A Tale of Two Dwarves

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Tagged: bard's tale, dwarf fortress, tleaves

Now, here’s the thing about dwarves: they’re not like you and me. We wake up, we shower, we get dressed, we go to work, and while we’re doing all this, sometimes we get an idea. "I should write a cookbook that focuses on pomegranates," we think, and then we get out of the shower and towel off and we don’t write the book.

...from A Tale of Two Dwarves, peterb, on tleaves

This sort of post needs no comment of mine, except to say that peterb is touched, sometimes. Own up to it.

On the other hand, this does tie into a conversation I once had with a friend. My friend had spent many teenage hours playing old CRPGs -- The Bard's Tale, for example. This is no unusual thing among my friends. I did it. Lots of us did it.

I finished The Bard's Tale with pages of obsessively notated graph-paper maps. And, possibly, some notes on how to give yourself a zillion hit points with a disk sector editor.

My friend finished The Bard's Tale with countless imagined stories about how each bard and wizard and fighter had comported himself or herself in the game world. How brave or desperate each one was? How they worried about each other's wounds, how thrilled they were to be rescued or healed? Secret crushes, secret hatreds? I don't know; our discussion didn't get into these details. It sure as hell wasn't the game I had played.

And so it is worth noting, as we game designers crouch in our forges, trying to weld together plot and conflict and resolution from our fragile rules and pixels, that occasionally we will look up and realize that the players have buggered off to play on the beach. Without us.