|Don't judge a book by the cover... gems within!|
"Well you can't please everyone, nor do I try to do so any longer." - David A. Hargrave, Arduin Trilogy (p12), on the topic of his new Hit Point system.
I really like this quotation. I discovered it just the other day while perusing the Arduin Trilogy
from Emperor's Choice Games. It's one of many little gems that sit within the chaotic collection of suggestions that David A. Hargrave offered back in the 70's and 80's.
The thing that I really like about that quotation is that it sums up the general attitude of this legendary GM towards the attitudes of others. He happily ran a very successful series of campaign set within his own created multiverse (note: not a single world, but a whole multiverse) which is now known as Arduin. His fans loved him... and he published his ideas in the spirit of sharing and recommendation. I am sure that, if he lived today, he'd have a cult following for any blog he wrote. Yet... he had detractors.
Hargrave doesn't seem to have allowed negative comments to phase him. He was running his own game, derived from D&D but very much customised to his own tastes... and those of his gaming group. He was supremely confident (at least in print) that his ideas were good. And, looking at them 30 years later, I am inclined to agree with him.
"Take a Troll To Lunch"
"As far as my multiverse is concerned..." - David A. Hargrave, Arduin Trilogy (p13), on the topic of languages.
I've long been aware that, as a GM, you are encouraged to customise your game. This is a given in roleplaying circles. Except that it's actually rather rare.
"In my Traveller universe..." has long been something that I have understood and dreamed of implementing fully. Hargrave's approach to fantasy gaming goes further - he utterly customised the game to suit his own style, evolving a new game to fit his own new setting.
A couple of weeks ago I also took the first step in this direction. When I drafted up UbiquitousFantasy, a derived but modified blend of OSR rules, I was initially trying to widen the scope of my own homebrew game. Yesterday, however, I read this:
"Don't be lonely, take a Troll to lunch. The world is a smaller place, but it is smaller still in relationship to the myriad worlds of the entire Alternity (alternative eternities). Do not be a small player from a small world. Embrace the whole Almanity, and give the different types [of character options] a chance. I think you will find that the world your game is in will become a lot more fun if you do." - David A. Hargrave, Arduin Trilogy (p10), on the topic of his new player character types (or classes).
Having spent time customising our campaign world in include, among other things, a Witchfinder based on the specific setting details that my players had suggested in-game... well, you can imagine how liberating that encouragement to try new things would feel.
It's your game. It's your rules. Even if it's not your world, it's still your version of that world.
Take a Troll to lunch.
Heading Out Deeper
Have you ever considered how much your players would enjoy finding themselves playing in a truly unique and personalised game? Certainly we tend to like to use a recognisable set of rules when we first play... but, once a group forms, isn't there an argument that whatever happens at your table is really your business?
Think about it: once a group forms, you are under house rules from the get-go. Once a game is running, we tend to make small tweaks to even the slickest system. Why not be brave and go further, incrementally moulding not only the setting but also your rules to fit your own, unique group? I wonder if that might not be a more rewarding outcome for everyone.
Here's a thought:
"Please try some of the rules that you have doubts about in game situations and game play. Only through actual play testing can a rule or situation be fully explored. We have been doing that for years now. Anyone can pontificate on rules and worlds that they have never tried, and can never be proved wrong because the proof is only in the play." - David A. Hargrave, Arduin Trilogy (p35), on the topic of rules questions.
Can we be brave? Who's up for taking that Troll to lunch?
Labels: Arduin, fantasy, GMing, Hargrave, musings, OSR, rules, settings, UbiRPG