December 13, 2004: 8:45 pm: Cons, GMing

I am now officially registered for ACUS 2005, which means I should probably be giving serious thought to submitting games too. Right now I’m planning on running Nine Losers in Akron, the Kill Puppies for Satan game I ran at TBR earlier this year, and I’ve been threatened with all female players this time. We’ll see how it works out. I may also be co-running a new game with Jenn, if we can get the idea we’re talking about to coalesce into an actual game.

May 23, 2004: 4:12 pm: GMing

Over on The Forge, Ron Edwards posted some good ideas about how the Amber DRPG can be drifted to make it more Narrativist. In my opinion, they’d also make many Amber games just plain better.

[via In the Shadow of Greatness, as I’ve fallen behind on keeping up with Forge threads]

: 2:55 pm: GMing

Over on The Masters Council, I started a thread last weekend about one-on-one gaming:

I was wondering what sorts of experiences people here have had with one-on-one gaming, by which I mean one GM and one player. It’s been something I’ve been giving some thought to, due to a lack of local games, and I wanted to get some idea of what I might be getting myself into.

What sorts of challenges does it present for the GM (and the player)? What are the benefits? Are there any game systems or settings that tend to work especially well (or especially poorly) with the one-on-one format?

There have been some good responses so far, but I’d certainly welcome more (either on MC or in comments here).

February 29, 2004: 2:31 pm: GMing, Playing

There’s an excellent post over on Doyce Testerman’s Random Encounters where he talks about the idea of running an Amber campaign using the rules from Trollbabe, a game by Ron Edwards (of Sorcerer and The Forge fame).

It’s my personal opinion that one of the main reasons that the players who play Amber do so because they desire more control over the story — by playing in the Amber setting, you have a tremendous amount of say over what’s happening to your character and the world around them — it’s that kind of setting. (Maybe not that kind of game (vanilla ADRPG), but that kind of setting.)

Trollbabe gives the player more of that kind of control through a built-in mechanic that lets the player have a HUGE amount of influence over the story.

Let me repeat that: not just over the character; over the story.

It’s a really interesting idea. I can definitely see the value in using Amber as the setting for a more Narrativist sort of game, and I agree with Doyce’s point, repeated in one of the comments attached to the main post, that some people who enjoy Amber and the ADRPG might find a more Narrativist style of play very much to their liking.

You can count me among those who find a lot more to like in Roger Zelazny’s Amber than I do in the ADRPG system, though I’ll admit a certain fondness for the game that first introduced me to diceless roleplaying (and for many of the people I’ve met because of that game). If there’s another take on Amber that can help move things out of the rut it sometimes falls into, I’m all for it, though I’m not actually sure that Trollbabe (or some other Narrativist-oriented system) is the way to go. It does sound like something worth trying though, even if it doesn’t end up being everyone’s cup of tea.

[via a post to 20×20 Room]

December 26, 2003: 1:53 pm: GMing

Jim Henley has an interesting post over at The 20′ By 20′ Room where he talks about one of the most difficult things to get right in an ADRPG campaign, time flow.

October 7, 2003: 8:21 pm: Cons, GMing

Well, it seems the conversation I mentioned here has spawned both a lot of comments attached to JP’s original post and a new thread of comments over on Arref’s in the Shadow of Greatness. Most of these are focused on Sol’s suggestion of creating a version of Amber with a shared backstory for use in Ambercon games.

I think the basic idea is certainly an appealing one, as it would solve the problem of players often needing to play cardboard cutouts of PCs in a shared world they aren’t a part of, while at the same time avoiding the pitfalls of campaign games. It would also lead to players being able to play the same character in different con games run by different GMs, and still maintain the web of relationships that makes the character come alive.

I do have some questions about how all of this would end up working in practice though. Obviously there would need to be coordination between several GMs during the creation of the world, and then some mechanism for deciding how to keep the plots of the various games from running afoul of one another. It would likely also require some GMs who are used to cutting things close getting their game ideas fleshed out further in advance of the con.

Overall the idea has a lot of appeal, if you can get a group of GMs to operate as an ad-hoc (a term from Cory Doctorow’s Down and Out in the Magic Kingdom) and get it all done. I’d probably be willing to chip in myself, even with my limited Ambercon GMing experience, but don’t think I’m going to be the one who motivates the whole thing into existence.

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