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I Like A Manifesto, Put It To The Test-o

So yeah. Project done and away. No spoilers yet. I'll wait until I finish the final draft for those, TYVM.

In the meantime, other stuff's happened. F'rex, I found myself watching the last Torchwood over dinner last night.

Now, I must admit, the first three were fucking dire, and I deliberately avoided the fourth because I am fucking sick of the alternate-reality Cybermen cluttering up the cunting universe. No, fuck you. There are real pre-RTD's brainfart Cybermen out there still, as established by the whole timeline of the past seven Doctors. Just because the writers can't be arsed watching any of the earlier, better, stuff does not give them the right to fuck with the universe. The AU plotline dragged through the last series of Who, finding any more shit from it cropping up anywhere else is actively painful. The only time I'd consider watching it would be if I were already really fucking steaming.

This one didn't suck totally. I was really surprised, too. Now, I'm not going to go so far as to say that it was good, but it had it's moments — that's not the dumbest explanation I've ever heard for Changelings, the child was suitably disconnected (a somewhat blunt indicator that she wasn't human to begin with), and if I tuned out the $DEITY-awful dialogue I found that this one actually gave me enough ideas that I actually want to run a DA: Fae game.

Then again, I've been thinking about reimagining RPGs. Why are all[0] combat systems based on [EDIT: a literary interpretation of] swordfighting-style combat[2]? How would it be different if the original writers were wrestling nuts? How would it be different if we weren't modelling fictional people's attributes, but their personalities — fuck how strong you are, how much do you believe in what you're doing? What does it mean to you? How much does it hurt to compromise your beliefs, and what does that drive you to doing? I have some ideas for a system and a vague setting to use it in, but I'll probably save it for a point that I can afford to write it up.

Last night was tehblahhh's birthday celebration in the pub. His endeavour to drink his way through the single malts was an impressive one, and I hope I contributed to this endeavour. I must admit to being slightly unstable as I left. I think that kinda started when zombywuf mentioned mescal chasers...

In other other stuff, I've finally got around to watching School of Rock. I avoided it originally on the premise that it was YAFKF[1], and then because I didn't believe in Jack Black's ability to be funny. Then, I just forgot it. My misgivings were entirely unfounded, the film crams in so much pure hard-core horns-throwing r-o-c-k ROCK that I'm happy to say that I was wrong.

[0]: FSVO 'all'
[1]: "...Kid Flick"
[2]: ref. http://shootingdice.blogspot.com/2006/08/three-paradigm-shattering-things-you.html

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( 8 informants — We want information! )
cairmen
Nov. 16th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
Very few to no combat systems are based on modelling swordfighting combat - or rather, they're all (with one or two notable exceptions) designed by people who know nothing about swordfighting.

Which is not necessarily bad. It's a game, and the combat mechanics are resource mechanics. Combat in World of Warcraft or AD+D bear no earthly resemblance to a real fight, but they're a lot more fun than a real fight.

On your point about personality mechanics - have you read Unknown Armies (brilliant modelling of a bunch of personality factors) or Pendragon (the original personality system)?
eyebeams
Nov. 17th, 2006 05:21 am (UTC)
Combat systems base their designs on the literary idea of swordfighting. My toughts about it are part of a post here:

http://shootingdice.blogspot.com/2006/08/three-paradigm-shattering-things-you.html
nickys
Nov. 17th, 2006 12:35 pm (UTC)
Interesting, thanks.
digitalraven
Nov. 17th, 2006 01:00 pm (UTC)
That's the post that kickstarted me, yeah. Was half asleep and thus didn't drop you a link at the time.
digitalraven
Nov. 17th, 2006 01:08 pm (UTC)
For the combat stuff, see eyebeams response. Striking-paradigms are silly unless [generic-]you actually believe that all forms of combat are just variations on that theme. And if you believe that, you are wrong.

I'm a long-time UA fan, but it doesn't go anywhere near far enough. Wraith's systems for Passions and the Shadow start to go there, but they're tied back to a striking-paradigm game engine that assumes that ghosts ever need to bother about physical strength and hardiness — one of the more convoluted bits that the setting tried to explain but failed.

Currrent games define people by the range of "what they can do". I'm talking about a game that says "what you can do is all well and good, but it only matters if you care about what you're doing". Strong beliefs, life-goals, identity aspects, all of these things are more important to defining a character than how much they can lift or how smart they are.
nickys
Nov. 17th, 2006 12:32 pm (UTC)
> Why are all[0] combat systems based on swordfighting-style combat? How would it be different if the original writers were wrestling nuts?

Oh dear.
Us sword-geeks have woken up. :-)

Insofaras they RPG systems are based on any combat style at all they are based on a US group, the SCA, who use light rattan weapons, which, to be frank, do not behave like real metal and heavy wood weapons at all.

RPG combat is terribly frustrating if you have the faintest idea what you're doing, because a lot of the clever stuff you can do for real simply won't work under RPG mechanisms, and there are stupid things like someone with a dagger can stab someone holding an 8' polearm without any requirement to, for example, get past the pointy bit of the polearm and get in range first.
digitalraven
Nov. 17th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Edited for clarity.

The striking-paradigm in RPG combat is all-pervasive. Where skills are an afterthought or addon, they're obviously not as important. Where there's any attempt at a unified mechanic that covers combat, that mechanic must bow to the assumptions of the striking-paradigm of combat.

The idea of "Social Combat", brought forth in some games, is a step backwards as it attempts to make social interaction fit into the striking-paradigm — and social situations especially would fit a more dominance-based view, if not a chance to pick a combat-style to emulate.
zombywuf
Nov. 18th, 2006 01:12 pm (UTC)
Having just attended a 24 hour swordathon (a very fun way of raising money for charity) where I witnessed an participated in a wide variety of swords and a couple of other weapons being weilded in (good natured) anger, I think the striking paradigm isn't totally misplaced. The bit that's missing is the setting up of the strike. The bit that seems really silly in most RPG combat systems is the strength-as-a-measure-of-your-ability-to-score-a-hit paradigm.
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