Friday 5 August 2016

And so...

Some things are easier said than done


  1. Melan is back... been missing you. Zulgyan

  2. Good to see you again, Zulgyan!

  3. I'm curious. Could you explain me why being such a S&S cultivator you are also a fan of this very tolkienesque game? Zulgyan

  4. I am not against tolkienesque fantasy, I just don't play much of it because most of the time it is done very badly. (But I'd like to run a campaign one day that did it right.)

    Now, Lords of Midnight is not just the *only* computer game that gets Tolkien right, it is one of the best computer games ever released for any platform and any genre. It is a stupendously well designed, viciously hard strategy - RPG hypbrid (they called it an "epic" game because there was no genre for it) that pits you as the leaders of a small insurrection against a vastly superior and well-prepared enemy. It is an immersive first-person game with eight cardinal directions of movement across a vast landscape, made on hardware where getting a few beeps and boops out of the computer was considered a rousing success. It lets you recruit armies, occupy citadels and quest for an evil artefact. It has multiple successful and unsuccessful endings, morale rules and dragon-riding. It is tragic and beautiful, because you will lose, a lot.

    How large is The Lords of Midnight? For its huge world and strategic depth, it occupies 48 kilobytes. One of the best games ever made, contained in less than the size of a cat picture!

    Aside from a sequel that's even bigger (although not as good), The Lords of Midnight is a revolutionary game that has never been properly imitated. Like The Return of Werdna, it is a unique idea that could have spawned a lot of successors, but never did. Which says a lot of things about computer games and the people who design them.

    So where does it fit in tabletop games? For a while, I have been thinking about approaches to fantasy gaming that didn't follow the D&D recipe, and The Lords of Midnight is one of those odd kinda-sorta RPGs which are influencing my thought processes. Just like it looks at fantasy games from an angle that's not often considered, but which is different and interesting, we could do the same in tabletop, and who knows? It may be fun. So far, it's only a few ideas, but we'll see.