Second Person Articles Online

Those of you who read my review on Second Person but were too lazy to pick it up have now been vindicated. You can now find many of the articles online. Of interest to Call of Cthulhu players are Kenneth Hite’s “Narrative Structure and Creative Tensions in Call of Cthulhu” and Keith “Doc” Herber’s “On ‘The Haunted House‘.” You can also read companion responses to these pieces here and here, respectively.

The latter, I think, has a serious flaw to it, in its assumption that Herber’s scenario is a gamist piece instead of a glorious subversion of that very idea. For those who don’t know the term, a “gamist” perspective on roleplaying games takes the attitude that a problem that is solvable should be posed to the players. In creating a scenario that can only be solved after intense effort – indeed, not until after the investigators have left and returned – Herber has created a scenario that transcends a simple “solve the mystery” model that typifies many Cthulhu games.

While I’m at it, I’ll say in response to this discussion of the book that I was being sarcastic. I play computer games myself, and I’d never say something like, “It’s great that, after putting together a high-priced team of storytellers and programmers utilizing the latest technology, you can come up with the same lousy hackneyed plots a decent gamemaster could develop for free in her sleep.” That wouldn’t be very nice.

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Published in: on January 10, 2008 at 11:57 pm  Comments (2)  

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2 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. I bought a copy. D’oh.

    Actually, I’m quite glad I did. I didn’t think much of either of the CoC essays, but a lot of the rest was very worthwhile.

  2. […] loved his Lovecraft Country books, which provided a vibrant background to Arkham and Dunwich.  I didn’t quite grasp the genius behind his scenario “The Haunted House” until I read his explanation here.  I read […]


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