TAN: Emma Bull's "War for the Oaks"

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Richard Boye'

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Aug 13, 2001, 9:01:20 PM8/13/01
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Okay.

There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.


I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
"unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
sinister and eerie behavior.

It was ... okay.

Several things annoyed me, though.


Spoilers.

1) Clearly Hedge (the bassist) and 'Willy Silver' were Fey. In fact, it
was painfully obvious that Hedge was the Unseelie Court's agent. And,
with the description Willy with his luminous skin and "blazing' green
eyes, it makes me wonder if Eddi was a little thick for not realizing
that this guy is not human.

2) The climax was enh. The climactic battle between the Seelie and the
Unseelie boils down to a one-sided battle of the bands. Snarl.

3) The phouka never gave his name!

Some of the Faerie's behavior was creepy, like the Queen feeding Eddi a
cake drenched in her own blood, and the description of the glaistig was
well done, but I guess I was just expecting more.

I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
want to chime in?


--
Richard M. Boye' ICQ:9021244
* wa...@webspan.net
"I've got a blind date with destiny -
and it looks like she ordered the lobster."

Laura M. Parkinson

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Aug 13, 2001, 9:51:19 PM8/13/01
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Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> rhapsodized in blue:

>Okay.
>
>There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
>o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.
>
>
>I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
>classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
>"unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
>sinister and eerie behavior.

*blink blink*

Elves?

Did someone mention elves?

Hrm. So what do you mean "unusual elves"? I think I must have missed
this discussion previously, somehow.

(And unusual in what way? Like, darkelf unusual?)

--
-'-,-'-<<0 Trickster 0>>-'-,-'- lpark...@mindspring.com
http://lparkinson.home.mindspring.com

"Be cunning and full of tricks and your people shall never be
destroyed." -Richard Adams, Watership Down

Mike Kozlowski

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Aug 13, 2001, 10:01:16 PM8/13/01
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In article <3B7878...@webspan.net>,
Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:

>I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
>classic, with somewhat elevated expectations.
>

>It was ... okay.

Books that are out of print get inflated reputations, always. I'm not
sure why it is, but it's true. _Tea With the Black Dragon_? Good,
enjoyable, but not holy-shit-wow goodness. _Growing Up Weightless_?
Decent, I guess, but not even really all that good. Hughart's _Bridge of
Birds_ sequels? Well, every rule has exceptions.

--
Mike Kozlowski
http://www.klio.org/mlk/

Aaron Davies

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Aug 13, 2001, 10:15:23 PM8/13/01
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Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:

> Okay.
>
> There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
> o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.
>
>
> I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
> classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
> "unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
> sinister and eerie behavior.

I remember a rather amusing reference to it in another urban fantasy
(well, sort of), _Sword of Maidens' Tears_, where one of the characters
complains about how out of character the actions of the elves are. She
says "It's like hearing 'The Seelie and Unseelie courts are fighting
over Minneapolis!'"
--
__ __
/ ) / )
/--/ __. __ ______ / / __. , __o _ _
/ (_(_/|_/ (_(_) / <_ /__/_(_/|_\/ <__</_/_)_

Michael Bruce

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Aug 13, 2001, 10:16:20 PM8/13/01
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To be fair, the sequels to _Bridge of Birds_ weren't really as good as
the original, and pretty closely followed the formula that it set. Not
that that stopped them from being excellent on their own merits, though.

To the topic: when I read _War for the Oaks_, I got the impression that
it would have been better if I was in a band. I enjoyed reading it,
but I don't have any wish to read it again.

Side note: I just read _Neverwhere_, _American Gods_ and _Stardust_, all
by Neil Gaiman (just in case anyone out there didn't know that), in the
last couple of weeks. All three very enjoyable.

--
Michael Bruce
br...@jhereg.net

Richard Boye'

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Aug 13, 2001, 11:48:49 PM8/13/01
to
Laura M. Parkinson wrote:
>
> Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> rhapsodized in blue:
>
> >Okay.
> >
> >There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
> >o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.
> >
> >
> >I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
> >classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
> >"unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
> >sinister and eerie behavior.
>
> *blink blink*

> Hrm. So what do you mean "unusual elves"? I think I must have missed
> this discussion previously, somehow.

It was in rec.arts.sf.written


> (And unusual in what way? Like, darkelf unusual?)

"Unusual" in that we don't mean the Legolas/Gilthanas type of elves, who
basically are just people with a thing for trees and archery.

"Unusual" in that we mean the creepy, inscrutable type of elves that go
back to their archetypal roots, like the Sidhe of Celtic mythology, who
deal with humanity from a frame of reference that is eerie and
capricious.

P. Korda

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Aug 13, 2001, 11:56:21 PM8/13/01
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In article <3B7878...@webspan.net>,
Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:

>I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
>classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
>"unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
>sinister and eerie behavior.

Unusual? They seemed fairly typical to me. Not Tolkien-esque usual,
but very "Faerie"-usual. YUMV, I guess.

(removed specific spoilers)

I read this book a few years ago, so my memory is not 100% fresh, but
I remember liking it generally, and it is my favorite Emma Bull book
not co-written with Brust, but I wouldn't put it on my top 10 list of
Books with Elves in, or anything like that.

>2) The climax was enh.

Yeah, I thought so, too. Maybe because I'm not a musician.

