Friday, February 3, 2012

Atlantasia Über Alles

So, The Secret DM interviewed John Holland, creator of The Realms of Atlantasia, and nobody told me.  If you have any interest in John Holland, I suggest you read the interview (and my comments) now.  For a self-described ‘curmudgeon,’ The Secret DM serves up a soft, ‘feel-good’ interview.

Let it be known that my opinion about The Realms of Atlantasia has not changed from that which I expressed in this post; however, I was wrong when I said that Holland was arrogant.  He certainly has my admiration for surviving three bouts with cancer, but that hardly ameliorates the deplorable nature of The Realms of Atlantasia.

There are a few items from the interview that I’d like to discuss.

The Secret DM states,

I set out to find a quirky gamer who spent way too much time designing a game and didn't know the first thing about how to publish anything.

Nothing in the published interview suggests anything contrary to that statement.

Remember when Greg Christopher bemoaned the insularity of the role-playing game Internet community and implied that we should pity the poor little recluse?  Well, Holland doesn't see it that way.  Holland states that he “did a lot of research online through chat rooms…”  Holland also discounts the notion that he is “out of the loop” when The Secret DM asks Holland if he sees his “lack of involvement/engagement [with the community] as a weakness.”

Apparently, Holland is prescient; he says, “I have seen…the eventual rise and fall of Wizards of the Coast.”  He probably means “rise and eventual fall…”  In any case, I would like to know if he’s betting on the Patriots.

When describing the game, The Secret DM lists three ”key features,” namely:
  • If you don't care for your horse by feeding it and giving it rest, your horse will die
  • If a regular riding horse goes into battle, it will rear up and bolt at the first scent of blood
  • Your armor, weapons, and clothing all take damage and have to be repaired
I began to wonder how the game actually addresses these circumstances.

The rules specifically state that "all horses need food and water to sustain them."  However, there are no specifics regarding the game effects of starvation or thirst.  How many meals can a horse miss before it dies?  Although it doesn't do much for helping a horse rest, there is a spell called 'Animal Feed.'  On page 308, it is described thus:

This spell enables the Priest(ess) to feed a horse without stopping. When casted the animal's belly will automatically be filled.

Page 110 says that horses not trained for war "most likely will bolt at the first sign of battle."  So the second 'feature' is addressed to my satisfaction.

Clothes, weapons, and armor do take damage, but the repair of said damage is glossed over.  The only reference I found to repair* is on page 45:

If this damage is not dealt with by a blacksmith, the weapon could fall apart...The same could be said for your armor!

Do blacksmiths charge for this service?  How much?  What about clothing and leather?  Do blacksmiths sub-contact seamstresses and tanners?  If page 215 is any indication, blacksmiths in Atlantasia make slings.

*  There is a 'repair' spell, but it "is used to repair stone structures..."

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