I must create a system, or be enslaved by another man's. I will not reason and compare: my business is to create.

- William Blake

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Old School Ramblings #3 - But what about Conan?; or: Appendix N characters are uninteresting

After my latest post on this series, I have received a few comments to the effect of: "But what about Conan? He is certainly special!". The same can be said of many appendix N characters such as Elric, the Gray Mouser, and so on. In fact, some are more than "special" - they are nigh-invincible superheroes, or at least have very sturdy plot-armor. Since this is a fair objection, I'll address it here.

First of all, I'd like to avoid any explanation that effectively dismisses the importance of the appendix N for now. Yes, I am aware that many people see the appendix N as nothing but a list of Gary's favorite books, that was written long after D&D, and surely there are gaming reasons for creating a game based on Howard's works without having Conan as the protagonist. Also, RPG are played in groups with many characters, and having one, or all of them, to be that special would detract from the experience, as well as making dangerous encounters almost impossible. This are all valid explanations for the reason why D&D characters don't look like some appendix N characters but, other than this paragraph, this isn't the point of this post. Instead, I'll start with the assumption that the appendix N is an important part of old school D&D.

Now, the Appendix N is quite extensive, and includes different types of books. There are few things one can say that will include every work in the list, and I must admit I haven't read all of it. So I'm going to focus on a few works, while recognizing that the rest might be different. Keep in mind that Gygax says that "the most immediate influences upon AD&D were probably de Camp & Pratt, R. E. Howard, Fritz Leiber, Jack Vance, H. P. Lovecraft, and A. Merritt".

If you analyse the main characters in the Appendix N, you'll see that many of them can be inserted into one or more of the following types:

The quintessential Hamlet: no relation to Conan at all.
Type A characters are true protagonists, or "alphas". They are the center of attention (or ate least a significant part of it) in their own stories; they have conflicting motives, a rich inner world, they experience growth and development, perdition and redemption, etc. Characters such as Boromir, Frodo, and some others from the Lord of The Rings are in this category, as well as Elric (Moorcock) and some characters from Roger Zelazny (or so I'm told...). Popular examples outside of the appendix N would be Hamlet, Othello and other Shakespearean protagonists, or modern characters such as Tony Soprano and Walter White. Compare those to Conan and you'll see that the barbarian is quite shallow, relatively, although he has his moments.

Type B characters are badass; they are stronger, smarter and just above ordinary men in almost all circumstances. Conan and Elric are the main examples, but most of other works that feature men from Earth going to a different time or place make them very powerful and nigh-invincible too (John Carter and other characters from Edgar Rice Burroughs, pulp-era heroes, etc). Other figures are incredibly powerful wizards and mythical beings, such as Rhialto (Jack Vance) and Jack of Shadows (Roger Zelazny).

By Frank Frazetta. Of course.
Type C characters are "picaresque" (or Cugel-like, for lack of a better C-word). This Wikipedia snip is extremely relevant (emphasis mine):

According to the traditional view of Thrall and Hibbard (first published in 1936), seven qualities distinguish the picaresque novel or narrative form, all or some of which may be employed for effect by the author. (1) A picaresque narrative is usually written in first person as an autobiographical account. (2) The main character is often of low character or social class. He or she gets by with wit and rarely deigns to hold a job. (3) There is no plot. The story is told in a series of loosely connected adventures or episodes. (4) There is little if any character development in the main character. Once a picaro, always a picaro. His or her circumstances may change but they rarely result in a change of heart. (5) The picaro's story is told with a plainness of language or realism. (6) Satire might sometimes be a prominent element. (7) The behavior of a picaresque hero or heroine stops just short of criminality. Carefree or immoral rascality positions the picaresque hero as a sympathetic outsider, untouched by the false rules of society.[1] 

Sounds familiar? For many people, this describes most characters they have ever had in any RPGs; the popular "murder hobos". It also describes Cugel, Fafhrd, the Gray Mouser, and Conan to some extent.

For further Reading, see what James Maliszewski and Zak S have to say about the subject. They said it first, they probably said it better, and you should read it if you haven't yet.

