Et forsøg på et svar: Jeg er i tvivl om vi har samme spillestil (f.eks. er “caller” et nyt udtryk for mig).
Hvortil Nis svarede:
Thais: Vi har ikke spillet med caller (en talsmand for spillerne, der står for at kommunikere gruppens endeligt beslutninger til GM), men det er en spilstil det bliver omtalt i AD&D 1st edition.
Så det fik mig til i ren nyagerrighed at kigge nærmere på Callers og denne særegne og mystiske spilmekanik fra Dungeons & Dragons.
Men der er muligvis mere i måden, som Caller bruges på, end der egentlig fremgår af selve Dungeon Masters Guide. Tag følgende eksempel fra Old Geezer på RPGnet:
Yes, we did. It’s still my favorite way to play.
It was part of our ‘simulation’ of a dungeon. Any OOC chatter would be heard by wandering monsters.
The best gaming I ever did was still six people in Gary Gygax’s study, all tense as a piano wire and all but the caller and ref silent as Death.
But the ‘caller’ never ‘vetoed’ a player; when actions were needed the ref asked each person individually.
Caller som metamekanik
Eksemplet er vigtigt for det viser, at der er en måde mere at bruge ‘Caller’-funktionen på, som ikke fremgår af måden, som teksterne forklarer, at ‘Calleren’ bruges. I lighed med f.eks. mit eget Space Hulk-scenarie, hvor den støj, som spillerne laver ved bordet, har spilmekaniske konsekvenser, så beskriver Old Geezer noget tilsvarende, hvor spillernes ‘støj’ kan høres i fiktionen. Det er en metamekanik, men netop i spændingsmomenter og i horror (hvor det handler om at ramme modtageren – læseren/seeren/rollespilleren – gennem karakteren), er der en styrke i at smelte spiller og karakters handlinger sammen, således at spillerens handlinger bliver skyld i at det går heltene i fiktionen skidt.
Det kan gøres på to måder. Enten ved at fastholde ‘caller’-stilen – f.eks. ved at erklære, at man ‘aktiverer’ mekanikken, når hulerne udforskes, og derved signalerer, at nu tæller tingene – og så lader spilleres støj ved bordet blive ‘hørt’ af monstrene i fiktionen (som når Atreyu hører Sebastian råbe op i Den uendelige historie), hvis det ikke er calleren, der taler. Eller ved at lade f.eks. al småsnak foretaget af spillerne tilsvarende være småsnak, som karaktererne foretager sig – ikke i den klassiske form, hvor spillerne siger et, men vil have deres karakterer til at sige noget andet – men mere generelt: Hvis du småsnakker, småsnakker din karakter, og småsnak kan høres … af monstrene.
Dæmp lyset, sæt stemningsmusik på, tænd stearinlys og lyt til støjen fra spillerne. Kan monstrene høre dem?
Udover scenariet Needle, som har detaljerede spileksempler, hvor der gøres brug af en caller, så er der følgende referencer at finde i den røde æske og i AD&D 1st edition-bøgerne. Jeg har samlet teksterne til sidst, da de er temmeligt lange, men særligt rollespilseksemplet fra Dungeon Masters Guide er interessant for det billede, som det giver af, hvorledes Gygax forestiller sig en ideel rollespilssituation.
D&D Basic Rules (The Red Box – Player’s Guide, p. 53)
Mapper and Caller
Although each person will be playing the role of a character, the players should also handle the jobs of “Mapping” and “Calling”, Any of the players can be the “Mapper” or “Caller,” whatever their characters may be.
The mapper is the player who draws a map of the dungeon as it’s explored. One or more of the characters should be making maps, but one of the players must make the actual game map. The map should be kept out on the table for all to see and refer to. Pencil should always be used in making the map, in case of errors and tricky passages.
Mapping is an important part of imagining where your characters are. Sooner or later, all players should learn to make maps. if you play often, take turns mapping: it is an important and useful skill to learn.
The caller is a player who announces to the Dungeon Master what the group of characters (the Party) is doing. The Caller must check with every player to find out what all the characters are doing, and the tell the DM (quickly and accurately) what they plan to do. The Caller does not tell the others what to do; the Caller merely reports what is going on.
