Hi Gang

Long time, no post. You probably thought I'd never re-surface.

Well, I'm not entirely sure I have re-surfaced. I am rather swamped by professional work, and a career that is finally developing somewhat in a good direction. You can expect to see the odd posting here, though -- I doubt I'll go a year of silence again in the near future, anyway.

I am currently working, very slowly, on some bits and pieces of a "how to design a fantasy culture from the ground up" thing, which will be a string of very long articles. In the process, I'm trying to teach some basics of some classics of the study of culture. Expect to see some piece of this within a month.

I notice I'm still listed on the Squidoos and whatnot, so presumably whoever cares will see this message.

See you all soon.

Simulating Cultural Phenomena

I started this blog by asking questions, primarily hoping to spark discussion. So here's another question:
In designing RPG settings, especially "fantasy" worlds (whatever you take that to mean), to what extent, and for what purposes, should one work toward simulation of such cultural phenomena as religion, magic, and arts?

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Prompted by John Kim on Magic and Science

I’ve been swamped with work, grading papers, finishing the book, and all that—not to mention raising my baby, Sam, and trying to remain in a reasonably successful marriage. So you haven’t heard a lot from me lately.

I’m still working on the “how to design a fantasy religion” thing, but got a bit bogged down. Just this evening, however, I was re-reading John Kim’s Breaking Out of Scientific Magic Systems, and it sparked a couple of ideas.

This is all unrefined musings, of course....
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Back soon

Sorry again; the start of the semester is always crazy, and I just got the second reader report on my new book, so I'm kind of backlogged.

The religion thing is progressing apace. Expect a chapter in a week or so.

Back from Xmas

Hi gang. Sorry about the hiatus, but the ISP in Vermont completely died.

So, now that I'm back, a question for you all. I've been working slowly on two closely-related articles about designing cultures for fantasy RPGs. One is about culture in general, soup to nuts, and the other is about religion in particular. Both seem to be turning out exceedingly long, and that's not just because I'm long-winded: I find myself having to explain a lot of "first principles" because most of what academics who study this stuff -- particularly religion -- is so drastically at odds with the assumptions that underlie mainstream designs in RPGs.

Here's my question.

Does anyone care? I mean, if I post a 10-page chunk of a much longer article, will anyone actually read it?

I'll get back to the current running topics soon, I promise.

Tabletop and LARP

I know little or nothing about LARPs, but the Nordic LARP community is pretty vibrant and exciting. How do things change analytically if we talk about one or the other form of gaming, or try to talk about all of it at once?