So my plans to develop a turbo-accelerated version of my accelerated character creation for Smallville have taken a back seat. After the last post, I had an opportunity to review the latest beta for Cortex Prime, and that’s where my heads at now. I might return to it, but at the moment it feels more rewarding to be seeing the future, than designing content for a game that went out of print four and a half years ago. Continue reading
Just a short update this time. I’ve not been blogging too regularly since the start of the year, but I’ve tasked myself with posting at least once a month – even if it ends up being literally the last day of month, like today. I think some discipline is good, to keep things going and justify continuing to pay for the site. Happily I’ve got enough of a back catalogue now that I’m still getting a fair amount of hits, and it’s gratifying to know there is content here people are still finding useful. Continue reading
I blame Will Hindmarch. It was his article for the Escapist, which I read over six years ago, that set me down this track. It started with a couple of sessions of experimentation, before it became the mantra I always live by. For every game in an RPG campaign I run – and every one-off game, where I can get away with it – I have a soundtrack that plays alongside the game. Continue reading
Back in my university days when I pretended I was going to be a screenwriter, I read some useful advice about getting your work reviewed and edited by someone else: when someone suggests that a part of your writing has a problem, they are usually right. When someone suggests a fix to that problem, they are usually wrong.
The other day I ran a one-off game of the Leverage RPG. It was… well, it wasn’t exactly terrible, but it was weirdly uneven, and my players were far from satisfied. We discussed the game afterwards, and the prevailing view of the players was that the game system had problems which had accounted for our mediocre experience, in spite of our determined efforts to have fun.
But I don’t think I agree that Leverage is a bad game. Continue reading
Fate is one of my all-time favourite RPG systems, but after a hundred or so games, there are plenty of things I’ve learned to dislike. Perhaps the thing I dislike about GM’ing it the most is how often you’re required to say “No” to players. There are so many calls to be made in Fate – stunt balance, compel penalties, the legitimacy of invoking an aspect – that the book gives a little guidance for, but mostly leaves for each gaming group to work out on their own. And whilst table consensus is usually the best way to make those calls, the players have a conflict of interest, because they always want their characters to be awesome. That pitches the GM into the position of naysayer, if any semblance of balance is to be preserved.
Antagonistic GM’ing isn’t my thing. I’d far rather manage storytelling collaboratively. So rather than shutting down players with a “No” over and over again, I’d far rather teach them how to get me to say “Yes” – to approach the distinct elements of Fate with the same mindset that I do. That way, everyone is on the same page, which makes telling a story together that much easier. Continue reading
I never want to play in a campaign as a party of “adventurers” ever again. Continue reading
I’ve not been blogging much recently. Partly that’s because I’ve been busy, but also it’s been due to a lack of inspiration. Ideas of what to blog about haven’t sprung to mind as readily.
Here’s the thing though – I’ve been thinking about RPGs A LOT. Even more so than usual. Besides my ongoing campaigns, my plans for future campaigns, keeping an eye on new releases, Kickstarters, the Origins awards, other people’s blogs etc… I’ve also been thinking about game systems of my own creation. And my friends have been helping me with them. Continue reading
Recently, esteemed developer John Wick sparked debate over the subject of “game balance” in RPGs, arguing:
In a roleplaying game, game balance does not matter. What matters is spotlight. Making sure each player feels their character had a significant role in the story.
There’s a lot in the broader piece that I agree with, and a lot that I disagree with. Before reading any further, go read Wick’s post over at his blog, otherwise the rest of this post won’t make sense. Continue reading