The Rumble as a Jumble
On a rare occasion―unless the players happen to be the feisty sort―the party may wind up in a fight. Now in most other RPGs a fight is usually known as combat, and most of them are stately, organized affairs. As somebody who’s been in an actual fight―twice, and I went 0 for 2―they are messy, confusing, and you really can’t keep track of them with any real confidence.
In the Dangerous Journeys system, which Mythus uses, fighting is designed to be confused and confusing, even though the mechanics for violent conflict are written to make it seem clear and organized.
An example of this illusion is found in how the steps used in determining the course of a fight can be seen below.
We start with the matter of the environment. Where does it occur? What do things look like? What can the players see? What do they notice?
The Encounter: The first thing the JM needs to do is to make note of where and when the encounter has taken place. Is it in a wide open location such as a rolling plain at high noon, or in a narrow corridor with only a dim, flickering candle as light.
In addition he needs to note how visible each party is. Are they trying to be obvious and get noticed, or are they sneaking about trying to avoid observation? There is also the matter of how noticeable they are under the local conditions, which may either be not really noticeable at all or more noticeable than they think they are.
Example: The party is making their way down an old tunnel far beneath a long abandoned manor. Their sole source of illumination is a poor quality lanthorn―they really weren’t prepared for this―but they are being cautious and suspicious.
Further down the tunnel a troll approaches. Having just had a fight with his wife he is irritable, on edge, and about ready to put the smack down on anybody who gives him a hard time. He also knows the area better than they do, and what with them being lit while he’s in the dark gives him some advantage when it comes to spotting the group before they spot him. The first sign the party has that they’ve encountered something is when they hear a snarl which sounds like somebody large issuing a challenge.
Up next is the matter of determining what everybody notices and can see, but that’s for the next post in this series.
I’m doing this as an example of how I view matters in an RPG, being more a matter of life than of a game they tend to be confusing and rather hard to keep track of. One should note that a fight is not a neat organized affair, and any pretence at organization is essentially a lie. In this series we’ll be taking a look at how fighting is handled in Dangerous Journeys and Mythus.
Defining art is a lot like defining science, most of the time it is a matter of describing an example of a thing as the thing. Still, as with science there are elements in art that help us identify it as art.
In the long run it comes down to a matter of feelings. As with science art is about evoking feelings, and evoking them in such a way as to arose feelings of awe. Your first exposure to a work of art is one that makes you say, “wooh.”
Art is impressive. Art gets your attention. More importantly, art remains impressive even after you’ve seen it for awhile. Too much exposure to a piece of art can lead to burn out, but when you understand how it is impressive it remains art.
Ask a painter about the Mona Lisa, a musician about the Stairway to Heaven; either will try to tell you about what makes them art, but as long as you don’t have the background necesssary you’re not going to understand them.
Could video games be art? In my opinion when the people who create them understand what makes art art, then they will be art. Until then they will be just an amusement. We first need to ask ourselves, what is it about art that impresses us? How are the elements of the piece handled, how are they brought together to get the result we see as art. What did Mozart do to produce his art? When at the core its just a matter of the technology of music writing.
Art really is not about the technology of producing the piece, but rather a matter of how it is put together in such a way as to evoke an enduring response. Most importantly it is an understanding of how we work, or how and why we find something impressive and what stays impressive even after it’s been around for awhile. Cartoons have been acknowledged as art because of how they appeal to their audience, or how they were done in such a wise that they appealed to the audience. Chuck Jones and friend timed Wiley Coyote’s falls to elicit the best response from their audience. A technical answer to eliciting an emotional response. That is how we handle the creation of art, using the tools we have to get the responses we are looking for.
Can anything become art? Of course, but only as long as we understand what art is and how we create it.