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Playing the Powerless

Tweet A few months ago on the show, we had a guest host, Sean, who used some very concise language to distinguish Call of Cthulhu from most other RPGs. Most games, he said are “Empowerment Fantasies,” while Call of Cthulhu is a “Dis-empowerment Fantasy.” It got me thinking about the ‘why’ of dis-empowerment games. Why does someone want to play a game where they are overwhelmed? Why does someone want to portray what will inevitably be the losing side? I Wanna Be Awesome The answer is not the inverse of an empowerment game. Most of us, we can reason, don’t get to go out and do whatever we want, find adventure and slay evildoers. We have responsibilities, limits (be they self-imposed or not). We play empowerment games to get a chance to do what we normally … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design, Alternate Views

DnDNext: Is this REALLY how you should design a game?

Tweet The next iteration of DnD is coming to open play test soon. Mike Mearls and Jeremy Crawford held a chat Q&A earlier today. I put a transcript on our forum. It’s not making me excited about the product, which happens to be the gateway drug to one of my favorite hobbies. This is mostly because of the questions they chose to answer (or maybe it was the only questions they got). Some of them were typical procedural questions about the play test, what materials it will include, what’s changed since the demos over the past few months, etc. The rest of the questions pretty much had to do with combat. It was either, “what cool stuff are you including for the class I like to play?” or “are you getting rid of this … Read entire article »

Filed under: General Gaming

System Agnostic Writing

Tweet When writing down the first draft of your custom adventure, I suggest ignoring all gameplay mechanics. Don’t draw maps, don’t think on how many perception rolls should be allowed, don’t even build monsters. Just concentrate on getting the story down on paper. I know this isn’t a novel concept. People have been doing it for years. I haven’t. Sometimes I’m dumb that way. The problem I’ve always run into, the roadblock I keep putting in front of myself, is the idea that I must finish each part of the story as I go along. If I was writing a Call of Cthulhu scenario, I didn’t just write about the creepy folks running the feed store in some backwater town. I also had to include every spot hidden, lock picking, or psychology roll … Read entire article »

Filed under: Misc