Various articles regarding running an RPG in the Nehwon setting:
Sadly the fact that brutes and criminals gang-up on the actually mostly lawful 'sorcerers' reveals a certain hypocrisy, or deception, on the claim of high fantasy. At least in my opinion. When I was young Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser seemed heroic, read again in mature years they are foolhardy, irresponsible, and immature at best.
@Pauper Majere - Do you mind elaborating as to what you mean by revealing hypocrisy on the claim of high fantasy. I am a little confused as to the point you are making. Thanks!
I mean that the exclusive glorification of criminal scum is harshly what literature and fantasy roleplay were about. Given that high fantasy IS often neighbor of, or outright mistaken for, heroic fantasy one could say it is the one flaw in a well-written prose and the detailed depiction of characters, which Fritz Leiber and the old AD&D Lankhmar both worked hard to achieve? Additionally the protagonists face an unspoken must of being pretty human, even though the world around can be full of elves, dwarves, orcs, wizardry, witchcraft, and sorcery… It is not genre-breaking, but I would prefer the honesty of approaches like 'Sanctuary - Thieves World' in both, stories and roleplay. Don't mind, just delete my comment, brings the same result anyway.
@Pauper Majere - I wouldn't dream of deleting your comment, I was just having difficulty understanding what you were trying to say. Right off the bat, your first comment seemed a bit non sequitur as the topic of this page was about an approach to RPG magic systems based off of the ritual magic in the stories. I think you are commenting more generally about the stories as a whole–which is fine and I'll defer to that as the topic at hand.I don't know why you feel the F&GM stories are hypocritical in regards to high fantasy. The stories do not make any pretense to be high fantasy. Some would say that they were an antidote to too much high fantasy that was being written, but that argument would partially be getting ahead of itself as all the high and epic fantasy really started getting out of hand after Tolkien came on the scene. Having been started in the 1930s it really is a continuation on the sort of adventure stories written by Clark Ashton Smith with a little b it of Lovecraft flavoring thrown in initially. Are you saying that the emphasis on the criminal rogue does not make for a good model to base RPG characters on because the RPG genre at large has a tradition of heroic characters? Or are you saying it does not make good literature because it detours from the heroic adventure literature up to then, starting off of course way back with the Sumerians then the Greeks? Or perhaps I've missed the point completely. As far as elves, dwarves and such are concerned, they don't belong. Perhaps in the D&D tradition and of course Tolkien and all his imitators, but certainly not the line of this tradition. It is one area of many where D&D and Lankhmar butt heads and just don't fit together well. Now about the honesty of Thieves World? Why is it more honest?Thanks for being willing to discuss. -Srith of the Scrolls
Thanks for the transfer to proper topic. Thieves World makes it clear that protagonists are NOT heroes. Lankhmar still uses the glamour of 'heroic roleplay', and character stylization. It may have been a personal disillusioning, but Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser were much less beeped-up in my youthful perception than during a re-read a decade later.To our group it was one of the breaking points, which later resulted in Warhammer and D&D being completely left behind, and a drifting into darker stuff like Kult or the back then brand new Vampire - the Masquerade heralded Lankhmar, much like Greyhawk, was written before the commercial hype we nowadays consider 'normal' made everything streamlined. The reason I noted 'just delete my comment' is that I already realized it was just my personal disappointment that another attempt to reattach to those fond memories of the good old roleplaying times had failed… And you are right, high fantasy is neither heroic fantasy, nor does it make the abundant use of fantasy races which is standard in D&D. Having returned from being made urban homeless, I have to rebuild my real life. The one thing I don't need is a background world which forces me into extra-work, especially unpaid extra-work. Therefore I will remember Fritz Leiber later, and for now focus on Planescape, and the publishing of my own second for sale ebook…Beyond that: Your essay on the magic is true. Harshly the world for 'eschew material components' kind of approaches. Ritual magic has streamlined rules in D&D 5th edition, may be useful. And I remember my research on the D20 Conan RPG 2nd edition being about similar sorcery. Doesn't mean you need any of it, but a group of Lankhmar 'adventurers' finding out about the cult's secret ritual site, and then disturbing the ritual or subduing the sorcerer is THE classic approach in such a magic setting and your reflection on it was good! Goodbye.