Hors de combat

It’s not the only reason why there hasn’t been one of these for a while, but I was ill and in hospital for a week. I’m now recuperating and have no idea how long I’ll be stuck indoors waiting for some wounds to heal. I’m OK, just need time to heal.

The first day, in Accident and Emergency, waiting to get taken to the operating theatre, I was lying trying to keep myself interested, and had some thoughts about the perennial problems that have been bedeviling me about the Arthurian project. To be honest, they have been annoying me for the last few years when I occasionally tried to expand Chivalry and Sorcery Essence into Borderlands.

I think it was the fever. The days before the crisis got me into hospital I had been unwell and having weird dreams, that’s be the fever and although some of the ideas had to be discarded as unworkable, there was enough of a germ in that so that, when my wife brought me a notebook and pen, I could start to scribble things down and try and make sense of it all.

However, there is something even more important than this burst of inspiration that helped. I had decided to run a play-by-email game with a few people. Most of whom were unfamiliar with C&S, never mind C&S E, and they definitely weren’t familiar with post-Roman Britain.

The ideas they came up with, a few of which I had to try and advise were out of period and I had to work ways that the players could have their character concept in an “Arthurian Way” and they asked questions. This made me think about the holes in the rules, the magic and prayers I had been wrestling with, and that actually coalesced some ideas, and made me revisit a few others, mainly to simplify them and make them more playable.

So I am now convinced it is true, when you write, you need to think about who you are writing for, and, if you don’t have a real person to write to, then I think it’s time to get an imaginary friend to use as your audience. A fever would help with that, but I wouldn’t recommend that.

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