The Caller’s first job is to find out the “party order” – the way the characters are lined up or grouped during normal travel. The Caller should also report the movements of the group, such as “Well go northeast thorugh the woods,” or “We’ll turn right at the next corridor.”
Battles are always more complicated, and the DM should then take the time to check with each player, instead of handling it all thorugh the Caller.
You may have games without Callers, if the Dungeon Master is willing to ask each player what each character is doing, and make notes to remember actions. But it’s usually easier and more organized if one player acts as Caller.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – Players Handbook (p.106)
This aspect of play has three facets. The leader and caller of a party might order one course of action while various players state that their characters do otherwise. Your DM will treat such situations as confused and muddled, being certain to penalize the group accordingly. Obedience also applies to hirelings and henchmen. Loyalty and morale are factors here, as is the existing situation where obedience is called for. Finally, certain magic items, particularly magic swords, tend to be argumentative and may refuse to obey uncertain, demanding, weak, or foolish masters.
If in doubt regarding obedience, the sure test is the one where you ask yourself if your character would do it. This test applies only to creatures, not magically endowed items. If you ask a henchman to try on a cloak, it is probable that he and all of your other henchmen and hirelings will expect that the garment will become his. Likewise, if a servitor is asked to sample the contents of a potion bottle, the item is then regarded as the servitor’s property by all onlookers. Obedience is based on such considerations, i.e. fairness, justness, rewards, hazards, love, respect, fear, and similar repute and emotion.
One player must keep a map of the expedition’s trek, and if two players make maps the chances for the success of the expedition improve. Graph paper with 5 or 6 lines to the inch is suggested for underground map making. A sheet of small size hex grid is usual for outdoors maps. Both sorts of paper should always be on hand.
Never become concerned if your map is not exact, if it is off 10′ here or 20′ there. As long as it gives your party an idea as to where they are and how to get back, it is serving its purpose. Always make notes on the map to show danger – traps, tricks, monsters.
Organize your party by showing which characters are where. Show marching order for a 10′ passage, a 20′ passage, door openings, etc. Always prepare for rear actions as well as frontal combats. Assign one individual as leader. This character will “call”, i.e. tell the referee where the party will go and what they will do. Miniature figures ore o great aid here. The DM will usually require a marching order to be drawn on a piece of paper if figures are not at hand.
Advanced Dungeons & Dragons – Dungeon Masters Guide (p.97-100)
With these basic points in mind, let us return to the action of the first dungeon adventure. Assuming that the abandoned monastery is merely a burned-out shell, with nothing but rubble and ruin within, the players spend only a few minutes of real time “looking around” before they discover a refuse-strewn flight of steep and worn stone stairs leading downword. “Ahoh!”, exclaims the leader of the group, “This must be the entrance to the dungeons. We’ll find what we ore looking for there.” The other players voice agreement, and so the real adventure begins. What is said by the Dungeon Master will be prefaced by the letters DM, while the party of player characters will be prefaced by either LC (for leader), or OC (for any of the other player characters speaking).
DM: “What are you going to do now?”
LC: “Light our torches, and go down the steps!”
DM: “Fine, but I’ll need the ‘marching order’ you will be in.” (At this point the players either write down the names of characters with each in its respective rank, or place their painted miniature figures in actual formation. As minimum width is about 3½’ per character: a 5′ wide corridor requires single file, a 10′ wide passage means up to 3 maybe abreast, and up to 6 abreast con move down a 20′ wide passageway.) “Please note what formation you will take in a 5′ wide passage, and what your marching order will be in a 20′ wide area, also.”
LC: (After a brief discussion with the other players:) “Here is the information on this sheet of note paper. We’ll change it only if one of us is wounded, lost, or killed.”
DM: “Why are the gnome and the halfling in the front rank, the magic-user in the middle, and the human fighter and cleric in the rear?”
LC: “That way all 5 of us can act when we encounter an enemy! The magic-user can cost spells over the heads of the short characters in front, and the pair in the back rank can do likewise, or fire missiles, or whatever is needed, including a quick move to the front!”
