Before I jump into this week’s post, I have a scheduling announcement: There will be no post next week. I’m president of Pikes Peak Writers, and our annual conference is next week. This means Monday/Tuesday will be focused on the Day Job and getting my personal stuff together for the big event. Wednesday is our prep day for the conference, and Thursday-Sunday is the conference itself. I don’t plan on doing much in the way of blog reading during these times. I will do my best to not click “Mark All As Read,” but no promises at this point. This means the SSS post for April 23rd may be super-sized. I just don’t know yet.
Speaking of super-sized! I have a ton of links for this week. It’s more than my usual count, but there have been some fantastic posts hit the RSS feeds this week. Great work everyone!
Time to jump into those links!
Peter’s post about dungeons and towns being the mirror image of one another as far as results and narrative goes is absolutely brilliant. I’ve never really thought about this concept before now. He’s totally right! In town, the PCs drive toward results and the GM narrates out with the player the results. However, things are flipped for dungeons. This article really opened up new perspectives for me in gaming. Thanks, Peter!
This is an excellent post from Darcy, but the part that hit me the hardest was the “whirlwind demos” section of the article. I’d really never considered the “skip a rock” technique (see the post for more details on that concept) when it comes to demoing a game or teaching a world or running a quick game for folks that may or may not be immersed into the game like I am. Go check out the link for more details.
I’ll admit that for “throw away” NPCs (shop clerks and such) I don’t go too in depth in their motivations and desires. There’s so much to do as a GM and so little time to do it in. However, for recurring NPCs, I put in some more effort. Not too much, unless they are a key NPCs. Mike’s approach here at adding some depth to even the “throw away” NPCs is right up my alley. This is something I’ll have to put into practice and see if it increases the immersion in my games for the player while not costing me too many precious minutes of prep time.
Another admission: This map confused the hell out of me! Then I spotted the side-view illustration in the upper-right corner. The main “eye draw” for this art (maps are art, dammit!) were the top-down view of the main levels of the floor plan. The arrows guided me to where things link to, but I still had issues…. Once I puzzled it out after seeing the illustration in the top-right corner, it all clicked. Then I fell in love with yet another of Dyson’s maps!
Another post about demoing a game and immersion and skipping that rock across the pond. However, Walt has a different take and some extra details of his own on how to throw together a proper demo for a game or world or setting. There is one thing I think Walt may have left out, though. He talked about events within the mini-story highlighting “unique or interesting rules in the setting”. I love this idea, but I would also like to add that there needs to be at least one event or challenge that highlights unique or interesting abilities of the characters. This will allow the players to do “something cool” with their characters, and this will create a deeper level of attachment to the game and world. Other than this one small thing, I think these are words of deep wisdom from a great writer.
This is a very cool idea. I’ve used pre-rolled lists of numbers to compare against skills in secret before, but that’s so cumbersome. I like the idea of using a static die roll (even one less than average) for a passive ability check. Of course, I’d break out of the passive roll when a player declares their character is going to slow the march to inspect a copse of trees or a hollow in the ground or a particular wall or some such. This is just for the “regular routine” type checks when no one is focused on anything. Now to play with some numbers and see if I can adopt this for my Pathfinder game. My gut tells me that the PCs perception check plus a “passive roll” of 8 or 9 would be best. Something for my analytical brain to chew upon.
We’ve all had those cool plot hooks leap into our brains during mental downtime. That’s just how our human brains work. It doesn’t matter if you’re driving, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, taking a shower, doing the dishes, or some other mundane task. When the body is engaged and the mind isn’t, cool things happen. Now… you have this plot hook. Probably lots of them. What do you do next? Well… you click on the link above and read Mike’s insightful article on next steps. Then…. you apply them to that plot hook! (PS: This is also a pretty good approach at outlining novels, if you’re into that sort of thing.)
This is brilliant! What a great perspective on two sides of the same events. This should be required reading for all fiction writers, many GMs, and some players. Seeing the dual perspectives is wonderful. Thanks for the post, Ameron!
Kick in the door! Kill the orcs! Loot the corpses! Yeah… That’s pretty typical. What happens when the players need the orcs alive, but still need to get something from the orcs? Stuff like information, guides, guards, etc.? Well, then it’s time to negotiate. Having the right skills, advantages, traits, etc. in GURPS is vital for this type of interaction. Peter has a good breakdown of how to go about putting these things together.