That’s right. Ten links for this week. The RPG blogosphere exploded this week, and resulted in some fantastic posts. I had bookmarked a total of 20 links for inclusion in this post, but to save my sanity, I’m only going to present the 10 that really snagged my attention and kept it there for a while.
Here they are!
This tongue-in-cheek post from Callin caught me off guard, but upon a second read it had me rolling with laughter. If you look past the humor, you’ll see the point. What I took away from this post is that dungeon/adventure designers and GMs should focus on providing what the players want. A GM should not pick up and run a module just because of the cool artwork on the cover, or the excellent maps. Instead, he should pick up an adventure (or, gasp, design one himself) that fits the flavor and style of his group.
I’ve run through many a “megadungeon” in the distant past and a few in recent memory. I remember the distant past ones being fun because if a character died, we found the player’s next character chained to a wall with his gear “nearby” and all was good. Of course we were 12-14 years old at the time. The recent memory ones suck quite a bit more. We were concerned with encumbrance, identifying objects, finding food/water, etc. Maybe a good dungeon crawl with disposable characters is more fun than the more modern approach that I’m taking. This post caused me to reevaluate what I want from a dungeon, and the answer really came down to, “Small, encapsulated crawls through muck and dirt, but close enough to a city that a short few days later, we have access to civilization.”
I remember Dream Park. It’s a top notch cyberpunk-ish book. I read the novel shortly before the RPG was released and snagged the RPG off the shelf of the FLGS when it came out. I was sorely disappointed by the RPG. The writing was well done and the mechanics were great. However, it was really really hard to get my players to delve deep into the game within a game. Perhaps it was just the wrong group and the game became too meta for them. I’m not sure. I checked my shelves, and I no longer have the novel nor the RPG. Somehow, I’m not too sad about this.
I used to prep, prep and do some more prep for every session, adventure or campaign. This included rehearsing the “gray box text” and such like that. I don’t do that anymore. I read the adventure, find out how nearby areas can possibly interact with one another depending on different PC stimuli and then wing the rest of it. However, when I was less experienced, that prep time really paid off. I’ve seen lots (maybe close to all of it, but my players still surprise me) and falling back on that experience allows me to go with the flow and produce a quality session and game.
What kind of plotting do you do for your adventure or campaign arcs? There are different approaches out there that will yield different results. I don’t think any one system or approach is superior to the others, so long as you get the desired result. This post goes into two methods of plotting, and I think the information on both of them is equally valuable.
Ah. Game Design. It’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart. I have a concept for a different blog that will include thought processes on game design as I went through it, but that’s a project for when I’m successfully self-employed and can set my own hours. This post covers quite a few topics in a very span of time. It’s a good jumping-off point for people thinking about doing their own game.
I’m a math geek. I’ll admit it. That’s why this post captured my attention so well. If you’ve ever wondered how the players will carry away that huge dragon horde using their carrying containers… check out this post!
This post poses quite a few great questions for the early players of (O)(A)D&D. How prevalent were TPKs? This seems to be a big topic in many of the game retrospectives of some of the OSR crowd. I also wonder how much this happened because it seems like it doesn’t happy very often (or maybe enough?) at all these days.
Running dry on some general ideas for hooks, flavor, world dressing or just need a good fun list to read. Check out this post?
I love this map. It’s not numbered, detailed or explained at all. However, the many different possibilities that open up from this simple one-floor structure flooded through my mind when I saw the map. I especially loved the little open-door alcoves/nooks/crannies/rooms that peppered the map. There are so many reasons or purposes that could exist behind this type of structure that it’s intriguing. Dyson has issued an invitation to “stock” the map. I just might do that with this one if time allows and someone else doesn’t do it first.