April 23, 2006: 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.

March 20, 2006: 9:41 pm: Game theory (or close enough), GMing

Starting with only Ron’s definition of Situation and material from The Cheap and Cheesy Adventure Generator, Vincent does a great step-by-step explanation of creating situation.

Dynamic interaction between specific characters and small-scale setting elements; Situations are divided into scenes. A component of Exploration, considered to be the “central node” linking Character and Setting, and which changes according to System. See also Kicker, Bang, and Challenge.
from Ron Edwards’ Provisional Glossary

There’s the definition, and here’s what we’ve got to work with:

* Locations: The secret central shrine of a temple to forgotten gods. (Magical)
* Characters: A hermit priestess, practicing obscure deprivations. (Wilderness)
* Threats: An order of magician-monks who punish blasphemers. (Magical)
* Threats: Field-vipers, wild dogs, loose bulls, and a variety of spiders. (Countryside)

How do you take these things and make a situation out of them? I’ll walk you through it.

It’s well worth a read, and, unlike some of the stuff Vincent posts, it’s immediately useful for people who aren’t especially into rpg theory or game design. Check it out.

: 9:28 pm: Miscellaneous

Clinton R. Nixon, co-founder of The Forge, game designer, and the guy who created FindPlay, now gives us The Cheap and Cheesy Adventure Generator!

March 19, 2006: 3:53 pm: Game systems

On Friday I received my shiny new copy of The Shab-al-Hiri Roach. It’s very shiny indeed, with a nice layout, art that’s exactly right for the game, cards that are quite well done, plus my very own roach. I need to give it all a thorough read, as I think the last set of rules that I saw was one of the early playtest versions, but I’m already looking forward to playing. Right now I’m planning a game for TBR, but maybe I’ll be able to get something together sooner.

If you still haven’t checked out the Roach, despite all of my gushing, you should download the preview PDF.

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