Another week has come and gone, and I have more links for you! This has been a great week for the RPG blogosphere, so there are tons of links this week. Let’s get to ’em.
I can’t think of a single gamer I’ve played with in the past that likes rules lawyers. I’m not even sure the rules lawyers themselves like rules lawyers. When a cool thing happens in the game (regardless of how or why), it’s a complete buzz-kill to have the rules lawyer speak up, “… but on page X of book Y, rule Z says you shouldn’t be able to do that.” At this point, there are usually dice and curse words thrown in the direction of the rules lawyer. Brandon Sanderson has his Three Laws of Magic. On Writing Excuses, he recently announced Rule Zero, “If it’s cool, do it.” In other words, ignore the rules and allow plausible, cool actions to take place. We’re telling stories, after all.
Another post along the lines of the first one. If you destroy the story being told or the fun being had by being “technically correct” in rules reading/interpretation, does this mean you win the game? Nah. It means everyone else around you loses. Don’t do it.
For me, I tend to have a vague concept of the character, make choices (where possible) toward that concept, and the rest of the character becomes fleshed-out and mostly realized over the course of 2-3 sessions of game play. However, there are times when I hit a new campaign as a player without a clue as to what I want to play. That’s when I let the dice guide my choices or let my fellow players pick something for me to play. I’m up for running just about anything… so long as I get to game!
I’ve never liked the wording of “side quest.” Mainly because the word “quest” heavily implies a lengthy trek, many tasks to overcome, and lots of focus taken away from the main plot of the story being told. I’m more a fan of calling these things “plot twists” and allowing them to tweak the players in sensitive areas for a short term engagement (that may or may not affect the main plot line in some manner.) Do these semantics change things? Yeah. In a way. It allows me (and my players) to realize the side trip is something that will be brief. Just because it’s brief doesn’t mean it’ll be painless or meaningless, though.
Forged hits the nail on the head with this post. He’s right that the D&D legacy is thick in pretty much every RPG (and quite a few non-RPG things) these days. Does this mean we have to game today like Gygax and Arnreson did back in 1974? Nope. Things can change. Heck, things need to change over time to adjust for different (and sometimes more mature) outlooks on life.
Mike does a great job of dispensing advice on how to run (as PC and GM) various people/critters with a wide variety of intellects. Any attempt to properly sum up the post here would show a lack of intelligence on my part because Mike’s post puts everything out there for you. My favorite section has to be the GMing EHI NPCs. The sample dialogue elements are great exhibitions of how an EHI person might think/talk/act/react.
Mike takes the Christmas season to heart and gives us a great article on how to give other things to our players. It makes me want to give a trap as a gift to a player now… 🙂
Holy crap! This post by Martin is genius. Click through for photos of some great-looking and thought-provoking artwork. I may have to use this technique for the next campaign I start up. Excellent idea!
More great maps from Dyson. The broken bridge over the expansive chasm is especially evocative. Great work!
I love learning about new mythological creatures, beings, entities, things, etc.. Africa has a wealth of mythos that is greatly overlooked. Thanks for the post. I might see if I can slip a grootslang into my game in the somewhat near future.