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Charnel Gods review

Started by hardcoremoose, May 02, 2003, 09:30:51 AM

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Hey everyone,

Not sure if this was outlawed or not, but I wanted to point out the new Charnel Gods review at by Bryan Bankhead.  It's more than a little complimentary.


Jared A. Sorensen

Quote from: hardcoremooseHey everyone,

Not sure if this was outlawed or not, but I wanted to point out the new Charnel Gods review at by Bryan Bankhead.  It's more than a little complimentary.

I still find it odd that people refer to Sorcerer as a rules-light game.
jared a. sorensen /

Ron Edwards

Hi there,

I'm grappling with some kind of stupid in-state form to fill out, so I have to keep it short ...

Bryan, great review!

Scott, "outlawed"?? What the fuck are you talking about?

Jared, I agree in full. I still insist it's one of the strictest rules-sets in all of role-playing.



I think what most people mean when they say "rules-light" is (and parents, keep your kids from this next line):

"Rules that don't play cock-hockey with your brain"



Ah, well Sorcerer still doesn't qualify...

Christopher Kubasik


I've been thinking about this "rules light" thing... Is it possible that people using this term are using it in an abosolute and guilless and, dare I say it, precise manner.

In other words, the *connotation* of rules light is "non-existent rules where we need some." Sorcerer clearly does not fit this definition.

But yesterday, during the course of the day, I happened to be holding Sorcerer at one point, and Riddle of Steel at another.  Clearly, one set of rules is heavier than the other.  (And I mean rules; I'm not counting setting details into the mix.)

Ron uses the term "strict" to define the Sorcerer rules set.  Which has nothing to do with weight.  Sorcerere may be strict, but compared to Riddle of Steel it is light.

Truth is, thinking about the two rules sets, I thought of RoS as rules "heavy".  That came to mind even before I saw this thread.  So it is a qualifier for some of us.  And for some of us lighter rules are really appealing.

In might not be a derogatory desciption.  People using the term might just be noting a fact.

(Just look at the character sheets of the two games.  One is heavy, using layout terms, and one is light.  That says a lot right there.)

"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield


I agree with Christopher in that when someone tells me a game is "rules-light", my eyes light up.  That said, I don't find Sorcerer to be light at all.  In fact, I consider it to be dense.  Seriously, don't you ever hold that little book in your hands and feel the strain in the arms and shoulders?  It is to roleplaying games what white dwarfs are to, well, really dense stellar formations.  It's downright weighty.

And Ron, for some reason I was thinking that these review pointers were somehow frowned upon.  I'm not really sure how I came to that conclusion, as in the past they almost universally lead to good discussion.  Just a brain fart I guess.

- Scott

Edited to fix a typo.  Damn typos.

Christopher Kubasik

Hi Scott,

Hmmmm.  Dense, yes.   But I'd suggest that volume they take up (to carry this metaphore beyond the realm of human conception), is so much smaller than most games that they're still lighter than most RPGs.  

That said, the density in a small volume is exactly the reason I'm starting up a Sorcerer & Sword game next week.


Edit:  I just wrote what I just posted and realised that's exactly why I'm starting a Sorcerer and Sorcery game next week.
"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield

Nev the Deranged

I don't think "rules lite" is referring to the depth of the rules, or the "weight" of the themes.  Sorcerer obviously ranks very high on both those scales.  But I would call Sorcerer "rules lite" as opposed to, say, D&D 3E, or to beat that, HackMaster.  Simply put, Sorcerer's rules are few and simple and cover exactly what they need to cover and no more.  

D&D rules cover alllllllll kindsa stuff, to a high level of detail.  It can take days to really absorb all the info in one book.  Same with WoD books, although they are lighter than D&D.  And HackMaster?  Whoo... take 2E D&D and raise the level of detail to manic heights.  I just read an article about how to track the positions of the game world's 4 moons.  Seriously!  That, my friends, be some HEAVY rules!

Which explains why I haven't taken up the standing offer to join a HM game in progress, because although I dig the background, I game to get AWAY from having to keep track of crap. >.<

Just my take on the subject...


I would agree that Sorcerer is a rules-light rpg; I pretty much have always used/interpretted the the term in exactly the way that Christopher describes: more rules and more points of contact (what Forge discussions used to refer to as "pervy") = rules-heavy, fewer rules = rules-light.

this is not the same as not having rules for situations that need rules. most rules-light games have a simple set of rules that are applied to all possible situations with very few if any special cases. this is exactly what Sorcerer does.

consider this: most people would say that The Fantasy Trip was a rules-light game, but it had more special cases rules than Sorcerer (skill use, the special cases of combat and dodge, special rules for hand-to-hand and reaction rolls, fatigue and damage rules, movement rules ... versus conflict rolls, special case of combat, and interpretting Humanity.)

if TFT is rules-light (especially compared to AD&D1e and all its successors,) then Sorcerer is definitely rules-light.

consider this also: Tunnels and Trolls has the combat rules (highly abstract) and the saving rolls as the sole forms of resolution -- but the saving rolls can cover pretty much everything, as Ron recently explained. Tunnels and Trolls is almost certainly rules-light, on purpose; yet, it technically has rules that cover all situations.

oh, and on the "outlawed links" issue: I think Scott was thinking of the FATAL review incident, but that seems to clearly have been a different situation: that thread was started to discuss a review on another website, rather than an actual independent review of the game here. plus, Charnel Gods makes its "home" here, so noting any reviews of the game on other websites is perfectly reasonable.

or, at least, that was my interpretation. if Ron thinks I'm way off target, I'm sure he'll explain what kinds of references to RPGnet material are OK and which aren't. I just thought he didn't want to encourage "those guys over there!" conversations.
John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects:



I had totally forgotten about the FATAL incident until just now.  Seriously, my reservations about posting the link amounted to not knowing how appropriate the topic was for discussion.  I try never to post a thread without some question or relevant issue to discuss.  In this case, all I was doing was pointing to a link and saying "Hey, look what nice thinks people are saying about my game."  It seemed kinda lame.

Good to see that people found something to talk about anyway.

- Scott

Christopher Kubasik

Well Scott, more than that, saying nice things about creator-owned work is part of the Forge's agenda, so you've had a firm topic from the start.

And did you see all the nice things that are being added onto the review in the comments section?  One guy has never read Sorcerer and S&Sword, bought Charnel Gods because he read your design posts here at the Forge, loves the supplement so much he's now going to buy Sorcerer and S&Sword.  Clearly, you made a great product.  Congratulations.

Take care,
"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield


Yep Yep Yep Yep Yep.
Its just like we said at the indie awards big guy.
Now that you have the praise and adulation of adoring're morally obligated to finish up your other projects so that we can continue to lay offerings at your altar ;-)


I would also make some comments:

1.  As a worshipper at temple of rules-light I am certainly not going to use the term to knock a game! I use the term in one technically precise meaning, when you count the characters in the rules of RPG X ,does the number place it toward the top or bottom of the spectrum of RPGs in character count?  For me rules lite means small in size, period, a technical description that contains no value judgement. And I don't see how any reasonable person can argue that by that criterion Sorcerer is NOT rules-light.

2. The only reason I didn't post it here was that the Forge doesn't accept non-playtest reviews.  And I saw an opportunity to put another Forgites magnun opus in front of a few more eyeballs...

3. The fact I gave this beauty a 4/4 should show you how good you have to be before I hand out a 5!  I'm a gamer since 1977, and I've 'seen it all' have to roll out the rpg equivalent of 'Neuromancer' to get a five. For layout I would have given the Metabaron's RPG a 5 for instance...
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