Type D characters are disposable, or replaceable, as in "not recurring" or "not that important"; they appear once in a short story, and they're gone. Sometimes, they have no special characteristics at all - they are portrayed as the "homo medius", the average, reasonable, American (or English), middle aged man. Often. they are adventures, scientists, scholars and explorers, and the stories focuses on their exploits and findings, not on their inner selves. They might be in longer stories, but they are not the focus of it. The works of Merrit, Lord Dunsany, and H.P. Lovecraft usually fall into this category. These characters are often not special by themselves, but because of the strange or bizarre circumstances that they face. They have no "character arcs" or anything similar.

By Sidney Sime, the original old school artist, illustrating a story by Dunsany.
Compare, for example, E. A. Poe to H. P. Lovecraft; even with numerous exceptions, we can say that many of Poe's characters put themselves in hideous circumstances for personal reasons (of madness, revenge, etc) while Lovecraft's characters are threatened by supernatural forces that are greater than they can comprehend, by accident, ignorance or through no fault of their own.

Now, look at the appendix N again and I think you'll agree with me: most of the main characters in the Appendix N (and specially in the "most influential" list) are often uninteresting when compared to their surroundings. In fact, Type A, "Shakespearean" characters are the exception and not the rule. Badass characters are common, but often shallow and "picaresque" in most aspects. "Disposable" characters are obviously not special by themselves.

Yes, many of these characters are awesome, but we don't care much about their inner thoughts and feelings, or even about their backgrounds (what they did before their adventures), that are often reduced to a few sentences or paragraphs. How much did Howard write about Conan's issues with their parents, for example?

Instead, we want to see the strange lands these characters explore and the bizarre monsters they encounter. Even when Fafhrd (a barbarian somewhat reminiscent of Conan) becomes an ascetic and gives up drinking and women, there is little character development, and he ends up quite unchanged. Elric has a few great moments, I'll admit, and even Conan has to face some philosophical dilemmas ("The Phoenix on the Sword"), but the focus is still on their surroundings most of the times - or at least this is what Gygax used when building D&D.

Old school games are not ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles; try reading some Robin Laws ("Hamlet's Hit Points") or some modern game instead. My own RPG, Days of the Damned, is quite focused on character development, including extensive treatment of damnation, redemption and sacrifice, things that are not often seem in most old school games I have played. 

Elric, by Rick Troula.
I'm not opposed to character development, even in old school games; I think it is one of those things that will happen naturally to some players and some characters, but you shouldn't try to force it through elaborate backgrounds or dedicated mechanics. Charachter development is part of "story", and forcing it might detract from the actual experience.

There might be some points to be made about "special" characters not being ideal to playing in groups, as they are lone wolves or get all "character spotlight" to themselves; and that playing characters with deep, conflicting motivations not being to everyone's tastes (and probably difficult to beginners); and "badass" characters existing just because death would put a halt to their explorations; and being badass because of what they DO, not because of who they ARE (no prophecy saying Conan will save the world from darkness, his stories are told in retrospective, etc); but this post is already too long as it is. 

In short, I still think that there is enough stuff in the Appendix N to justify saying that D&D characters shouldn't be special, at least when they start adventuring, but I must admit that the Appendix N is ultimately a list of Gygax's favorites, and whatever game style you choose will also be dependent on your own preferences.

Once more, this is one of the things you should experience to see if you like or not. Keep an open mind about your starting character; see where Fate will take her, and don't be afraid to take matters into your own hands, but remember what happens to the best laid plans of mice and men...

One of the proposed motes for old school gaming is "we explore dungeons, not characters" (I'm not sure about the source). I'm not that enamored to dungeons, so I would use "worlds" instead, but the focus on outer exploration feels right. Maybe add a word or two to make clear that the we do this stuff with others, as a group, not focusing on the inner struggles of each single characters.

So, maybe:

Old school gaming: Together, we explore worlds.

Not my finest idea, but I guess that will have to do until I find a better catchphrase.

16 comments:

  1. "Old school games are not ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles"

    I think it's gross that you linked to one of my blog entries to support such a conservative conclusion.

    OS games are ideal (or at least "good") to portray any kind of characters simply because all of the other options are much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much much worse and more limiting.

    You've provided zero mechanical reasons it can't be done--just said you haven't seen it (not evidence) and that it's not supported in Appendix N (not evidence either).

