Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Lake Geneva Campaign: The Ongoing Aspect of PLAY

Here is a letter partial I recently sent to a fan who is transitioning from 3rd Edititon D&D to a more loose AD&D/OD&D play style.  This was recently touched upon at Gene Palmer's excellent blog as well, and my notes here appear as an afterthought.  The real idea as promulgated then was to keep "PLAY" open and moving and not tied to a constant mechanic.  By comparison, one may consider this style as the open mind set expressed and shared among a group of creative children who play together, changing and adapting as they continue interjecting into that endeavor.  Later, they will remember parts of that process and even reincorporate salient parts of those past, shared mechanics and principles, but they will always be seeking to expand upon these self-imposed limits as the search for creative expression continues.

"Hi Johnny,

Fast and loose was the typical game in LG.  The game rules were codified to cover as many circumstances that were common.  As this is a representation of a real world environment, everything cannot be so explained.  That would cover a list of rules which are endless or in turn would limit the same expression if creativity and a flowing probability range was not introduced.

It's all basically inputs which arrive at probabilities.  Plus/Minus until the final influence on the die/dice roll is arrived at.  This is accomplished through taking in what the circumstances are as opposed to what the players are attempting to do within these.  This is then introduced to a curve (Bell curve, for example of a 2 six-sided die roll), which is what EGG and I did in many circumstances where the rules could not define outcomes.  The game is open-ended and mutable.  Some things naturally were seen as doable.  Like hiding.  If you use the base as a thief, then just pare it down by 80% in unusual circumstances or apply other inputs.  Anyone can hide, it is just that thieves are more practiced in it and at instantly accomplishing it over a constant range of application.  In all cases it is specific to the circumstances and is not a general idea which is an abstract applied to a set rule of hiding. Each case will be judged for its variable nuances within the developing situation.

As far as weaponry and classes.  These were included to affect game balance, almost reverse engineered to strike balances between classes, as were the sliding HD system I created for classes in OD&D and thus can be used or ignored at will.  Explain them as you will.

The rules are guides.  The moment you realize this, the realms of possibilities expand as you as a creative implementor of them are outside of the box.  That is how they were designed to be, not set in stone and limited. Fantasy cannot exist within a box, it has no limits, thus it must continue to expand outward, up and away, reaching new levels of extrapolation.   The day this ceases to be so, you are no longer playing an open-ended game of fantasy, but a set-in-stone game with fantasy motifs and elements only, and that is not the game as we designed it back in 1973.

Best Regards.

Rob Kuntz"