Author Archive

May 3, 2006: 10:10 pm: Game systems

This looks like a pretty cool idea.

Truth or Scar (a scary little PBP game)

“Prof. Stanson has found a set of curious scrolls and tomes of unknown antiquity and origin. Luckily, one of them appears to be a tranlation to a peculiar precursor of Latin which he specializes in. Feverishly working backwards he is able to decipher fair portions of the other materials.”

(my friend narrates the “weird occurance”)

“He falls into a vision- he seeks an island and it’s inhabitants, all engaged in a festival- no, more ordered than that- a ritual. A dance, a chant… a spell. The Island disappears, and in a remote part of Russia, the Island crashes to the earth.”

(at this point, I choose Scar, to give my friend an example…)

“Awakening from his dream, he realizes that one of the scrolls he has been translating is a copy of that very spell. And, that the strange hand postures he saw in his vision were only possible to a person possessing 6 fingers… It is with that realization that a sharp pain begins in the center of his left palm, shooting to the webbing between his ring and middle finger, before a new growth begins to seek its way out, bone and muscle forcing its way into place, like his hand is splitting slowly. The new finger twitches and sort of nestles its place comfortably…”

Guess we’ll see if it get developed further, but I certainly like what he’s got so far.

April 24, 2006: 9:14 pm: Miscellaneous

Over on Livejournal, Madeline has posted a really long discussion on specific things to do to better include women in gaming, in which she draws parallels between a study of gender inequality in British physics departments and the world of gaming. There’s lots of good stuff in there, though I did get snagged here and there on some of the generalizations.

I also wished that she hadn’t chosen to use Story Games as her example of a board community, since I’ve found it to be a unique and odd place to which several of her suggestions can’t actually be applied (for example, most anything involving diversity among mods, since Andy is the one and only). I get that much of the recent commentary on inclusiveness got started because of a thread there, but I still don’t think it was the best choice for an example.

On the substance of the issue though, I agree with the overall goal of trying to make gaming more inclusive of women (and lots of other folks). It seems kind of obvious. At the same time, I can see why people might reflexively defend a community they’re a part of when it gets accused of not being welcoming enough, and there were unhelpful comments on both sides of the debate in various parts of the internets. Let’s hope that the reasonable people can have a discussion that actually gets us somewhere.

And no, I hadn’t really intended to end up with what is in large part a “me too” post, but I decided I didn’t want to get involved in debating certain people either.

April 23, 2006: 10:04 pm: Miscellaneous

Indie Press Revolution is having a May Day sale, which means 20% off everything from April 23 until May 6!

: 9:51 pm: Game systems

In a thread over on Story Games about what books people would like to see as RPGs, there’s this most excellent post by Brendan Adkins:

“Any Kelly Link short story. Any one at all.”

Dude, I wish, but…

GM: You’re in a house filled with your wife. All the your wifes were green, and they are making more your wifes from a kind of moss in the basement.
Player 1: I want to have sex with them.
GM: Okay. Later they make you a smoothie out of some of the your wifes. Also, the Devil is there, and you’re going back in time.
Player 2: Am I made of dish soap?
GM: You can be, but the dish soap is haunted.
Player 1: I’m going to turn into a detective and go searching for my mother.
GM: You were your mother.
Player 2: I’m rolling for pajama bottoms. (rolls) Sailboats!


April 21, 2006: 10:19 pm: Cons, Game systems

In addition to running a session of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach at The Black Road, I’m also going to need to run a second game. Right now, I’m thinking that game is going to be a swashbuckling adventure involving pirates and zeppelins, but I have yet to settle on which system to use to run it. Since it’s going to be at TBR, I’d prefer a system that’s either diceless or indie.

Any suggestions?

The most important thing to me is that it encourages a swashbucking style of play, and I’ve had one recommendation of Evil Hat’s upcoming Spirit of the Century. It’s a good suggestion, but since that’s not actually out yet, I’m looking for other ideas.

April 15, 2006: 10:24 am: Cons

Reading about the fun had the Forge Midwest gather makes me want to hold one somewhere in the northeast. I’m hardly a Forge stalwart though, and I don’t want to dilute the appeal of the whole thing by contributing to there being too many such events. On the other hand, it would be nice to have one up this way, and somewhere with strict anti-smoking laws….

April 9, 2006: 8:55 pm: Game systems

Ben Lehman has posted an innovative idea he’s considering for the upcoming PDF of his game Polaris.

I’m contemplating PDF policy, and I’m curious to get a public reaction to this before I commit to anything. Here’s my thought, right now.

1) The PDF costs $15, regardless of whether or not you bought the book. I have enough retail sales that it’ll be basically impossible confirm if someone bought the book, anyway.

This is a fair chunk of change, but I’m okay with that, because see below.

2) If you have ever written an AP report or review of the game, you get the PDF for free.

3) If you buy a PDF and later write an AP report or review of the game you get your $15 back.

So, basically, the PDF is free if you actually use it.

This sounds like a pretty good plan to me, with Ben ending up with either $15 or some publicity for his game. Plus, some people might give Polaris a try in hopes that they’ll get their money back.

April 5, 2006: 9:18 pm: Cons

Even though I didn’t make it to Ambercon US this year, it looks like many of the people who did go had a pretty good time. Here are links to some of the ACUS 2006 con summaries that I’ve seen so far:

James: ACUS 2006- 4 Days of fun, gaming and sleep deprivation
Sean: ACUS
Ginger: ACUS 2006: Murder, mayhem, kidnappings, divorces, and lots of explosions
Arref: AmberconUS 2006 :: 4 Days in Castle Amber
Glen: Ambercon with more details
Paul: Acus 2006, Pictures and More

ETA: Kris: Ambercon 2006 report/quotes (player version)

March 30, 2006: 11:42 pm: Cons

This evening was the beginning of Ambercon US, and therefore it’s also the official start of the first ACUS I’ve missed since I started going in 2001.

It definitely seems weird not to be there, the same way it felt odd not to be starting the first leg of the long drive to Detroit yesterday, but I find myself wondering if I’m ever going to be going back. There are some very cool people that I’m going to miss seeing, and a couple of games that I wish I was there for, but I’m not sure it will be enough to motivate me to spend time and money on next year’s con rather than maybe going to my first Gencon. I guess this is why con organizers worry when regular attendees “take a year off.”

March 22, 2006: 10:47 pm: GMing

Joshua BishopRoby has an interesting piece up about how to deal with some of the problems that arise during an open-ended game:

For a lot of gamers, “roleplaying game” is synonymous with open-endedness, a developing experience that can go on and on indefinitely, accreting details and significance and personal resonance. While the open-ended nature of roleplaying games does have some distinct advantages, especially in terms of investment and immersion, those advantages come at a cost. Somebody has to keep the flywheel moving, and that is not always the easiest thing to accomplish.

There are some good insights and ideas in there, and it’s worth reading if you’re running (or planning to run) a long-term campaign.