Monday, May 15, 2006

Collective Creativity 1992-2006

In the winter of 1992-93 I was asked by my Tolkien Society pal Anders Blixt to write some stuff for a role-playing game campaign module set in Middle-earth and called Southern Gondor. Not all of what I wrote made it into the final version of the book; an adventure scenario ended up on the cutting-room floor. In early 1996 I put the scenario on the web, marketed it to search engines and pretty much forgot about it. Then the web exploded.

To you non-gamers, I should explain that role-playing games are basically semi-improvised adventure stories where the listeners are also participants and co-story-tellers. Think of it as theatre played sitting around a table, with a director and players but without any audience. A "campaign module" is a collection of background material to a series of stories, describing the world they're set in. An "adventure scenario" is the skeleton of a story that will be told differently each time it is re-enacted.

The net is a good place for collective creativity. In 2004, when the scenario had been on-line for more than eight years, Olga Pérez got in touch with me and told me she'd translated the whole thing into Spanish. She graciously agreed to let me put her version on my web site. Then, a few months ago, Vince Schiavoni wrote me and told me he'd like to illustrate the scenario! He just sent me the first picture, shown above. Many thanks, Olga and Vince!

I should come clean about one thing, though. The scenario relies heavily for ideas on social anthropologist James K. Campbell's 1973 book Honour, family and patronage. A study of institutions and moral values in a Greek mountain community. I read it for first-term soc-anthro in March of 1992 and enjoyed it a lot. Thanks to you as well, J.K.!

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Södra Gondor, den har jag! :-)


16 May, 2006 15:01  

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