Words from the Wise (Guys)

Copyright Peter Mork © 2012

Edited by Peter Mork for The Guild Companion

Welcome to the 166th edition of the Guild Companion. This month we shift from lanterns to lapidaries: books that list "the varieties of gemstones, their characteristics, and their magical and allegorical significances." We also present new options for supplementary skills, such that applying multiple skills to a maneuver is simple and beneficial.

Meanwhile, in my ongoing world-creation game, the players have transitioned from being gods to playing the avatars of those gods---the heroes of stone-age Kur. However, we introduced a wrinkle: a given player cannot run his own god's avatar. Thus, the person responsible for bringing the God of Chaos to life is different from the person responsible for enacting the Avatar of Chaos (a mere mortal).

This simple way to mix things up has had two important ramifications on role-playing. First, we (as a group) get to see multiple interpretations of the same archetype. The God of Dreams, for example, is largely a loner, willing to go his own way. The Avatar of Dreams, by comparison, is a team player. She only goes into the dream land to further the party's goals. These differences arise from the players' natural inclinations.

Second, this scrambling also pushes the players out of their comfort zones. My daughter is most comfortable in tactical situations, but as the Avatar of Peace, she strives to find solutions that don't involve the sharp end of the spear. Similarly, the creator of the Goddess of Peace is now playing the Avatar of Death. Normally, that player eschews conflict, in favor of diplomacy or stealth. We were pleasantly surprised when that player tried something new: a bit of straight-forward violence.

This approach is definitely not without risk. The players need to trust each other, and the gamemaster needs to be alert for signs that someone might be pushing things a bit too far. But, so far it's well worth the effort; we plan to mix things up every few months.

Until next month, may all of your Large criticals be open-ended.
Peter Mork
General Editor