>Some of the Faerie's behavior was creepy, like the Queen feeding Eddi a
>cake drenched in her own blood, and the description of the glaistig was
>well done, but I guess I was just expecting more.

Well, I missed the thread in question on rasfw, so I don't really know
what "more" you were expecting. _War for the Oaks_ is a pretty
standard "Elves in the Big City" story, along the same lines as the
Borderland stories and such. I'm not too fond of that subgenre, but I
thought WFTO was entertaining enough.

>I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
>want to chime in?

Well, I am a female reader, and I liked it well enough, but I also
agree with all your criticisms, except maybe the first (I just don't
remember it well enough to comment).

-pam

Richard Boye'

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Aug 14, 2001, 12:09:16 AM8/14/01
to
P. Korda wrote:
>
> In article <3B7878...@webspan.net>,
> Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:
>
> >I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
> >classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
> >"unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
> >sinister and eerie behavior.
>
> Unusual? They seemed fairly typical to me. Not Tolkien-esque usual,
> but very "Faerie"-usual. YUMV, I guess.

Well, that was the gist of the thread. Not the sylvan Elves, but the
spooky, inhuman sort.


> >2) The climax was enh.
>
> Yeah, I thought so, too. Maybe because I'm not a musician.

That seems to be a common reaction. Non-musicians seem less than
thrilled by it.


> >Some of the Faerie's behavior was creepy, like the Queen feeding Eddi a
> >cake drenched in her own blood, and the description of the glaistig was
> >well done, but I guess I was just expecting more.
>
> Well, I missed the thread in question on rasfw, so I don't really know
> what "more" you were expecting.

Oh, I don't know. More weirdness, more dabbling with huamniy in a way
that shows a whacked sense of priorities.

Okay, so there was the whole thing about giving the money that reverts
to maple leaves, which the phouka never realized could truly fuck up
some unsuspecting human's day.

> _War for the Oaks_ is a pretty
> standard "Elves in the Big City" story, along the same lines as the
> Borderland stories and such. I'm not too fond of that subgenre, but I
> thought WFTO was entertaining enough.

I think one of the descriptions that caught my attention was "elves in a
biker gang" which really didn't apply.

Mike Kozlowski

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Aug 14, 2001, 12:34:24 AM8/14/01
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In article <3B789F...@webspan.net>,
Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:

>"Unusual" in that we mean the creepy, inscrutable type of elves that go
>back to their archetypal roots, like the Sidhe of Celtic mythology, who
>deal with humanity from a frame of reference that is eerie and
>capricious.

If you like that sort of thing, you might like Greg Bear's _Songs of Earth
and Power_ (which I personally found too bleak, but otherwise liked). and
Ellen Kushner's _Thomas the Rhymer_, which was very good.

Hawk

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Aug 14, 2001, 3:01:55 AM8/14/01
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Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> shouted:

["War for the Oaks"]

:Some of the Faerie's behavior was creepy, like the Queen feeding Eddi a


:cake drenched in her own blood, and the description of the glaistig was
:well done, but I guess I was just expecting more.

:I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
:want to chime in?

Like Pam, I don't recall it well enough to give any specifics. As a
sidenote, I didn't pick it up because of any recommendations[1], so I went
into it with an open mind.

I do recall that I was quite disappointed in the book. I kept wanting to
scream at her and point out the obvious, and the climax left me wanting.
The book is still on my shelf, but that's mostly because I have a hard
time getting rid of written materials.

This book wouldn't go on any of my recommendations list.

Hawk

[1]Chris Claremont, when he wrote the X-men back in the '80's, kept
mentioning the band "Cat's Laughing" and Emma Bull. Made me curious
enough to read some of her stuff, as I liked the work that Claremont was
putting out at the time. "War of the Oaks" was picked because it was the
one book of hers that was on the shelf at the bookstore.

--
"They're Orcs. They're made to die."

Karl-Johan Noren

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Aug 14, 2001, 3:19:52 AM8/14/01
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Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:

[ _War for the Oaks_ by Emma Bull ]

> There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
> o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.
>
> I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
> classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
> "unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
> sinister and eerie behavior.
> It was ... okay.

Hmmm... I found the book quite enjoyable when I first read
it, and has re-read it a few times since (mind you, this
was several years ago). Not great literature, but a good
light read with some depth and snappy dialogue.

I think part of the trouble here is on expectations, or
spoilers in a more subtle form than "X killed Y". After
having seen so much discussion about the book (some of
it inaccurate too, it seems) you had a built-up image of
the book which it simply did not conform to.

--
Karl-Johan Norén -- k...@bredband.net
http://hem.passagen.se/kjnoren/
- To believe people are as stupid as one believes is
stupider than one can believe

Janet Quick

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Aug 14, 2001, 8:48:16 AM8/14/01
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in article 3B7878...@webspan.net, Richard Boye' at wa...@webspan.net

wrote on 08/13/2001 9:01 PM:

> Okay.
>
> There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
> o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.
>

snip specifics


>
> I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
> want to chime in?
>

I read it and remember liking it - but I also remember being a bit confused
about certain "scenes". It didn't make me want to read more of the same.
Funny that others are saying it was about elves that are musicians or elves
on bikes. I sort of thought it was about fairy (faerie) dying in the modern
age. The only character I remember fondly is the pouka.


in article 1ey3mzn.uvxrpm1qg2i9cN%aa...@avalon.pascal-central.com, Aaron


Davies at aa...@avalon.pascal-central.com wrote on 08/13/2001 10:15 PM:

> says "It's like hearing 'The Seelie and Unseelie courts are fighting
> over Minneapolis!'"

