Sporadic Saturday Sweetness: 2016-05-13 1

Sorry again for missing out on last week, but this is a double dose of greatness for this week. There are tons of links to go through for this post, I’ll just jump right into it!

In The Footsteps Of Footprints: how to document game events

Mike’s put together a great post outlining various methods of creating a “campaign log” or “adventure journal” of sorts. I used to do this (as player and GM), but I found it to be too tedious to do at the table, and too time-consuming to do after the game. I guess I’ve become more overloaded with Real Life that the time I need to create a log or journal just isn’t there anymore. I see a great value in them, but I’m no longer the guy to sit down and write/type everything up.

Forget It’s a Playtest

Having a group of people play your game can be better than people testing your game, but I still assert that the playtest group needs to keep in the back of their mind that they are going to be giving feedback on the game after the session is over with. They should at least jot down notes on the fun and not-fun parts. The critical piece of information, however, is not the fun/not-fun moments, but the why of the fun/not-fun moments. This will help the designer(s) amp up the fun and fix the not-fun areas.

Limits of Stericksburg’s “Safe” zone

Towns have almost always been the safe area to retreat to after a dungeon delve. This is usually a given in any fantasy-based game. (For sci-fi, it’ll be the spaceship or other PC-controlled area.) Shaking things up a bit and making towns a little less safe can really amp up the action and make things a little less controlled by the players. It’s a great chance to twist the story plot around some.

Mod It, Change It, Twist, Adapt It

I’ve tried to adopt a setting for Game A into the rules of Game B before with limited success. However, I think the main reason I failed is that I took it on all on my own. I didn’t involve the group or get their input. I was really hoping to surprise them with a “different take” on a classic setting. It didn’t go over well because of many different aspects of Game B mechanics that didn’t quite inter-operate well with assumptions about Game A’s setting. The approach here by Tracy (with the whole group involved) sounds like a much better way of going about things than what I did.

All Wounds Are Not Alike IV – Accelerated Healing

Delving deep into the realms of magical healing, Mike takes on a long-time point of contention that many people have with clerics (or playing the cleric) in the fantasy game. Most of the time, clerics are relegated to the role of “heal bot” that just keeps the fighters alive long enough for the fighter to do his job of killing the Bad Guy. Not much fun for the cleric, to be honest. There are plenty of alternatives to the cleric casting another healing spell, and Mike talks at length about many options. Check them out. Play with some of them. Take them into consideration. However, think deeply about the far-reaching affects of each change to the system. Many of these changes Mike talk about can drastically change the nature of the game play.

Gaming Groups – Keep or Build

I have to admit that I’m a huge fan of static groups. I love the regularity of gaming with people I enjoy spending time around. I love knowing the dates (usually well ahead of time) of when we’ll be getting together, and I like knowing that we’ll be gaming instead of watching TV or some-such. However, I still need the game-oriented (or dynamic) groups from time-to-time to challenge me to think outside my well-constructed box, play a new game, meet some new people, and generally have a blast with a one-shot or short campaign.

Playtesting – what do you look for?

Another link about playtesting! As a tangent, I just sent my first novel out to beta readers, so I can get their feedback (and do edits) before sending it to my publisher when they ask for it. I gave clear (I hope) instructions to the beta readers on what I’m looking for in the way of feedback. Without this guidance, I have no idea what level or quality of feedback I’ll receive. The same thing goes with playtesting. Designers have to give direction to the players on what kind of feedback they’re looking for. This direction can even change and morph as the game becomes more mature and closer to a publication or release date.

The Tomb of Eight
Exploring the Tomb of Eight in 3D

Two links for one map! The first link is to the wonderful Tomb of Eight map by Dyson. The second link is a great video of someone creating a walk-through of the map on YouTube. That’s fantastic. I love checking out the map and then the video visual. Very cool stuff here.

Not Like My Tribe – Sophisticated Primitives, Part 1
Not Like My Tribe – Sophisticated Primitives, Part 2

Two links for one topic! I’m glad I got to read these back-to-back. The first part left me wanting to know more, and I got it right away. If you’re looking for input or advice on creating primitive (not simple) or indigenous cultures for your gaming or fiction writing, these two articles must be your first stop. I highly recommend throwing a permanent bookmark into your “research” folder (or similar) like I have because you’ll want to come back and check these out as you make your developments. These are great! Thanks for the wonderful insight, Mike.

What’s it Worth to Ya

There was a hubbaloo on the RPG blogosphere over the past weekend about how much are RPG materials really worth. There were a handful of posts wrapped around this topic, and this one from Trollsmyth was the best-stated post. I highly recommend you run over to the link and check out his words. They’re quite well put together. My thoughts? Like anything else, books will sell for what the market will bear. There is, of course, a certain minimum cost to produce a PDF or dead-tree version of a book, and publishers must make some coin for their efforts. This sets a minimum price, but how high do you want to go? Depends on the quality and reputation of your work, to be honest.

The Sundered Tomb

Another fantastic map from Dyson! I especially love the fracture/crevasse running through most of the map.

The Art of the Off the Wall Con Game

I think getting weird and wacky at a con game is perfectly acceptable, so long as the mood of the table and the other players want to go with it. As a GM, I’m there to support the players and ensure they have fun at the table. If it turns out my “grimdark adventure” had a funny turn of phrase I didn’t realize and it sends the group down a slapstick roller coaster ride of hilarity… who am I to argue? It’s like telling kids that are having fun playing Calvin Ball (of the Calvin and Hobbes fame), “You’re having fun in the wrong way!” That’s just pure asshole activity there.

One comment on “Sporadic Saturday Sweetness: 2016-05-13

  1. Mike Bourke May 14,2016 1:49 AM

    Glad you enjoyed what I had to offer, Hungry, and it’s good to hear from you – I’ve mentioned before how much I treasure the feedback!

    In The Footsteps Of Footprints: how to document game events
    I think you and I are in exactly the same situation in this department. I was really hoping that Saxon’s group would have the answer, but it turned out not to be the case. Their solution works for them, but I can’t see it working for everyone. I guess I’ll have to stick with my established technique of minimizing the need for a campaign log through the design and structure of my adventures.

    All Wounds Are Not Alike IV – Accelerated Healing
    I agree with everything you’ve said about this article. If it builds on the campaign that you want to run, this can be the solution; if it conflicts with it even a little bit, you might want to try some of the other solutions to the basic problem. The difficulty is that healing by clerics is such a fundamental element of fantasy gaming and D&D / Pathfinder in particular that ANY change to that has deep and significant consequences as a matter of course. The trick is making sure that those consequences are ones that you deem desirable for the campaign that you intend to run.

    Not Like My Tribe – Sophisticated Primitives (two parts)
    I thought up this article on my way to co-GM the Adventurer’s Club campaign (Pulp) a couple of weeks ago. It was supposed to be a quick fill-in to occupy an empty slot in my schedule. As you can tell from the fact that its in two parts, it quickly grew beyond that. While the insight and principle that is at the heart of the article are easy to understand, implementing and executing them in a practical way takes a lot more explanation. The process is a lot easier and quicker to use than the explanation!
    I’m glad that you mentioned the first part leaving you wanting more – it was my impression that this would be the case in general when I prepared to publish the first part, and that’s why I took the unusual step of publishing Pt 2 right away. Your comments vindicate that decision 🙂
    A number of people have picked up on these as a world-building tool, but not as many seem to have realized that you can also use the tool to generate ad-hoc tribes as needed. So that’s worth highlighting in this reply.

    Thanks again for the links promoting my work! Until next time….

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