Monday, June 18, 2007

Let the Lore War Commence!

One of the longest running jokes in our gaming group has been our horror at the thought of playing in a game where one or two of the players were very very knowledgable about the games very specific genre. Players debating the finer points of the propulsion system of that particular federation spaceship, the lineage of that particular random elf in the woods or which date in what year a certain piece of armour was available in feudal Japan. We've all been in games when this has happened in the past and it's a bit of a nightmare. And admittedly, we've come close in the recent past as a number of us are very amateur Arthurian scholars. However whatever we have got up to was nothing to the comedy of the Lore War!

Lord of the Rings RPG character generation mixed with Mastermind (Specialised Subject: Tolkien) was quite possibly the funniest thing I have seen around the gaming table (excepting 'Lettuce and Carrots'). Two men locked in mental combat over the age of hobbits, the languages of elves and all manner of other excitement. It was quite impressive actually, as Tolkien is someone whose writings I have enjoyed but never really memorised. It was not the nightmare we have talked about before - it was simply a side show to the chargen and a nice distraction.

However it did raise to the fore some of the issues that I have been facing in my own games. Whilst MI:666 is a wholly fictional game, the subject of the piece - devils - have quite a lot of literature written about them. Take your favourite biblical bad guy and see how many different interpretations you find online! Now try to get them all in order to make up the devils for a game! I'm trying to be a little senstive to the subject matter (well, as much as I can be in what someone called the worlds first Protestant rpg! ) but I simply have to make sure that everyone knows that this is a fictional piece and that nothing here is actually supposed to represent Christian dogma.

Duty and Honour, a game set in the same setting as Sharpe, the Napoleonic Penninsular War, suffers even more from this problem. History buffs could have a great time with a game like this, but in the end even the source material plays fast and loose with historical detail! What am I to do? You have to get some of the facts right, so that it reeks of the realism that makes the source material so much fun, however the limit of the pursual of those facts has to be measured. Mixing a degree of fun and freedom within the game with a backdrop that makes the game sing is crucial, but it's not easy. Its another balancing act that needs a decent disclaimer I reckon.

Getting that balance will, hopefully, avoid an outbreak of Lore War ... but then again, if it was as pleasurable to sit through as ours was, it might be a shame..?



Anonymous said...

I can forsee problems with D&H given that it's based on both an historical time period and a specific genre of fiction. I don't think MI:666 has quite same problems. That there are so many interpretations of devils and Christian-y bad guys is an advantage here as no-one can quote chapter and verse. Plus it's got a modern setting, so no arguments about whether the Anabaptists were around in 1543. Lastly, it's entirely invented by yourself, unlike D&H which is loosely based on something.


Vodkashok said...

Yeah, absolutely.