From: Joel Priddy <email@example.com> Subject: (urth) Wolfe RPGs Date: Wed, 28 May 97 10:18:41 EDT [Posted from URTH, a mailing list about Gene Wolfe's New Sun and other works] So I was looking at the web page for the New Sun GURPS game, and am very curious as to how it's going. I admit that my first reaction was horror that anyone would even make the attempt. Then I saw that our very own mantis was at the wheel. Back in the old days, when the internet didn't have visuals and I was in school, a friend of mine and I were given a big chunk of server in order to run a virtual-community project. We were looking at MUSHes at one point, and briefly (very, very briefly) considered a New Sun themed MUSH. One reason we decided against it was that (and this may sound tired to any one who has read enough reviews of Wolfe over the years) the aspect that makes those books mesmerizing has more to do with the style and the atmosphere than the specific attributes of, say, an alzebo or a destrier. And since you can't quantify style, you won't be able to maintain it with all (or perhaps any) of the participants. And without the style to lay over New Sun, a MUSH based on it would look a lot like a MUSH based on Gamma World, or even Thundar the Barbarian. Of course, we didn't have nearly the understanding of the New Sun's environs that mantis has. A major part of that "atmosphere" we appreciated so much was a sense of wonder at all the opaque phrases and names. This is the level on which we (or at least I) was reading the New Sun on: given evocative but largely uncommunicative language, one's own imagination filled in all the details, creating a fantastic landscape that is also highly personal for each reader. (I was neck deep in communication theory at the time, so this idea of noncommunication in order to spark the audience's imagination really appealed to me, and perhaps I leapt too quickly to ascribe everything Wolfe was doing to the single explanation of "closure." Just as I now have to resist explaining everything away as Catholicism) Later, as I read more about the New Sun books, I learned that in fact the language did represent specific ideas, that there was an idea behind each bizarrely-named creature or weapon or character. The term "destrier" isn't supposed to merely conjure up an exotic or alien war horse, but is a genetically-engineered animal with very detailed attributes. So maybe my reservations regarding the ability to diagram the Urth for RPG purposes were misplaced. So, What I'm trying to get around to is: how's it going? Is the translation from novel to RPG working? Is the style, spirit and philosophy surving the process? How many character points does it cost to wax melancholy any given moment? -cephalothorax- PS Now, while I considered New Sun an impossible task, the entire time I was reading Long Sun, almost from page one, I was translating it into GURPS format in my the back of my head. This is an old habit that I'm sure lots of people here can relate to.