Letters to the Editor

Roleplaying Immersion

From: mkkuhner@phylo.genetics.washington.edu (Mary K. Kuhner)
Organization: University of Washington, Seattle

I had a weird and amusing experience with Immersive play in the multiple-PC game, which I thought people might enjoy.

Markus, temporarily in command of a mission, got saddled with a really awful decision--political ramifications, personal ramifications, moral overtones, the possibility of psychic influence trying to sway him, the whole works. He/I stewed over it for most of the 1.5 mile walk to work this morning. Finally he realized that the issue was too big for him, and with a deep sense of relief decided to drop it in Chernoi's lap (after all, she's a Magistrate and is supposed to deal with these things). We got all the way to the scene where Markus sat down in front of the comm screen, called Chernoi, and explained to her what had happened. I was very bouncy, with a definite sense of having escaped a horrendous situation--

And then it suddenly dawned on me, literally for the first time, that though Markus was getting out from under his decision, Chernoi is my PC so *I* was still stuck. As soon as I turned to consider what Chernoi was thinking, wham! there was that decision to make again.

I had a good laugh at myself; I'm amused that I could have completely missed this obvious fact because I was so wound up with Markus.

Multiple-PC Immersion tends to involve following one PC at a time, with quick glimpses of the others; it's most intense when the scenario cooperates with that, as this one did.

On a more serious note, the particular decision involved was a nice testbed for thinking about game/drama/sim from the player's point of view, because as Markus' player I had some pretty strong opinions on what *I* wanted him to do (for example, he has a lot of occult power already, and it's not necessarily good for the inter-PC dynamics to give him any more). I was trying, as I considered the decision, to sort out which were Markus' motives and which were mine, and decide whether I could afford to take the strict simulationist approach and ignore mine.

SF Gaming Column in 'Frontier', Australian SF Magazine

From: "Jeremy Sadler"

Greetings everyone,

Frontier: The Australian Science Fiction Media Magazine has recently started a SF gaming column, and we are looking for writers.

Reviews, comments, news, interviews, almost anything is of interest. I would like to be able to fill the gaming column with heaps of great information about SF gaming, as it relates to Australia, every issue.

The column began in Issue 8 (Space: Above and Beyond on the cover, August - October 97, on sale now, plug plug!) by covering news mainly to do with recent released linked to Babylon 5 - The Babylon Project, Babylon 5 Wars - but also covered new miniatures released by Ground Zero Games (Full Thrust, Dirtside, Stargrunt series of games) and put out through Eureka Miniatures in Carnegie.

Role playing, table-top miniatures, boardgames - we're interested in the lot, as long as it's SF and as long as it's gaming. We are VERY interested in anything that is a "tie-in" - to a television show or a film, though we are not just interested in this. Unfortunately, at this time, scenarios will not be accepted.

If you're interested, please return email to me, email Frontier (frontier@rocketship.com) or write to:

PO Box 634
Carlton South Vic 3053


Jeremy Sadler (sadlerj@ocean.com.au)
Frontier: The Australian Science Fiction Media Magazine

Societal Alignments Using Kohlberg?

From: Carter T Butts

Dear Mimesis.

I personally tend to avoid the idea of societal alignments, since the notion is sociologically laughable (though the idea has _literary_ validity, of course). The idea of having a simple system of description for societies, cultures, etc., however, I see as a very good one. My own approach to this has tended to follow a loosely Parsonian mode, with nested conceptual variables which describe various aspects of the society in question. (I don't do this because I like Parsons, by the by, because I don't; it just happens that his approach is convenient for RPG purposes.)

The major difficulty I've encountered in doing this is that the societal variables which emerge are very difficult to fit to empirical data. Although one can always fudge a bit and focus on qualitative differences, without an intersubjectively valid means of setting zero points, these systems simply don't work very well. As a result, I'm rethinking my original system (see the CDO section in the Alternate Realities PRG), and may wind up reconfiguring it largely along demographic/social structural lines.