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    1. Thanks for the comment! I guess I agree with the "at least good" part. This post is specifically about appendix N characters, but if I were to talk about mechanical reasons, I would say mechanics that reflect inner struggles are rare in old school games, therefore "not ideal".

      I don't understand why linking to your blog would be gross - I'm a fan, by the way. Your post talks about how D&D emulates a picaresque narrative, and since there is usually "little if any character development", it seems to me wouldn't be "ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles", or at least not ideal to portray the deep inner struggles within the characters.

      Of course, "not ideal" is different than "can't be done", and I am sure many people do complex characters in old school games, would mention Pendragon, etc.

      "In short, I still think that there is enough stuff in the Appendix N to justify saying that D&D characters shouldn't be special, at least when they start adventuring, but I must admit that the Appendix N is ultimately a list of Gygax's favorites, and whatever game style you choose will also be dependent on your own preferences"

      Would love to hear you definition of "old school", by the way!

      Delete
    2. You've made a terrible mistake and it's the underpinning of your bad argument:

      "
      I would say mechanics that reflect inner struggles are rare in old school games, therefore "not ideal".
      "

      Just because a game doesn't have mechanics for something doesn't mean the game isn't ideal for that thing.

      That's the Ron Edwards fallacy.

      For example: Poker has no mechanics for bluffing.

      Presence or absence of mechanics does not equal presence or absence of said theme.

      ---------
      The following comments are not really relevant to the central point, but I've addressed them because it would waste time in the conversation if you kept bringing them up over again after this. Unless you have some major objection, the best thing to do would be to not comment further on any of the following:


      "I don't understand why linking to your blog would be gross"

      I explained above in my first post: because you used it to support a conservative and inaccurate conclusion.

      Gross.

      "- I'm a fan, by the way."

      That's nice--but not relevant to this particular discussion. So: no need to reassure me you're a fan.


      "Your post talks about how D&D emulates a picaresque narrative, and since there is usually "little if any character development", it seems to me wouldn't be "ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles", or at least not ideal to portray the deep inner struggles within the characters."

      Same fallacy I pointed out above:

      The content of Appendix N is not equivalent to the content of a game.

      Either address that specific point or don't, but don't pretend it hasn't already been made and can be ignored.

      "Of course, "not ideal" is different than "can't be done", "

      Please do me (and everyone) the favor assuming we understand standard English, you don't have to clarify the obvious.

      Delete
    3. You make some good points, and I'd like to follow up on that, specially on the poker issue. First, I would like to understand what you're saying, exactly, for example:

      - How do you define "old school" games?
      - What makes them ideal for to portray characters with deep inner struggles or the deep inner struggles within the characters?
      - How do you define "conservative", as in, "what is conservative about this post"?

      Also, I'd like you to know where I'm coming from. In short:

      - In my latest post, I mentioned that starting characters shouldn't be special in old school games (as I consider OS games) .
      - Someone pointed out to me that Appendix N characters are, in fact, special.
      - My argument in this post is that Appendix N characters aren't that special, in most cases.

      Delete
  2. "- How do you define "old school" games?"

    Rather than worry about a definition (not necessary for this conversation) I'll simply point to some obvious examples:

    D&D up thru 2e, Warhammer ditto, its clones.


    "- What makes them ideal for to portray characters with deep inner struggles or the deep inner struggles within the characters?"

    Those games have no mechanical restrictions on how to run your character or on what a game can be about and--since "depth" requires not falling back on sentimentality or cliches--they avoid the thematic imposition of cliche (or "thematic") behavior characteristic of games purpose-built for "deep inner struggles".

    For example: Burning Wheel's hilarious elf-sadness mechanic used RAW produces laughably shallow characters engaged in totally cliche struggles. So you might be trying to portray an interesting character and the personality mechanics get in the way.


    "- How do you define "conservative", as in, "what is conservative about this post"?"

    An assertion that rules for a thing are required for that thing to work "ideally" in a game is a reversal of the most revolutionary thing about RPGs: the discovery that a world of possibility is opened up simply by asserting that the player must be able do whatever that character would be able to do if the situation really existed.

    It is a step backwards toward more-constrained gaming.

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    1. Cool, now I can have a better idea about where you're coming from. I agree with many of your points, but the crux of the matter, I think, is that:

      - We cannot really discuss about the validity of the sentence "Old school games are not ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles" if we don't define old school games first.

