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From: m.driussi@genie.com
Subject: (urth) Wolfe RPGs
Date: Wed, 28 May 97 19:43:00 GMT

[Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works]

Reply:  Item #5008537 from URTH@LISTS.BEST.COM@INET#


Thank you for your interest in "GURPS Book of the New Sun"!  As for
how it is going as a project, the two easy answers are "slowly" and
"please tell us: download the (second) draft, look over it, and send
comments to SJGames and/or me."

Re: capturing the mood as key to the experience, I agree with you.
(Urth as a "Gamma World" variant is an especially astute call--bonus
points for "Thundar the Barbarian."  It is as if you are reading my
mind!)  If we look at how "Original D&D" was actually played (nevermind
for the moment the issue of what was published and how it was presented,
etc.), it is hard to believe that Jack Vance's THE DYING EARTH or
Tolkien's TLOTR had any sort of influence.  Or that =any= "classics"
of fantasy fiction did.  In fact, the chaotic ooze had no real
parentage and, imho, is primarily responsible for computer arcade
games like Pac-Man, Donkey Kong, and all their more "serious/blood
thirsty" descendants <g>.

However, the RPG industry has been moving ever closer to issues of
style =and= substance.  "Recent" vampire-mania LARPs, where your
local goths get out and literally "do it" out on the streets after
dusk, show that "mood" and "context" are both valued commodities.
Also the rise, however feeble, of "storytelling" games leads away
from the elements appropriated by the computer arcade games.

And there has been a tradition of author-sanctioned
games-based-on-fiction, too (as opposed to the r/i/p/o/f/f/ "homage"
scenario first pioneered by the first edition of "Gods, Demigods, &
Heroes" which "borrowed" material from the works of Moorcock and

Having writ that, still--given the improbability of a "perfect" game,
one cannot ensure that the players will play it in the perfect way.
And likewise one can imagine people playing a quintissentially
Vancean adventure from such an obviously flawed game as "Original

Chaosium's "Call of Cthulhu," an excellent rpg based upon fiction, is
a good reference point: how can the referee create the suspense and
chills of a Lovecraft story when the players have knowingly signed up
for a Lovecraftian adventure?  (How to keep the usual gaming clowning
around from turning it into "Ghostbusters"?)  With this kind of
self-knowing, can a true "Lovecraft" story take place as an
adventure, or will it be more like "Prohibition Era: X-Files"?  (Granted,
the characters =all= must die or go insane, preferably both.)

Re: "how many character points does it cost to wax melancholy?" LOL.
In truth I've added a Fugue State mental disadvantage for those who
have Severian-brand Eidetic Memory (tm), for those unpleasant times
when you'd secretly rather be lost in memory (roll for hours) instead
of dealing with the muck of the moment.

Finally, this annecdote: when Neil Gaiman heard about the project he
said (words to this effect), "How neat--a game where everybody tries to
figure out who his own mother is." <g>


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