11 April 2009

The extraordinary among the ordinary

So, I’m listening to Grimm Studios Podcast episode 1 and the subject comes up about whether a hero is an extraordinary person or an ordinary person in extraordinary circumstances.

(I think both. I think it’s also interesting to note, however, that when the hero is extraordinary, the challenges faced are often so much more extraordinary that the hero’s extraordinariness† is immaterial.)

It occurs to me that this might be why I’m not crazy about things like The Watchmen. In some ways they are about extraordinary persons in ordinary circumstances. I can appreciate that sort of thing but only so much.

Which is not to say that I didn’t enjoy The Watchmen‡. I did. It’s just never going to be on my list of favorites.

†Wow. This derivative of extraordinary—as awkward as it is—is actually explicitly listed in the Mac’s New Oxford American Dictionary.

‡Not the movie. The comic. Although I haven’t actually so much read the comic as watched the “motion comic”.


Grimm said...

Hey there,

Chris from Grimm Studios.

Wanted to say hi, make the comment that I agree that if you up the extra-ordinariness of the hero's, you can just scale up the adventures, but that leads to an arms race of being even bigger and more over the top, until you simply can't sustain it.

Keeping the hero's at a level the player can relate to means any heroic action is worth a story.

Also wanted to say how much your classic D&D section (http://web.fisher.cx/robert/infogami/Classic_D&D) has been such an influence to my gaming over the last year. I think it's a must read for anyone interested in the spirit of the game. Good work.


Robert Fisher said...

Hey, Chris!

That observation isn’t even really about gaming but literature, TV, movies, etc.

e.g. Just about every superhero comic I’ve read is about the hero going up against a foe against whom the hero’s powers don’t really make a difference. Their powers only get them into the fight. (If even that.) They have to use their wits to make up the difference.

Thanks for the compliment! I don’t really feel I can take that much credit for the content, as somebody at Dragonsfoot probably said any of it better and before I did. But it’s really satisfying to know that people have found it worthwhile. I really do need to find some time to clean it up.

I’ve been enjoying listening to the podcast during my commute. I’ve recently gone back to ep.1 and started catching up on all the old ones. You’ve got a good group there, and it’s always entertaining. I know you say anyone could do it, and (technically) that’s true, but I’m glad you guys actually do. ^_^