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From RPGPundit's Blog: The Original Magic Deer Rant!

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GRIM:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---Excalibur isn't quite so fucking pro-active. Nor does it tend to make value judgements beyond "this fucker is of noble blood and therefore the true king". It doesn't demand that you not eat too much sugar or that you respect traffic laws.

RPGPundit
--- End quote ---


Functionally though, it's really no different.
Same trope with other magic weapons 'Only the worthy may life X and use it for the good of the people!' etc.

RPGPundit:
Yea, but it makes a pretty big difference on the practical level.

With Excalibur/Sword in the stone/etc, all the sword does is choose the king. And the King is chosen as the dude with the blood of the true king in his veins. Arthur could have been a supreme asshole and the sword would STILL have chosen him, and you could have St.FuckingChristopher try to take the sword and it wouldn't let him.

So its not really a value judgement as much as it is a matter of genetics. Which is kind of stupid, but its divorced enough from our reality that we can get that its not making any kind of real judgement on us (the designers of Pendragon almost certainly don't really believe that hereditary monarchy chosen by farcical aquatic ceremony is the best form of government).

And in game terms, if you're playing Pendragon or whatever, that's fine; you aren't really expecting to be chosen as King anyways, and the sword in no other way affects you.
Shit, you can even end up overthrowing King Arthur, once you figure out that bit about him always being victorious as long as he has Excalibur, and grok that you must get his sword away from him before you try to usurp his kingdom...

The Magic Deer on the other hand, controls not only the choice of monarch but also the behaviour of the entire government, through the blue rose scepter.  You can't even become a Noble if you don't follow a certain standard of behaviour, a standard that the Green Ronin gang, in their infinite wisdom, decided to define as "good"; when in fact I'd define it as anything but (collectivism).

So here, the game designers are choosing a system of REAL LIFE MODERN values, imposing them on the game, telling the players and purchasers of this game that these are "Good" values and that anyone who doesn't follow them is a follower of the darkness (fucking literally), and that in the game if your PC doesn't follow them there is no way he will be a noble, and he can't fake having these beliefs either, because the all-seeing all knowing magic deer's scepter will detect the truth.
What's more if you try to overthrow the monarch, the magic deer will swoop down, he's unkillable and unstoppable; he'll defeat you and exile you. So there's no way that Aldis will escape his tyranny.

You get how one is much more insulting in real life than the other, and how its much more disrupting of your game than the other too?

RPGPundit

GRIM:

--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---With Excalibur/Sword in the stone/etc, all the sword does is choose the king. And the King is chosen as the dude with the blood of the true king in his veins. Arthur could have been a supreme asshole and the sword would STILL have chosen him, and you could have St.FuckingChristopher try to take the sword and it wouldn't let him.
--- End quote ---


In mythic terms, however, it isn't genetics. It's 'rightness' expressed through
--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---the mythic elements and the divine right of kings.  Something we'd never subscribe to in the modern world (unless you're a crazy monarchist) but something that works within that mythic idiom.  Arthur wouldn't have been a supreme arsehole because he has King's blood, because the sword shows that he is worthy and he fulfills that promise as the fair and just benevolent dictator that he turns out to be.

In the context of the story/myth anyway.


--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---The Magic Deer on the other hand, controls not only the choice of monarch but also the behaviour of the entire government, through the blue rose scepter.  You can't even become a Noble if you don't follow a certain standard of behaviour, a standard that the Green Ronin gang, in their infinite wisdom, decided to define as "good"; when in fact I'd define it as anything but (collectivism).
--- End quote ---


Well that takes us off on a horrible sidetrack into what constitutes good and evil.  In sociobiological terms, and in common mythic threads, good is what is good 'for the people' so in many ways I'd argue that collectivism is 'the greater good'. I've never liked alignments or good/evil anyway, such horribly subjective terminology and turns the moral spectrum into an uninteresting on/off switch.

Suffice to say that the Deer is, still, fulfilling the excalibur/merlin/lady of the lake role from the Arthurian tales, just in a different context.


--- Quote from: RPGPundit ---So here, the game designers are choosing a system of REAL LIFE MODERN values, imposing them on the game, telling the players and purchasers of this game that these are "Good" values and that anyone who doesn't follow them is a follower of the darkness (fucking literally), and that in the game if your PC doesn't follow them there is no way he will be a noble, and he can't fake having these beliefs either, because the all-seeing all knowing magic deer's scepter will detect the truth.
What's more if you try to overthrow the monarch, the magic deer will swoop down, he's unkillable and unstoppable; he'll defeat you and exile you. So there's no way that Aldis will escape his tyranny.
--- End quote ---


So it has liberal morals built in.
To quote the prophet...

"Yeah? And? So? What?"

I like a game that actually throws out something interesting on the political/social front. SLA, Cyberpunk, Iron Kingdoms, Paranoia (if you choose to pick up on it) etc, etc.  So this one has more modern, western liberal values as part of its structure... so?

Within the context of the game (remember the context thing with Arthur?) the Deer is simply a primal force for good. There's plenty of those in games, gods and so forth, so that's not new.  Nor is it new in the fiction the game draws from.  Given the game's drawn from modern, liberal, more feminist fantasy fiction it certainly fits that milieu better than many. Frankly, given that magic does everything (and more!) that technology has allowed in our modern society more fantasy worlds should have more modern values and sensibility.

I wouldn't find it disruptive, players will do what they want to do regardless and deal with the consequences that come with it.  That or they'll play characters suited to the game style.  I don't find it insulting IRL, despite being a lefty with anarchistic tendencies, because it is just a game but also because within the context of the game the Deer IS an incorruptable arbiter of goodness and ensures that the people are lead by a caring ruler.  It's a safeguard.
--- End quote ---

mywinningsmile:
Port Blacksand, eh? I was grown and weaned on the fighting fantasy stuff, and been thinking about putting together a campagin on Titan. If you don't mind me asking, what led you to True20 as a system?

RPGPundit:

--- Quote from: mywinningsmile ---Port Blacksand, eh? I was grown and weaned on the fighting fantasy stuff, and been thinking about putting together a campagin on Titan. If you don't mind me asking, what led you to True20 as a system?
--- End quote ---


Well, in part it was just the fact that circumstances combined... Blue Rose had just been released, and I saw that True20 as a system had tremendous potential for "sword and sorcery" type gaming, but of course I utterly despised the Aldis setting; and I'd been interested (nostalgically, as I too was weaned on Fighting Fantasy) in running a sword & sorcery campaign in Port Blacksand for a very long time.

It was a VERY successful campaign.

RPGPundit

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