Here’s a long overdue Monday edition of SSS. Life has been charging down my throat these days. I’ve had to give some things up (more news in early April on that). I’ve taken on some new things (I’m now the Assistant Cubmaster for my son’s pack and am in training for Cubmaster status). Work has been extra draining. Other things (more news later, again) have been consuming my time and energy. I’m honestly surprised I’m even getting these links out right now.
Speaking of links… Here’s a double dose of them! Links from last week and the prior week.
Mike has a good breakdown of memory processing. I’m pretty sure my psychologist friends (I have two) could nit-pick some things in Mike’s article, but I can’t. Like Mike, this is not my realm of expertise, but I did learn quite a bit from the article. My memory and I have an interesting relationship. If I write something down, I rarely need to refer to the note. If I only hear information, I really don’t retain it. If I read it, I have about a 70% chance of keeping the information. However, if I jam it all together (hearing information, jotting notes, and rescanning those notes later), I up my chances of retention to near 100%. I know others are different from me, so that just proves that each brain works in its own unique way.
Cool map, especially considering that it starts where another one leaves off!
There are oodles of character worksheet, workbook, profile sheets, and so on around the Internet. You really can’t swing a cat around writing a circles without hitting two or three of them. I’ve even created one based on someone else’s and expanded/organized it. However, there really aren’t many resources on developing character relationships. Many people point to Fate Core as the current “gold standard” in role playing games for creating interpersonal relationships within a group. Even Fate Core’s approach (for time and simplicity sake) stops at each character having a shared past event with only two other characters. This is great for getting things rolling, but it never really stops there. Mike delves into what makes a relationship and how to leverage that information during your storytelling (solo or collaborative). In my own fiction writing, I use mind maps (Scapple is the software I use) to keep track of the dependencies, relationships, inter-dependencies, and layers of relationships in my stories.
Sweet! John has a top-notch post here on the theories of saving throws and how to approach them in game creation. This doesn’t really delve too deep into practical application as this is a post about theory. However, let’s be honest. If your saving throw system in your homebrew isn’t directly covered by one of the categories John talks about, it’s probably too complex of a mechanic (probably considered an entire subsystem of rules) for a quality RPG.
Peter and I must share a few brain cells. I also dislike the “escape the dungeon” campaign. I don’t mind it as an adventure, session, or limited arc. However, if the entire thing is about “get outside or else!” then things aren’t going to end on a high note. Quite the opposite, to be honest. While getting out might be a relief or contain a small sense of accomplishment, it’s nothing like dethroning the illegitimate lich king or destroying the dragon that’s been ravaging the countryside for three generations or taking down the doppleganger that’s been masquerading as the cavalier and doing dastardly deeds in his name…. or many other things. Peter gets more detailed than my comments here, so go check out his post!
This is a wickedly good article by Bruce about how to run a Kickstarter campaign. I’ve backed enough campaigns that I thought I had a handle on how to do it (not that I want to). However, Bruce’s article exposed me to a much deeper understanding of the efforts behind being successful.
I have my own answer to the question about controlling equipment in a gear-heavy campaign setting. More specifically, I did this in a Cyberpunk 2020 game. Once you include all of the Chrome Books (not the laptops of today’s time, but the splatbooks from R. Talsorian) and other splatbooks (yes, I still have them all), there’s quite a bit of equipment to pick from. In this particular game, I told the players up front that their characters would be from the Combat Zone and would be equipped accordingly. When they asked how much cash they would start with, I started by handing out “starter equipment” customized to each PC. Then I had them roll 3d10 for the number of bullets they had for their single ranged weapon. Then they rolled d10 three times. The first was their pennies, the second their dimes, and the third their bucks. This was the Combat Zone after all! It sounds harsh, but we played CP2020 to the hilt in the CZ and had a blast with it. This particular campaign was one of the longer ones I ran in the CP2020 system.
If players (not characters) start to get at each other’s throat, I call for a break. Sometimes for the night. Sometimes for 20-30 minutes. I make it abundantly clear that the break is to allow the heated emotions to cool off. If I get resistance from the heated players on taking a short break, then I declare myself done for the night. I’m at the table to have fun. Players yelling at each other is no fun. Not at all. If further action is needed to allow a polite game to continue, I take that action. It could be pulling the instigator aside to get them to chill out and explain why their actions are not proper for the game. I’ve even gone as far as removing someone from the gaming group permanently. It takes quite a bit of poor personal actions to get me to go this far, but I’ve done it. Sometimes, I’ve seen that the group dyanmic is beyong repair and simply bowed out of the game to find a different gaming group to join. In the end, Walt is right: It’s only a game.
Sweet concept of an item here! I love it. I think my favorite part of this article is the other parasite items list. There are so many cool ideas packed into this blog post, I’m having a hard time summarizing my own thoughts on it. I guess I’ll just let you click through to the article and get to reading!
This is a sweet map. I think I could do something with this. Something cool, fer sure! I’ve thrown a bookmark to this image into my “to be used” bookmark folder. Great work!
NPCs need names if they’re to be interacted with for more than a scene (maybe two)! As Peter points out, names allow us to attach ourselves to others emotionally. I have no idea why. I’m sure someone out there has theories on this, but it’s a pretty well-established fact that knowing the name of someone/something brings an attachment beyond how useful they in a situation. There’s a set of dialogue in a movie that goes something like this: “What’s your horse’s name?” “Doesn’t have one.” “Why not?” “You don’t name something you might have to eat.”