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Savinien

Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

On the issue of race in Sword and Sorcery, I'm currently reading my way through the complete set of Howard's original Conan stories for the first time (yes, I know, I'm a little late...) and I have to say I'm astounded by the sheer amount of ethnic mixing Howard has going on in that setting. I had always thought of Hyboria of being basically an all "white" European style setting with leanings toward Southern Europe because my only previous exposure to Conan was through Marvel's comics.

But, while there are definite racial stereotypes going on in the stories, for the most part the Conan stories seem to treat all characters of the different ethnicities equally. Yes, there are a few "black culties coming for ya in the night" stories, but there are also a lot of black characters who are treated as nothing less than equals and with great respect by Conan. (Of course, one could take that as an underhanded compliment that the barbarian treats the blacks as equals...) And, most of the wizard/sorcercesses have monsters and white(ish) people as their minions so far in what I've read, with the occasional hulking black minion.

I went in to Howard's stories expecting a tonne of racism, I found some, but nowhere near as much as I expected. It's also really shifted my perceptions on how "ethnic" sword and sorcery should be, and I mean this in a good way.

 

Rob

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

I got the book today. Overall it was very excellent. I felt there were a lot of places that more information was needed on. For example, while the book goes great depth on the magic system, I don't feel like their is any difference between the different types of elementalists. Also because elementalists are considered one group you get 9 necromancy spells and a single water elementalist spell.

 

Otherwise I really like this book.

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

I got the book today. Overall it was very excellent. I felt there were a lot of places that more information was needed on. For example' date=' while the book goes great depth on the magic system, I don't feel like their is any difference between the different types of elementalists. Also because elementalists are considered one group you get 9 necromancy spells and a single water elementalist spell.[/quote']

 

Yep, that's basically my only complaint - you can't actually use the book to run anything: instead it gives you a starting point. So rather than restricting all water elementalists to one spell, you have to buy/borrow/ steal a spell list and convert it to the (very nice) magic system.

 

cheers, Mark

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

I didn't see it as having a distinction between elementalists. It was my understanding that any elementalist can summon any type of elemental.

 

That fire-hates-water thing is fairly common in fantasy, but it doesn't necessarily follow that every elemental magic system has to use it.

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

Yep' date=' that's basically my only complaint - you can't actually use the book to run anything: instead it gives you a starting point.[/quote']

 

That's the same complaint that I have with every book SLong has published so far. I am the archetypal lazy GM; I don't have the time to develop campaigns from scratch, and even the published settings tend to be incomplete in this sense, all in the name of Flexibility.

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

[We're just a bit too focused on racism nowadays' date= with some school districts banning Huckleberry Finn and Disney burying Song of the South. "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it", you may recall. These works acknowledge slavery. They don't in any way glorify it.]
White supremacists and christian groups with leanings toward such groups are the ones against Huck Finn, and they have been against it since the day it was published.

 

Huck Finn is a book about overcoming racism, and showing how wrong racism is.

 

That said, society is not focused on race enough - we slide it under the table, pretend like it's all over now and everything is fixed, and as a result the problems just continue to get passed through the generations, the social system, and in our individual actions.

 

That's the same complaint that I have with every book SLong has published so far. I am the archetypal lazy GM; I don't have the time to develop campaigns from scratch' date=' and even the published settings tend to be incomplete in this sense, all in the name of Flexibility.[/quote']I have the opposite perspective on this. I find the Hero system settings perfectly ready for me to just grab them and start running.

 

If I had players coming over tonight in the next twenty minutes, I could run Valdorian Age. In fact I have more confidence in that than I do in running Greyhawk or FR - which I've had many years of exposure to. Perhaps the way SL organizes his writing, and forces his writers to organize theirs, just works better for me and the way I think. I can open a Hero setting and know exactly where to find the answer to any given need, and I can feel the flavor of VA and other Hero settings well enough on glance to be able to run then faithfully even before I fully read them, and do so on the fly without pre-writing an adventure. In fact, I have more confidence in my ability to run Turakian Age than I do my own fantasy setting...

