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Musings, Mutterings and Mumbles

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The Wine Dark Sea

Gods! 
     Suwolfe unconsciously tightened his grip on ship’s rail. The roleplaying seas change yet again. He shook his head in wonder gazing sightlessly out at a horizon he could not see but where he knew sea and sky met. 
     “Around and around and around we go; where it stops, nobody knows,” he chanted under his breath to the rhythm of the bireme’s oars.
     “Orders, lord?” his first mate asked softly. He acknowledged the man with a slight turn of the head but said nothing. The crew was nervous. 
     Orders indeed.
     They’d been without support, or even the promise of it, for quite some time now. Separated from the fleet during the last great storm they, along with two other galleys, had maintained visual contact but an unexpected squall around dawn had scattered even that tiny squadron. Now they were alone with the seas still shifting and unpredictable. 
     Where to, indeed. Eventually they’d eventually need provisions—even if they foraged for themselves, as they had done for so long before the fleet had gathered, sooner or later they’d crave support.
     Glorantha? Out of the question. Though its particulars were fascinating to some, they’d never held much allure for him or his crew.
     Another rune quest? He mentally sighed. What was the definition of madness? Something about expecting different results? He couldn’t remember, besides, there was really no point, considering its ties to Glorantha.
     BRP? Again, there was the issue of support. No doubt the scattered fleet, or what was left of it, was just as much at a loss and concerned for supply and supplement as he was.
     There was treasure off to the east and though he knew it existed, eastern landfall was distant and he wasn’t sure his crew could last the journey without some sort of respite.
     There was also rumor of a new group of islands to the north. Though they were closer, he suspected they were some they’d already visited and had simply been renamed. He’d enjoyed them, but his crew had not.
     “Can a leopard change his spots…?” he murmured.
     “Lord?”
     “West” he said, “turn her head to the west”
     “West, Lord, but there’s nothing—“
     Sunwolfe’s sharp look cut off the man’s protest.
     “Yes, Lord” he amended quickly and began relaying orders to make his captain’s wishes reality.
     His gazed about lovingly at the battered ship.
     “It’s my fate; I suppose,” he whispered. Sailing with the old and outdated, taking what was needed, solving their own problems, it was really nothing new. 
     So, pirates once again, he smiled ruefully…though there had been a time when he’d hoped they’d finally found a home port—he shook off the thought with a shrug and turned back to face the blurred and unknown horizon.
     It doesn’t matter, really; for now, we yet sail.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

 

The Wine Dark Sea

Gods! 
     Suwolfe unconsciously tightened his grip on ship’s rail. The roleplaying seas change yet again. He shook his head in wonder gazing sightlessly out at a horizon he could not see but where he knew sea and sky met. 
     “Around and around and around we go; where it stops, nobody knows,” he chanted under his breath to the rhythm of the bireme’s oars.
     “Orders, lord?” his first mate asked softly. He acknowledged the man with a slight turn of the head but said nothing. The crew was nervous. 
     Orders indeed.
     They’d been without support, or even the promise of it, for quite some time now. Separated from the fleet during the last great storm they, along with two other galleys, had maintained visual contact but an unexpected squall around dawn had scattered even that tiny squadron. Now they were alone with the seas still shifting and unpredictable. 
     Where to, indeed. Eventually they’d eventually need provisions—even if they foraged for themselves, as they had done for so long before the fleet had gathered, sooner or later they’d crave support.
     Glorantha? Out of the question. Though its particulars were fascinating to some, they’d never held much allure for him or his crew.
     Another rune quest? He mentally sighed. What was the definition of madness? Something about expecting different results? He couldn’t remember, besides, there was really no point, considering its ties to Glorantha.
     BRP? Again, there was the issue of support. No doubt the scattered fleet, or what was left of it, was just as much at a loss and concerned for supply and supplement as he was.
     There was treasure off to the east and though he knew it existed, eastern landfall was distant and he wasn’t sure his crew could last the journey without some sort of respite.
     There was also rumor of a new group of islands to the north. Though they were closer, he suspected they were some they’d already visited and had simply been renamed. He’d enjoyed them, but his crew had not.
     “Can a leopard change his spots…?” he murmured.
     “Lord?”
     “West” he said, “turn her head to the west”
     “West, Lord, but there’s nothing—“
     Sunwolfe’s sharp look cut off the man’s protest.
     “Yes, Lord” he amended quickly and began relaying orders to make his captain’s wishes reality.
     His gazed about lovingly at the battered ship.
     “It’s my fate; I suppose,” he whispered. Sailing with the old and outdated, taking what was needed, solving their own problems, it was really nothing new. 
     So, pirates once again, he smiled ruefully…though there had been a time when he’d hoped they’d finally found a home port—he shook off the thought with a shrug and turned back to face the blurred and unknown horizon.
     It doesn’t matter, really; for now, we yet sail.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

 

"The End of an Era..."

