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jeffjerwin

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jeffjerwin last won the day on October 5

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About jeffjerwin

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  • RPG Biography
    Once upon a time wrote for Enclosure #2. Semi-professional game writer for Paizo and a few other companies. Copyeditor for Goodman Games. Started gaming with my dad in the early 80s.
  • Current games
    HeroQuest, Pathfinder
  • Location
    Monterey, CA
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    Single father, librarian, Elizabethan historian

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  1. jeffjerwin

    Did I get it right? (Illumination)

    In my opinion, Gbaji, whichever of them that was, is the personified embodiment of occlusion, methinks. The simple truth is that the Illuminated One is not perfect. They wobble between occlusion and enlightenment, and still have to find that way, every moment. They are both Gbaji. Sheng (to use my own focus of interest) at every crucial moment, chose occlusion, in full knowledge of what he was doing, like an anti-god. Since he is also AgartuSay, this may mark him either as embodiment of Arkat's own capacity for willful self-deception, or even indicate that the only surviving part of Gbaji is the part that was not destroyed because it was already Arkat.
  2. jeffjerwin

    Tell me of Sheng Seleris

    On a practical note, since I have to keep track of Lunar Cycles and the like for my game, when would have Sheng Seleris invaded the Moon in 1449? I presume it was either an auspicious date for himself or an inauspicious date for the Moon. I am using the para-canonical Lunar Calendar from Under the Red Moon. For inauspicious there is the final month of Moonset (Storm Season). For the majority of Sheng's host the act was a restoration of Yu-kargzant's domination over the Middle Air and Moon, which might suggest a Yelmic holy day. Any ideas? Edit: I think a possible day might be Week 34 of the Month of Suffering, on Nathaday/Fireday, which is a Yelmic holiday. It may denote the day Yelm was slain (it's a day after Humakt's High Holy Day, Deathday). This would be a dangerous day to fight SS for the Emperor (or call on the Bat)...
  3. jeffjerwin

    Did I get it right? (Illumination)

    You're mostly talking about Sevening, which is the most common type of Illumination in central Genertela. On point (3) I think you may be extrapolating too much: there is evidence that it goes both directions among the Lunars: the seven souls can act both individually as as a single entity. Arkat and Argrath may well, in fact likely were, composite individuals. But Argrath killed Orlanth in the end... for point (4)
  4. jeffjerwin

    Pendragon Chivalry Bonus Requirement: 80 or 96?

    I gotta turn in, but this has been a good conversation...
  5. jeffjerwin

    Pendragon Chivalry Bonus Requirement: 80 or 96?

    Yeah, I've read nearly all of them. The Post-Vulgate is actually unusual in its depiction of complex villains and flawed heroes (that's where our flawed Gawaine, our flawed Arthur, and even our flawed Mordred come from). Thankfully it fed Malory's grist-mill, but it also created unusual problems. Gawaine, for example, is up there with Lancelot prior to the P-V. He's a bit of a lady's man, but he's fundamentally honest, tough, and kind. Before the P-V tried to create a tragedy out of the romances focused on Arthur (rather than on Lancelot), his characterization was not complex, though it wasn't unrealistic, either: he's just a decent person. Malory had some trouble with this: English storytelling made Gawaine the best knight, kind of like Roland, and he ended up downplaying some of the P-V's darkness and fronting Gareth as a 'substitute'. But the Post-Vulgate's depiction of Gawaine is entirely, in the end, in the service of making Arthur suffer and have moral dilemmas, rather than making Gawaine into an anti-hero. The P-V Gawaine isn't even a good person. Instead, what we have is mainly the work of Malory trying to make sense of the contradiction, and Greg searching out a sort of way through the problem. I personally prefer a heroic Gawaine because I honestly find Lancelot a little boring. Lancelot has serious character flaws or idiosyncrasies of his own, but being anti-social and shy and aloof aren't represented in the game by active traits but by their absence. Merciful, Generous, Forgiving, etc., are empathic character traits. Valorous, Modest, Temperate, Prudent, are all traits we might associate with self-control. Just and Temperate may also invoke introspection or clarity of thought. It's not impossible for these to be out of whack with each other, but, for instance, being 'Reckless' and 'Indulgent' go together because they reflect a lack of thinking things through. Being empathic enough to Forgive someone usually also means you can recognize that a different person requires Mercy (which is, really, a kind of forgiveness, just more abstract), or Generosity. That's probably too complicated for a game. When Gawaine is tested by the Green Knight, it's his self-control and self-discipline that really the focus, even though what are multiple traits in KAP come into play. That's why a merciful knight who is also vengeful is kinda difficult to explain; I suppose a cruel knight who is forgiving might have trouble understanding other people's suffering, but follows a sort of code of respect? Still, it becomes convoluted. Most of the villains in my game were either monstrous, or just ordinary, ambitious people with some reason to discount the needs or experiences of others. The latter works a bit better for actual roleplaying... Which is why, I think, Morgan makes a better villain than Agravaine, because Morgan has goals, a certain respect for skillful enemies, and a capacity to love, while Agravaine is basically a sociopathic bully. Not all of Morgan's redeeming traits surface in KAP: she's evidently curious, intelligent, and honorable, even though most of these aspects of her character appear in her skills... and a sort of abstract Honor passion.
  6. jeffjerwin

