Monday, June 12, 2006

Inspiration and ramblings

Over the weekend, I read The War of the Flowers by Tad Williams. As a good changeling story, it is immediately going on the Neitherworld inspiration list. I've read a good chunk of the stull Williams has written at this point, and I'd generally recommend it as inspirational reading for gaming. Much of the action in The War of the Flowers takes place in Faerie. Like some depictions of Faerie (and like the virtual world in the Otherland books Williams wrote), the geography is inconstant. Locations are not always the same distance from each other and journeys between two places do not always pass through the same intervening locales. I find this interesting compared to the map-boundness of the typical rpg setting. Maps are useful to players insofar as they provide background information and a sense of context. Thinking about it, though, I can see how they could inhibit drama and tension. I know that in the Exalted game that I play in, travel has become trivial. While this has some advantages, there are also costs - in particular, we have lost the tension that is usually created by the dangers of travel and the risk of getting lost or being late. I think there is a balancing act here, and it might be made easier by loosening strict assumptions about geography.

I also recently read Ex Machina (the comic, not the rpg), which was amazingly cool and gave me a nifty idea about costumed vigilanteism as a social movement (an odd riff off of Watchmen) that I will have to use somewhere...