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Old 02-07-2011, 10:54 PM   #128
Cryptic Aura
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Join Date: May 2002
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Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.Bęthberry is a guest of Elrond in Rivendell.
Well, I'm going to throw in another 2 cents worth (those of you who have been around here long enough out to get a laugh out of that reference--that won't be many of you--and therein lies one problem with RPGing) and see where my thoughts fall between those two stretchers of Noggie's.

First of all, some history. Not all of you might know that I was the Moderator of Rohan when the new three-part system was instituted. So I go back to the bad ole days when irresponsible kids would try to write indulgent, self-flattering Lego luvah and Mary Sue fanfics in the worst forms of text-ese. And when some of the more senior members of the Downs would laughingly let games go silly. Yes, it was a habit of even the most illustrious of us. Not good role models. So the present system was designed to counter the blatent bad writing of many fly-by-night posters and to provide a gaming equivalent of the best of the discussions in Books and N&N. Whether the Hobbit movie will reprise those days, we don't know. As Noggie says, times change.

More history . . .

My son, an avid RPGer, joined the Downs, as Tharkűn, for the first game in the early days of the new system, An Audience with the King. He was looking forward to gaming here, despite the fact that his mum was here. Yet he was completely turned off by the requirement--and the reminder--that he was expected to post daily. That requirement ruined that elusive thing which Durelin has called enthusiasm. And just so you understand what his committment to gaming is, he is now in post secondary studies learning to program and design computer games. In his spare time with his buddies, he works on story boards and illustrations. So the Downs lost that kind of committment and enthusiasm. There's a million stories out there, and his is but one--which I'm telling here for the first time--but I don't think it's the only one like that.

Rohan was/is a difficult forum to define because it was supposed to be the place where responsibility and independence was to devolve naturally to gamers, who cut their teeth in The Shire, but it wasn't supposed to be as complex or (for want of a better word) as literary, as Gondor. As such, I didn't see it as my role as Moderator to undertake the incredible and very laudable efforts which The Shire Moderators did to attract new gamers and to supervise game development. The Books Moderator doesn't do anything to encourage threads in Books, so, once gamers have got the gist of things, why should the Moderator in Rohan? There was supposed to be more freedom here in Rohan. Well, that was my line. So when I go back and read the start of the Scarburg Meadhall thread and see gamers posting character bios and asking if they are accepted, I'm a little bit nonplussed. That was for The Shire games sure, but for an Inn in Rohan? Maybe it's a matter of old habbits once learnt in one forum stay with you in the next. But as I say, I'm of the old stock and my time is passed. And in many ways I'm deeply impressed by those who have run the new Rohan inns, Littlemanpoet and Noggie, especially because they have brought new gamers in and developed a bond amongst them. That's not an insignificant factor in making RPGs attractive.

So how do fora (NB: that's another old joke from days gone by. Forums) develop? As I've already said, no Moderator sets out topics in Books or N & N. Nor in Mirth. Or accepts submissions before threads are started. The Chapter by Chapter and Sequence by Sequence fora have their Moderators starting discussion because the discussion was supposed to be focussed and it was a way simply to keep track of the discussions. And the Werewolf games, they have an interesting history. SaucepanMan started a rules procedure for them because of the heated emotions they were creating amongst the players. Yet just recently, when there was another quite heated discussion over rules and procedures, most of the WW gamers came together to discuss the rules and create some further guidelines which Morm oversaw. It was really a community effort and I was impressed with how the WW gamers themselves resolved the problem without authoritarian intervention by a mod. But there, they had already come together as a community with a shared interest in the game. Still, it was a community procedure.

So I look at Rohan and wonder why that cannot happen here, when Downers have already proven themselves in The Shire? Which is not to say that I think the well-defined time frame of WW games should be carried over into RPGs. There's a reason why WW has set time limits and it all has to do with the plot, the conspiracy, and the highly structured nature of the endeavour.The timing is part of the appeal. But fantasy-driven, narrative driven role-playing games--where characters aren't stereotypes of cobber, villager, werewolf, etc-- are not like that.

What I think is crucial is something Fea mentioned: allowing gamers to have more of their own investment in the games, allowing gamers to "hammer out the details" amongst themselves. Not quite a Borg collective, but where every gamer has (like WW) a vote in the proceedings.
I’ll sing his roots off. I’ll sing a wind up and blow leaf and branch away.
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