Tales of Tadeusz

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Hohenwald News: Review on the Neutronium Alchemist

I enjoyed Mindstar Rising, although it wasn't great. And its been years since I made it halfway through the Neutronium Alchemist, but the horror is still seared into my memory. Y'see, Hamilton yields to temptation, and becomes a Bad Artsy Gamemaster.

Those of you too wise to waste your life rolling little twenty-sided plastic shapes will not understand, so I will use another analogy later for the hunting crowd. For the dungeon-hacker, you have no doubt met, the Half-Clever GM. He spins an assured story, with unusual elements, and seems to give you a great deal of respect as he then lets you step into his serious universe (but its a fraud....Soylent Green is People!!) Sure the foe is tough, but you've faced tough foes before. And the pain you suffer is strong, but you've fought on in agony before.

But always with a decent chance of victory.

There's the rub. You won't win with the Half-Clever GM. His world will be colored grim, but the color of your victory banners will never enter his picture. He'll have half-baked reasons and good reasons why you fail, but you'll always fail.

He will tell you that it will get better, but it won't. He will tell you that things change, but it won't. And when you get to the end, there will be no victory. If you do well, you might eke out an honorable retreat.

And at the end, where he promised you glory, you'll only find him shutting up the books, with a self-satisfied look, with him expecting you to thank him for all the agony he's put you through. Because now you can see the artistic beauty of the thing that he has created, with your minor assistance.

I promised an analogy for the Hunters as well. It will be shorter (really). You're a fish, you take the hook, it hurts, you flail about, the fisherman cheers your efforts as he wants a valiant adversary, but does he want you to win? Or even have a fair chance? Of course not. Your wriggles and strivings are there to provide him with a chance to test his strength. Since, I'm not with PETA, I'm okay with that, for fish. But treating people that way...

Lets just say, if I'm going to flail, I prefer to flail with a hammer on my enemies.

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