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- Sören Heim on Funny, Complex, Imbalanced. at 11:39 on 16-04-2018 - link There are surely better Pratchett novels, I chose the first because you could nicely compare the way a new world is presented. Basu too makes fun of much more than classic fantasy, he comments on the groth of cities, gamification, filmindustry, draws from indian, european & other mythologies & much more. In writing style he is much more modern and show-don't telly than every pratchett I know, which is still only a small part of his - what is it, 100? - novels (counting not only discworld). As I said: therein lies Basus stregth - and weakness. His aim at presenting a living, breathing society while also delivering jokes and social satire undercut each other sometimes...
- Cheriola on Funny, Complex, Imbalanced. at 03:08 on 11-04-2018 - link Case in point about different frames of reference regarding Pratchett: I had to look it up to believe that by "the little pub" you really were refering to The (not yet) Mended Drum, of all places. But when you say "gloomy drinking hole" and "barfights that are evaluated according to levels of violence", I think: Shamelessly cribbed from Pratchett's Mended Drum (or Biers, if we're talking really gloomy.)
Cheriola on Funny, Complex, Imbalanced.
at 02:25 on 11-04-2018 - link
This does sound interesting.
One little question, though, just to make sure we have the same frame of reference: Have you actually read any relatively recent Pratchett novels?
I ask because your assessment of his style and narrative intentions sounds like you only know the first few books of the Discworld series, which were just basic fantasy genre parodies and therefore quite different from the main bulk of the series, which I consider to be far more typical of his style. What's appealing to me about Pratchett is not primarily the jokes or the mockery of traditional genre tropes, but the gentle satire of real world cultural / social institutions not relating to fantasy (Academia, banks, Hollywood, the British Army, football clubs, politics, etc.), as well as the humanist ethics and his general assumption that his readers are pretty broadly educated and will catch allusions to e.g. modern astrophysics or ancient Greek history or various Shakespeare plays.
Is this book comparable to Pratchett in this regard as well, or is it just a funny fantasy parody?
- Robinson L on Kickstopper: Turning the Lights Out On Those Who Most Need Them at 22:02 on 19-01-2018 - link Okay. In the article you tossed that information out as if it was already established, but then the way you talked about it later made it clear this mandate to play up be endings was specific to the Cthulhu Dark module (though I'm aware the baseline for Lovecraftian storytelling is to have downbeat endings), so I was confused.
Arthur B on Kickstopper: Turning the Lights Out On Those Who Most Need Them
at 22:18 on 18-01-2018 - link
In terms of there being no way to be a good ending - it's basically Walmlsey playing up to a very specific vision of how cosmic horror works.
To be fair, in baseline Call or Trail it's often stated that whatever victories the player characters accomplish may only be a temporary respite for humanity, rather than permanently ensuring its safety, but the way Cthulhu Dark reads it genuinely seems like Walmsley is advocating that for true full-bore cosmic horror you need to confront the characters with something terrible which ultimately they can't do anything about.
Thing is, whilst that works in a prose story - Thomas Ligotti does that a lot, and Lovecraft would write plenty of stories like that himself - that both ignores the occasional story like The Dunwich Horror where a victory against encroaching forces of chaos and dissolution is won and also feels like a frustrating way to run a game, unless it were going to be a one-off thing where everyone was going into it buying into the "no win condition" thing.
It's also another thing which isn't in the original 4-page pamphlet version of Cthulhu Dark, which I remain convinced is the best version of this game.
Arthur B on Kickstopper: Turning the Lights Out On Those Who Most Need Them
at 21:59 on 18-01-2018 - link
Without wanting to kick off a long political digression, I’d argue the age of austerity constitutes constant interventions by those in power which either create or magnify much of said bad shit, which they insulate themselves from with their power and push onto those who lack it.
True that, though the upshot of this is that if you happen to hail from a privileged background you have the option of just not caring or paying attention to politics at all - and ultimately it's hard to tell the difference between conscious neglect and unthinking ignorance if it's your local infrastructure crumbling because of it.
Robinson L on Kickstopper: Turning the Lights Out On Those Who Most Need Them
at 20:36 on 18-01-2018 - link
It feels to me that in the age of austerity “Bad shit happens to those not in power because those in power don’t give a shit and aren’t paying attention” is an important and useful premise for this sort of social commentary horror
Hmm, I dunno, Arthur. Without wanting to kick off a long political digression, I’d argue the age of austerity constitutes constant interventions by those in power which either create or magnify much of said bad shit, which they insulate themselves from with their power and push onto those who lack it. In effect, they’re actively manufacturing the circumstances which allows the bad shit to arise and thrive.
From what I know, a better comparison might be the AIDS crisis in the 80s.
by mandating that there is no way to get a good ending
You toss this point out as if it’s a minor detail, but you keep coming back to it throughout the article, and from later remarks I gather that it’s not a standard feature of Lovecraftian tabletop games like Call of Cthulhu and Trail of Cthulhu. Does Walmsley ever explain the rationale behind this particular mechanic?
By definition, in Cthulhu Dark Insight is not merely an understanding of the immediate mystery in front of you - you can learn all sorts of stuff about it without necessarily raising your Insight, after all - but your appreciation of the ultimate cosmic nihilism underpinning everything. In other words, it represents a change in your worldview, and it seems strange that your worldview would have snapped back to what it originally was between investigations.
This whole thing reminds me of the trope in videogames where the main characters’ levels, equipment, and spells or abilities are reset to their starting point in between games.
Ashimbabbar: say what you want about Masks of Nyarlathotep, but IMO joining a raid of Chinese anarchists against one of the bad guys' main bases just rocks
Now that sounds like my kind of campaign.
Robinson L on Cakes on a Train
at 20:00 on 18-01-2018 - link
Great to see you back in action, Sonia. I’d like to comment on the article, but I haven’t seen the movie, and while I wouldn’t be against it, I have no particular desire to see it.
Murder on the Orient Express is one of the stories that would be plausibly easy to have an all-white cast for, so it's good to see Leslie Odom Jr, a black man, playing one of the central characters. The opening scenes, too, feature a predominantly non-white Jerusalem which is by no means a given in these types of adaptations.
I’m sure I heard somewhere Brannagh has a history of hiring racially diverse casts. He was the director who gave us Idris Elba as Heimdall after all, and I think we can all agree the Thor films a stronger for it (despite some … questionable incidents towards the end of Ragnarok).
As long as we’re talking, Murder on the Orient Express, there’s an awesome in-joke in one of the later “Thursday Next” books by Jasper Fforde, where the main character is in the realm of fiction where all the characters from novels past and present live, and has to interrogate a yeti. Upon learning the main character’s a cop, the yeti exclaims, “I swear, I was nowhere near the Orient Express that night, and even if I was, I had nothing against Mr. Casetti (sp?)!” (paraphrased). Which if you’ve read the book is absolutely priceless.