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Reactive Prep: Is Less More?

Tweet I received some feedback from the last L5R session that I’d like to share. The player said, “I feel like the actions we take have a direct effect on the story.” And they do. The basic premise of the story as it’s developed is this: the younger brother of a minor Daimyo, (Japanese feudal lord) finds himself lord of an unexpectedly wealthy holding. As his domain grows, he relies on three samurai (the party) who are his only blood relations. My prep for this game consists of answering two questions: How will last week’s events affect the story/setting? How can I complicate the story this week?   Clearly, I can’t answer the first question until the previous session is over, and the second question often requires the context of what the party will do in the next … Read entire article »

Filed under: Adventure Design

To Be or I AM – the role within role-playing

Tweet It may be because I singularly promote RPGs as a way to make friends that longtime role-players often asked me: How does playing a role-playing game aid in making friends more than in any other activity? The simple answer is within the specific capability of RPGs to recruit and reflect the player group within it. A role-playing game is a game without any set moves just one set goal: to survive. There is no finish line, no end game, and no control of the board to monopolize. There are only challenges to overcome and challenges for players to agree to undertake. RPGs are very free-form – something all the talk about system balance tends to conveniently overlook. The leader of the game, a neutral player who creates the challenges for the … Read entire article »

Filed under: Misc

Character Uniqueness in Various Systems

Tweet I sometimes wonder what my “perfect” RPG system would be. And most of the time, when I wonder this, I often assemble in my head a synthesis of several games I like and the things I like about them. This particular bout of wonder came up after a discussion about Savage Worlds and the lack of PC uniqueness, and I started assembling in my head the various ways games give us the ability to make unique player characters. Method One – Theater of the Mind This is what I call the Savage Worlds method. You can often end up with mechanically similar characters, and the way you differentiate these characters is with trappings. In essence, your description or narration provides uniqueness to the characters. This uniqueness, however, is a thin veneer. Ultimately, your … Read entire article »

Filed under: General Gaming, RPG Industry BS

Inspiration from Song

Tweet Continuing on from my last article, Ideas Are Everywhere, the other morning I was at work, headphones on, listening to a random playlist. Devildriver’s Pray for Villains came on. I’ve heard this song hundreds of time. I wasn’t even thinking about RPGs at the time, I was focusing on my job, but for some reason two lines jumped out and demanded attention: “Every sorrow has its source and your conscience isn’t free” “They pray for villains when their heroes let them down” For whatever reason, my brain started thinking those were some interesting concepts for a Fiasco game. I thought it about it for a few minutes and decided these lines could work pretty easily into character or story concepts for most RPGs with a little creativity. Let’s look at a an example … Read entire article »

Filed under: Misc

Why I Like Sex in RPGs

Tweet In a recent episode of the Happy Jacks RPG podcast (Season 09 Episode 08), the hosts discussed romance, seduction, and sex in roleplaying games. I was really looking forward to this discussion as I am a big proponent of including these elements in games. While I wasn’t exactly disappointed with the discussion that ensued (the hosts were funny as ever, and their inappropriate banter is a large part of why I like the show), I did feel that there was a lot more that could’ve be said. The hosts only scratched the surface of this topic, and I wish I could’ve been there to add my points to the discussion. However, as I don’t own a teleporter, and don’t live anywhere close to southern California, this article will have to … Read entire article »

Filed under: Advice, Alternate Views, General Gaming, Opinion