Anyway, that's just to add my own experience with this issue to the mix. I tend to think that the problem of societal description is a very important one in RPGs, and am pleased to see increasing attention being
paid to this facet of game design (two examples of this being the demography section in the ill-fated Dangerous Journeys system, and (from what I understand) at least some of Aria). That said, I don't see
"alignments" for societies as being the way to go. (The caveat, of course, being _unless_ your goal is critical/discursive, rather than simulationist in nature.)


Carter (a doctoral student in Social and Decision Sciences) with very good fortune, as this issue of Mimesis includes many of the concerns that he has raised in this letter. Attention is particularly drawn to the "Rational Domains In Developmental Psychology" and "The Social Psychology of Alignment" articles.

Writers Needed

From: reason@pegasus.rice.edu (Peter D. Thacker)

I find myself in the situation of needing writers to produce (in collaboration with myself as editor and
answerer of questions) scenarios for Da'akfal. I myself have just been hit by the Dreaded Thesis, which means that I have far less time than I would like to write my own material for the next three to six months.

So, what I would like is for anyone who is interested to go and have a look at:


to see if the background interests you. If it does, e-mail me and send a writing sample (or reference to something previously published, but preferably a sample, as my archives are not large). If I like it, we'll talk about contracts.

Da'akfal is to be published later this year by Fractal Dimensions (www.fractal.mandarin.org), along with it's parent multigenre system SORD. Accepted scenarios can expect to follow right along in the schedule.

I look forward to hearing from the writers that must be lurking out there somewhere...


ARIEL Archives

ARIEL (Australian Roleplaying Information Exchange Library) is a body which Mimesis shares fraternal relations with. Established years ago in Sydney it is currently on the move to Townsville. Brett Easterbrook, the coordinator of ARIEL, as this letter indicates, would dearly love any Australian roleplaying material that has had some public exhibition (e.g., has been used in a tournament).

Greetings All,

Well Grant has been a bit busy and so I'm still waiting on the collection, I was going to wait until I knew exactly what the collection consists of before asking people if they would like to contribute, but IÕm getting restless so I may as well start the ball rolling now.

Ok, the Ariel Archives is now looking for submission for addition to the Archive of material already in its collection (or at least some input on the subject), if you have written for a convention and would like to submit your work please drop me a note, if you have written and DON"T want to submit your work also please drop me a not and tell me what it would take for you to do so!!!

Also if you know that you have something in the Archive already, could you also drop me a note telling exactly what (if anything) I can do with your work, at the moment I have listed a range of options for distributing the work freely to not giving it to anyone! If you also still have an electronic copy of your work it would be much appreciated if you could send me a copy. Please note that all copies of work distributed in ecectronic form are in PDF format, a list of exactly what benfits this has and an example of what the end products looks like can also be downloaded from the Ariel Archives web pages.

If anyone has also any suggestions on basically anything from how I can get people to contribute, different layout of the files, etce etc please feel free to suggest them.

I think that that is about all at this time, except to say a thank you to Wes for adding a link to the Archives on his RPGA pages http://www2.dynamite.com.au/wes/, and also to Lisa for adding a link on the Conquest pages
http://www.very.net/conquest/useful.htm and Tonia for addind a link on her RPG pages
http://www.uq.net.au/~zzsean/ausgame.html. If anyone else adds a link to the Ariel Archive, please let me know so I can have a look at you page.



Australian Roleplaying Webpage

From CASTLE@uq.net.au


I saw your message about Mimesis in aus.games.roleplay. I have a page about Australian gaming up and used to have some info about Mimesis on it but lost contact with the net rep and I wasn't able to update the info. If you would like to post me the updated contact details about Mimesis I can put it on the page.

If you would like to have a look at the page it is at:


Cheers from Tonia

This an exceptional web page with excellent club and convention information. Our Australian con info is shamelessly lifted from this source.