Chatter #8: October 22, 2000

12/14/2001 — I started the Chatter section on July 27, 2000 when I noticed that the rest of my site was sometimes getting cluttered with lots of text. I'm a talkative guy, after all! So now I talk about my life here, instead of all over the place. Originally this was one huge section, but in December of 2001 it simply became too large to remain as one page, and I broke it into dated sections, as you can see. —>PM



Or is it four? I can't recall. Anyway, only a few days after my last full site update I've done it again. I didn't change the background/text layout, but the layout of the main page is completely different, and I've created a new menu bar table that's at the bottom of almost every page (except for the online game pages, basically). I also added sections (Links, Bio, Site History) and updated content on some pages.

Boy, am I tired. And I'm wondering how this is going to look on different machines. How's it look on yours? Drop me a line and let me know?


I posted this cranky review of Issaries' Hero Wars Gloranthan RPG in March, but I think it sort of could use a repost. But let me note here that there are some pretty nice people working on and playing with Hero Wars (there are also some total assholes, some members of the Gloranthan Elite), and I don't want to stop anyone from buying or playing HW; this is just my cranky opinion.

I just read the first three chapters (all that is available) of Chaosium's new Gloranthan roleplaying game, Hero Wars, on their web site.

Can't say I'm impressed, which is a pity—they're my favorite game company.


Okay, let's check our new glossary:

GM = Narrator
PC = Hero
NPC = Narrator Characters
Scenario = Episode
Campaign = Series
Hero Points = Experience Points. Waitaminnit—EXPERIENCE POINTS?!?

"Excuse me, Narrator, will the Narrator Character in this episode of this series receive Hero Points for killing my Hero?"

Doesn't sound quite right...

A d20 system. Oh boy. Now *that's a leap forward...

Character creation—a hundred-word essay? Congratulations—you just lost the interest of 95% of the potential market. They don't even want to *see* the words "100-word description"—much less one with five bulleted mandatory elements. I mean it's a nice idea, kudos all round, but even as an optional rule this one should be hidden way, way deep in the back of the book. Instead it's the first option listed.

And the paragraph on proper grammar makes me wonder if the author is actually an operative for WOTC. Or is this aimed at the 40+ crowd? I thought we were too busy having babies and supporting families to play RPGs. And all our disposable cash goes to disposable diapers. This *can't* be intended for anyone under the age of 30.

Keywords—"a quick description of the character's role in society". Like Fighter. Magic-User. Thief. Wow. Can I have a duel-keyword half-elf Fighter/Magic-User?

Skills: Let me see if I have this straight. Numbers represent skill levels but the Mastery rune modifies this somehow? The Master rune indicates a mastered skill, but apparently this can still be any number, rather than 20. A guess—is this the equivalent of "Hero Skills", which have never been detailed as such in a Chaosium publication? How does a Mastered skill of 4 compare to a non-Mastered skill of 15?

Later: It's explained in Chapter 2. A Mastery 1 skill = a skill of 21. You can get multiple masteries, so (for example) 8w3 equals a skill of 68. But not percentage. This is a reverse-notation base-twenty system, if I may dare to get mathematical (not my strongest point). Somehow, I don't think this system will ever need to worry about being called "intuitive".

Looks like unlike RuneQuest, in Hero Wars characters have limited skill sets—not all will possess all abilities, unless there's an unstated base chance for success for non-keyword skills. One step closer to a class system...

"Keyword". Kind of rolls off the tongue, don't it?

"When choosing abilities, you can use any words or phrases you want to describe them. It doesn't matter whether the ability is described with an adjective, noun, or verb; use whatever sounds good to you." This won't be confusing. Trust The Computer.

Personality Traits—"there will be occasions when the narrator will ask you to roll a personality trait directly". That's why it's called roleplaying—die rolls, so you don't have to!

Relationship Ability Rating—"Loyalty", "Hatred", etc. Whoops—I didn't realize I was reviewing Pendragon 2000. Thanks, Mr. Game Designer—thanks for saving me from the danger of actually ROLEPLAYING my relationships.

Dependants—"Dependents never raise their abilities; they are always meant to be frail". You no longer need worry about those annoying NPCs, pardon me, "Narrator Characters"—they're not really equal to you any more. And how is this different from AD&D? Beats me. Remember how annoying Spiderman's Aunt May always was? Didn't you wish that some supervillain would crush her like an overripe wrinkly irritating grape?

Hero Points = Experience Points. Now that's cutting-edge game design! What's next—Armor Classes? Excuse me, I meant "Armor Keywords"?

Flaws - AKA GURPS Disadvantages, but they don't give you any character building points. Despite this, you must pay points to eliminate them. They are also entirely voluntary. It would be nice to think that players will take Flaws nonetheless just for the pleasure of roleplaying. It would also be nice to believe that the majority of roleplayers are selfless and totally dedicated to the principle of artistic integrity before winning. Unfortunately if this is *not* the case then the system punishes good roleplayers while rewarding powergamers. Doesn't make sense. If you trust players to create characters—excuse me, "heroes"—with flaws for the sake of dramatic roleplaying, why suddenly treat them with suspicion when it comes to getting rid of flaws?

If you don't write in a reference to a new element acquired by your character the GM may remove it by fiat. Somewhat reminiscent of Amber Diceless, but without all the freedom. Likewise, you must spend experience points to retain wealth gained after an adventure, else the GM removes it by fiat. Talking about jumping between extremes—GMs have a huge amount of power in this system!

There are something called AP (obviously not Armor Points), which can be "bid", and have a "normal lending mechanism". Ah, the synopsis tells us. These are "Action Points", which "are equal to his target number plus 20 APs per mastery plus modifiers". Waitaminnit. "Target Number"?


Previous Chatter

Chatter Index Next Chatter

Main Page

Roleplaying Adventures & HeroQuests

Generic & RQ Alternate & Add-On Rules
Alternate Rules

The Chaos Project: Magic Items, Found Items, & Chaos Features. Add yours!
Chaos Project

RQ3, RQ2, & CoC Character Sheets, a RQ Help Sheet, more
Character Sheets

NPC People, places, & Things
NPCs & More

Rune Art & the RQ Font

Random Thoughts From A Random Brain

Issues of my old zine, resurrected from paper
Rack & Rune

Battle Evil Online! Or get munched
Peasant's Progress

Game & Other Recommended Links

So what do you think?

[email protected] Copyright 2001 by Peter Maranci. Revised: December 14, 2001. version 1.0