Friday, November 21, 2014

Thanksgiving Vacation

Starting today I am on vacation and there will be no updates to the blog until after Thanksgiving. Sorry about that! Do share your holiday plans below. Is anyone going somewhere fun? Anyone planning to get a game in? I still am not sure where I'll be this Thanksgiving, but somewhere. Have a good time. We'll be back on Monday, December 1st.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Signature Weapons

One of the things I'm always on the lookout for is a way for a character's weapon to be as much a part of their character as anything else. If I can, I want the weapon to be its own characters. Some worlds embrace this - L5R for one is pretty good about it - while other worlds don't.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Inspiration Point: The Rocketeer and Pulp Style Adventure.

Netflix added the Rocketeer to their queue recently. I can't sit here and tell you that it is a good movie, but I can tell you that it is a fun movie, and one that I like. It has always had a special place in my heart, and probably because the first time I saw it I was pretty young.

In watching the Rocketeer this weekend though, I had an idea for a game that I think could be fun.

We set the game in the 1930s. Hitler has taken power in Germany, but World War II has yet to begin in earnest. The PCs are members of a secret organization - an Intelligence network we'll say - but in true pulp fashion are all something else as well. Actors, pilots, professors, scientists - all of whom are adventurers as well - are the kind of people I'm thinking of. People who can, do, and would travel the world for various reasons.

From there, it is just a matter of saving the world. Conflict is escalating. Both sides are looking for super weapons. It is a time for secret agents, globe hopping, and perhaps even magic to return to things. You have rocketmen who fly as if they themselves were a plane, large blimps, and scores of people trying to uncover the lost artifact of this deity or that.

Throughout it all you have the kind of action shots that make pulp adventure so gran. The driving shootouts, the fights in lounge clubs and casinos, the aerial maneuvering, boxing atop planes, devastating right hooks.

We can throw in a little Captain America and Hydra for a less country-specific enemy, and really have fun with it. The only question is, what system? Adventure! seems a good fit, and Fate is always fun. What else is out there for Pulp fun though?

Friday, November 14, 2014

Discussion: Character Death

It occurred to me today that it has been a very long time since I've had a PC die on me. In fact, in the past six years of table top gaming I can only think of having to make a new character mid-game once, and that was in a Dresden Files game when my Changeling couldn't be a PC anymore because they chose to become true fae.

I'm not adverse to PC death. I accept it can happen. So far though the dice have been kind, and that is awesome. Still, I figure it is only a matter of time before it happens again, and likely will strike at whichever character I have that I love most - likely as universe spite for this very post.

My question, or prompt for today is this: who was the last character you played that died in game? How did they die? Why were they in that situation? What did you bring in to replace them, if you even did bring in a new character?

Share the stories of your favorite character's last moments.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Humanizing The Enemy: How and When

One of the marks of a more sophisticated narrative is one where there is no clear bad guy. Sure, there might be a person we hate, or want to fail, but in general that is a matter of perspective. We see things from the protagonist's point of view, and  people tend to see themselves as the good guy. Very rare is the person who makes the choice to be evil, or that when presented with a choice opts for the path they think is not the right one to take.

However, when it comes to RPGs sometimes this sophistication is something we actually don't want. Why? Because when you humanize the opponent and make it hard to spot a clear bad guy, you bring up all sorts of philosophical questions that people sometimes don't want to deal with at the gaming table. As fun as it can be to show that a goblin hunter cares for and loves his goblin dog, do you really want to spend every Friday night with your D&D group feeling like shit because you killed the guys dog during a combat encounter?

The question then becomes not only how do we humanize the enemy, but when do we want to do so. I'm hoping to answer that question for you today.

Monday, November 10, 2014

The Trick To Epic Fantasy

Epic Fantasy is a big part of role playing games, and of the Science Fiction and Fantasy works that inspire them. It doesn't matter if you're talking about the grim-dark far future of Warhammer 40k, the classic high fantasy of Tolkien and Middle Earth, or a fusion of both dark and the fantastical like we see in George R.R. Martin's Song of Fire and Ice. Worlds and stories that fit the Epic Fantasy title are all around us. So how do you bring that feeling to the table?

Friday, November 7, 2014

How a GM should Cheat

John Wick's two rulesof GMing are: There are no rules. Cheat anyway.

Now you may like or dislike John Wick as a person, but the man does know how to GM games and his rules are solid...provided you are trying to play a more narrative focused game. However, those rules don't work without some context. What that context is changes for everyone depending on the intricacies and nuances of their games, but there are factors that inform it. Today, I want to talk about that.