Author Archive

September 10, 2007: 7:19 pm: Game systems

What’s that? A pirate game designed by Vincent Baker?!


The PDF is available now, and there’s supposed to be a print version in the not-too-distant future.

And, though Poison’d just came out at Gencon, there are already some actual play posts out there if you look for them, as well as discussion over at the lumpley games forum.

June 21, 2007: 8:32 pm: Cons, GMing

Self, if you decide to run two games at next year’s The Black Road, don’t pick two systems you’ve never run or even played before, and most definitely don’t have one of those systems still be in development. Coming up with good game ideas is hard enough without having to also learn two sets of rules and figure out how to teach them.

[For those who might be wondering, this year I'm running a pirate zeppelin game using Spirit of the Century rules and also running a game of Afraid.]

April 4, 2007: 7:36 pm: Cons

There’s a thread over on Story Games about The Black Road, which includes me commenting on possibly changing part of structure of the con for next year.

Right now we follow the standard Ambercon method of having people sign up for their games well in advance, but I’ve come to realize that this may discourage some new people from coming to the convention. With that in mind, I’m keeping a close eye on how a semi-scheduled thing works out for this year’s Camp Nerdly to see if it might be something that we could adopt for TBR 2008.

For this year’s con though, I’m considering having a Games On Demand type thing in each slot (in addition to the scheduled games), which would basically mean people showing up with shiny games and deciding what to play.

Any input on either idea is welcome.

March 25, 2007: 1:48 pm: Miscellaneous

FindPlay has been down for a while now, but there’s a new site out there for those gamers looking to find more players in their area. It’s called NearbyGamers, and it uses functionality from Google Maps to provide a graphical display that I personally find more useful than the straight text that FindPlay provided. Right now there are plenty of indie gamers listed, as well as lots of more traditional D&D and White Wolf sorts.

March 12, 2007: 6:49 pm: Game systems

Today my copy of Spirit of the Century arrived in the mail!

March 7, 2007: 9:02 pm: Game systems, Game theory (or close enough)

Here are a couple of fairly recent items that may be of interest to Amber players/GMs (though the topics apply to other games too), in case you missed them.

Rob Donoghue talks about applying tags to Sorcery (and maybe other things too):

But suppose when the character picked up sorcery (or some other power – sorcery’s just an example) they chose a keyword like fire, shadow, travel, tarot, art, thunder, elemental, alchemy, atlantean, infernal or anything else. Maybe that keyword is picked from a (hopefully long) existing list, maybe it’s totally freeform, maybe it’s a player-built list, maybe there’s a whole set of sub-rules for keywords, like elemental dominance. Doesn’t really matter, though it definitely helps if the list of keywords is accessible.

So now they have a sorcerous style. They’re a fire mage, or an alchemist, or a demonologist or whatever. That’s color, and color is cool, and if we just left it at that it would be a nice reminder to players to choose a style. The real value comes, however, when we start introducing plots. Take something as mundane as a locked door. If it’s magically locked, it’s bypassed pretty quickly as we look up sorcerer’s in the yellow pages. If, however, we say that it’s trapped with Fire magic or bound with atlantean runes, then the number of people who can help is reduced. On some intuitive level that may seem like a dangerous thing, but practically it is far more motivating and it gives the guy whose keyword came up a much more clear-cut opportunity to be cool.

Tony Lower-Basch starts a Story Games thread about Amber and the tyranny of the blank page:

Then I took a break from it, and coming back I notice things. The very first thing I notice is that the game system says “You have the freedom to create any character, from anywhere, ever! Make the world from which he comes, and all of his supporting NPCs. The power is finally in your hands.”

God, I find that unhelpful. And, from the evidence of people I’ve played with, they find it unhelpful too. They immediately latch on to the few things that are rigidly defined in the setting, and build from there. Who is your character’s parent? Which of the elder Amberites do they know, and what are their relationships with them? Where do they stand relative to Amber, the Pattern, the Courts of Chaos, and so on?

Now … potentially … the freedom to create anything includes the freedom to create rigid anchor points that the other players can latch on to, as starting points for their own characters. But in practice, I find that people look to the GM to do that, no matter how much the GM asks them to do it themselves.

Both are worth a look.

March 5, 2007: 8:56 pm: Miscellaneous

In an attempt to make the conversations that have been taking place on Anyway easier to follow, Vincent Baker’s started up a forum (using Vanilla) that he calls I would knife fight a man: Sex, God and RPGs. This oughta be interesting….

: 8:51 pm: Game systems

So, one of the things I’m seriously considering running at this year’s The Black Road is Vincent Baker’s Afraid, which is a variant of his most excellent Dogs in the Vineyard. It’s still in the beta stage of things, but is apparently quite workable the way it is, so I’d like to give it a shot.

I was reminded of this desire by this cool post on Story Games. And now I want to run it even more.

February 26, 2007: 10:30 pm: Game systems

How are things coming along on the Dresden Files RPG? Fred gives us an update:

The conclusion there is that I’ll be startled if we have anything more than a proof by the time GenCon lands on our heads (it’s always a bit earlier in the year than I want it to be, I think), but y’never know, we may end up finding a printer who can do a good, sizable hardcover run in a short timeframe. I’m not holding my breath on that point.

I’m definitely in the camp of wanting it done well rather than quickly, but I’ll still hope that there’s a possibility of the game being ready in time for Gencon, without compromises in quality to make that happen.

: 9:01 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

I’m a big fan of story games, and of the communities that to some degree center around both Story Games and The Forge, but there are times when the discussions start to sound far too much like arguments that take place among the various factions of socialism or communism. A few people seem to be more interested in calling others out for not adhering to some version of doctrinal purity than they are in working together to advance the cause.