Monday, 24 August 2015

RPGaDay2015: Perfection?

23. Perfect game for you?

I'm not sure there's any such thing. There's always the perfect game right now, or the perfect game to tell a particular story. I am constantly reading and re-reading games, learning from them, and falling in love with the way a given game will pull off some particular thing.

For a while, Cinematic Unisystem was my go-to game for everything. I played it long enough that it started to feel a little creaky.

Fate is probably my current go-to game for just about everything, because there are many different variants and tools that can be applied to a lot of different story requirements. It's a powerful toolkit that has a core philosophy (the rules apply to managing the things that are important in the fiction) that I'm in total agreement with. Fate Accelerated is my favourite version of the rules, because it's so sleek and streamlined, and ATOMIC ROBO is just all kinds of awesome. One day I'll get to run that Buckaroo Banzai adventure for AR I've been planning.

24. Favourite house rule?

Hmm, I tend not to use a lot of these, but I will share a couple that I use with regularity.

Since I tend to run systems that allow a fair amount of narrative freedom to players, so that they can describe what they do with a great deal of latitude, there are occasionally times when this can make you yearn for niche protection in a crunchier game. What I mean is that narrative control can mean you've got kind of an all-purpose fictional wrench that can fix any problem you apply it to. This is especially true of magic. This is why I came up with the Don't Be An Asshole rule.

Basically, what it means is, don't use anything-goes freedom to solve a problem that falls within another player character's area of special expertise. Locked door? Let the thief pick it, instead of using your Mighty Strength or spellcasting to open it. That's just good manners. Don't be an asshole.

The second house rule -- it's more of A Thing That I Do than a rule, strictly speaking -- applies particularly to Fate. As GM, I like to offer open-ended bribes of Fate points to player characters, without specifically making it a Compel of a particular Aspect. I'll get an idea for something that could be a delicious complication, wave around a Fate point and say something like "Hey Megan. How'd you like a shiny Fate point? How about if your character knows one of the prisoners being loaded on the ship... you can even say how you know him..." They don't have to buy me off, to make this transaction not happen - a No, Thanks is enough. But my players like it when their lives are difficult and challenging, so they usually say Yes Please.

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