Posts from 4th July 2006

Jul 06

I WAS A GOBLIN: But I Wasn’t A Hobbit

FT + The Brown Wedge + TMFD9 comments • 2,111 views

Miniature of MerryFrom the time I got into role-playing games, the selling point was well-established: the games allowed players to create stories in which they were the heroes. But what kind of stories? The RPG set-up requires a group of characters (4-6, on average) to work more or less together – individuals can break away from the group, but these break-outs can hardly be extended as other players are likely to get bored while one person’s storyline is furthered.

This is a fairly rare set-up in storytelling, which tends to focus on a single protagonist, or a protagonist plus a sidekick. War stories are an exception, as the focus can be on a squad. Team sports stories, too. And school stories often follow small groups of protagonists, who can’t separate too easily because of the tight setting. But pretty much no early role-playing game – and very few later ones – have focused on war, or team sports, or school as a setting. Instead they chose fantasy or science-fiction. Sci-fi novels didn’t often focus on groups, but at least Star Trek provided some kind of narrative model. And fantasy novels? In the mid-1970s they were a genre in transition from pulp-derived ‘sword and sorcery’ sagas to Tolkein-derived ‘high fantasy’, a change sparked by the enormous success of Lord Of The Rings.



Popular58 comments • 6,834 views

#237, 9th September 1967

EngelbertAfter the write-up of “Release Me” I got several comments and emails from Engelbert fans. They ran along familiar lines: Engelbert is a superb performer, he has a remarkable voice, his fame and renown will far outlast your puny blog.

The last of these I concede without a quibble (though perhaps with an eye-roll or two). As for the others: yes, Engelbert Humperdinck has a magnificent, rich, sumptuous voice. But “The Last Waltz” is evidence that he’s not any kind of a performer.