DM: (Nodding agreement) “You remember that the torches will spoil the infravisual capabilities of the gnome and the halfling, don’t you?”
LC: “Certainly, but the humans must be able to see! We will go down the stairs now, with weapons drawn and ready.”
DM: “You descend southward, possibly 30′ laterally, and ot the end of the stairway you see an open space.”
LC: “Enter the area and look around.”
DM: “You are in a chamber about 30′ across to the south and 30′ wide east and west. There are 10′ wide passages to left and right and ahead, each in the center of the respective walls. The stairway you descended likewise enters the chamber in the center of the north wall.
LC: “What else do we see?”
DM: ”The floor is damp and rough. There are arches supporting the ceiling, starting from a spot about 8 above the floor and meeting about 20’ height in the central dome of the place – it is difficult to tell, because the whole ceiling area is covered with webs . . . . Possibly old cobwebs. Oh yes. There are some mouldering sacks in the southwest corner, and some rubbish iumbled in the center of the floor – which appears to be dirt, old leather, rotting cloth, and possibly sticks or bones or something similar.”
LC: (A confused babble breaks out at this point, with players suggesting all sorts of different actions. The leader cautions them and tries for a careful, reasoned, methodical approach.) “The gnome and the halfling will hand their torches to the fighter (me) and the cleric. They will then look down the east and west passages, while I check the one straight ahead to the south. The cleric will check the sacks, and the magic-user will examine the pile of refuse in the center of the chamber. Everyone agree?”
OC: ”Sure!” says the player with the cleric character, ”I’m moving over to the sacks now, sticking close to the lefthand wall.”
DM: ”What are the rest of you doing? As indicated? Tell me how you are doing it, please.” (If miniature figures and a floor plan are being used, each player can simply move his or her figurine to show route of movement and final position. Otherwise, each player must describe actions iust as the cleric character player did above.)
LC: ”They are now in position, what is seen and what happens?”
DM: ”Just as the three are about in position to look down the passages, and while the cleric is heading for the rotting bags, the magic-user cries out, and you see something black and nasty looking upon her shoulder!”
LC: “EVERYBODY, QUICK! SEE WHAT’S ATTACKED HER!” Then turning to the referee: “We rush over to help kill whatever has attacked her! What do we see?”
DM: ”A large spider has surprised her. As she went to examine the refuse it dropped from its web. It landed on her back and bit her. Before you can take any action, she must make a saving throw with a +2 on her die, of course, and then she and the spider must dice for initiative and fight a round of combat. After that the rest can try to do something.”
OC: (The magic-user.) “A 16, did I make it?!” (This said as she rolls the die to moke the required saving throw against the spider’s poison.)
DM: ”Yes. Easily, so you take only 1 hit point of damage. While you mark it down, I’ll roll for the spider’s initiative – beat a 3.”
OC: (Again the magic-user.) ”A 5. If that means I can act before the spider does, I’ll grab it and throw it on the floor and stamp on it with my boot!”
DM: ”Roll a d20, and we’ll see if you hit.” The die score indicates that the magic-user would hit an opponent of the armor class of the large spider, so the DM states: ”You grab the spider, but as you do so, you are now allowing the monster to attack you, even though you had the initiative, and it bites at your hand as you hurl it to the floor!” (Amidst groans of horrified anticipation from the players, the DM rolls a d20, but the low number which results indicates a clean miss by the arachnid.) “Yug! The nasty thing misses you, and it is now scuttling along the floor where you tossed it!”
LC: ”Who is nearest to the spider? Whomever it is will smash it with a weapon!”
DM: “It was hurled down to the southwest, and it is now heading for the wall there to climb back into its web overhead. The cleric is nearest to it.”
OC: (The cleric, of course.) ”1 squash the nasty thing with my mace!” and here the player, having already gained savoir faire, rolls a d20 to see if his strike is successful. A 20, and a beaming player shouts: ”I got it!”