      Would you say that is fair?

      If we are coming from different definitions of "old school games", we are going to reach different conclusions.

      Still, I wouldn't mind discussing the idea that "no mechanical restrictions" or "no mechanics" about one theme is ideal for exploring (is that the right word?) that theme.

      Since I don't want to put words in your mouth, so I would like to know if that's what you're saying.

      Also, if you agree with that sentence, I would be interested in knowing what can we call a "theme", or a "thing", etc. For example, is not having any mechanics about combat the best way to explore combat in a game? Is the idea of rolling charisma to find out how an NPC acts an obstacle to role-playing? Etc.

      Also, maybe I have misunderstood your post - what I got from it is that D&D is ideal for picaresque stories, as opposed to "traditional drama". Picaresque, might not be ideal for "characters with deep inner struggles", but then again it might. What is your opinion on that? Would you say that any of those is true:

      - Is (OS) D&D ideal for picaresque?
      - Is picaresque ideal for portraying characters with deep inner struggles?
      - Is (OS) D&D ideal for traditional drama?

      Delete
  3. Let's take a look at this:

    "We cannot really discuss about the validity of the sentence "Old school games are not ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles" if we don't define old school games first.

    Would you say that is fair? "


    Not fair at all since all you have to do is point to one example of an Old School game where portraying such a character works very well and your statement has been disproven. Defining the genre is a side project.

    Like, if you say "Breakfast is not an ideal time to eat toast" you don't have to define the exact line between brunch and breakfast or breakfast-as-in-morning-meal vs breakfast-as-in-first-meal-a-person-eats in order to disprove the statement.

    All you have to do to disprove a totalizing statement is point to ONE EXAMPLE of something we both agree is breakfast and then see if it holds.

    So we can agree AD&D and red box basic are Old School games. If we can then prove you can have an ideal deep character exploration with either of those, your point is disproved despite the fact we haven't taken on the extraneous task of defining OS games.

    -
    -
    -

    "
    For example, is not having any mechanics about combat the best way to explore combat in a game?
    "
    Depends on what kind of thing about combat you want to "explore".
    Hockey has no rules for combat but it explores combat in a way D&D doesn't. D&D has rules for combat but explores it in a way hockey doesn't.

    "
    Is the idea of rolling charisma to find out how an NPC acts an obstacle to role-playing?
    "
    Depends on what thing about role-playing you're interested in. It's certainly not an obstacle to simply having the concept extant during the game.

    -
    -
    -
    "what I got from it is that D&D is ideal for picaresque stories, as opposed to "traditional drama"

    That much I'd agree with

    What I wouldn't agree with is that it also isn't ideal for other kinds of stores.

    "Picaresque, might not be ideal for "characters with deep inner struggles", but then again it might. What is your opinion on that? "

    I think picaresque is fine for any kind of character (Gravity's Rainbow is chock full of characters with deep inner struggles and its a picaresque) . It doesn't have the following more subtle thing: a story arc custom-built around the development of a character arc.

    These are 2 different things.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Not fair at all since all you have to do is point to one example of an Old School game where portraying such a character works very well and your statement has been disproven."

    That seems to me like an incredibly low standard of proof.

    Would you agree that we can find an example of basically ANY RPG where portraying such a character works well?

    Does that mean ANY game is ideal for this job?

    If I find one example where BW mechanics does not produce shallow characters, would your statement about it be wrong?

    (I don't even play BW, just using your example)

    Or if I stick ONE screw in the wall with a hammer do I lose the right to say that it isn't the ideal tool for the job? (to be clear, Im point to a flaw in your argument, not saying D&D is a hammer etc)

    And so on.

    It seems to me that we are coming to the argument from different sides:

    I'm looking at D&D, the appendix N, etc and saying "this game isn't ideal for characters with deep inner struggles, but for adventure, exploration, etc".

    And you're looking (I assume) to cases where you have actually seem characters with deep inner struggles in OS D&D and saying "No, this game is ideal for that, too".

    Well, I can't dispute your experience, but to me, looking at AD&D, portraying characters with deep inner struggles doesn't seem to be the point. Although it can be done - but, as I said, for SOME players, and SOME characters, not all.