LOL. Yes. Now I remember. That is what's it's about.

Janet Q.

Kate Nepveu

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Aug 14, 2001, 10:18:55 AM8/14/01
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Richard Boye' (wa...@webspan.net) wrote:

[...]


> I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
> classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
> "unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
> sinister and eerie behavior.

To me, it's more that they manage to be actually alien. Sinister &
eerie, not so much, but the whole thing about, oh, apologies I thought
was well done.

> It was ... okay.

_Finder_ is better, IMO.

> Several things annoyed me, though.


> Spoilers.

[...]


> 3) The phouka never gave his name!

I don't think he _has_ a name.

> Some of the Faerie's behavior was creepy, like the Queen feeding Eddi a
> cake drenched in her own blood, and the description of the glaistig was
> well done, but I guess I was just expecting more.

> I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
> want to chime in?

It's her first novel and definitely shows it. I think with the
exception of _Falcon_, everything she's done since shows her growth
as a writer. I think a lot of people remember this fondly because
apparently it really did break ground in the urban fantasy subgenre
when it was published.

Kate
--
http://www.steelypips.org/elsewhere.html -- kate....@yale.edu
Paired Reading Page; Book Reviews; Outside of a Dog: A Book Log
"The most courageous act is still to think for yourself. Aloud."
--Coco Chanel

Kate Nepveu

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Aug 14, 2001, 10:16:15 AM8/14/01
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Mike Kozlowski (m...@klio.org) wrote:
> In article <3B7878...@webspan.net>,
> Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:

> >I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
> >classic, with somewhat elevated expectations.
> >
> >It was ... okay.

> Books that are out of print get inflated reputations, always. I'm not
> sure why it is, but it's true. _Tea With the Black Dragon_? Good,
> enjoyable, but not holy-shit-wow goodness.

I do hope I didn't give that impression; I think it's a charming
little book, but not holy-shit-wow.

> _Growing Up Weightless_?
> Decent, I guess, but not even really all that good.

We've had this conversation before, so I shall skip it now.

> Hughart's _Bridge of
> Birds_ sequels? Well, every rule has exceptions.

And here I think the sequels aren't nearly as good as the first...

Richard Boye'

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Aug 14, 2001, 8:14:25 PM8/14/01
to
Kate Nepveu wrote:
>
> Richard Boye' (wa...@webspan.net) wrote:
>

[The War for da Oaks]


> _Finder_ is better, IMO.

Really?

I'll look it up.

> > I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
> > want to chime in?
>
> It's her first novel and definitely shows it. I think with the
> exception of _Falcon_, everything she's done since shows her growth
> as a writer. I think a lot of people remember this fondly because
> apparently it really did break ground in the urban fantasy subgenre
> when it was published.

That must be it. I mean it didn't suck like Goodkind, but it was
definately less than I expected.

and I _guess_ Minneapolis can be deemed "urban" but really....

Scott Spiegelberg

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Aug 15, 2001, 5:22:13 PM8/15/01
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On Tue, 14 Aug 2001, Richard Boye' wrote:

[context, schmontext]

> and I _guess_ Minneapolis can be deemed "urban" but really....

Hey! Don't be dissin' my new hometown.

--
Scott Spiegelberg
Ph.D. candidate Instructor of Music Theory
Eastman School of Music University of Minnesota
spi...@theory.esm.rochester.edu


Rimrunner

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Aug 16, 2001, 4:49:56 PM8/16/01
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On Mon, 13 Aug 2001 21:01:20 -0400, Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:
>Okay.
>
>There is a handsome new edition of this book, and I saw it recommended
>o'er in rasfw, so I ordered it from amazon.
>
>
>I read this book, which has the reputation of being something of modern
>classic, with somewhat elevated expectations. There was the whole
>"unusual elves" thread in rasfw which led me to believe some downright
>sinister and eerie behavior.
>
>It was ... okay.

I like it. Though I don't read it over and over, the way I do with, say,
Pratchett.

>Several things annoyed me, though.
>
>
>Spoilers.
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>1) Clearly Hedge (the bassist) and 'Willy Silver' were Fey. In fact, it
>was painfully obvious that Hedge was the Unseelie Court's agent. And,
>with the description Willy with his luminous skin and "blazing' green
>eyes, it makes me wonder if Eddi was a little thick for not realizing
>that this guy is not human.

I too spotted that right away, though for a slightly different reason: the
first jam session with a potential new bandmate NEVER goes that well. (I
think I've mentioned this before, though.)

>2) The climax was enh. The climactic battle between the Seelie and the
>Unseelie boils down to a one-sided battle of the bands. Snarl.

I've never been in a Battle of the Bands, personally. Descriptions from
other musicians lead me to believe it's not much fun.

Bull's come closest, of the books I've read on the theme, to describing
what being in a band is really like. Nobody's gotten it bang-on, though.
(The other really good one is Gillian Cross' "Chartbreaker", a YA novel I
grabbed on a whim back when I was a YA and still have. Pratchett's "Soul
Music" also comes close.)