 

I went in to Howard's stories expecting a tonne of racism' date=' I found some, but nowhere near as much as I expected. It's also really shifted my perceptions on how "ethnic" sword and sorcery should be, and I mean this in a good way.[/quote']That's good to know. I'll have to finish reading my Conan novels that are by Howard to see how I feel on the same issue. I believe Conan had at least one 'African racial' romantic interest, and I think it was not in a 'domanant-submissive' dynamic, but that is only something I have heard and not yet read.

 

Conan after Howard might not be such a good picture though.

 

Note how different a picture one would have of Earthsea if they only saw the TV-Movie versus if they read the novels (where the race of most characters was opposite of what they were in the TV-Show, Hollywood made all the blacks white, and the one foreign-skinned black - this is a point of major anger for fans and the author).

 

If Conan is the premiere example of this genre of fantasy, and the actual Conan is very multi-racial (and not just multi-ethnic), then there is the question of why VA runs counter to the genre it claims to be based upon, instead looking more inspired by the Marvel version of Conan which at best tokenizes non-whites...

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

I disagree with just about everything that Arcady has posted concerning racism, etc., but rather than respond to it, I request that any such discussion (and Arcady's further comments on that topic, if any) gets directed to the Non-Gaming Discussion area.

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

If Conan is the premiere example of this genre of fantasy' date=' and the actual Conan is very multi-racial (and not just multi-ethnic), then there is the question of why VA runs counter to the genre it claims to be based upon, instead looking more inspired by the Marvel version of Conan which at best tokenizes non-whites...[/quote']

 

:nonp: What gives you that idea? I don't think VA "tokenizes" non-whites as you say. From the description given, it seems to me that one of the major nations (Abyznia?) mostly consists of a non-white race. What do you see in this book that would make you come to this conclusion?

 

Edit: I posted this at the same time that bblackmoor posted his statement. His proposition seems like a good idea. If you would like to respond Arcady, I'd be willing to discuss this further in the non-gaming forum. If you want to give the last word here, then I'll post any further response in the other forum.

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

I disagree with just about everything that Arcady has posted concerning racism' date=' etc., but rather than respond to it, I request that any such discussion (and Arcady's further comments on that topic, if any) gets directed to the Non-Gaming Discussion area.[/quote']Keep in mind that it is only here because you -SPECIFICALLY ASKED- me to say what issues I had with VA. I answered. You can't then claim my answer to your question is not proper here, if it is my actual issue with the setting.

 

I have also stated it is not a major issue in this particular case, due to the way I find it showing in the setting, but that point, like the above, has also been ignored by those who don't want their questions actually answered...

 

As I've said before, if you don't really want an answer to a question, don't ask the question.

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Guest bblackmoor

Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

Keep in mind that it is only here because you -SPECIFICALLY ASKED- me to say what issues I had with VA. I answered.

 

Yes, you did, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about your comments like this one, which have nothing to do with gaming at all, much less Valdorian Age:

 

White supremacists and christian groups with leanings toward such groups are the ones against Huck Finn, and they have been against it since the day it was published.

 

Huck Finn is a book about overcoming racism, and showing how wrong racism is.

 

That said, society is not focused on race enough - we slide it under the table, pretend like it's all over now and everything is fixed, and as a result the problems just continue to get passed through the generations, the social system, and in our individual actions.

 

There is nothing wrong with having that conversation, but I do not think that this is the place for it.

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Re: Anybody playing Valdorian Age?

 

That's the same complaint that I have with every book SLong has published so far. I am the archetypal lazy GM; I don't have the time to develop campaigns from scratch' date=' and even the published settings tend to be incomplete in this sense, all in the name of Flexibility.[/quote']

 

Yeah . My comment in the "why don't settings books sell well" thread was precisely this. If you are a stickler for doing your own stuff (like me) then you don't buy settings books much, if at all. I bought VA simply as source material 'cos I mostly run sword and sorcery type games - it's actually the only setting book I've ever bought. My interest in the Valdorian age per se is close to zero.

 

If you don't have the time or interest in do it yourself, then getting a setting book which requires you to put in a lot of time to actually get a game going is also not that appealing.

 

In neither case is flexibility that important. The DIY guys will tear everything into little bits anyway and and the "just wanna run a game" guys are probably not too obsessive about fitting it into "their" setting, so flexibility is not an issue.

 

cheers, Mark

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