DM: ”You‘re right, and you do . . . (with these words the DM rolls a d6 to determine the amount of damage) SIX POINTS! That’s heavy – heavy enough to kill it, in fact. It is smashed to pieces. What now?”
LC: ”Everybody will do what we set out to do in the first place. If nothing valuable or interesting is in the sacks, the cleric will then help the magic-user search the refuse and burn the webs overhead in case there are any more spiders hiding up there.”
DM: “The sacks hold rotten grain, so the cleric will go and help the magicuser as ordered. They find the refuse consists of castings, some husks of small victims of the spider, hide, bones, a small humanoid skull, and 19 silver pieces. Do you now fire the webs overhead?”
LC: ”Examine the skull first. What kind of humanoid was it? Can we tell?”
DM: ”Possibly a goblin. When you are looking at it more closely, you see that there is a small gem inside – a garnet.”
LC: That’s more like it! Put it safely in your pouch, along with the silver pieces, Good Cleric, and light the spiderweb.“
DM: ”The strands burn quickly, flame running along each and lighting others touched. You see several young spiders crisped as the mass of webs near the top of the chamber catches fire.”
LC: “That’s that. What is seen down the three corridors leading out of the place?”
DM: “The east passage appears to turn north after about 30’ or so, the south tunnel runs straight as far as can be seen, and the west corridor ends in a door at about 20’.”
LC: ”Come on, fellow adventurers, let‘s head west and see what lurks beyond the door!” The other players concur, so marching order is reestablished, and the gnome and halfling lead the way.
DM: “Okay, you are marching west: 10‘, 20’, and the passage ends in a door to the west. It is a great, heavy thing, bound in corroded bronze. There is a huge ring in the center.”
LC: “Magic-user, step forward and listen at the door. Gnome and halfling, see which way it opens, and get ready to do so.”
DM: (Rolling a d6 behind a screen so that the players cannot see the result which would normally indicate if noise were detected or not, if applicable, when a character listens. In this case the DM knows what will be heard, but pretends otherwise.) ”There is a foint moaning sound – you can’t really tell what it is – which rises and then fades away. The door pulls inwards towards you, the hinges on the left.”
LC: ”We all get ready, I’ll nock an arrow, and the magic-user will ready her magic missile spell. As soon as we are set the cleric and the gnome will pull the door open, the cleric closest to the hinged side. Ready? GO!”
DM: ”Each of you who ore opening the door roll a d6 for me to see if you succeed. I see from your character sheets that the gnome has a normal strength, so he’ll need a 1 or 2, the cleric has 17 strength, so he’ll do it,on a 1, 2, or 3.” (Eager hands roll the dice, and each succeeds in rolling a score low enough to indicate success.) Smiling, the DM continues: ”The door groans inward, and a blast of cold, damp air gusts into the passage where you are, blowing out both torches!” (Here, as about 3 turns have elapsed, the DM rolls a d6 to see if a ’wandering monster’ appears; the resulting 5 indicates none.)
LC: (Thinking quickly.) “Halfling and gnome, what do you see with your infravision!? Should we slam the door?”
DM: ”It takes a few seconds for their eyes to adjust to the darkness, and then they tell you that they can detect no creatures – everything appears to be the same temperature, cold.”
LC: “Cleric, it is time to use your light spell, for we’ll never get torches lit in this wind. Cast it on your 10’ pole.” (There is a delay while the cleric complies, and then:) “We are now poking the bright end of the pole into the place and looking; tell us what we see.”
DM: The space behind the door is only rough-hewn and irregular. It appears to be a natural cove of some sort which was worked to make it larger in places. It is about 25′ across and goes 40′ south. A small stream – about 15′ wide at one place, but only 6′ or 7′ wide elsewhere – runs south along the far wall. There are 3 buckets and several barrels in the place, but nothing else.”
LC: “Check the ceiling and the floor. No more nasty surprises for us! If we note nothing unusual, we will check out the buckets and barrels quickly.” (Aside to the others:) “This was probably the water supply room for the monastery, so I doubt if we’ll find anything worthwhile here.”