But I too wanted a little more from the showdown.

Someday I will write the kind of book I'm looking for.

>3) The phouka never gave his name!

A lot of the fey didn't have names, that we ever heard. I mean the queen
was just the queen--both of them were, actually. And the glaistig.

But then some of them did. Dunno. Seemed kinda arbitrary.

>I wonder if this book plays better to a female reader or not. Anyone
>want to chime in?

Depending on my mood, I'm sometimes inclined to read it as a romance,
which I don't ordinarily like. Mostly I dig it cause it's about a band,
though, which is for obvious reasons a particular area of interest.

-g,
some parts are just too cute
--
Murder of Crows @ http://www.murderofcrows.net
NEXT SHOW: GoGirlsMusicFest @ Sit & Spin, Seattle, Sat Sept. 29 2001
YOU VOLUNTARILY ASSUME THE RISK OF SERIOUS INJURY OR DEATH BY ATTENDING
THIS EVENT. --Burning Man ticket

Rimrunner

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Aug 16, 2001, 4:52:41 PM8/16/01
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On Tue, 14 Aug 2001 03:56:21 GMT, P. Korda <ko...@midway.uchicago.edu> wrote:
>In article <3B7878...@webspan.net>,
>Richard Boye' <wa...@webspan.net> wrote:
>
>>2) The climax was enh.
>
>Yeah, I thought so, too. Maybe because I'm not a musician.

Speaking as a musician...not a bad idea or a bad effort, but it does fall
a bit short.

Someday I shall come up with an adequate description of what Bull was
trying to convey. Nobody else has, yet, that I've read.

-g,
maybe it's that dancing about architecture thing

Scottina Good

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Aug 19, 2001, 1:04:04 AM8/19/01
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Mike K. <m...@klio.org> says...

Originally published as just one book, __The Infinity Concerto_ had a
promising beginning. I was not as pleased with the second book, _The
Serpent Mage_ as it was even darker than the first.

While not dealing with elves but gargoyles, vampires, and such, Meredith
Ann Pierce's _The Darkangel Trilogy_, consisting of _The Darkangel_, _A
Gathering of Gargoyles_ and _The Pearl of The World_ is worth a look at.

Scottina

Scottina Good

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Aug 19, 2001, 1:08:15 AM8/19/01
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In article <slrn9nhj2q.pk...@bolt.sonic.net>,
merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
<snip>


> Hawk


> "They're Orcs. They're made to die."


Are you certain?

I was always under the impression they wished to do the killing
instead...

Scottina
[So I don't game much. <shrug>]

Hawk

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Aug 19, 2001, 3:23:15 AM8/19/01
to
Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
:merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...

:> "They're Orcs. They're made to die."

:Are you certain?

Quite.

:I was always under the impression they wished to do the killing
:instead...

Not always. Sometimes they prefer maiming lanterns and old buckets
instead.

Besides, unless you have a beginning character, Orcs really aren't that
scary. Even our non-fighting priest is able to chop one or two down on
his own.

Hawk

--
"He's not fair. He fights with trees."

Scottina Good

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Aug 19, 2001, 11:45:53 PM8/19/01
to
In article <slrn9nuq6k.om...@bolt.sonic.net>,
merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...

> Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
> :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
>
> :> "They're Orcs. They're made to die."
>
> :Are you certain?
>
> Quite.

If you say so... I always managed to get my butt kicked in Baldur's
Gate by them though. Granted, I wasn't very far in the game when I met
them, so two hits & I ended up dead.



> :I was always under the impression they wished to do the killing
> :instead...
>
> Not always. Sometimes they prefer maiming lanterns and old buckets
> instead.
>
> Besides, unless you have a beginning character, Orcs really aren't that
> scary. Even our non-fighting priest is able to chop one or two down on
> his own.

Ah... but then again, as I don't game I would start off with the
beginning character.

Scottina

Michael Hoye

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Aug 20, 2001, 12:54:55 AM8/20/01
to
In article <MPG.15e905bb2...@news.cableone.net>,

Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> wrote:
>In article <slrn9nhj2q.pk...@bolt.sonic.net>,
>merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
>
>> "They're Orcs. They're made to die."
>
>I was always under the impression they wished to do the killing
>instead...
>
>[So I don't game much. <shrug>]

"You face Death Itself in the form of... 1 Kobold."

[1 pt.]

--
Mike Hoye


Hawk

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Aug 20, 2001, 1:51:54 AM8/20/01
to
Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
:merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...

[Are Orcs meant for dying?]
:> Quite.

:If you say so... I always managed to get my butt kicked in Baldur's
:Gate by them though. Granted, I wasn't very far in the game when I met
:them, so two hits & I ended up dead.

There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's
Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
skanky Orc asses.

:> Besides, unless you have a beginning character, Orcs really aren't that


:> scary. Even our non-fighting priest is able to chop one or two down on
:> his own.

:Ah... but then again, as I don't game I would start off with the
:beginning character.

Depends. NO good GM would make you start off at first level if the rest
of the party was already at a high level. Either your character would be
the first one dead, or the rest of the party could take down every Big Bad
easily because its difficulty rating would be scaled down for you.

Generally, new characters in a game start one or two levels below the rest
of the group, not all the way at the beginning.

