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Chains and chaos

We've packed in three more sessions! So, 17 total. The linked video goes to #15 inside the playlist, and I'll add the next as I finish editing them.

What you're seeing in these is the considerable expansion of the setting to include the northern subcontinent. We finally bring up ethnic visual topics in the 17th session, so if you're wondering about that in the first session you see here, rest assured it does not get ignored.

You may note that the image I've chosen is considerably emotionally charged. I've used it already as the lead image in my cult writeup for the Merciful Dawn, and it fits here well. The long, slow burn of Zort's chaos features - dating all the way back to the first session - has finally come to the front of play.

I've also given some attention to the skill training rules as they are rather generous and save players the grinding hassle of successful rolls + skill improvement rolls for every single 5% boost.


Actual Play


Ron Edwards's picture

Well, it looks like it might be time to examine those Rune Lord rules. Here's the direct link to the session (into the playlist).

Special points to anyone who spots the direct reference to Fyodor Dostoyevsky's notions about the Devil.

Ron Edwards's picture

Here's the direct link into what is now a very long playlist. Finally, successful Cult rolls reveal the geographic, political, and metaphysical stakes ... right when our heroes find themselves at the bulls-eye.

If you don’t look for trouble it is certainly going to come look for you. That at least would be my summary of the last (by now actually four) sessions. Skava is learning to keep her calm, in case somebody is wondering why, she wants Zort to be able to decide which way to go without intervening. Which does not mean she would stand by when he get’s into serious trouble – that can not possibly count as intervening, right (her thoughts, not mine)?

All sessions posted here were pretty intense, even the non-combat ones. Wonder if and how that becomes tangible in the videos. When not in combat I have to concentrate much harder on what is going on and how Skava would react to it – both short term and long term, it’s exhausting but fun non the less. Part of it probably is because I always fear to miss clues because I simply don´t know what to look for, part is the language but still I wonder how others experience combat versus non combat play, what do you feel is more taxing mentally and why?

LorenzoC's picture

I think combat is generally less mentally taxing because violence in play-pretend is very nicely structured and tidy. I hit you, you hit me, eventually one of us dies. Whether we have a strict ordering system in place or not, there's a clear sense of urgency and purpose. We always know what's happening and we know where we're going - we want to survive or prevail or kill our opponent. It's not nice, but it's reasonably easy.

Outside of combat, we don't have that. I think you hit two different problems in your observation. The first (the taxing experience of thinking "what would Skava do?" and bringing it into play) is something that I think Ron has been tackling in the two most recent Consulting sessions. In my experience this is where people get lost often - because "who I hit next?" can often be a crucial decision, but it's a focused one. "Where do we go next?", "Do I care about this?" and "What's the right thing to do now, for my character?" is another matter entirely.

This introduces the second aspect ("I simply don´t know what to look for") - combat is a structured activity. When know when it begins, we know when it ends, we generally have a discreet set of actions we can use while it's going on. In most games, the rest of play isn't equally structured, and often not clearly identified as an activity. "You can do anything, we're simulating you existing in a make-believe world". We can do anything so we don't know exactly what we're doing now. Maybe we're doing many things at the same time - whatever it is, we don't have that "we're in combat" label telling us what the priorities and possibilities are. 
Some games try to make the rest of play more like combat, in this regard. I'm playing Pathfinder 2, a game that tells you that you have 3 distinct stages of play: Encounter (which includes combat), Exploration and Downtime. The boundaries of these activities tend to become so loose and the activities interrupt themselves and overlap, so it may as well not be there for the purpose of what you're talking about. Or you may get games like Blades in the Dark, that at all times precisely tell you what you should be doing and how you should be doing, and (for my own personal tastes) that removes the problem but also the pleasure, in good part.

Dreamofpeace's picture

Interesting, my take is the exact opposite of Lorenzo's. In many games combat is the crunchiest, most rules-heavy part of the system, so instead of getting the excitement I want from the situation, I get bogged down with minutiae. For example, having to keep track of endurance in Champions, having to wait my turn in D&D, having to calculate distances, modifiers, and so on. Outside of combat, I feel more free to simply play my charcter, and ideas and inspiration occur more readily to me. 

Ron Edwards's picture

Getting cosmic again - here's the direct link to the new session, within the playlist. Also, here is marked a rare moment when my posting is actually brought up to be current with play.

Damn - Parts 1 and 2 are slightly different edits of the same section. I have to go back to the beginning and remake them. I'll get to it as soon as possible.

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