Archive for February, 2004

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]

February 23, 2004: 7:50 pm: Miscellaneous

It started simply enough, with a review of the game Dead Inside that was posted over on 20×20 Room. After reading the review, and then the material over on the official Dead Inside page, I decided to head on over to RPGNow and buy myself a copy.

Eventually Dead Inside showed up in my mailbox (as I’d bought the POD version), and I liked what I saw. It was different from anything I’d seen in an RPG before, and I realized that there were probably other gems out there in the indie RPG world. This realization led me to head back to The Forge, a site I’d visited only briefly once before, and read some of the reviews posted there.

As a result, yesterday I ended up buying a PDF copy of kill puppies for satan, which seems to be a brilliant, dark, funny little game with a scary title, and now I’m thinking of buying Dust Devils, and maybe Le Mon Mouri or InSpectres too. It’s just so easy to drop $5 or $10 on the PDF of a game that sounds interesting, especially after seeing people praise it on some online forum.

Hopefully at some point in the future I’ll actually end up running or playing in one of these games myself, but for now I’m just enjoying exploring a part of the RPG hobby that I barely even knew existed.

February 22, 2004: 5:53 pm: Miscellaneous

Wil Wheaton is teaching his step-sons how to play D&D:

If everything goes according to plan, Ryan, Nolan and I will embark on a new and wonderful phase of our lives together this evening. We will grab some root beers, sit at our dining room table, and I will take them on their very first dungeon crawl.

We have spent the last week or so creating characters, discussing the rules, and building excitement for tonight’s adventure. I have been staying up an extra hour or two each night after the kids go to bed, pouring over websites and my core rule books, simulating combats and creating NPCs. I’m pretty nervous, because I’m DMing an adventure for the first time since The Isle of Dread in 6th grade. And back then, I managed to kill everyone in the party pretty quickly, and never got to sit behind the screen again.

He is, as you’ll see if you read his whole post, an exceedingly cool step-dad, and it’s good to see roleplaying portrayed as the sort of activity that can bring families together.

February 18, 2004: 8:47 pm: Game WISH

After skipping the last couple of WISHes, I thought I’d try to get back into them with this one:

WISH 84: Five Games

What five games would you love to run/play if you had a willing group and a weekly time slot?

1) Buffy — My experience with this one consists of a scenario I ran at last year’s TBR, and that was done diceless, but this is still a game I’d definitely like to run/play more.

2) Nobilis — I still don’t own a copy, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to play in (or even run) a game.

3) Unknown Armies — I haven’t picked this one up yet either, but the premise and the good buzz make me want to give it a try.

4) Godlike — I bought this a while ago, and it’s a great take on the whole supers in WWII idea.

5) Amber — I miss being in a regular Amber ftf game.

There are a few close runners-up, like My Life With Master, Call of Cthulhu, Feng Shui and maybe Dead Inside, but those are the top five. At least for today.

February 6, 2004: 10:32 pm: Miscellaneous

Promote your cool indie RPG with a quiz…..

Free Spirit
You are a Free Spirit, a twist of soul-power with
will and personality, neither alive nor dead.
You are prey for any Being who hungers for
essence. You work hard at your play to discover
just who you are. If you are able to improve
your nature enough, you can join the Source to
be born into to whatever new life awaits. You
can appear in almost any shape and size
throughout the Spirit World; Second Sight may
reveal your hidden talents and abilities. If
killed, you evaporate into nothingness.

What Type of DEAD INSIDE Being Are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

And there’s a review of the game (Dead Inside) here.

: 6:58 pm: Cons

I had meant to post these the other day (when I actually sent in the selections), but here are the games I’ve picked for this year’s ACUS:.

Slot 1: Nothing

Slot 2: Volunteering

Slot 3: Tall Tales of Pattern and Shadow

Slot 4: Ill Met in Amber [returning with Captain Wesley Hobart]

Slot 5: Love Like a Burning City [I played in the first one in 2002, so I hope to bring back Nicodemus]

Slot 6: GMing If You Can’t Take the Heat with Jennifer Jackson

Slot 7: Blaze of Glory: Laws of God and Man [returning with Amir bin Muhammad bin Ibrahim bin Nasir bin Safwan Al-Majiid (aka The Mad Arab)]

Slot 8: Nothing

Hopefully I’ll actually get into the non-campaign ones, but since I’m co-GMing (and volunteering), I expect I have a decent shot. I hope that week in March hurries up and gets here!