OC: “Where exactly is the wide spot in the stream? I think that I’ll check out that pool.” (The DM tells the player where it is, so he heads over to the place.) “Now, I’m looking into the water with the bright end of my staff actually thrust into the liquid, what happens?”
DM: “First, the others checking the containers find that they held nothing but water, or are totally empty, and that the wood is rotten to boot. You see a few white, eyeless fish and various stone formations in a pool of water about 4′ to 6′ deep and about 10′ long. That’s all. Do you wish to leave the place now?”
LC: “Yes, let’s get out of here and go someplace where we can find something interesting.”
OC: “Wait! If those fish are just blind cave types, ignore them, but what about the stone formations? Are any of them notable? If so I think we should check them out.”
DM: “Okay. The fish are fish, but there is one group of minerals in the deepest part of the pool which appears to resemble a skeleton, but it simply – ”
OC: “If the pole will reach, I’ll use the end to prod the formotion and see if it is actually a skeleton covered with mineral deposits from the water! I know the Shakespearean bit about a ‘sea change’!”
DM: “You manage to reach the place and prodding it breaks off a rib-like piece. You see bone beneath the minerals. As you prod, however, a piece of the formation is caught by the current – a cylindrical piece about a foot long – and it rolls downstream.”
LC: “Run as fast as I can to get ahead of it, jump in, and grab it! Quick! Some of you get ready to pull me out if the water is over my head!”
DM: “You manage to get ahead of the piece, jump into water about 4′ deep, and grab at it, but you must roll a d20 ‘to hit’ to see if you can manage to grasp the obiect before it is swept past you and goes downstream into the pipe-like tunnel which the stream flows out through.” (The player rolls and scores high enough to have hit armor class 4, the value the DM has decided is appropriate to the chance of grasping, so the DM continues:) “You are in luck this adventure! You have the object, and it seems to be an ivory or bone tube with a waterproof cap.”
LC: “As soon as my fellows help me out of the stream, we’ll examine it carefully, and if all appears okay, we’ll dry it off thoroughly and open it very gently.”
DM: “There is nothing difficult involved, so after drying it off on the gnome’s cape, you break the seal and pull out the stopper. Inside is a roll of vellum.”
LC: “Let’s get out of here now, shut the door, get some torches going again, and then read whatever is on the scroll.” (The others agree, and in a few moments, the actions have been taken care of.) “Now, carefully remove the scroll and see what is on it.”
DM: “The tube must have allowed a bit of water to seep in slowly, for there are parts of the scroll that are smudged and obliterated, but you can see it is a map of the passages under the monastery. You recognize the stairs down and the water supply room. It looks as if the eastern portion is smeared beyond recognition, but you see that the south passage runs to a blurred area, and beyond that you see a large area with coffin-like shapes drawn along the perimeter. That’s all you can determine.”
LC: “We go back east 20′. which tokes us back to the entry chamber, and then we’ll head south down the long corridor there. We will look carefully at the map we found to see if it shows any traps or monsters along our route.”
DM: “You are at the mouth of the passageway south in the center of the south wall of the entry chamber. The map doesn’t indicate any traps or monsters, so you go south down the passage – 10′, 20′, 30′, 40′, 50′, 60, 70′, 80′, 90′. The passageway is unremarkable, being of stone blocks and natural stone, with an arched ceiling about 15′ high. At 90′ you come into the northern portion of a 50′ X 50′ chamber. It is bare and empty. There are no exits apparent. It seems to be a dead end place.” (Here the DM makes a check to see if any ‘wandering monsters’ come, but the result is o 2 on d6, so there are none.) “What are you going to do?”
“We’ll look at our map again. Does this look os if it were the room with the coffin-shapes?”
DM: “Certainly not. The place seems to be about where the blotched area is, but there are no passageways out of it.”
LC: “Let’s tap along that south wall, especially in the center 30′ to see if it sounds hollow. The cleric, gnome, and halfling will do the tapping, while the magic-user and I watch back the way we come.”
