginning, and in the middle 1980s we started audio taping the game sessions. I have *a lot* of material to work with. The final form of the book is likely to be six volumes, with about 50,000 words about our adventures over the years in each. Artwork, too, I hope!

2. The temple model is really pretty cool; I have lots of photos of it.

3. The waiting list out at Phil's was also because we were kind of choosy about who we wanted to play with; some folks just didn't 'get' Tekumel, and didn't prosper. They didn't last long, and so we started screening people to see if they'd actually like the campaign. We were very much into long-term game campaigns, and 'short-timers' didn't have much of a good time as we generally didn't do things that gave them what they wanted.

4. Interesting! We used miniatures a lot, because both Phil and I loved making them, but we didn't use maps very much. I might make notes on a location, if it was interesting, but otherwise we usually didn't make them.

5. Most of us were in the SCA, and Phil had a huge collection of medieval arms and armor. I took care of the collection, and one of his suits of munition armor fit me like it had been made for me - back about 1580.

6. Loved your description!!! Very good!!! :)

7. Don't be impressed; I cast the things for years, so I have every portion of the little things memorized... :)

8. Actually, your descriptions of what you were doing sound a lot like what we did; I think you have 'our style' down pat.

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« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2015, 06:48:20 pm »
Chirine, can I ask you about something that was prompting lots of drama on another forum:)? At one point we even mentioned Gary Gygax, but the opinions about his opinion of the practice differed.

So, it was a discussion about illusionism. The way we were using it, it means "the GM changing stuff behind the scenes to achieve a desired result with the illusion that said result is due to PCs' choices".
As an example, the GM knows you have little HP left and no healing potions. There are two doors in front of you in the dungeon. If you pass the left door, you can kill or cheat a couple of drunk orks and find a Wyvern Slaying Sword. This room continues to another intersection where you meet a Wyvern.
If you pass the door to the right, you fight a skeleton, avoid a trap, but then meet the Wyvern without the sword.
The PC, however, decides to enter through the right door.
The GM decides to swap the rooms so you could have a chance against the Wyvern later, and describes the left room instead;).
(Or, conversely, you decide to enter the left room. He doesn't want you to have the sword, so the Wyvern would give you a harder fight, so he shifts it to be in the right room. The intent of the GM means nothing here - the practice of changing the "behind the scenes" info so the players' actions lead to a pre-determined result is what matters).

So, is that something you could see either Dave Arnesson, Gary Gygax, or MAR Barker using? Would any of them recommend it to other GMs as a best practice;)?
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« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2015, 09:12:04 pm »
Your descriptions sound very similar to the sort of gaming I've "discovered/fallen into" in the last few years. I also have very little interest in a lot of new RPGs and find myself more and more distanced from the hobby as its represented online/in rpg forums. The focus on rules minutia holds little interest for me, as does the strict division of gaming styles. For years I GMed a very lose historical occult investigation style game, where I pretty much abandoned any rulebooks in favour of a very quick and intuitive framework of a system I stole from a game from the early 80s, and generally just made rulings on the fly as they fit the situation. I heavily experimented with different forms of play (one game took place on a submarine, and I ended up separating the players into different rooms with the lights off, only able to communicate via walkie-talkies), one game was nothing more than a dinner party where everyone remained "in-character" for the proceedings. But the breaking point for me was getting back into miniature wargames a few years back, wherein I rediscovered my love, not just of painting minis, but also building scenery and creating elaborate gameboards. As simple PvP wargames bored me quickly, I began coming up with more and more elaborate narrative scenarios, and elements of RPGs began bleeding in. I became fascinated with that gray area where wargames and rpgs meet, and the different manner games could be combined into an overall experience. I brought in elements from Diplomacy, constructed overarching campaign rules that dealt with things like resources and troop training/replenishment, and came across some great naval battle rules that led to several months of high seas adventures, switching between ship to ship combat and regular combat rules for boarding parties. As time goes on, the term "gaming" for me has started to become an all-encompassing creative thing that doesn't really match any singular modern definitions of rpgs/larps/wargames etc. I for one would love to hear more about how the old Tekumel games were run, particularly more specifics on what you looked for in players and what it meant to "get" Tekumel, or more specifically, the style of gaming you're describing. I find it hard these days to get new players who are on board with this sort of free-wheeling creative approach, especially those indoctrinated by the last 20 years of very specific ideas of what an RPG is and the "importance of rules".
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« Reply #12 on: June 19, 2015, 08:47:16 am »
Quote from: AsenRG;837134
Chirine, can I ask you about something that was prompting lots of drama on another forum:)? At one point we even mentioned Gary Gygax, but the opinions about his opinion of the practice differed.

So, it was a discussion about illusionism. The way we were using it, it means "the GM changing stuff behind the scenes to achieve a desired result with the illusion that said result is due to PCs' choices". [example snipped]

So, is that something you could see either Dave Arnesson, Gary Gygax, or MAR Barker using? Would any of them recommend it to other GMs as a best practice;)?


Im my experience, no. The play style for referees / GMs with them was 'what you see is what you get', and 'the dice don't lie'. They set up the scenario, and we had to make of it what we could - they didn't manipulate things behind the scenes in the kind of situation that you describe. I think they all went for consistency - we normally went into the 'dungeon' / 'underworld' on multiple trips, and we'd have caught the changes between adventures.

