08 December 2009

Robilar’s method

For the role-playing gamers...

I don’t remember exactly where I read this, but I thought it was very interesting how Rob Kuntz’s character, Robilar, explored the dungeons under Castle Greyhawk. (Apologies if I’m misremembering any of this.)

He would often travel alone. Although human, he would explore in the dark—just following the walls and keeping his ears open. He might use some light at an intersection, but only briefly when he felt it was safe to do so. He would not open doors. At least, not until he’d explored what he could without opening doors.

There are some interesting things to note here:

This (as Rob was playing it) isn’t a game of combat. This is a game of exploration.

If this had been a computer game, Robilar’s method would only be possible if the designers had specifically enabled it. Well, that may not be entirely true, but how many CRPGs are there in which Robilar’s method is possible? While D&D may have rules to cover some of this, that is only because Rob did it so Gary added some of the stuff he made up to handle it to the rules.

Robilar was a fighter. If I understand correctly, his companions when not alone were other fighters and mages. Neither clerics nor thieves were considered vital.

Robilar survived despite traps, “save or die” situations, the level-draining ability of undead, and so forth. As much as I’ve sometimes seen such things as arbitrary, unfair, or unfun; Robilar managed them. I suspect due to a combination of Rob being cautious and Gary being fair.

This also reinforces for me something Gary himself said: If you played with Gary at a convention, he was assuming you wanted a no-holds-barred experience. Gary was a different DM at conventions than when not at conventions.

No comments: