Archive for December, 2003

December 26, 2003: 2:06 pm: Cons

This week Jenn submitted a game we intend to run at ACUS 2004.

If You Can’t Take the Heat…

Players: 6-8
GMs: Jennifer Jackson and Michael Curry

Famous chefs and food personalities have been collected from Shadow Earth and brought to Amber by Florimel. They’re here to participate in a cooking competition that will decide who will take the head position in the kitchens of Amber. Of course, they’re used to the intense rivalry of the culinary world, but, given the often devious nature of those who call Amber Castle home, they may be forced to rely on more than just their gastronomic skills to succeed.

Players will choose from among well-known cooking celebrities such as Julia Child, Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa), Alton Brown, or one of the Iron Chefs, and the GMs are open to suggestions. Characters will be operated on a minimum of mechanics. No actual cooking skills required.

We’re planning on the game taking place during slot 6 (as that was the slot we both had open after campaigns and such were scheduled), so hopefully that’ll work out.

Right now it looks like the listing in the ACUS game book will have us asking for 0-point Amber characters, but that’s only because it was the closest choice among those offered on the form. Actually we’re going to play minimal attention to stats for the PCs, who are all simply normal humans. Even people like Iron Chef Chinese Chen Kenichi should avoid getting into knife fights with Amberites! *grin*

: 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.

December 21, 2003: 9:07 pm: Miscellaneous

I’ve added a “Recent Comments” section to the sidebar, which lists the last five comments that have been made.

: 8:16 pm: Game WISH

WISH 77: Contributions and Influence

What do you think the value of contributions to a game is? Do you think it’s fair for the GM to give out experience or character points for contributions? If so, what qualifies? What about the informal value of contributions? Do they balance or unbalance a game?

For the most part, I’m against the idea of giving extra experience or character points to a player because of a contribution. I think the informal value of most contributions in shaping the world and getting the player more involved in it should constitute reward enough. If a player feels inspired to do a contribution of some kind, then they should do it, and hopefully it’ll help improve the game for both the players and the GM. It shouldn’t serve as a method for advancing a character’s power (in terms of stats and the like) beyond that of the other characters in the game. It’s then that contributions can become unbalancing. As Ginger pointed out in her answer, the more informal benefits of doing a contribution are the sorts of things an engaged player will get anyway, so those are less of a threat to game balance.

December 15, 2003: 9:17 pm: Game WISH

WISH 76: Player Role

A lot is made of the role of the GM in a game, but what is the role of the player?

The role of a player can vary, I think, depending on the needs of the game (and the game system), but most of the time it is to collaborate with the GM and fellow players in the creation of a story that most of them will find worth telling most of the time.

Obviously there are players out there who think that they only need to make themselves happy, whether the GM and the rest of the players like it or not, but that’s more a matter of the selfishness of a particular player than any true reflection of the roles players should play in a game.

I do think though that the most important thing to remember is that the role of the players will vary from group to group, and, as long as it keeps most (if not all) of the people in the group happy, there’s no wrong way to do it. No one solution is going to work for everyone.

December 6, 2003: 9:10 pm: Game WISH

WISH 75: Religion and Controversy

A lot of neogamers I play with are uncomfortable with taking real religions and putting them into play. With all the “Satanist” backlash against D&D that there’s been, do you feel comfortable having any religion in your games? Do you scrub it of anything controversial?

Does the “Satanist” backlash even really still apply in any meaningful way, or has it faded so far from mainstream thought (sites like this and this sure aren’t mainstream) that it doesn’t even matter to most gamers anymore?

Anyway, the subject of including real religions in a game is, of course, a delicate one. I think the important thing is to know your gaming group, and be aware of when you might risk offending someone. It would almost seem to go without saying that you should avoid any of the obvious religious stereotypes when portraying a PC/NPC, since that’s just lazy roleplaying even if no one in the group is personally offended. Beyond that it becomes trickier, and there aren’t any hard and fast rules to follow. It would seem a shame to just skip the subject entirely though, as it can certainly add another dimension to either a character or a campaign.

December 1, 2003: 9:45 pm: Cons

Well, registration for ACUS 2004 is now open, so I went ahead and registered. Now I guess Jenn and I need to get the description finished for the game we’re hoping to run….

: 9:14 pm: Game WISH

WISH 74: Supplements You’d Like to See

Name three or more supplements (or core books, for that matter) for existing game systems that you’d like to see. Why? What inspires your interest in these supplement? What existing supplements or materials are you using instead?

I’ll start off here by saying that, as a rule, I don’t like supplements. Or maybe it’d be safer to say that I don’t like supplements when they come in overwhelming numbers. Or when, rather than just having a specific focus, each of them also tosses in a few extra skills (or abilities or classes or whatever) that probably should have been in the main rulebook. I shouldn’t have to buy five or six supplements to have access to a comprehensive list of skills.

Having said that, here are a few supplements I wouldn’t mind buying if they came out:

Amber DRPG Shadow Sorceries

A collection of different sorcery systems/traditions for use with the ADRPG, all of which have been tweaked to be able to work together with some degree of harmony. The sorcery offered in the ADRPG rulebook manages to be both dull and annoying, but trying to come up with an alternative that can still work within the Amber setting can be a pain, especially if different players want to use different systems.

There are probably other Amber supplements (Rebma? Tir? Golden Circle? Chaos?) I’d like to see too, but Shadow Knight didn’t exactly give me a lot of confidence that they’d be done right.

Nobilis…. anything for Nobilis

Okay, I don’t actually own my own copy of the rulebook yet, and I already want to see supplements. This is either a very good or a very bad sign.

GURPS Night’s Dawn

Based on Peter F. Hamilton’s The Night’s Dawn Trilogy (which came out as six books here in the U.S.), which I think would make an excellent RPG setting.

New Crobuzon RPG

A game based on China Miéville’s setting for Perdido Street Station and The Scar. It’s an amazing and complex world, which I don’t think would do very well as a GURPS book (or a d20 one either).