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Micole Khemarrica
A little gaming history
Thinking back to the gamer's quiz, I realize why my score was skewed the way it was. I had a couple of really good game-masters who were old-school back in the 80's, but I've never been a rabid gamer-type.

The very first role-playing game I played was Other Suns, courtesy of my then-boyfriend being friends with the author of said game. Nicolai Shapero was greatly impressed that the first thing I did upon getting ahold of the game-books was to *gasp* read both books from cover to cover and then rolled up twelve characters, one for each playable race. That was late 1983. I played AD&D a few months after my first Other Suns game, using a character that was created by a "Random Character Generator program" written by Ogre. I still play a variant of that character, whose war-dog has become a player character in her own right. My AD&D adventures were with several different DMs, mostly with one who built her own world and had several different rules systems for magic that she would swap around from game to game. Barbara also ran a variant Champions game, using the Hero System rules to run inside a D&D fantasy milieu. Another DM used the "Arduin Grimoire" books rather heavily, which are one of those 'old school D&D' add-on books that only the hardcore gamers knew about.

I've played Villians & Vigilantes, Traveller, Gammaworld, Paranoia, Runequest and a few lesser known/used systems; I still play Champions, AD&D and occassionaly I run an Other Suns game. On the other hand, I have not attended gaming cons or competitions for the purposes of roleplaying, and I didn't bring my books to school/library/conventions to find a game to play in. I didn't have a lot of referee/DM/GMs, either. I can count two 'primary' refs that I played with, Nicolai Shapero (for Other Suns) and Barbara Haddad (for AD&D, or at least her interesting variant of it); there has been a few 'one-time' refs I've played with, less than the fingers of one hand.

The most memorable game wasn't because of fun. The impending disaster started when a fellow of the high-school SF club found out I was in good with the creator of Other Suns and wanted -- nay, demanded -- I bring him to a game he was running. It was a disaster because said classmate Matt was a heavy Traveller player/referee and had only glanced at the Other Suns rulebooks and just gleaned the parts he was interested in (character races, technology) without actually learning about the underlying rules system. So, what we 'played' was a Traveller game using Other Suns background milieu. Sounds like no big deal unless you understand that every roleplaying game has a focus -- Traveller's focus was combat, but Other Suns' focus was exploration/personal interraction (and --if playing with the creator-- political intrigue). Nicolai made the combat system of Other Suns more lethal than reality to discourage the very types of scenarios that Traveller thrives on.  Setting a Traveller scenario into the Other Suns universe equals 55% casualty loss of player characters  winning a combat. Stacking the odds so that the player characters are without armor or weapons equals 100% casualty loss of player characters. Period.  Matt, my classmate, was caught offguard by just how fast his high-flung scenario went into the crapper, and was even more traumatized when both Nicolai and I reamed him a new one over not *reading the rules* before concocting the scenario. I still remember it, 20 years later.

I should start running Other Suns again, if only to renew my interest in the game system so I can pull that project out of  its dusty storage.  Among my acheivements is that Nicolai, when he wanted to play a game instead of running one, would ask me to run my games, set in my silly khromat sub-milieu (hard SF meets toon-magic-fantasy, whee!).  Yes, I have khromatai statted up to play in the Other Suns system -- they've even done their small part in Hegemonic History.  I have ownership of domains currently empty and waiting for data about Other Suns, khromatai and the khromat native milieu; I have reams of material to imput, format, and upload; there are dozens of pieces of art that needs to be done both for the new edition and for the websites; there's the Ring of DM Control that I still want to build. There's much for me to do and not much energy to do it.  I get bogged down in the details.  But darn it, when I think about my gaming history, I want to do something, get these projects off the ground again. Having money would probably help.

Current Mood: determined determined

3 comments or Leave a comment
sebkha From: sebkha Date: April 3rd, 2005 07:34 am (UTC) (Link)
I have a copy of Other Suns but I haven't yet had an opportunity to run it, so I've never observed how deadly the combat evidently is. Interestingly, the high lethality was one of the aspects I felt contributed to the feel of the (1st ed) Albedo RPG. It's the only game in which I've had players conduct hostilities in a careful and disciplined military manner rather than as an individual glory hounds. Any similar effect in OS?
khromat From: khromat Date: April 4th, 2005 01:17 am (UTC) (Link)

Lethality in RPGs

The lethality of combat in OS was such that players tended to avoid it if at all possible. Gung-ho rambo tactics only guarantees a quick death.

Something that Nicolai experimented with was the concept of a combat-survivable character class, and I was one of the playtesters of his 'Ninja Foxes' compaign. The skillsets were tuned so that the character had a decent chance of surviving combat (the technology of OS is such that as long as the head survives and proper medikit precautions are made, the body could be regrown within months. If the head was fatally wounded, there was no recovery).

niall_shapero From: niall_shapero Date: July 12th, 2007 12:46 am (UTC) (Link)

OTHER SUNs, and gaming...

I still do a bit of gaming myself (yes, this is a much delayed comment, based on stumbling across this item only recently). Just ran a session of OTHER SUNS on the 30th of June, in fact.

I STILL don't often have a chance to run in games (as opposed to run a game for others), and I'd be happy to head up to the SF Bay area (a good 350-375 mile drive) if there were a chance to run in someone else's game (someone else that I trust, that is) game. So, have you gotten around to running games again, now that you're living in the SFBay area again? (Or you were, the last time I heard).

-- Nicolai
3 comments or Leave a comment