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Author Topic: [MurderWing] Ronnies feedback  (Read 1336 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: February 20, 2011, 08:58:23 PM »

MurderWing by Joe J. Prince is a whole different sort of "other" from the entry that shared this category. It's the first setting-supplement entry for any Ronnies round, which I suppose is going to lead to some more qualifying text for the rules going forward. However, after some agonizing and difficult parsing of my views about it, I decided that its supplemental status wasn't a make-or-break thing. And yes, that means a Ronnies entry could conceivably be a supplement to an existing game, or a hack, such as the stunning My Life with Angelica that I saw at InterNosCon last year. More on that later after I've thought about it more.

Here, for MurderWing, what I mean by "it's not its own RPG" is not because it's a supplement, but that it doesn't do anything of its own.

The terms offer a clue: wings, yes, handily (wingily?); but murder? All "murder" is in this game is a macho "death from above" slogan. Which is where I started to have to parse my reactions even more carefully, after getting over the supplement issue. Why did I focus on the lack of murder as a sticking point? Especially since what the pilots do is indeed raw murder, mass murder, impersonal murder, all day and every day.*

I decided that if the MurderWing ext had offered even the smallest usable trace of Hatred for Home in a distinct way, I would have placed it into whatever other Ronnies result category it fit. As a 3:16 supplement, then sure, the Hatred for Home mechanic must be in it, but it was not even referenced, much less present in a distinct way. So, the text's "Use 3:16 for everything else," is all that covers it.

In thinking about this, I struggled hard to distinguish the above conclusion for my own moral reaction to the lack of antiwar content in MurderWing, from the game design viewpoint that in order to be eligible for a Ronny, an entry has to do something with the two terms. And in MurderWing ... that's the problem. Nothing is done with "murder." You just do it. Although I see 3:16 as a thoroughly anti-war document, and although MurderWing says "See 3:16 for everything else," it seems to me that it's incumbent upon a 3:16 supplement to position its material relative to those particular concepts and mechanics in 3:16. And for a Ronny, I think I would have needed something that really put the distinctly impersonal and adrenalin-jock aspects of bomber pilots into the Strength and Weakness mechanics, or maybe in the setting material rather than the mechanics, i.e., some aspect of life in that subculture. In other words, a confrontation with the murder aspect of it all, if not dictated, at least made apparent.

So that's where I ended up. It's definitely beautiful, placed with Murder: A Game About Crows as the design pretties of the round. But man, that thing that I missed was so there to be done.

Best, Ron

* Political disclosure: I see little difference between heaving a grenade through the window of a restaurant full of people and dropping a bomb from an airplane on the same restaurant. And what little difference I do see, using real-life examples, tends to favor the former on my ethical scales, especially when the issue of who occupies whom is considered.
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Joe J Prince
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« Reply #1 on: February 23, 2011, 03:04:30 AM »

Thanks Ron, great feedback as always.

I’d been putting off reading it because I’d become less and less happy with the game after submitting it ( and after reading some of the other fantastic entries).  I knew something was missing but couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Is MurderWing different enough and fun enough to be viable?

I gambled on the 3:16 text plus fruitful void bearing erm fruit.

Distance/impersonality and adrenalin/machismo are vital dimensions that need to be explicit. Makes sense now, especially as the distance is what separates the pilots’ experiences from the grunts. Hatred for home, yeah I need help with that too…

I’m keen to hear Gregor’s take on MurderWing.

Incidentally Hell 4 Leather, which I wrote for Nathan’s 2games1name comp, is a game of murder by the morning drawing heavily on the crow, oh and actually was inspired by J Walton’s Murderland comp – how bizarre!

Cheers
Joe
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #2 on: February 23, 2011, 03:41:44 AM »

Actually, the one thing that I think MurderWing could nail/punch in the balls with the right rules is Friendly Fire. It is one of the things that 3:16 doesn't touch on in its rules.

Maybe that's what using a Strength does (in addition to getting you out of an encounter)? Only Weakness can avoid Blue on Blue?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: February 23, 2011, 04:55:17 AM »

As I see it, the primary literary reference for 3:16 also has a numbered title: Joseph Heller's Catch-22. From memory:

"Don't be so paranoid! No one's trying to kill you."
"Then why do they keep shooting at me?"
"But Yossarian, they're shooting at everybody!"
"What difference does that make?"


And significantly for this project, Yossarian is a bomber pilot. In the course of the novel, he comes to the conclusion that it is not the enemy who is trying to kill him, but rather his superiors. Hatred for home isn't really the issue in comparison to a raw power struggle between the ranks.

That leads me to think that the ordinary structure of 3:16 might be flipped on its head: the combat might be the less mechanically consequential part, and the real rolls pertaining to survival occur in one's grappling with the brass. Yossarian's attempted insanity defense (which I think most people know through the long-running homage character in M*A*S*H, Klinger) early in the story would be a tactic at that level. Sure, your character is wounded and may die in the confrontation with the foe, but dice-wise, they aren't the ones you're fighting.

Best, Ron
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