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Dear PTGPTBers
I just finished reading Nick's article on Competitive Gaming, and I was instantly struck by a few thoughts:

1) Nick seems to have ignored the existence of the Professional DCI Circuit. At the top ranks, these Magic : The Gathering competitions offer purses in excess of US$25000. Small potatoes, perhaps, compared to other professional sports, but still a lot of gaming books.

While not roleplaying, M:tG involves many of the same crowd. And recently WotC (who also run the DCI) has encountered a huge backlash from the fan community against the support for the professional level. I know of many previous M:tG players who have stopped playing (and buying) M:tG because of changes they attribute to the DCI.

Professionalizing roleplaying games could easily run into an even _more_ extreme example of this phenomenon, given how many people run customized, personal, games.

2) The scheme Nick was advancing is, in all essentials, the typical RPG tournament that you encounter at the larger conventions. Often these are sponsored by the RPGA, but many more are not. I have played in a number over the years, and they are enjoyable. I am leery, however, of how much my enjoyment would decrease if large cash purses (instead of free game materials) were offered instead.

Roleplaying, in my mind, is an activity for amateurs (in the strictest sense of the word), and would lose a great deal in the transition to a professional status.

3) With the advent of the DCI (Duelists' Convocation, International), and the PGL (Professional Gamers League [video/computer games]) the professionalization of gaming (good or bad) has already begun.

4) If he hasn't already (and for anyone else interested in the phenomenon), I would recommend that Nick read the "Dream Park" series by Stephen Barnes and Larry Niven, which focus on (essentially) professional LARP.
John F. Meehan

I think that all of you have something to blame to yourself. So, you yell at AD&D. You are so stupid.
S. Gilbert

Thanks, S. We appreciate negative as well as positive feedback.


I was wondering if you could help me .. I'm looking for an Australian based game designer (rpgs, ccgs or wargames) to help on a new (paid) project.

Any leads as to how I could find someone would be much appreciated. My contact details are and 0402 484 729

Best rgds
Paul du Temple

We don't know any personally - but I'm sure some of our readers can help out.

Kudos to Sarah for her great Conspiracy X review, Steve. It saved me from non-buyer's remorse.

You see, I found Con X for sale at a local used book store along with the GM screen, and I *almost* bought it. I felt some regret about not doing so when I discovered the next week that it had been sold.

But upon reading her excellent description of both the game's mechanics and its treatment of the supernatural, I'm very, very glad I didn't buy it.

That's not to say it's a bad game by any means; rather, these two aspects of the game just didn't match what I, personally, want in such a game. And I'd never have known if Sarah's review hadn't been so detailed.
Dan Davenport

Happy we could help, Dan.

>Name: Andrew Rilstone
>Positions: Inspirational Example, Literary Genius, Celebrity Contributor
>Description: Fantastically talented young writer....

*stares in a state of shock* He's still alive?

Okay, a bit of explaining. Several months ago I found the roleplaying section of the 'aslan' page at Demon, and had much the same reaction. I hurriedly read through the rest of the page, and was about to send E-mail to him when it hit me.

In a shining example of my complete incompetence with chronological matters, I realized that if Andrew WAS still alive, and the E-mail address was still VALID, he'd be around 80 years old. Which meant that he was probably dead. I decided against sending the E-mail, because then I might have to find out.

But that says, err, a fantastically talented YOUNG writer, so I guess I must have been off in my calculations.

That was when I remembered how bad I am with time, history, or the calendar, and wrote this :)
Fire Cat

We can assure you, Mr Cat, that the rumours of Mr Rilstone's demise are greatly exagerated. He's very much alive and still working. Scuttlebutt is that he's working on a novel - can't wait for that one.