It’s been a few months now since the “Old One’s Returned…” in early June and the only official mention of BRP or MW since has been in Ben Monroe’s tagline: “Chief Operations Officer, Magic World/BRP Guru, Earth Ro-Man”—I wonder if he’s even “Chief Operations Officer” now that the company is a web address? We forumites haven’t heard from him in sometime. Since June, I’ve been hoping for some official shout out, even a small one, from Chaosium: “We’re keeping BRP, but (understandably) it is the lowest of our priorities…don’t worry though, we remember all our loyal fans…”. Save for brief flashes concerning Epsilon, Blood Tide and After the Vampire Wars, however,—works that were finished just prior or just after the return of Stafford—nadda. Oh, I realize I’m not on the inside; I don’t know the whole story, and if knew what was planned…I’d understand,but in lieu of a leg-up from Chaosium, here’s what I understand: Gloranthaphiles, Cuthulhuites and RQ6ese got news; BRPians and MWers got nothing. Therefore, in light of that nothing: I’m gonna let this out and hopefully lance the boil, because it’s eating me alive, and, as it adds little to constructive conversation, I’m going to do it here on my blog where it can be easily identified as the negative rant of a mad man who can’t keep his angst to himself and ignored as childish petulance. Despite “saving” the company, this whole thing has ultimately been a downer. I know Gloranthaphiles or Cuthulhuites are excited and they have a right to be. I, on the other hand, look at my BRP shelf with stuff that stretches back to the 80’s and wonder: what about my loyalty? If I add the investment up, I find I probably could have bought a used car! Yes, yes, I know that the loss of active BRP support doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy the titles I have, but, honestly, since the ‘rescue’, my RPG playing enthusiasm has ebbed. Even my Here’s-Barsoom-In-Your-Eye protest has run out of steam. I know it’s because of the disappointment I feel toward the company and its seeming choice to ignore BRP and that such anger is unreasonable. I mean, it even blows my mind that I’m reacting so emotionally, but I just can’t seem to set it and the feelings of abandonment aside. God, do I need therapy?! What really gets me is that BRP loyalists, like me, are left to wonder and speculate in isolation. I mean, for God’s sake, there are some here who still actively hope for a MW Chronicler’s Companion! Chaosium, couldn’t you offer a mercy bullet…or even throw a we-will/can-no-longer-support-BRP/MW bone as a reward to those who remain(ed) loyal to the company for BRP sake? I would laugh if I wasn’t so frustrated. What the hell Chaosium?! Is the strategy to keep an oar in the water, so if financial tides turn, an announcement can be made that “The long wait is over BRP fans; we really never gave up on you!”? God, the whole driving-off-into-the-sunset spin just makes my blood boil! Far from romantic (the band is back together) or nostalgic (the end of an era), it smacks of an absentee father who suddenly returns home only to grab his things and leave again after some mumbled nonsense about how ‘I’ll always be your dad…’. Yeah, yeah, I know, completely necessary and expedient for Chaosium to survive and completely unreasonable and childish for me to crave. Well, if that’s the case, I think it’s high time for me to grow up and lay this foolishness aside. If I must have an RPG system and a company to offer my loyalty to, there are plenty of them out there ready to take my money. So…good riddins, dad…thanks for the tadpoles and don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. Now, I need to go meet with my therapist.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

 

"We still live!"

