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Concerning the article about magic in issue #1, I feel that it is better that players NOT know how magic works as this preserves the mystery. Most scientists do not really understand what is actually going on in their fields, what they do understand is a model of the process. For magic to be truly magical such models can be allowed but players should not really be allowed to get to grips with the basic processes involved.

Magic can have rules but these should really be guidelines. Occasionally things should turn out differently. Even in hermetic magic, the most scientific of magical theories, will and visualisation play a significant part. Such things are so subjective. They allow for magic to be unruly.

Although I do play a fair amount of rules heavy games (ADD, RQ, RM) I do prefer those that stress participation (OTE, freeform) rather than interpretation (of rules).
Steve Dempsey

I was generally quite impressed by the first three issues of PTGPTB, but there wasn't much I was keen on in the last issue.

Both the main article and the history of RPGs talked about opposition to RPGs, something that I prefer to ignore. I chose not to read the main article at all. Having never encountered opposition that goes beyond "it's sad", I don't see any sense worrying about it. In any case, head-in-the-sand is my favourite defence.

(I think you'll find said article is more about our prejudices than those of our detractors, and very worth reading. Ed)

The history of RPGs has been excellent up to now, but I don't agree with the authors perspective in part IV. He sees it as a good thing that RPG companies are becoming more like money-making businesses rather than hobbies, that RPGs are in a golden age because the industry makes a large amount of money.

This is almost the opposite of my view. I find the atmosphere generated by heavy commercial exploitation (you bought the RPG - now buy the mug, t-shirt, computer game, film, novel series etc) and a profusion of well- written, attractively-presented products oppressive rather than stimulating.

For me, a major point in favour of RPGs is the creative side, is that you create you own world, your own rules, and entertain yourself and others with it. I fear that this is being eroded by the onslaught of high quality commercial products and aggressive marketing.

As you are no doubt aware by now, I am rather weird. A nice bit of starvation is what I need, stop this neurotic whining.

I am not generally keen on webzines, as I am very much an offline reader. Indeed, I prefer to print things out, as I do with Paul Mason's Imazine (it's supplied in PDF format). Of course, I'd rather get a real paper zine from a shop or via snail-mail, but there aren't many of them about.

One good thing about PTGPTB is its strongly issue-based format. This removes the need to regularly check the page for small changes, so you only need come along every other month.
Rob Alexander

I was reading the News section of your site and was shocked to read about the demise of WEG. I knew Hasbro had bought Avalon Hill, but had no idea about WEG. It's terrible!! Since Mayfair and TSR went under the industry has been steadily declining, just when it looked as if it was reaching a peak. I hate to think what it spells for the future with allthese long established companies biting the dust. If they can't survive, what hope is there for the smaller firms?
David and John House

I've just read your article, and can't help feeling you've made the same mistake as the five blind wise men: felt the beast's trunk and declared that the elephant is like a snake. (We intend to feel more of the elephant in future issues. Ed)

The interactive fiction game you've described is one style of many -- and (in my own humble opinion) the most challenging for the players.

I've been a play-by-email gamer for a few months now, and some of the games I've taken part in have been much more like traditional role-playing, where players post their actions to the GM, who decides results and handles combat roles to save the time of posting and re-posting for each round, and where game system rules are fairly strictly enforced.

Others have been more like interactive fiction where the GM has provided a direction and major story events, and the players simply wrote posts describing how their characters got from A to B.

I think the greatest advantage of role-playing by email is that it allows the players to get creative and go into a lot of detail about characters/events/background/etc. without wasting valuable play time.
Chris Kerr

Re: What The Hell Do You Think You Are Doing?, By Brett Matthews, Issue 2

I was just reading through the back issues, and I had to respond to this article. I couldn't have found it at a better time. There have been some personality conflicts within my gaming group lately. Everyone seems to have different goals for play. Persons getting on others' nerves. The game brought us together and made us friends, but we don't seem able to maintain a 'functional' group. I'm going to forward this article to my DM (along with several others). Hopefully, it will help us to get back on track and keep the games going.

By the way, I like the whole magazine!
Ange Tremain

Oh Boy!

I just read the article about first time you played D&D. It was fun. I started playing (at the age of 13. I'm a 23 year old philosophy-student now) a much better system (A swedish translated to danish called Dragons & Demons based on Chaosium's basic system) But my players really wanted to try out the "real" game. I resigned as GM and the Dungeoncrawling began.

The part were players get bored and frustrated and starts to fight among themselves (If the can't find anything to torture) must be a law of (Human) nature. We stopped playing D&D after the village were the players had their goldpieces (We didn't live there. We were out killing monstres all the time), was attacked by a swarm of dragons (Yes! Dragons). We defended the village and our small huts (they must have been filled with gold) and succeeded! My 21 level fighter manage to kill three dragons with three strikes (Only because we all sensed the absurdness of the situation). After that experience, Ole (the GM) never ever was our GM again.

Thank you for sharing it with me
Frank Lindvig (from Denmark)

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