Matriarchy stuff from Jocelyn Robitaille: a thought provoking piece, though obviously it could never really happen... ahem... One of the reasons for the development of a matriarchy that was conspicuous by its absence was population bias. If the ratio between men and women were seriously out of wack, then what would be the consequences of that? I don't think that 1 man to 10 women would lead to a male dominated society do you? (YES, I do realise this is probably wish fulfilment) they would also be to precious a resource to waste in any sort combat orientated role. When the ratios were reversed you could get some interesting situations. We have all heard the stories about the times in the past when there was a lack of women in an area (usually mining/trading towns) and the shipping in of women to be prostitutes and paid for brides. Would the same thing happen in reverse if women out numbered the men 10:1? Wish fulfilment again I expect. I'm sure the more scientific among you can even come up with a plausible reason for this disparity as well. Also are there anthropologist out there who know of one of those mad PNG (where ever) tribes were matriarchy was common?

Steve Darlington's bit was a well-constructed item, with some very good criticisms of the role-playing as competition thing. As for Steve Blair (see last issue's Forum. Ed.), he is a tree hugging anarchist so his criticisms of the competition article are no more than I would expect from his sort of fast and lose style of GMing (how you doin' Steve? when are we gonna work on the mad Nazi clockmaker scenario again?). I would have to agree the forced structure of the scenarios is false and limiting but then what other ideas are to be introduced to ensure that all competitors have an equal opportunity to display their skills? We are talking about the false environment of the competition game after all. The whole point of the key aspects table was to put the bulk of the scores available on the role-playing aspect of the game after all.

My role playing life has taken a nose dive at the moment... any one got any ideas on how to get the playeers to step into the GMs shoes for a while? They won't play Pendragon with me as GM as they have some how got the idea that i intend to make them kill their own player Knights (I have them playing saxons at the moment!) from somewhere and none of them are prepared to run a proper campaign. They will do the odd one nighter (guns, beer and off colour jokes are to the for, and very pleasant it is to) but i want to try and get them to run a more substatnial game. The other player who often GMs is on strike right now, refusing to run a game untill the others take a turn or two so that we (myself and Foxy the other GM of our group) can roleplay together. I think this is part of the problem, as the few times fFoxy and I have played in the same game as PCs it has been a bit of a disaster for whoever was running the game! We seem to egg each other on to greater and greater hights of insanity and sureal behaviour..

Ho hum, whats to be done... I think it might be time to blow the dust off Jorune again
Nick McCarthy

Sorry if your paranoid players are our fault (see Issue 15). I hope your gaming picks up! Thanks for some more interesting thoughts on matriachies; even more are below.

I'm Dennis Detwiller, creator of Godlike, the roleplaying game,

Just wanted to drop a line and say "thanks" for mentioning us in your links article...

And to also let you know we now have a full Godlike page up at


Anyone associated with Delta Green is a friend of ours. Consider yourself linked.

My compliments to Jocelyn Robitaille for an interesting and balanced article! I have a few thoughts about the subject myself.

First of all, there's one possible scenario for matriarchy which was overlooked: females may be the only ones who can use magic, or they may simply be more powerful or competent mages. This doesn't necessarily have anything to do with "divine favor"; they may simply be more in tune with natural forces, the spirit realm, the flow of mystical energy, or what have you. I've seen this concept in more than one fantasy novel. In Quag Keep by Andre Norton (the first ever D&D novel, published in 1978 and set in the world of Greyhawk), it's suggested that women have a tie to the moon and moon magic on account of their menstrual cycle. I read another book years ago, part of a series (unfortunately I don't recall the title or author) in which it was taboo for some reason for males to perform magic. It was implied that men weren't capable of "true" magic, only simple tricks, though it wasn't clear whether this was an absolute truth or simply a social prejudice.

There's one race in my homegrown fantasy setting which is matriarchal for quite a different reason. They started out as simply a more civilized and "neutral" variant on gnolls, which I called gralls. Over time, as I tried to work out how their society would function, they evolved a distinctive culture in my mind and became nomadic, tent-dwelling herders similar to the Bedouin or various African tribes. Most adult males hire themselves out as mercenaries and send their income back home to support their families. Since the males are always gone, it's up to the females to raise the children, tend the flocks, and trade with other races, and as a result they came to be the leaders of grall society. I also added a neat tidbit I learned about hyenas (though gralls look more like dingos or African wild dogs); hyenas are matriarchal themselves, and males must leave the pack and join a new one in order to find a mate. As you can see, matriarchy developed as a natural consequence of the grall lifestyle. Ironically, gralls have a greater sexual dichotomy of physical strength than most other races. Female leadership is not a result of some "advantage" held by the females (though female gralls *are* a bit more intelligent on average), but is simply a matter of convenience.
Matthew Rees

Some interesting twists there, thanks Matt. Our next correspondent also had some more thoughts.