Dave once said to me that the challenge for him was rolling with whatever the players could come up with. Phil was very, very consistent over the years, and we could go back to a location literally five real-time years later and find the same details present.

I don;t think any of them would recommend it as a way to run things - it gets too hard to keep track of, and too hard to keep consistent. I don't use it myself; I prefer other ways to increase the illusion of reality for my players.

Does that help?

chirine ba kal

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« Reply #13 on: June 19, 2015, 08:50:26 am »
Quote from: TristramEvans;837152
Your descriptions sound very similar to the sort of gaming I've "discovered/fallen into" in the last few years. I also have very little interest in a lot of new RPGs and find myself more and more distanced from the hobby as its represented online/in rpg forums. The focus on rules minutia holds little interest for me, as does the strict division of gaming styles. For years I GMed a very lose historical occult investigation style game, where I pretty much abandoned any rulebooks in favour of a very quick and intuitive framework of a system I stole from a game from the early 80s, and generally just made rulings on the fly as they fit the situation. I heavily experimented with different forms of play (one game took place on a submarine, and I ended up separating the players into different rooms with the lights off, only able to communicate via walkie-talkies), one game was nothing more than a dinner party where everyone remained "in-character" for the proceedings. But the breaking point for me was getting back into miniature wargames a few years back, wherein I rediscovered my love, not just of painting minis, but also building scenery and creating elaborate gameboards. As simple PvP wargames bored me quickly, I began coming up with more and more elaborate narrative scenarios, and elements of RPGs began bleeding in. I became fascinated with that gray area where wargames and rpgs meet, and the different manner games could be combined into an overall experience. I brought in elements from Diplomacy, constructed overarching campaign rules that dealt with things like resources and troop training/replenishment, and came across some great naval battle rules that led to several months of high seas adventures, switching between ship to ship combat and regular combat rules for boarding parties. As time goes on, the term "gaming" for me has started to become an all-encompassing creative thing that doesn't really match any singular modern definitions of rpgs/larps/wargames etc. I for one would love to hear more about how the old Tekumel games were run, particularly more specifics on what you looked for in players and what it meant to "get" Tekumel, or more specifically, the style of gaming you're describing. I find it hard these days to get new players who are on board with this sort of free-wheeling creative approach, especially those indoctrinated by the last 20 years of very specific ideas of what an RPG is and the "importance of rules".


Yes, what you said. This is a very good description of the kind of play style we had, and a very good set of examples of the kind of thing we did in our games 'back in the day'. Let me address your question about our Tekumel gaming in my follow-up post, if I may... :)

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« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2015, 09:08:37 am »
Quote from: TristramEvans;837152
[snipped to extract text] I for one would love to hear more about how the old Tekumel games were run, particularly more specifics on what you looked for in players and what it meant to "get" Tekumel, or more specifically, the style of gaming you're describing. I find it hard these days to get new players who are on board with this sort of free-wheeling creative approach, especially those indoctrinated by the last 20 years of very specific ideas of what an RPG is and the "importance of rules".


What we looked for in both Phil's and my game groups were people who were interested in the world-setting, and not so much in the rules mechanics. Phil's original group, which kept going as the Monday night group after we split up, tended to be much more interested in the 'game aspects' and less in the 'cultural aspects' of Phil's world. This is very well documented in Fine's book, "Shared Fantasy"; we're 'the geek group'. We wanted to explore Tekumel, and have adventures along the way. I did the same thing in my two Tekumel campaigns, and 'screened' players for this attitude / viewpoint.

The other major factor was personal compatibility - we played out at Phil's for the better part of fifteen years, with about 75% of the group being always the same people. Phil didn't hand out XP, in our group; we went up in rank and station by hard work, a little bribery of the right NPCs, and sheer ability to survive whatever he could throw at us. We worked together, and always made sure that while we might have different goals, there was always something in if for everyone.

As an example of 'getting' Tekumel, at one point the Monday players tried to have one of our players arrested and imprisioned. (Kathy Marshall, Princess Vrisa Vishetru of Saa Alliqui). The messenger gave me the verbal orders, and I sent him back to get written orders as per proper Imperial protocols. Phil gave me some grief about this, and I gave him precedents from one of his own books. He went off and had a two-week pout, as I was entirely within my rights as an Imperial official, and came back with a beautifully done Tsolyani document - the proper arrest warrant. I read it, approved it, and then chewed him out, telling him that if he'd gotten his paperwork right the first time we'd have saved two weeks of annoyance. I then handed the warrant to Kathy, who gave me a 'come-hither look' and asked "Your tent or mine?" Phil nearly swallowed his cigar, in his astonishment.

He stared at me for a few minutes, and then gave me one of the very best accolades I have ever gotten: "Chirine, you've gone native."

What I'd done was what I think people call 'immersion', nowadays; I was being my Tsolyani alter ego, and playing the role to the hilt. Kathy did the same as Vrisa, and so did the rest of the group. We took on our roles, every Thursday, and we played them as if they were real people. We learned the cultures of Tekumel, and we moved within them like fish in the sea...

I've seen people 'get' Gloriantha, as well as other world-settings as well; it's possible to do... :)