    "I think picaresque is fine for any kind of character (Gravity's Rainbow is chock full of characters with deep inner struggles and its a picaresque) . It doesn't have the following more subtle thing: a story arc custom-built around the development of a character arc."

    Ok, this time I can't disagree with you, since I haven't read it - a grievous sin, I know.

    But if you're saying: D&D is ideal for picaresque, and picaresque is NOT ideal to portray an story arc custom-built around the development of a character arc, I guess we can agree with that.

    ---

    Just to be sure, so we can get it out of the way: you do realize that this post is specifically about Appendix N characters, and a response to comments on my last post, right? Some characters specially, but (explicitly) not all.

    The only reason I brought up mechanics, at all, is because you said "You've provided zero mechanical reasons it can't be done", and as you can see I responded to that, specifically.

    In fact, the only time I use the term "mechanics" in my post is to say such mechanics AREN'T needed and can DETRACT from the experience. I would guess we agree on that too.

    I'm happy to discuss all this subjects with you, but it should be clear that this is not a point I am trying to make (although I think there IS an argument to be made about how mechanics might make a game more or less ideal for one theme or another).

    I would like you to address this specifically if you will.

    ReplyDelete
  5. "That seems to me like an incredibly low standard of proof. "

    No,not at all. Because you made a totalizing statement.

    If you go "All cows are green" if I find ONE animal we can agree is a cow that isn't green, I've disproven your statement.

    You made a statement in this category. One game will disprove it.

    Do you grasp this: yes or no?

    Once we've established this basic concept, we can move on.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Of course I didn't make any statement that resembles "all cows are green", or anything in that category.

    I said "Old school games are not ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles" - if you want to use a sentence I didn't say, and want it to sound like nonsense, you could use something like:

    "Hammers aren't the ideal tools to put nails on a wall".
    "Cows aren't the ideal animals to have on a farm".

    Would you agree this is a better comparison?

    You can still say that cows are indeed the ideal animals to have on a farm, but you cannot prove it by stating that you have one single cow in one single farm.

    Although I would prefer to discuss OS games instead of green cows and apologetics.

    Also, would you address any other the points I made in my last comments, or answer any of the questions?

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    1. I don't want to confuse the issue until the basics are established.

      You said
      "Old school games are not ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles"

      Then you said something even crazier which is that we'd have to define old school games in order to discuss this. We do not.

      In order to disprove your statement we need to:

      -Define some games we can both agree are old school (I submit d&D thru 2e, warhammer thru 2e, and all clones thereof).

      -Prove that all of these are as good or better to "portray characters with deep inner struggles" as any other RPG.

      Do you agree or disagree?

      If not, what new piece of information COULD disprove your belief?

      If you cannot think of any piece of information that could disprove a belief, it isn't a logically held belief.

      Delete
    2. Again, I am happy to discuss all you're saying, but I must remind you this post is specifically about the appendix N, since you didn't address that.

      Also, the whole point of this series of posts is "what old school means to me and what I like about old school games", as I said in the very first sentence of the very first post, and I would be interested in your definition of OS - but since you don't want to discuss that, I will respect that and discuss this other matters you propose.

      I still would like you to at least acknowledge this, but I won't halt the discussion over that.

      ---

      You said : "as good or better [...] as any other RPG".

      Agreed in part - we must refine that.

      "As good as any other" isn't the same as "ideal".

      Ideal means best, excellent, etc. Agreed?

      So when you say "Better than any other", yes, I can agree that would mean it is ideal.

      Let's use OD&D as the primary example of OS, since we probably can agree with that one (and I guess anyone else could agree too). Agreed?

      To answer your question: to prove me OD&D is ideal to portray characters with deep inner struggles, you would only have to show me what characteristics from OD&D make it the best tool for the job, as opposed to RPGs that are NOT OS.

      So that is basically what I want to know: what in OD&D that makes ideal for portraying characters with deep inner struggles?

      Delete
    3. First: Stop talking about "what the post is about". It's not the point at issue. It's like you casually say "ALL COWS ARE PINK" and when I disagree you keep telling me how to spell your name as if that's relevant. Please rest in the assurance that the breathakingly, achingly, mindnumbingly basic and uncomplicated information you seem bent on conveying HAS BEEN CONVEYED. Everyone knows what your post is about. We're talking about a massive mistake you made during your post "about" some other thing.