    Pendragon Chivalry Bonus Requirement: 80 or 96?

    True. Though the relationship of these traits aren't in any reality or story a vacuum: a cruel person is rarely forgiving, nor would a cruel knight in any romance be 'forgiving' (the best I can imagine is 'forgetful' (as in, why did I just throw you in the dungeon? not sure...)). Pendragon's level of abstraction is kinda weird in that regard. Most villains, of course, in the stories, are pretty 'one-dimensional' - complexity is a PC or protagonist trait. I can imagine an Honest Coward a bit better than a person who somehow is both Merciful and Selfish... It isn't just to not spare a rival begging for mercy - it's just to put him on trial, or bring him for justice to your liege. It's a wash between Just and Arbitrary, leaning toward arbitrary, as a personal vendetta got in the way of abstract justice there (though all of this is culturally subjective).
  7. jeffjerwin

    Pendragon Chivalry Bonus Requirement: 80 or 96?

    Well, extreme actions occur. Traits reflect not just a character's internal morality, but how the story is shaping them; a 16 in a trait isn't just a definite predisposition but a matter of notoriety. A character who kills their rival when they're begging for mercy, even if emotionally justified (they killed a character's lover), is not about to keep their Forgiving trait (at least as high as, say, 16+). They may also get checks on Love (dead lover) and so forth as well.
  8. jeffjerwin

    Pendragon Chivalry Bonus Requirement: 80 or 96?

    It may seem harsh or dramatic, but I have immediately raised or lowered traits based on extreme decisions on the part of a player. Mordred didn't wait until the end of the year for his personality shift around the Peningues tourney to set in.
  9. jeffjerwin

    Ral-zak-ark?

    Hard-; Balar-; -at Ral; Zak; Ark you mean? Sounds like stolen bits of soul to me: a Chaos thing that learns to mimic human-ness by stealing rather than by consuming.
  10. jeffjerwin

    Ral-zak-ark?

    He treated names like found art: you know, the shiny things you come across on the beach or on the sidewalk, that, if you're six, you put in your pocket. Then he used them however which way.
  11. jeffjerwin

    Pendragon Chivalry Bonus Requirement: 80 or 96?

    Greg was constantly tinkering with Pendragon. Not every change he proposed or discussed (even publicly) was eventually adopted, and some may have been saved for future editions. Edit: now, in entirely my own opinion, raising the threshold for the Chivalry bonus might exclude many knights Malory praises in his book as 'good knights' (like Gawaine), and thus make it tempting to create cookie-cutter 'pure knights' when flawed heroes are among the best characters in the saga (and for roleplaying). Edit 2: It doesn't exclude Gawaine, just makes it a tighter fit, so I think it works.
  12. jeffjerwin

    House Rules

    Well, if you want to ar-roll with that...
  13. jeffjerwin

    Ral-zak-ark?

    Maybe related to the Kazk- element in in Kazkurtum; I suspect that phoneme means 'empty/void/entropy' in Dara Happan. J, Z, Y, and I are are related sounds.
  14. jeffjerwin

    Whatever Happened to the Cradle Baby?

    Before people had beasts for riding or carrying things, the people with the longest stride and who could carry the most things would all have been Giants...
  15. jeffjerwin

    Ral-zak-ark?

    And there's Atarks, the part of Rashoran(a) who was castrated. Also called Extark and Goakstart... More: The Goakstart is said to have slain the Overseer of the Red Camp, Venarthurd, and turned him into a mountain. This 'Red Camp' was due west of Yuthuppa, and is clearly the Red City, Karantes, whose ruler was sacrificed by Natha at Mount Jernotius, which is obviously the mountain. Thus the Goakstart is closely connected to the Naverian myth-cycle, but from a masculine perspective. She represents all that is terrifying to the patriarch.
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