Dave Rothgery

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Aug 20, 2001, 2:14:37 AM8/20/01
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Hawk <merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet> wrote:
> Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
> :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
>
> [Are Orcs meant for dying?]
> :> Quite.
>
> :If you say so... I always managed to get my butt kicked in Baldur's
> :Gate by them though. Granted, I wasn't very far in the game when I met
> :them, so two hits & I ended up dead.
>
> There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's
> Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
> like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
> skanky Orc asses.

At which point the typical Evil DM throws a few 12th-level Orc fighters
at the unsuspecting players...

Not that I would do anything like that.

--
Dave Rothgery
Picking nits since 1976
drot...@myrealbox.com
http://drothgery.editthispage.com

Rimrunner

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 3:38:06 AM8/20/01
to
[creepy elves]

Haven't seen anyone mention Pratchett's "Lords and Ladies" yet.

The elves in that book are nasty.

-g,
'nobody ever said elves were nice. elves are *bad*.'

Aaron F. Bourque

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 12:35:10 PM8/20/01
to
>From: merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet (Hawk)

>NO good GM would make you start off at first level if the rest
>of the party was already at a high level. Either your character would be
>the first one dead, or the rest of the party could take down every Big Bad
>easily because its difficulty rating would be scaled down for you.

OR . . . he would focus on roleplay for a while until you're caught up . . .

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque

--
"If you don't know concentration, which gives you peculiar pleasure, your life
looks like hell."--Hiroyuki Nishigaki

http://delinquents.keenspace.com/d/20010703.html

Hawk

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 1:59:29 PM8/20/01
to
Aaron F. Bourque <aaronb...@aol.comstat> shouted:
:>From: merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet (Hawk)

:>NO good GM would make you start off at first level if the rest
:>of the party was already at a high level. Either your character would be
:>the first one dead, or the rest of the party could take down every Big Bad
:>easily because its difficulty rating would be scaled down for you.

:OR . . . he would focus on roleplay for a while until you're caught up . . .

Which doesn't work in all circumstances*, nor does it take into account
that unless you have spectacular roleplaying, you'll be gaining xp (and
thus levels) very slowly.

Hawk

*My group is in the middle of a long-running battle. At this point we
CAN'T avoid fighting.

Hawk

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 2:02:15 PM8/20/01
to
Dave Rothgery <drot...@myrealbox.com> shouted:
:Hawk <merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet> wrote:

:> There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's


:> Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
:> like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
:> skanky Orc asses.

:At which point the typical Evil DM throws a few 12th-level Orc fighters
:at the unsuspecting players...

Bill likes mucking with the stats and abilities of the D&D monsters just
enough so that it's impossible to deal with a creature for the first time
and have the players be able to assume knowledge that their characters
wouldn't know.

I like that. When I start up my game this fall, I plan to use that quirk
myself.

:Not that I would do anything like that.

Of course not. The GM is your friend.

Hawk

--
"I knew that if I fucked you long enough, you'd eventually want it."

Aaron F. Bourque

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 3:09:05 PM8/20/01
to
From: merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet (Hawk)

>:OR . . . he would focus on roleplay for a while until you're caught up . . .
>
>Which doesn't work in all circumstances*,

True, but any GM worth his salt would be able to finagle something. In your
example, he'd probably have two coices, let any new players start at
something other than first level, or allow detante.

>nor does it take into account that unless you have spectacular roleplaying,
>you'll be gaining xp (and thus levels) very slowly.

1) Lower levels need fewer xp to gain levels

2) A good GM would probably fudge the rules to let the new player catch up,
at least until he's about half the average level of the rest of the group.

David Scotton

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 6:49:24 PM8/20/01
to
On 20 Aug 2001 04:54:55 GMT, mh...@prince.carleton.ca said:

> "You face Death Itself in the form of... 1 Kobold."
>
> [1 pt.]

That's gotta be from the Bard's Tale. Great game.


--
David K. Scotton <dsco...@uclink4.berkeley.edu> | UIN:3595734

"I don't embrace depravity as much as I dry hump it."
-Mark Loy

Michael Hoye

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Aug 20, 2001, 7:12:40 PM8/20/01
to
In article <MPG.15eb33c45...@news.speakeasy.net>,

David Scotton <dsco...@uclink4.berkeley.edu> wrote:
>On 20 Aug 2001 04:54:55 GMT, mh...@prince.carleton.ca said:
>
>> "You face Death Itself in the form of... 1 Kobold."
>>
>> [1 pt.]
>
>That's gotta be from the Bard's Tale. Great game.

Bing. Got it in one.

I was talking with somebody about this the other day, and I realized
that if I were somehow dropped bodily into that doomed city, I could
probably still find the Mage's Guild without too much trouble.

And that's taking up space in my brain.

--
Mike Hoye

Brian Ritchie

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 11:23:39 PM8/20/01
to
Michael Hoye <mh...@prince.carleton.ca> wrote:

>[Bard's Tale]

>I was talking with somebody about this the other day, and I realized
>that if I were somehow dropped bodily into that doomed city, I could
>probably still find the Mage's Guild without too much trouble.

I'm just afraid I'd remember the teleport coordinates I used to go in and
fight the room of red dragons and return to the healer. I wasted an
entire night doing that, but my characters kicked ass afterwards.

