Author Archive

February 12, 2007: 8:45 pm: Game theory (or close enough), GMing

Better late than never (my link, I mean, not her post), I give you Mo’s Relationship Web Builder:

So I thunk this tool up a while back, and am looking to develop it further. It combines the Blood, Violence, Sex, Money ties that Brand tells me are from Sorcerer Soul into a process not unlike Dogs Town creation. I tested it out on Dave Cleaver, and he came up with something kinda nifty. For now it can be used to create a web in any game that has no explicit tools to build such a thing. Maybe at some point I’ll actually build it in to one of my games.

You can get some really interesting relationship maps by following the steps she lays out, and be sure to read the comments for even more ideas (and maybe offer some of your own).

And you should probably read the rest of her posts while you’re there.

February 4, 2007: 3:11 pm: Cons

In recent (and not quite so recent) con news:

Dreamation 2007 (January 25-28) was apparently quite a blast. I really need to make it to this (and/or Dexcon) one of these years.

Forge Midwest 2007 is working on preparations for this year’s con (which looks like it’ll happen in April).

Registration for the first full-fledged Camp Nerdly (a weekend of gaming and fun at a campground in Virginia with mostly SG folks, May 4-6) is now open.

The plan for the Forge booth at GenCon 2007 (August 16-19) was announced, and it seems like it may result in indie games being more spread around the dealer room.

Oh, and don’t forget about The Black Road 2007 (June 29-July 1) too!

January 31, 2007: 10:17 pm: Cons, Playing

There’s an interesting thread over on Story Games (and yes, I do realize how many of my posts are related to Story Games) about playing games at cons with people you know versus playing with people you don’t know.

Personally, when I play prefer a mix, as I’m more at ease socially if there are at least one or two people that I know, but playing with people I’ve never met (or only know from online) means getting to experience new styles of playing and new perspectives on games. When I GM I prefer the balance to lean more toward people I know, as I’m more comfortable running a game if I’m at least somewhat familiar with the players.

The thread’s also got interesting points about getting to know the people you’re playing with, so it’s well worth a read.

January 28, 2007: 3:31 pm: Game systems

Over on Story Games, Willow Palecek posted an alternate setting for The Mountain Witch called Battlestar Fujiyama. It looks pretty interesting, with the usual set of Dark Secrets replaced by ones that include things like being a Cylon agent, and the Zodiac representing what Colony the character is from. If you’re a Battlestar Galactica fan, it’s well worth checking out.

January 5, 2007: 9:41 pm: Game systems

As part of the Designing Dresden series of posts over on the official Dresden RPG site, Rob talks about why they chose the Fate system as the base for the game.

We want to make sure that when the group consists of the fae halfblood daughter of Jenny Greenteeth, the lover of a Muse, a Kung Fu wizard, the Autumn Knight and a pizza delivery guy, that everyone gets to be awesome.

So to do that, were going with Fate. It’s not the only game that this is possible in, but for our purposes, it’s the best match.

Sounds promising, doesn’t it? I’m definitely looking forward to seeing this one when it’s ready to go, especially given how well the boys at Evil Hat have done with games like Spirit of the Century.

And did I ever mention that I played a small part in getting Dresden and Evil Hat together (for the game I mean, since Jim and Fred already knew each other)……?

January 2, 2007: 8:24 pm: GMing, Playing

A Story Games thread that might be of interest, particularly to Amber GMs (since it’s a situation that seems to happen a lot in Amber games):

Keeping players together when their protagonists diverge

December 26, 2006: 9:19 pm: Game systems

So I was watching the first couple of episodes of Brisco County, Jr. the other day (thanks to my best friend giving me the DVD set for Christmas), and it seemed to me that it might be a setting that’d be well-served by Spirit of the Century. It was, after all, a very pulp sort of Western.

I’ll definitely have to give this more thought….

November 29, 2006: 8:13 pm: Miscellaneous

In case you hadn’t heard about the cool new kid on the forum block, check out Gamecraft. As founder Levi Kornelsen said:

This is a forum for discussion of tabletop roleplaying games. It is not, by design, a standard forum for general use; for that, visit RPGnet or theRPGsite or ENworld. GameCraft has a mission and a target: To become the best place to refine play from the ground up.

In other words, it’s about making play better, rather than being about game design.

November 25, 2006: 9:42 pm: Game systems

I bought a PDF copy of Don’t Rest Your Head a few weeks ago for cheap, when Fred announced a one day sale.

I still haven’t done more than skim it.


Especially when someone like Ken Hite says:

I should warn you that this game hits many, many of my PsychLims, as we say in Hero. It has the flavored dice pools of Bacchanal, the character-centered stories of Dread, and the terrifying gnosticism of Kult. And it plays like Call of Cthulhu on crystal meth. Does the “Sanity death spiral” get you down? Well then, stay far away from a game where just going to sleep opens you up to being devoured by nightmares. I’m talking about Fred Hicks’ concentrated blast of pepper spray to the eyes, Don’t Rest Your Head (82-page 6″x9″ softcover, $15). This is a game about the ragged edge of insanity and what you find there between sleep and death. The PCs are all insomniacs. They can’t sleep. (After Hours. Insomnia. Just sayin’.) But their insomnia gives them magic powers, and lets them see into the Mad City that exists all around the sleeping city they ostensibly live in. (Dark City.) Each player has to answer five questions about his character — those five answers drive the stories, like Sorcerer kickers. And Hicks gives real, solid, 24-hour-diner-breakfast advice on working those questions into the story. Just look at this genius stuff: The mechanic is a dice pool; add dice to Exhaustion, Discipline, or Madness. The GM’s dice are called Pain. One of those four will win. Your character will change. The struggle will go on. And you still can’t sleep. Or even rest your head. This game is really well done, no matter what your dreams are like. And if, like mine, they come from a rich diet of Grant Morrison and H.P. Lovecraft, then this game will tear open your skull and let the monsters in.

Sounds good, don’t it?

: 9:33 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Over on Story Games, Andy starts a thread by quoting Mike Holmes:

I’m not saying we should stop making RPGs. Or even stop having design competitions and the like. But, “Hey, you there, with the cool actual play – make some rules around that!”… that’s where I think you’ve crossed a line from RPGs as an artifact meant to be played several times, and RPG as something created to be played once, by one group, ever.

I think that’s fine for people to create true “one shot” RPGs (that is played once, ever by one group). But I think that publishing them all could create a situation where to get the game you want to play, you’d have to pour through so many RPGs that finding the good ones might become nigh impossible.

There are a lot of interesting points bought up in the rest of the posts, ranging from some talk about the risks of glutting the indie RPG market to the idea that some people rush to publish games so that they can be seen as part of the in-crowd. Go and read it!