Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Further Experiences With Roll 20

As regular readers of the blog already know I'm running a Force and Destiny game via Roll20 with some friends. The game has recently expanded from 3 players to 5, and with three sessions under me I have a bit more than first impressions to go by. I wanted to talk quickly about that today so folks can see some of the pros and cons I've come across while using the medium.

Better Focus
One of the things I am really liking is that Roll20 seems to help players focus on the game. I'm not sure if it is the fact that everyone is on their computer and there are visual elements to the game, or if it is the lack of being in a room with other people that cuts down distractions, but it feels like we get more done in the three hours I run Force and Destiny than the four hours that most of the in person games I am in run. Obviously mileage varies from session to session, but in general I'm very pleased with the amount of "on topic" that I am getting not only out of my players, but out of myself as well.

Life Is More Prone To Interrupt
On the other side of things, life is better able to interrupt it seems. Whether it's neighbors stopping by to see a newborn, a small personal emergency, or just someone wanting to stop in and say hi life is better able to find people when they're scattered at their respective homes than if they're gathered as a group in one place.

Loss of Social Cues
For one of my new players this is also their first Roll20 game. For them they were intrigued by the fact that they can't read the player's social cues. In person we have body language to go with. Online with voice chat you have tone and word choice and that's it. The change in dynamic is interesting to say the least.

More Later
Unfortunately, that is all I have time for right now. I continue to be intrigued by roll20 and think this experiment is by and large a successful one. If you haven't already you should give it a try. It has a lot to offer, and I'm becoming quite the fan.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Real World Interruptions

Last week I missed our regularly scheduled posts due to the real world. This is something that happens from time to time with games - and blogs apparently - that not everyone always knows how to deal with that, so I figured I'd make a post and folks could comment with their own strategies.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Off Week

I apologize as I seem to be doing this a lot lately, but my plate this week is suddenly very full with personal stuff. We will resume regular posts on Monday, though I'm hoping to have some content up tomorrow or Friday.

I'm sorry again.

Monday, September 22, 2014

PCs With Rank Over Other PCs

In a lot of types of games you can end up with a PC having rank over another PC. In L5R this could be because someone bought status. In a military game it's almost par for the course. The same happens with many "ship" based games, whether on sea or in space, because someone has to be the captain and often times that person should be a PC for interests of agency if nothing else.

However, this is still something to handle delicately, especially when you have new players joining the game or a player who bristles at another player being able to order his character around.

Yes, that's right, some players -surprise surprise- don't like it when another PC has authority over their character. The reasons for this are many fold. Sometimes the person just wants a say. Sometimes they don't like the leader character, or the tactical abilities of the player themselves. Sometimes they just don't want to play second fiddle to another player's character and dislike the fact that they're expected to jump when the captain PC says to.

Because of this it is important to be clear about expectations with the players, and between the players. Let them know what is and isn't acceptable. For example, in a 40k game it should probably be known that mild insubordination could be met with subject execution. In an L5R game it should be known that insubordination of any kind will result in honor loss, and that insubordination in combat could result in the expectation of suicide or other greater social consequences. If you do not want these things happening, then that should also be known because I guarantee you the guy playing the captain in the 40k game - if they're a 40k fan at all - is going to think that that is a perfectly reasonable response.

As a PC captain you'll likely have an easier time not being a totalitarian leader. If your group leaves you to make decisions then that is one thing, but if they want to be heard listen to them when you can. Combat situations and foot down moments will come and you will need to be ready, but letting people be involved will make everything go smoother.

In the end, remember that it is a game and one that you are meant to have fun playing, but everyone is supposed to have fun.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Building A World - Small Hiatus

Just a heads up, I'm putting the building a world on a small hiatus. I want to take some time to get the map done better and for the islands. We'll come back then and get going on doing some kingdoms with the terrain and such already set. Thanks to everyone who has participated thus far, and hopefully you'll come back for the return.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Building A World - We Need Rivers

Just a small update for today. With one vote I started adding some details to the super continent, but I suck at this part of mapping (I suck at mapping in general actually :P ) and figured that for today I'd show what we have so far, and ask for where we should have rivers, if any, on the super continent. Perhaps even some small lakes or other water sources?

Then, Saturday, we'll get in to starting the first Kingdoms. So here we go:

So where to river on the main continent?

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Building A World - Part 3 - Details of the Land Mass

I apologize for the lack of visual aids for this. I tried, but had some issues with the scanner to picture thing that I'll hopefully have worked out for the update to come on Thursday. Today is mostly a recap of what we have so far, but there are some questions to go forward with. On Thursday we're going to actually come into some of the civilization and country lines, so definitely hopefully we'll have some form of visual map.