--

Brian Ritchie
br...@prism.gatech.edu

Dave Rothgery

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 11:34:49 PM8/20/01
to

And I thought spending a few afternoons killing dinosaurs in FF3, err, 6
was obsessive...

Scottina Good

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 11:46:25 PM8/20/01
to
In article <slrn9o2k0l.nc...@bolt.sonic.net>,
merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
> Dave Rothgery <drot...@myrealbox.com> shouted:

<snip>

> :Not that I would do anything like that.
>
> Of course not. The GM is your friend.

*disgruntled look* No, he's my brother.

Scottina
[Not Dave. If I do play, my GM is my brother. At which point every
mean, big sister type, thing I have ever done comes back to haunt me...]

Scottina Good

unread,
Aug 20, 2001, 11:53:55 PM8/20/01
to
In article <slrn9o1977.l2...@bolt.sonic.net>,
merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...

> Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
> :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...

Forgive me, I meant to ask - what do Orcs have against buckets?


> [Are Orcs meant for dying?]
> :> Quite.
>
> :If you say so... I always managed to get my butt kicked in Baldur's
> :Gate by them though. Granted, I wasn't very far in the game when I met
> :them, so two hits & I ended up dead.
>
> There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's
> Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
> like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
> skanky Orc asses.

Hmmm... Security _and_ fun. Perhaps not dying in oh... two to three
hits. This bears looking into.



> :> Besides, unless you have a beginning character, Orcs really aren't that
> :> scary. Even our non-fighting priest is able to chop one or two down on
> :> his own.
>
> :Ah... but then again, as I don't game I would start off with the
> :beginning character.
>
> Depends. NO good GM would make you start off at first level if the rest
> of the party was already at a high level. Either your character would be
> the first one dead,

Why yes, that would be it exactly.

> or the rest of the party could take down every Big Bad
> easily because its difficulty rating would be scaled down for you.

I think that may have happened too. I was too busy wondering how to fix
it so I didn't die next time.

> Generally, new characters in a game start one or two levels below the rest
> of the group, not all the way at the beginning.

Oh reeeeeally? Wait till I talk to my brother again!


Scottina

Michael Hoye

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Aug 20, 2001, 11:50:34 PM8/20/01
to
In article <9lsk7r$bvi$1...@news-int.gatech.edu>,

?

I though the play was the four groups of 99 barbarians in the castle.

Er... 11, 4, 3?

--
Mike Hoye

Brian Ritchie

unread,
Aug 21, 2001, 12:13:46 AM8/21/01
to
In article <9lslqa$eh8$1...@bertrand.ccs.carleton.ca>,

Michael Hoye <mh...@prince.carleton.ca> wrote:
>Brian Ritchie <br...@prism.gatech.edu> wrote:
>>Michael Hoye <mh...@prince.carleton.ca> wrote:

>>>[Bard's Tale]

>>I'm just afraid I'd remember the teleport coordinates I used to go in and


>>fight the room of red dragons and return to the healer. I wasted an
>>entire night doing that, but my characters kicked ass afterwards.

>I though the play was the four groups of 99 barbarians in the castle.

Yes, you're right. I was remembering the red dragon I would conjure
before going in, regardless of how many attempts it took to get one.

>Er... 11, 4, 3?

Thankfully, I don't remember for sure of the top of my head. I might if
it was on my screen, though.

--

Brian Ritchie
br...@prism.gatech.edu

Dave Rothgery

unread,
Aug 21, 2001, 12:16:02 AM8/21/01
to
Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> wrote:
> In article <slrn9o1977.l2...@bolt.sonic.net>,
> merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
> > Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
> > :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
>
> > [Are Orcs meant for dying?]
> > :> Quite.
> >
> > :If you say so... I always managed to get my butt kicked in Baldur's
> > :Gate by them though. Granted, I wasn't very far in the game when I met
> > :them, so two hits & I ended up dead.
> >
> > There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's
> > Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
> > like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
> > skanky Orc asses.
>
> Hmmm... Security _and_ fun. Perhaps not dying in oh... two to three
> hits. This bears looking into.

No, if stereotypical Orcs are giving you trouble, you want to avoid
bears. By-the-book bears are somewhat tougher than by-the-book Orcs.

David Scotton

unread,
Aug 21, 2001, 1:29:51 AM8/21/01
to
On 21 Aug 2001 03:50:34 GMT, mh...@prince.carleton.ca said:
> In article <9lsk7r$bvi$1...@news-int.gatech.edu>,
> Brian Ritchie <br...@prism.gatech.edu> wrote:
> >Michael Hoye <mh...@prince.carleton.ca> wrote:
> >
> >>[Bard's Tale]
> >I'm just afraid I'd remember the teleport coordinates I used to go in and
> >fight the room of red dragons and return to the healer. I wasted an
> >entire night doing that, but my characters kicked ass afterwards.
>
> I though the play was the four groups of 99 barbarians in the castle.
>
> Er... 11, 4, 3?

I'm pretty sure it was 12, 6, 3. Of course, your coordinates may also
have worked... as I remember it, they were in a pretty big room and you
had to step onto their square to fight them.

Hawk

unread,
Aug 21, 2001, 2:36:59 PM8/21/01
to
Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
:merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
:> Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
:> :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...

:Forgive me, I meant to ask - what do Orcs have against buckets?

