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Monday, January 4, 2010

[Gaming] Praise of a Blank Planet v. Fear of Failure?-

The guys in the OSR are still feeling their way through the issue of legitimacy regarding 'Each Hexism' versus 'Grand Visionism', which still baffles me to a great deal.

Having thought it wiser a few times to not publish remarks to various blog posts on this subject, I have instead mulled it over and have this incomplete thought to offer for derision or consideration:

Urutsk started out as a single city, Kryssan, but by the end of that first discussion (not session, as the system hadn't even been created, let alone an existing game system chosen) with my players, everything else began to follow as links in a chain, until, very shortly thereafter, I had a nation, culture, and internal politics. This 'big picture thinking' was, and still is, one of the things I am most noted for in gaming, fiction, and analysis.

I am not entirely certain why the OS seems afraid to embrace the middle-path between philosophically-engineered settings and the pride of retaining ignorance about what is in the rest of the one hex on the map.
--Isn't it 'game how you like'? Why expound dogmatic philosophies; selectively cite the 'Elders'; and then reward likemindedness while deriding holistic vision as part of the dreaded Third Wave Railroading / 'Frustrared Writer' syndrome, when nothing about it is that absolute or soluble to a repeatable process, let alone a design philosophy (supposedly 'the FORGE'-istic in nature)?

I think (as in, the jury of my mind is still in deliberation, and this is not a dogmatic opinion from which I cannot be dissuaded) complete worlds make many folks fearful that they'll 'play it wrongly', and it is that rather than the case of their taking some sort of moral highground that randomised exploration of each hex is the superior path to gaming enjoyment.
--As such, it may be difficult for (mostly) men to admit that sort of fear/sour grapes, and instead meet in agreement of the clan's chosen method and proceed in happy perpetuation of the 'tradition', so as to reassure that theirs is the One True Way (even though some make a real effort to make clear that their words, however unintentionally weighty, are not imperial edicts, but rather merely their own opinions, based upon their careful investigations and interpretations of the source materials).

While I would be glad to host such a debate here, I offer [a] Middle Path, namely, knowing what one wants the world-setting to be like in general, while still employing the 'Hexploration' methods to detail one's individual conception of an established and well-documented setting.
--I, too, believe in the 'Oracular power of dice', but also believe that preparation makes for more effective and safer undertakings.

Just a few Monday-midday thoughts. Nothing absolute, dogmatic, nor intentionally inflammatory.