Archive for November, 2006

November 29, 2006: 8:13 pm: Miscellaneous

In case you hadn’t heard about the cool new kid on the forum block, check out Gamecraft. As founder Levi Kornelsen said:

This is a forum for discussion of tabletop roleplaying games. It is not, by design, a standard forum for general use; for that, visit RPGnet or theRPGsite or ENworld. GameCraft has a mission and a target: To become the best place to refine play from the ground up.

In other words, it’s about making play better, rather than being about game design.

November 25, 2006: 9:42 pm: Game systems

I bought a PDF copy of Don’t Rest Your Head a few weeks ago for cheap, when Fred announced a one day sale.

I still haven’t done more than skim it.


Especially when someone like Ken Hite says:

I should warn you that this game hits many, many of my PsychLims, as we say in Hero. It has the flavored dice pools of Bacchanal, the character-centered stories of Dread, and the terrifying gnosticism of Kult. And it plays like Call of Cthulhu on crystal meth. Does the “Sanity death spiral” get you down? Well then, stay far away from a game where just going to sleep opens you up to being devoured by nightmares. I’m talking about Fred Hicks’ concentrated blast of pepper spray to the eyes, Don’t Rest Your Head (82-page 6″x9″ softcover, $15). This is a game about the ragged edge of insanity and what you find there between sleep and death. The PCs are all insomniacs. They can’t sleep. (After Hours. Insomnia. Just sayin’.) But their insomnia gives them magic powers, and lets them see into the Mad City that exists all around the sleeping city they ostensibly live in. (Dark City.) Each player has to answer five questions about his character — those five answers drive the stories, like Sorcerer kickers. And Hicks gives real, solid, 24-hour-diner-breakfast advice on working those questions into the story. Just look at this genius stuff: The mechanic is a dice pool; add dice to Exhaustion, Discipline, or Madness. The GM’s dice are called Pain. One of those four will win. Your character will change. The struggle will go on. And you still can’t sleep. Or even rest your head. This game is really well done, no matter what your dreams are like. And if, like mine, they come from a rich diet of Grant Morrison and H.P. Lovecraft, then this game will tear open your skull and let the monsters in.

Sounds good, don’t it?

: 9:33 pm: Game theory (or close enough)

Over on Story Games, Andy starts a thread by quoting Mike Holmes:

I’m not saying we should stop making RPGs. Or even stop having design competitions and the like. But, “Hey, you there, with the cool actual play – make some rules around that!”… that’s where I think you’ve crossed a line from RPGs as an artifact meant to be played several times, and RPG as something created to be played once, by one group, ever.

I think that’s fine for people to create true “one shot” RPGs (that is played once, ever by one group). But I think that publishing them all could create a situation where to get the game you want to play, you’d have to pour through so many RPGs that finding the good ones might become nigh impossible.

There are a lot of interesting points bought up in the rest of the posts, ranging from some talk about the risks of glutting the indie RPG market to the idea that some people rush to publish games so that they can be seen as part of the in-crowd. Go and read it!

November 24, 2006: 8:54 pm: Cons

On Monday we opened up registration for The Black Road 2007 (June 29-July 1, 2007), and as of today we have 10 people registered. Not bad for a con that’s not taking place until next June, and one that’s small enough that ten is a significant portion of our usual numbers. I’m glad our mix of Amber-related and indie gaming is good enough to make people want to come back, though I’m hoping we’ll also be able to add some new people to the mix this year.

For me personally, TBR is likely to be the only Amber-related con I attend next year, as I’m not currently planning on going to ACUS, ACNW is the same weekend as World Fantasy Convention, and ACN is still dead.

November 13, 2006: 10:03 pm: Game systems

Apparently it was announced at Ambercon NorthWest a week and change ago that the rights to Amber roleplaying have been bought from Eric Wujick by Edwin Voskamp and Eric Todd.

Edwin later posted this to the Amber mailing list (which isn’t actually archived anywhere, so I can’t link to his post):

The reason why I pursued Erick Wujcik for the rights to Amber DRPG is not to ‘fix’ Amber, or for self aggrandization. I have had my most impressive, most satisfying roleplaying within the Amber DRPG community. I have also seen many GMs and Players leave the Amber DRPG community because it no longer excites them, because they feel they have seen everything.

Much of what Erick attempted to achieve with the Amber DRPG is obtuse, not made explicit. Much of what has been done by the community at large is not known everywhere. Much has been done since the book came out, 20-ish years ago.

Eric and I are looking to help rejuvenate the community, show what’s been done, what can be done, how people got from what was there then to coming up with something new. We are hoping to help retain GMs and players, bring in new ones, hopefully bring back some.

We are looking to do this in a way that involves the community, gets input, contribution from the community. Whether this list is the best way, Yahoo! Groups, forums, designer’s blogs, we have not determined.

We are looking to do this in a way, not by fixing the Amber DRPG, not by replacing it, but by taking its core, exposing design decisions, consequences, assumptions implicit in choices and by adding to it, to open up the game, in mechanics, setting and possibilities.

I have to admit that I’m a bit dubious about how this will end up working out, especially since it sounds like their plans for the second edition involve tweaking rather than an overhaul, and later comments seem to indicate that this isn’t yet a done deal anyway. Still, I wish them the best of luck with it, even if I don’t see myself actually buying a second edition of the ADRPG.