Nothing in particular. They can be prone to using whatever's handy as a
weapon though, when they don't have their swords and bows on them.

:> There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's


:> Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
:> like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
:> skanky Orc asses.

:Hmmm... Security _and_ fun. Perhaps not dying in oh... two to three
:hits. This bears looking into.

It's fun. You really should try it sometime.

:> or the rest of the party could take down every Big Bad


:> easily because its difficulty rating would be scaled down for you.
:I think that may have happened too. I was too busy wondering how to fix
:it so I didn't die next time.

Hide behind the big, burly fighter.

:> Generally, new characters in a game start one or two levels below the rest


:> of the group, not all the way at the beginning.

:Oh reeeeeally? Wait till I talk to my brother again!

Is this the one who used to read my posts just for the .sigs? If so, tell
him I don't think it's very nice that he keeps picking on you like this...

Hawk

--
"I love you. I'd be upset if you were deleted."

Hawk

unread,
Aug 21, 2001, 3:04:55 PM8/21/01
to
Aaron F. Bourque <aaronb...@aol.comstat> shouted:
:From: merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet (Hawk)

:>nor does it take into account that unless you have spectacular roleplaying,


:>you'll be gaining xp (and thus levels) very slowly.

:1) Lower levels need fewer xp to gain levels
:2) A good GM would probably fudge the rules to let the new player catch up,
:at least until he's about half the average level of the rest of the group.

Then why not do what I said originally, which was start a new character at
a level 1-3 levels lower than the original characters? If you're just
going to do things to make it so that the character can catch up easily,
there's really no point in starting them off at first level.

Hawk

--
Do not meddle in the affairs of models, for they are subtle and look
better than you do.

Scottina Good

unread,
Aug 22, 2001, 11:55:33 PM8/22/01
to
merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
> Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
> :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
> :> Scottina Good <scot...@cableone.net> shouted:
> :> :merha...@NYETsonic.NYETnet says...
>
> :Forgive me, I meant to ask - what do Orcs have against buckets?
>
> Nothing in particular. They can be prone to using whatever's handy as a
> weapon though, when they don't have their swords and bows on them.

I thought they might have something against cleaning...



> :> There's an underlying problem here, Scottie - you're playing Baldur's
> :> Gate. You don't have the security (or fun!) of having a party of
> :> like-minded adventurers surrounding you, and helping to trounce their
> :> skanky Orc asses.
>
> :Hmmm... Security _and_ fun. Perhaps not dying in oh... two to three
> :hits. This bears looking into.
>
> It's fun. You really should try it sometime.

Without the bears I guess...



> :> or the rest of the party could take down every Big Bad
> :> easily because its difficulty rating would be scaled down for you.
> :I think that may have happened too. I was too busy wondering how to fix
> :it so I didn't die next time.
>
> Hide behind the big, burly fighter.

I don't think we had one.


> :> Generally, new characters in a game start one or two levels below the rest
> :> of the group, not all the way at the beginning.
>
> :Oh reeeeeally? Wait till I talk to my brother again!
>
> Is this the one who used to read my posts just for the .sigs? If so, tell
> him I don't think it's very nice that he keeps picking on you like this...

Yes, and I think he believes it's fair.

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 8:02:15 PM8/23/01
to
In article <slrn9o2k0l.nc...@bolt.sonic.net>, Hawk wrote:

>:At which point the typical Evil DM throws a few 12th-level Orc fighters
>:at the unsuspecting players...

> Bill likes mucking with the stats and abilities of the D&D monsters just
> enough so that it's impossible to deal with a creature for the first time
> and have the players be able to assume knowledge that their characters
> wouldn't know.

> I like that. When I start up my game this fall, I plan to use that quirk
> myself.

I still think it's more satisfying just to chuck out the established
monsters of whatever system you're playing with and creating a few of
your own that the players have no immediate concept of.

There's about three hundred times as many monsters in all the various
monster books out there for, say, *D&D, as most campaigns actually
need to have around anyway.

And home designed monsters fit home designed worlds better, anyway.

--
John S. Novak, III j...@cegt201.bradley.edu
The Humblest Man on the Net

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 8:18:37 PM8/23/01
to
In article <20010820150905...@mb-fe.aol.com>, Aaron F. Bourque
wrote:

> True, but any GM worth his salt would be able to finagle something. In your
> example, he'd probably have two coices, let any new players start at
> something other than first level, or allow detante.

Personally, I think any GM worth his salt wouldn't go out of his way
to create situations which are going to require that level of
finagling in the first place.

>>nor does it take into account that unless you have spectacular roleplaying,
>>you'll be gaining xp (and thus levels) very slowly.

> 1) Lower levels need fewer xp to gain levels

> 2) A good GM would probably fudge the rules to let the new player catch up,
> at least until he's about half the average level of the rest of the group.

Okay, then.

Very Important GMing Rule Number One:

Not all players are made alike. (And conversely, neither are all
GMs.) Trying to treat all possible players in the same way, as though
they had the same preferences, same goals, and same enjoyment factors
is a pretty good way to piss off a lot of players.

It will evidently come as a shock and a surprise to you to learn that
some players would be Extremely Annoyed to find out that the GM was in
some way cutting them special favors. It will break their willing
suspension of disbelief, and, if they maintain enjoyment from the
suspense of their actions, they will lose that as well. For some
players, this will absolutely kill any enjoyment they get out of the
game.