DM: (Rolling a few dice behind the screen several times, knowing that tapping won’t show anything, as the secret door is 10′ above the floor:) “The entire wall sounds VERY solid. You spend a full 10 minutes thoroughly checking, even to the far east and west, and all 3 are convinced it is not hollow beyond. However, the gnome, who you placed in the middle, noted some strange holes in the wall. These were square places cut into the natural stone, each about half a foot per side and a bit deeper. There were 2 at the 20′ and 2 ot the 30′ line, 1 above the other, the lower at obout 3′. and the higher at about 6′. He found some small splinters of wood in one.”
OC: “Does the smudged area give us any clue as to what the holes could be for? Let’s feel around inside them to see if there are levers or catches or something . . .”
LC: “Yes. look at the map, and carefully check those holes with daggers first – we don’t want to lose fingers or hands!” (When all that comes to naught:) “Can anyone think of why there would be wood splinters in the holes? That must be some sort of a clue!”
OC: “The only thing I can think of is that the holes are sockets for some sort of wooden construction -”
LC: “Sure! How about a ramp or stairs? How high is the ceiling in this place?”
DM: “Oh, it must be at least 25′ or more.”
LC: “Let’s form a human pyramid and see if there’s o secret door higher up on the wall – right here in the center where the passage seems to go on southwards. I’ll form the base, and the rest of you help the gnome and the halfling up, and hold them there (use the pole!), while they tap. What do they discover?”
DM: “The halfling at the top of the stack has a 1 in 6 chance of slipping and bringing you all down.” (A roll of 4 follows, so:) “But it doesn’t happen, and both the gnome and the halfling manage a few taps, and even that feeble work seems to indicate some sort of space beyond.”
LC: “Let’s change the plan a bit. The cleric and I will hoist the gnome up and hold his legs firmly while he checks around for some way to open the secret door. Meanwhile, the halfling and the magic-user will guard the entrance so that we won’t be attacked by surprise by some monster while thus engaged.”
DM: “You accomplish the shuffle, and let’s see if anything comes – ” (A d6 roll for wandering monsters again gives o negative result.) “The guards see nothing, and what is the gnome doing now?”
OC: (The gnome:) “I’ll scan the stone first to see if there are marks or some operating device evident.”
DM: “Some stone projections seem rather smooth, as if worn by use. That’s all you are able to note.”
OC: “Then I’ll see if I can move any of the stone knobs and see if they operate a secret door! I’ll push, pull, twist, turn, slide, or otherwise attempt to trigger the thing if possible.”
DM: “The fist-sized projection moves inwards and there is a grinding sound, and a 10′ X 10′ section of the wall, 10’above the floor in the center part, swings inwards to the right.”
OC: (The gnome:) “I’l pull myself up into the passage revealed, and then I’ll see if I can drive in a spike and secure my rope to it, so I can throw the free end down to the others.”
DM: “You get up all right, and there is a crack where you can pound in a spike. As you’re doing it, you might be in for a nasty surprise, so I’ll let you roll a six-sider for me to see your status – make the roll! (Groans as a 1 comes up indicating surprise. The DM then rolls 3 attacks for the ghoul that grabbed at the busy gnome, and one claw attack does 2 hit points of damage and paralyzes the hapless character, whereupon the DM judges that the other 3 would rend him to bits. However, the DM does NOT tell the players what has happened, despite impassioned pleas and urgent demands. He simply relates:) “You see a sickly gray arm strike the gnome as he’s working on the spike, the gnome utters a muffled cry, and then a shadowy form drags him out of sight. What are you others going to do?”
LC: “Ready weapons and missiles, the magic-user her magic-missile spell, and watch the opening.”
DM: “You hear some nasty rending noises and gobbling sounds, but they end quickly. Now you see a group of gray-colored human-like creatures with long, dirt- and blood-encrusted nails, and teeth bloodied and bared, coming to the opening. As they come to the edge you detect a charnel smell coming from them -4 of them, in fact.”
What will the party do? Will the cleric realize that they are ghouls and attempt to turn them? Will he succeed? If not, there may well be no survivors. If so, what treasure lies beyond? Possibly the great gem . . . but the thief still awaits the party’s return. Well, that is the stuff from which adventures are spun, and now you know how to spin your own.