      Whether your inaccurate statement is an aside, or a footnote or the shining gem in the crown of your essay doesn't matter: it's inaccurate and that is bad
      _

      "what in OD&D that makes ideal for portraying characters with deep inner struggles?"

      OD&D has no rules (or very loose rules accompanied by advice to change the rules if necessary) for what kind of dialogue, decisions or motivations a character must have.

      So: that's ideal. You decide to portray deep inner struggle and...you can. Nothing stops you.

      Now this is only _ideal_ if there's no better way. "Ideal" means: creates perfect conditions.

      To which we can only say this for sure:

      Even in OD&D and simple "freedom to do so" isn't "ideal" (we logically cannot anticipate all possible future game design innovations) absolutely no other scheme for portraying deep inner struggle has worked better.

      So it's either ideal or simply "the best yet" and that scheme applies to any other game of similar construction.

      Delete
    4. I completely disagree that whether my statement "is an aside, or a footnote or the shining gem in the crown of your essay doesn't matter". Of course it does matter: it is in a specific context that you prefer to ignore (and of course we can ignore the context, but it doesn't mean it isn't important) .

      I'll agree to disagree on this one, since the point has bee conveyed (in all-caps) we can move past it.

      In any case I'm glad we are talking about RPGs now. All this talking about the color of cows isn't making your points any clearer (at least to me).
      ---

      You say:

      "OD&D has no rules [...] for what kind of dialogue, decisions or motivations a character must have. [...] that's ideal [...] Nothing stops you. [...] "Ideal" means: creates perfect conditions."

      This is the crux of the matter. I agree in part.

      OD&D, as I see it, doesn't create perfect conditions for exploring deep inner struggles. It has lots of rules that might get in the way if not ignored: specific procedures for creating adventures and dungeons, high lethality (specially in the lowers levels where you're supposed to start), little choice while creating or developing a character (character growth is very limiting), a focus on dungeons, magical objects, etc.

      OD&D is a great tool to outer exploration, or "exploring worlds" as I said. Creating a character with deep inner struggles seems to be missing the point of the game.

      For inner exploration, if your only standard is "nothing stops you" or "no rules", lighter systems such as, say, Cthulhu Dark, Risus (although I am not sure you're a fan of the concept of cliches) or something similar will might less distracting bits.

      Or you could just use a system where you can create the character you want and go from there, even without mechanics for deep inner struggles. It would have a wider margin or a greater freedom for exploring characters.

      Now, I am not completely opposed to having your motivations, passions, etc, in your character sheet: I am a fan of Pendragon, for example. I'm not convinced that such systems are useless: they can be great in creating the perfect conditions for at least SOME kinds of character exploration.

      In any case, I can agree that having no rules of this kind can leads to greater freedom, and greater freedom might be ideal for exploring any characters you want.

      Delete
    5. You use this phrase:
      "distracting bits"
      Meaning: things which cause ZERO mechanical obstruction but which might distract players.
      and, essentially, every other thing you say fits into this category:
      specific procedures for creating adventures and dungeons
      high lethality
      little choice while creating or developing a character
      a focus on dungeons, magical objects, etc.

      NONE of those things prevent a person from creating a deep inner struggle.

      ALL of those things (and all things, period) might distract a person from doing so.

      However:

      A distractable player is NEVER going to create a character with a deep inner struggle.

      The whole point of depth and struggle is it isn't just someone working out issues free of any external stimuli or challenge.--quite the opposite.

      If someone is working out their issues while the rest of the group is trying to deal with a carrion crawler, that makes their conflict far _more_ of a struggle and far more real (they risk having their struggle be so severe it killsother players, not less).

      The only thing that doesn't fall into this category is ability to design the PC:

      "Or you could just use a system where you can create the character you want and go from there"

      That's cake: any old school system can be done as point-buy, and all of them encourage alternate methods of PC creation and other rules-hacks.

      Delete
    6. "If someone is working out their issues while the rest of the group is trying to deal with a carrion crawler, that makes their conflict far _more_ of a struggle and far more real (they risk having their struggle be so severe it killsother players, not less)."

      That makes sense, interesting concept. And sounds like a great session.

      Delete

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