From long (to the point of excruciating) discussions in a nother
newsgroup and in some mailing lists over the past ten years, I can
think of at least three or four major groupings or tendencies among
players. And that's just the system that we hammered out in order to
have names to discuss stuff, and it doesn't deal with personal player
idiosyncracies.


Very Important GMing Rule Number Two:

The only response to someone acting as though some particular style of
playing is the One True Way is beat them with copper pipes until they
stop that obnoxious behavior.

Not only is it pointless, because you *will not* change someone else's
basic preference of style, it's just damned rude to tell someone
they're "playing wrong."

If the GMing style turns out to involve something that really really
annoys the player, then there are a limited number of good responses.
One is to outright admit, "Well, I don't think I can give you what you
want as a GM; you might be better served in a different game."
Another is to say, on some level or another, "I'm used to running
games this way, but I'll try to adjust; let me know if there's a
problem."

Under no circumstances is the right response to steamroll over the
player in question and continue on as you were, under the assumption
that eventually you'll "convert" the player. You probably won't.

Now, the trouble comes in if you've got widely differing players in
one group, especially if it was a social group before it was a gaming
group.

Then you get to see a GM tap dance, to greater or lesser effect,
trying to keep everyone happy.

Aaron F. Bourque

unread,
Aug 23, 2001, 9:01:03 PM8/23/01
to
From: j...@concentric.net (John S. Novak, III)

>In article <20010820150905...@mb-fe.aol.com>, Aaron F.
>Bourque wrote:
>
>> True, but any GM worth his salt would be able to finagle something. In your
>> example, he'd probably have two coices, let any new players start at
>> something other than first level, or allow detante.
>
>Personally, I think any GM worth his salt wouldn't go out of his way
>to create situations which are going to require that level of finagling in the
>first place.

The GM won't have to, the players'll do it on their own.

>>>nor does it take into account that unless you have spectacular roleplaying,
>>>you'll be gaining xp (and thus levels) very slowly.
>
>> 1) Lower levels need fewer xp to gain levels
>
>> 2) A good GM would probably fudge the rules to let the new player catch
>> up, at least until he's about half the average level of the rest of the
group.
>
>Okay, then.
>
>Very Important GMing Rule Number One:
>
>Not all players are made alike.

And every game is different. When talking about gaming, it's difficult to speak
in absolutes.

>It will evidently come as a shock and a surprise to you to learn that
>some players would be Extremely Annoyed to find out that the GM was in
>some way cutting them special favors.

Not at all (the surprise bit). If the gamers don't want that sort of thing, it
really
should come up during the character creation process (something the GMs
need to be a big part of anyway).

>It will break their willing suspension of disbelief,

It may.

>and, if they maintain enjoyment from the suspense of their actions, they will
>lose that as well.

>For some players, this will absolutely kill any enjoyment they get out of the
>game.

And for them, the GM should work differently.

>Very Important GMing Rule Number Two:
>
>The only response to someone acting as though some particular style of
>playing is the One True Way is beat them with copper pipes until they
>stop that obnoxious behavior.

. . . I . . . uh . . . agree?

>Under no circumstances is the right response to steamroll over the
>player in question and continue on as you were, under the assumption
>that eventually you'll "convert" the player. You probably won't.

Okay. I'll totally revise my statement: any GM worth his salt will try to
accomodate his players, even when he can't accomodate their playing style.

If that means letting them start at first level when the rest of the group is
much higher, and fudging the exp rules, then that's what that means.
If it means not letting them start at first level in the same situation, then
*that's* what that means.

Aaron "The Mad Whitaker" Bourque
--
"If you don't know concentration, which gives you peculiar pleasure, your life
looks like hell."--Hiroyuki Nishigaki
http://delinquents.keenspace.com/d/20010703.html

Damn the tree and all its kind!

R Sanderson Pratt

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 3:44:22 AM8/24/01
to

John S. Novak, III <j...@concentric.net> wrote in message
news:9m46gr$7unt$5...@ID-100778.news.dfncis.de...

> From long (to the point of excruciating) discussions in a nother
> newsgroup and in some mailing lists over the past ten years, I can
> think of at least three or four major groupings or tendencies among
> players. And that's just the system that we hammered out in order to
> have names to discuss stuff, and it doesn't deal with personal player
> idiosyncracies.

Just out of curiousity, would that be Real Man, Real Roleplayer, Looney and
Munchkin?


--Sandy

John S. Novak, III

unread,
Aug 24, 2001, 3:55:21 PM8/24/01
to
In article <qBnh7.2064$OW....@typhoon.hawaii.rr.com>, R Sanderson Pratt wrote:

> Just out of curiousity, would that be Real Man, Real Roleplayer, Looney and
> Munchkin?

...No.

Adam Benedict Canning

unread,
Aug 27, 2001, 7:00:12 AM8/27/01
to
On 24 Aug 2001 19:55:21 GMT, j...@concentric.net (John S. Novak, III)
wrote:

>In article <qBnh7.2064$OW....@typhoon.hawaii.rr.com>, R Sanderson Pratt wrote:
>
>> Just out of curiousity, would that be Real Man, Real Roleplayer, Looney and
>> Munchkin?
>
>...No.

Simulationist, Expert, PsychoKiller, Tradegician?

Adam

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