Archive for November 25th, 2006

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!