My mind runs the dry ocher covered sea bottoms of Barsoom as I continue to read and reread Burroughs’ work collecting materials for a BRP-MW based sword-and-planet game I hope to GM someday. I say ‘hope’ and ‘someday’ because the members of my game crew can be rather fickle. Once it’s served up to them, my efforts are just as likely to result in, “meh” as they are to illicit, “cool”. Seriously, the whole endeavor could turn out to be nothing more than a mental exercise. I wonder at times why I continue with it at all. I suppose, first and foremost, I continue because John Carter and Burroughs’ Mars are cool and simply beg for RPG treatment, at testament to which can be traced in all the game designs and setting attempts made to bring the Red Planet to GMs and players. For me, however, I suspect it goes deeper than that. As I’ve ruminated over the last few weeks, I’ve concluded that John Carter, both as a character and as a movie, resonates with me as a metaphor for this whole Chaosium/Moon Design/Greg Stafford/Glorantha/RQ/BRP/MW mash up. Though to some, it might be a bit of a stretch, I cannot help but see parallels between BRP’s present limbo, and the uneven promotion and dismissal the movie John Carter received at the hands of some of Disney’s marketeers and executives*. The ultimate disposition of BRP and MW has yet to be revealed. Whether or not they are to be regulated to the back shelf or the dust bind is a matter of conjecture, but when what official news there is slows to a trickle or concerns itself almost exclusively with CoC, Glorantha, and Glorantha RuneQuest, what is left but to draw conclusions, even subconsciously, though we might resist trying to do so? It’s easy to doubt the advent of a long promised Chronicler’s Companion as the list of monograph selections narrow, and the latest BRP supplement, After the Vampire Wars, receives little fanfare and is offered for a paltry $100,000,000.00 :-T. I point this out not in an attempt to lay blame—a useless exercise and particularly so when much of that which has occurred is far beyond one person’s ability to control—but to underscore that the handling and promotion of BRP by Chaosium reminds me of that with which John Carter was treated and echoes, for me, present circumstances. I also see a parallel in the loyalty of John Carter fans to their movie and in my loyalty to BRP. Though not a perfect realization, the film was done with love and care, something even a purest can respect. The Facebook page Take Me Back to Barsoom! and The John Carter Files website attest to this regard and I can’t help but be reminded of BRP Central. Long after the official light of BRP has been extinguished or relegated to obscurity, I have a feeling the few, the proud, and the stubborn will continue to hold vigil here--working up conversions, offering the fruit of faithfulness, laboring at downloads—for as long as BRP Central exists. It really doesn’t matter what those in power decide, I will continue to play, to create, to dream and remain loyal to BRP. Finally, John Carter’s resolution inspires me. His response, “We still live!” to Dejah Thoris’s despair in the face of incredible and overwhelming odds strikes a cord in me and I cannot help but feel the stirrings of some “Virginia fighting-spirit” of my own. I want to ‘plant my flag’ and adopt a defiant no-matter-what-you-do stance despite a possible future wherein Chaosium survives but as an actively supported concern BRP and MW does not. To what end this stand…a BRP or MW not only allowed to exist but to flourish and grow? No…of course not. As I have said before, as the silence lengthens, the writing on the wall becomes clearer that things have obviously gone beyond the point of appeal to modify. But maybe, possibly, such a mental stand will help me and, like 9th-ray buoyancy tanks, elevate my spirits and change my attitude about the whole mess. Maybe from the strength of such resolution, I can learn to accept the inevitability of the situation, taking joy and happiness in what I can control and letting go of what I cannot. In reality, I have two bookshelves full of BRP goodness to draw upon…material to literally last the rest of my life…that should and will be enough. So godspeed, Greg; do what you can to preserve your legacy. I envy you the chance to get your house in order and reunite Glorantha and RuneQuest under a new Chaosium to the joy of all Gloranthaphiles and Cthulhu-ites. I wish you and them luck and years of enjoyment. Long live Chaosium! Long live Runequest! Long live Glorantha! As for myself? I will return to Barsoom and continue my exploration, for despite the life-long fulfillment of your dreams, I and BRP/MW “…still live!” and we will pursue our own. “I am done.”   *Sellers, Michael D. John Carter and the Gods of Hollywood. San Bernadino: Michael Sellers, 2012.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

 

I Am A BRP Bastard

As I don't believe it adds productively to the conversation, but is still something I need to express, I'm posting the following here in isolation. I seek no answers, plainly see the writing on the wall, understand that change is inevitable and am glad that Chaosium will survive. That doesn't mean, however, I don't have strong feelings.   I am a child of the great divorce when RQ (BRP) and Glorantha separated and went their own ways 30 years ago. I have never been a Glorantha fan, and though an admirer of Greg and his mythology, I wanted to build my own myths and legends. RQ III’s culture-centric spin offered an amazing sense of “perfect fit” and yet “old comfort” (having come from SB1e). It was exactly what I needed and wanted. I have operated within those parameters for the last thirty five years: SB 1e, RQIII, Monographs, SB 5e, the BGB, (an RQ6 experiment my players sadly found too crunchy) and finally MW. 35 years a faithful fan to Chaosium’s BRP centered products; 35 years spending money despite what I considered poor business practices. 35 years of operating within a BRP sub-culture that, intended or not, Greg and Co.’s business decisions gave birth to. Despite well-intended reassurances, I presently feel like a “fired fan” (as some one put it). I understand that business can have no truck with romance if it wants to survive. Change is a given; adaptation is a must, thus I see my feelings in an honest light. Of the 100% of Chaosium’s present and potential income and sources, my BRP makes up for less than 10% and of that my dollars represent but 1/1000th of a percent. I see this and accept it, but it also represents nearly 75% of my life measured in loyalty and faith which makes Chaosium’s potential new emphasis difficult to consider without concern. Will I remain faithful despite this? I don’t know. I do know that it won't be for a remarried RQ and Glorantha. Though I’m happy for Greg and all those Gloranthaphiles for whom this is an unforeseen fulfillment of dearly held hopes and dreams, and for Loz and Pete and its confirmation of their hard and brilliant work as RQ torch bearers, I on the other hand, as a BRP bastard child, suddenly feel bereft of place and sitting below the salt watching others, the true-born, celebrating.

Sunwolfe

Sunwolfe

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