Archive for May, 2004

May 25, 2004: 7:52 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Doyce has an excellent post up over on Random Encounters where he works through GNS theory in his own head, and shares his take on all of it. I think it’s a pretty worthwhile read, and may help some of those who feel like they don’t really “get” GNS (or who are just curious about it). I think it’s a better place for most people to start than Ron Edward’s extensive essays on the topic.

[via In the Shadow of Greatness]

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).

May 19, 2004: 8:16 pm: Miscellaneous

What style of GM are you?

Narrative GM: You like the sound of your own voice
and you talk, talk, talk. Your game is rife
with information – usually more than necessary.
Every detail is verbalized and you love

What style of GM are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

There were no good answers, as apparently there are no good styles of GMing, but I don’t think this one’s even the correct shade of bad for me.

[via many people on Livejournal]

May 17, 2004: 9:15 pm: Miscellaneous

As was mentioned here, there’s actually a mention of Flaming Monkey in KODT 91 (in the “Summon Web Scryer” article), along with such illustrious blogs as 20’x20’Room, Perverse Access Memory, and Wil Wheaton’s weblog.


Though there [fortunately] was not a URL for this blog listed in the article, it’s still prodding me to try and actually post more often (and with actual content). We’ll have to see if I can actually pull that off.

May 9, 2004: 11:16 pm: Cons

Now that the new gamebook is officially up, here are the games I’ll be running (or co-running) at TBR 2004.

If You Can’t Take the Heat
GMs: Michael Curry and Jennifer Jackson
Number of Players: 6-8
Game type: Crossover

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.

This went ridiculously well when we ran it at ACUS, so hopefully it’ll go well again.

Nine Losers in Akron
GM: Michael Curry
Number of Players: 4-8
Game type: Recast

f***. looks like one of the f***ers who hates dad finally decided to do something about it. granddad says he was down at the 7-11 last night buying his f***ing lameass porno mags, when he saw a couple of big guys dragging your dad into some beat-up panel van and driving off. a**holes. you could call the cops, but those f***ers don’t really like anybody in your loser family, so they probably won’t f***ing do anything. f***. looks like it’s up to you to get dad back.

[This is a kill puppies for satan ( game centering around a family made up of recast Amber Elders. Rules will be taught, but taking the time to check out the kpfs site before you sign up is strongly recommended. The game involves far too much foul language and plenty of things that are very wrong (like, you know, the puppy killing part), so consider yourself warned.]

Game uses the kill puppies for satan rules; rules will be taught; pregenerated characters will be provided

Yes, this really is just an excuse to run a Kill Puppies for Satan game at an Ambercon, but I think the Amber archetypes will translate over well, and hopefully a fun (if twisted) time will be had by all.

The Jewel of Zhong-Kui
GM: Michael Curry
Number of Players: 4-8
Game type: non-Amber

The day after the museum reception, a man dressed in monk’s robes appears at the door of Uncle’s Rare Finds. “The Jewel of Zhong Kui has been taken, and you must help me get it back….before it is too late!”


Players will take on the roles of Jackie, Uncle, Jade and the rest of the Jackie Chan Adventures gang, as they try to retrieve a stolen artifact and, as always, foil an evil plot. Some familiarity with the television series is highly recommended.

Pre-generated characters will be provided.

Planned as a fun, silly game, most likely using variants of the Feng Shui RPG templates (with the dice filed off) for the characters.

May 3, 2004: 10:36 pm: Game WISH

WISH 91: Appropriating From Fiction

How often do you appropriate bits from books, movies, comics, and other sources as a player or GM? Do you like to steal names or flavor or go more whole-hog? Is there a difference between stealing for background and stealing for in-game plot?

I may borrow specifically if the game is meant to be more humorous, while in more serious games I only use themes, attitudes and the like. I suppose this is because I see using such bits as somehow being disruptive to the flow or atmosphere of the game (assuming it’s a bit that isn’t from the same fictional universe), and that tends to be less of an issue in a game that’s supposed to be funny.

In any case, it’s something I do very rarely as a player in either sort of game. I find fiction to be a source of inspiration, but somehow it seems like a copout to simply steal things from another source and incorporate them into something that’s supposed to be my creation.

As a GM, I suppose it would come down to how well the fictional person or item fit in with the rest of the game, but I’d still be inclined not to do it (or to allow a player to do it). The exceptions would be those games where I’m purposely running in a borrowed setting (or a mashup of two or more settings).

: 9:04 pm: Game WISH

I’ve once again managed to fall behind on these, so I’m going to start working away at the backlog.

WISH 90: System Updates

What do you think about system updates (Paranoia XP, Amber 2.0, DnD 3.0/3.5) and conversions (d20 Silver Age Sentinels, GURPS Traveller)? What about world/setting updates that result in system reboots (the end of the Age of Darkness)? Do you buy them, run them, or use them for resources? Why or why not?

The answer, as with so many things, is that it depends. Normally I dislike buying the new version of a game, because it feels like I’m simply paying for the game twice. I only bought D&D 3.0 (and then 3.5) because I was going to be in a new campaign that used the newer rules, and I think what’s currently going on with White Wolf’s World of Darkness line is nonsense.

Having said that, I’m probably going to buy the new version of Amber DRPG when it’s eventually released by Guardians of Order, and may even buy the d20 version.

I suppose what it comes down to is how much I like the game, how much I think the new version will add to the game, and how much I mind giving a particular company my money.

: 8:52 pm: Miscellaneous

There’s now a Livejournal feed of Flaming Monkey, for those who prefer to read their weblogs via LiveJournal. My thanks to Jennifer for helping me get it set up!