Friday, May 26, 2017

Who Is the Hero?

I made a silly suggestion below that your man should play a treacherous game, sacrificing party members rather than face danger himself. Whether you play it like that or like a Boy Scout is up to you. Both ways can be fun and interesting (as long as everyone plays the same kind of game.) 

Mike Mornard, Original Grognard

As you all know by now, Michael Mornard is one of the last living beings to play in the first campaigns of Gary, Ernie, Rob Kuntz, Dave and M.A.R. Barker, among many other of the red hot pioneers of the hobby.  He was there at the very start.  Now someone will doubtless be along to correct me on this but I'm going from memory of what Mike wrote on a forum years ago, so just bear with me.

When they first played in Dave Arneson's Blackmoor sandbox, they were all wargamers.  There was no Role-Playing Game thing yet.  Their characters were more like chess men than characters from a play or literature.  Even the idea of "metagame" information was something to be discovered in the future - if the player knew something, the character would too.  The players were really playing against each other, even when the characters were cooperating!

Evil Fights On by SMS00
While they had to have their weaklings stick together at the beginning, each of the players just knew that sooner or later his PC was going to build his own castle, raise his own army, and battle the several other players for ultimate domination of the world.  Because that's what wargamers knew how to do!

Anyway, there was a sense of rivalry bordering on the cutthroat there from the very beginning there in 1973-74.  They were all in on the joke. It was just the way these things were done.  

Even the alignment system reflected this lack of cooperation:  Lawful meant "from the realm of men" and Chaotic meant "against the realm of men" but neither alignment really dictated how you were to play.  They were just labels for Team A and Team B so to speak.

By the time Steve Marsh edited B/X in 1981 though, the presumption was that the several characters  would work together but also that the several players would work together too!  Lawful guys would be good and Chaotic guys would be shady, and may the gods help the shady ones if anyone discovered their dastardly deeds!

But this is only one choice that is implied in the rule book, not an artefact of the rules. You and your friends can choose to play "against" each other, like you would in a game of Sorry or foosball.  Mike and his friends certainly played it both ways over the years and you can too.

You can run your game either way.

The "hero" of the story is the one who lives to tell the tale; no more and no less.I don't think that needs any further exposition. Take it how you will...!

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