Thursday, 28 July 2016

Can Anything Fill the Portable Hole In Your Heart?

Here's a random idea I had the other day that I will probably never use, but maybe you can get some mileage out of it.

Not a big fan of dungeon adventures at this stage of my life. Why? Because dungeon adventures tend to spend a lot of time on the things I like least about the hobby. Long combats. Managing supplies. Traps. Players trying to make accurate maps. Players spending all their spells then calling the action to a halt until they get them back. Keeping track of arrows and how far you can see with torchlight and how much treasure you can carry and...

It's just exhausting. And it seldom has any emphasis on character development and drama, the things that I come back to the table week after week to enjoy and explore.

Monday, 25 July 2016

Spelunky and Roleplaying, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying And Always Get The Jetpack

Last week, after a year and a half and many thousands of games, I finally beat Spelunky.

Just in case you've never played it, Spelunky is a video game that combines old-school, brutally unforgiving platforming with modern procedurally-generated design. If you grew up in the 1980s, just imagine one of those old timey games where you jump on monsters and try not to fall in pits, except that this game never has the same exact level layout.

Yes. You are right to shudder.

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Pokemon Go Home (Part Two)

Just in case you didn't already read the first part, that was a rant about how loud, judgemental, and awful nerd culture has become lately. You don't need to read it to understand this bit, but there was some fairly awesome swearing in it, if you like that kind of thing, and a message I wish more people were willing to hear. TLDR: Other people are allowed to like things that aren't for you. Let them.

So, what can roleplaying gamers learn from the worldwide phenomenon that is Pokemon Go?

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

Pokemon Go Home (Part One)

I will say this for nerds: they're consistent. 

Every so often, something new will come along that will cause a real sensation. In the 90s, it was Magic cards and vampire LARPs. As soon as that New Thing finds its audience and they're enjoying it, the assholes crawl out of their caves and go to work. This New Thing sucks, is stupid, is lame, and anyone who enjoys it (god forbid someone enjoy something that is not approved by the overcouncil of the Nerd Orthodoxy) is sucky, stupid, and lame too. 

Wednesday, 6 July 2016

Bring the Thunder

A recent session at my table made me realize that a lot of players need to up their game, myself included. 

We talk a lot in roleplaying circles about having "proactive" players who drive play, helping to move us away from a more traditional model where the players were reacting to stimuli introduced by the GM, or worse, where the players were looking to the GM to provide the evening's entertainment while they passively follow along. 

At our table, play is focused on the player characters and what they decide to do, and often, what their interactions with each other look like. This is a fine model for dramatic play, and I often think of myself as GM as providing more of a "moving scrim" for those elements -- a colourful backdrop, but ultimately just set dressing for the really important moments. Sometimes I apply a little pressure here and there, creating situations where player character conflicts can be brought into sharp focus. Since players at our table often call for their own scenes, this is a responsibility that is shared by everyone who plays in our games.