Several ideas spring to mind:

1) In several ancient societies (Israel and Egypt spring to mind), lineage was traced through mothers, not fathers. This didn't work out that well in our world, but one can imagine a society where the Queen chooses a temporary king by virtue of choosing a consort. This would give a situation where men do the fighting and women make all the policy decisions.

2) Strength of arms only matters if war is a constant part of life. If one had an inherently peaceful area, perhaps with natural birth control so population pressure was nullified, then men would not be more important than women and a matriarchy could easily arise. Minos was probably a good example of this. This could be a great campaign setting: a peaceful, highly advanced matriarchy being threatened by an aggressive patriarchy who without the knowledge of birth control has many more people.
Ed Freeman

We're glad Jocelyn's article has sparked such an interest. Seems a lot of gamers care about matriarchies - now why is that, we wonder?

To Steve (er, Darlington - there are so many of you Steve D.'s!),

In reading your somewhat recent article "Roleplaing is for Losers" (Which really puts the subject into perspective, right? Oh, how it all comes together!) I found myself both nodding in agreement and shaking my head in defiance. It turns out that doing this for a long time makes me dizzy, so I had to walk away for a bit before continuing to read. When I returned to the computer I found that I had been disconnected, but the page was still up on the screen, so it was allright in the end.

Roleplaying. Gaming. The question comes up: Do we roleplay when we game, or do we make a game of our roleplaying? Now, obviously in the case of your Monopoly tale you roleplayed when you gamed, but the answer is a little fuzzier when people discuss an actual RPG. I will say, upfront, that the style of role-play-gaming determines what side of the line one stands on, and some people don't even game. They just role-play. Others don't role-play, they just game.

But there are many RPGs that are played in a player vs. GM style, the RPG does become a type of a competitive game, where the GM happily tries to thwart the players, or have the players end up thwarting themselves, while the players have the goal of keeping their characters alive to vanquish the evil uber-lord of the GM's game. In this instance the game portion of an RPG often takes precedence over the role-playing itself, with players strategizing out of character. And, after re-reading the example of play from AD&D 1st Ed. This is exactly how Gygax and our gaming forefathers envisioned it.

And, of course, there is the more modern look at RPGs, in which role-playing takes a little more precedence and the gaming portion of the experience is simply the rules around the role-playing to act as a partial moderator and for "fairness". But I don't think that makes the AD&D 1st Ed. view of gaming (and that is gaming) a less valid form of playing RPGs. The game does take precedence there and yet it's not "evil." The competition is more group vs. 1 super-power, but so was the classic Dungeon. Games with role-playing elements do not take away from the validity of them being RPGs, is what I mean.

Oh, and those "cute little turtles" in Magic: The Gathering might be cute, but they aren't little - they're giant! That's what it says on the card! :)
Erich S. Arendall

Cute little giant turtles. Yeah, those. To your other point - you're right, I was a bit harsh on the narrative paradigms that the gaming mindset fosters. It's certainly not a less valid way to play, in any way. But I do think that there are other stories out there not being fostered well enough, with this style.

And let me also say that for all my rantings against games, I won't be giving up my dice until they pry them from my cold, dead hands.

Hi, my name is Peter.

I'm in the middle for writing about live roleplaying, if you have some good informations for example: when did it start or where did it start and so, I would be very happy if you would send it to me

Hope to get a mail from you...
Peter, Denmark

As I mentioned in the Addendum to the History, good information on the history of LARP is terribly difficult to come by. So if anyone has any info for Peter (or us) please send it on in.


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