ACH - Of what relevance to us?

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Stone Telling's story is of several people who got what they wanted, found they didn't want it, and had to find a way back to something that was gone, and so had to try to create anew. It forwards that time is not symmetrical, and that we cannot really move back and forth through it. What do you think about this as a structure for a quest?

I also thought this might be a good book to read now because of its thematic treatment of the relation between scientific knowledge and control, and differing outcomes (e.g. the Valleys' minimal use of the knowledge storehouse, the presumed collapse of the Condor due to misuse of the knowledge storehouse), and the costs involved for different peoples. This is tied to illness, and the place weakness should occupy in producing a healthy society. Since this is a plague year when hard limits on the strength of our systems and knowledge to work for our benefit have been revealed, I presume that these issues are at the forefront of all our thoughts.

Has anyone ever tried to play a game where the most powerful force is not a person, but a sequence of events? (Grey Ranks maybe?) Have you ever forced or been forced to play situations which cannot be beat, but after defeat the characters must continue (I'm not talking about railroading). Or have villains ever changed so as to no longer be monsters? How have you, or might you, approach getting situations like these to work? (I don't think it works in this book, but why it doesn't niggles at me) Perhaps you think this would make a terrible idea for play. Whatever responses, I'm interested.

Not really on topic, but I'd also like to hear of anyone's experience with lockdown and their play. Do you think that this will change how people choose their entertainment? Will it have a long-term influence on gaming, or will the industry be able to return to the recipes it has sued up to now? For example, I know that I am seeing a lot more discussion of 'virtual tabletops,' and their capacity to help or hinder play.

Comments

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    edited June 10

    @BarnerCobblewood said:
    Stone Telling's story is of several people who got what they wanted, found they didn't want it, and had to find a way back to something that was gone, and so had to try to create anew. It forwards that time is not symmetrical, and that we cannot really move back and forth through it. What do you think about this as a structure for a quest?

    Seems fine. Isn't that the sturcture of Bilbo's and Frodo's quests (as @RichardAbbott described)?

    I also thought this might be a good book to read now because of its thematic treatment of the relation between scientific knowledge and control, and differing outcomes (e.g. the Valleys' minimal use of the knowledge storehouse, the presumed collapse of the Condor due to misuse of the knowledge storehouse), and the costs involved for different peoples. This is tied to illness, and the place weakness should occupy in producing a healthy society. Since this is a plague year when hard limits on the strength of our systems and knowledge to work for our benefit have been revealed, I presume that these issues are at the forefront of all our thoughts.

    That's an interesting observation. Certainly our societal weaknesses are being put to the test this year, especially our treatment of the elderly.

    Has anyone ever tried to play a game where the most powerful force is not a person, but a sequence of events? (Grey Ranks maybe?)

    Almost any Cthulhu themed game, I should think.

    Have you ever forced or been forced to play situations which cannot be beat, but after defeat the characters must continue (I'm not talking about railroading).

    I have played in situations where the characters were defeated, but were able to go on by escaping. I don't think I've played in a situation where we were defeated and had to live under the consequences of that defeat, though (e.g. like an oppressive occupation). In the novel Steel Beach that we read a few years ago, humanity was living in artificial habitats on the moon - exiled from earth by a more powerful alien. Those characters were living with defeat, but (it seemed) had largely adapted and were coping fairly well.

    Or have villains ever changed so as to no longer be monsters?

    Yes, though my human villains are rarely monsters. When I run monsters, they are largely inhuman. In my current campaign, the PCs rescued a captive prince and are bringing him home. They didn't bank of the fact that he might an overconfident narcissist who would try to recruit them to help him depose his own father as soon as the reward is turned over. The haven't decided what to do with him, but in the last session one character started giving him lessons in morality, so I think the hope is to 'improve' him.

    How have you, or might you, approach getting situations like these to work? (I don't think it works in this book, but why it doesn't niggles at me) Perhaps you think this would make a terrible idea for play. Whatever responses, I'm interested.

    No, interesting. Campaign play is much more beneficial for character growth and depth than one-shot play.

    Not really on topic, but I'd also like to hear of anyone's experience with lockdown and their play. Do you think that this will change how people choose their entertainment? Will it have a long-term influence on gaming, or will the industry be able to return to the recipes it has sued up to now? For example, I know that I am seeing a lot more discussion of 'virtual tabletops,' and their capacity to help or hinder play.

    Lockdown has forced my group to try playing via Google Hangouts, and it's working quite well, so we just might continue playing this way afterward. This has also been liberating in the sense that I now feel ore free to try playing with others online. I've met several people at the Mitchester Arms who play online regularly, so I'd like to give that a go, sometime.

    I don't think the lockdown will affect the industry too much, except maybe to hasten a process that was already well underway.

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    @BarnerCobblewood said:
    Stone Telling's story is of several people who got what they wanted, found they didn't want it, and had to find a way back to something that was gone, and so had to try to create anew. It forwards that time is not symmetrical, and that we cannot really move back and forth through it. What do you think about this as a structure for a quest?

    This is a theme which ULG loves to explore and does so in numerous ways in both EarthSea and The Dispossessed (and no doubt elsewhere). She always tries to balance the two themes that a) return is crucial but b) return is impossible. So for example early on in The Dispossessed, we find in a single paragraph

    “[Shevek] would always be one for whom the return was as important as the voyage out. To go was not enough for him, only half enough; he must come back... You can go home again, the General Temporal Theory asserts, so long as you understand that home is a place where you have never been.”

    I feel that this was in part a concern shared by several serious mid-20th century authors and poets, perhaps as mathematical theories of uncertainty, randomness, and entropy percolated out from academia into the general population.

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