jeregenest: (slingsarrows)
So we ran esoterrorists, which got me thinking that I would like to use this for a long-term game.

So I posited a secret history of crime, in maybe a few cities, and considered the place of magic.

Then I let it brew for a week and came up with a campaign framework. Let that serve as a call for players, wait and see what happens for interest.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
A Gumshoes Game )
jeregenest: (oberon)
Its no secret that I like (love) occult weirdness, eliptony, conspriacy and the unexplained. Its my natural stomping ground.

And so, as I consider Secret History of Crime as a Gumshoes game I have to look at what the elvel of occult is going to be.

I love Occult Detectives and occult spies, and there is a very cool arching story I can tell, with lots of neat side stories.

But then again, it would be interesting to play these with little to no supernatural. I think it really would depend on where the inetrest (if any) would lie.
jeregenest: (cynic)
G. K. Chesterton claimed that “The first essential value of the detective story lies in this, that it is the earliest and only form of popular literature in which is expressed some sense of the poetry of modern life”, by which he means “the poetry of London,” and urban text of histories and meanings waiting to be read.

City as character )
jeregenest: (Shazam)
The boy has asked me to run a game for him and his friends. He writes:

I would like my roleplaying game to be about Harry Potter.

I think the setting should be at Hogwarts and I think the characters should be very good at magic or not very good at magic.

I also think that the scene should be a mixture of quidditich and magic class.


Discussing it with him he seemed happy to choose a different school, perhaps in the USA. So I'll probably set it at the Salem Academy, which is mentioned very very briefly in Goblet of Fire. Probably for simplicity we'll end up with the same houses but need to ask the kids that.

From discussions with [livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom it appears what he really wants is to focus on magic class and quidditich and he doesn't care about having a big bad. He also wants to go through all seven years. That seems to lend itself to a nice narrative arch of start of school, halloween, christmas break, quidditich cup, end of school. Which is pretty much how most of the books are organized.

Mechanics, well definitely will have to whip up something simple. [livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom recommend using a class schedule to build skills, and that seems reasonable. Throw in some virtues and we're all set.

Now to invite his friends.
jeregenest: (conquering)
I was just reading Greg Stolze's ransomed piece on How to Run Roleplaying Games. Good stuff, which could have been easily increased to thriple the length.

One of the things that stood out for me was his discussion of tone:
Read more... )
jeregenest: (Default)
Most of my stories fit into the longer-term aspects of a game. As such each is considered towards the wider stories and the thematic goals of the game. What I always try to do is figure out where a given story fits into the game. I have a fairly simple tool for this. I take a piece of paper and on the top I list the reasons for the story. What is going on and why it’s important. A brief synopsis or a few ideas really, nothing too detailed as there’s time for that later. Primarily what I’m interested is what in it for the characters. Why are they interested? What does it mean? In short, the character’s goals in the story.

Then I divide the paper in two and title one column “facilitating factors” and the second “inhibiting factors”.

The facilitating factors are those things that will help the characters reach their goals. Just short bullet points. Ideally most of these are NPCs (including places and sometimes things). Then I do the same with the inhibiting factors, the stuff that will prevent the characters from reaching their goals.

This list of facilitating and inhibiting factors then helps me determine what scenes I need to build.
jeregenest: (Default)
Continuing my thoughts on what I do in prepping for my games I’d like to talk about prepping for a session. Which is different then prepping a story or prepping a scene.

In my games I usually have 2 or three stories going on at once, on their own tracks that may mix and mingle. So its helpful to have an idea of what is going to happen in a given game session.

So I record the following information:

The objectives of the session. Is there smething that I want to see happen that game? What is it? What has to happen (or not happen) to see it happen.

The start. If I’m good I always have a starting scene all planned. A good way to start the action. I’ll be honest, if I don’t start a session this way its pretty clear that I haven’t done my prep work.

Activities. This is the list of scenes I have prepped. And other things that are going to happen that may draw the players in. Usually it’s a good list of stuff to look at when there is a lull and I need to figure out what comes next. This serves as my springboard section.

Then after the session I evaluate it. What went right, what went wrong? What are the ramifications of the various conflicts and the scenes ad the roleplaying. What does this mean to the world and all the various nets of relationships within it. And then I update all that.

Next, I tackle how I develop a given story. And then scenes. And then maybe my mapping techniques (and I don’t mean geographical I suck at that stuff)
jeregenest: (Default)
Often times there are specific scenes I want to start with. Or think will happen. For these I like to define a few things. First I get the target audience (especially easy for a 1:1 game). Target audience is more than the players that will be directly involved. Sometimes there are scenes that are meant to illustrate specific something to folks not in the scene. And so I want to know that out front.

Then I decide on the specific NPCs that are going to be involved in the scene. Remember for me an NPC is person, place or thing that has importance. When I have a specific NPC and I’m being really good about scene building I like to have before me three things: Do, Say, Resources.

Do are those things I want them to do, either before the scene starts or during it. I’ll usually list some expected contingencies.

Say are the key things, in voice, to remember. They might not get said but it helps me a lot.

Resources are the things they can bring to the table. Usually what the player is after, even if they might not be aware of it at the start.

All of this usually goes out the window in the first five minutes, but if I’ve done it I find that I’m better able to imprivse. The more work I do upfront thinking things through the better capable of improvising I become. This is good because that’s where most of a session happens anyway. These scene preps really just exist to up my confidence level going in and make it easier for me to think on my feet. I probably use about 25% of it even slightly as is. Which is why I get lazy and don’t do it, and when I don’t do it my sessions fall flat. The avoidance of prep is one of the problems I was having last fall and I’m trying a lot harder to get back into it.
jeregenest: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom thought it might be a good idea for me if I fleshed ou my thoughts on how I prepare for a given session. So I figured I’d start with what I do for an NPC.

When I develop an NPC I basically do the following:
  • Rationale
  • Objectives
  • Activities
  • Assessment
  • Voice
  • Mechanics

Rationale is the why. Why is this person (and I can use the term person very loosely, often applying it to places and even things) important. What impact does this person have on the player(s) and the world.

Objectives is a clear idea of what the person is doing and what they are supposed to do. I’ll often strive to get in the NPCs head and decide what they are doing to impact the setting ad the other actors (PC and NPC) within it.

Activities are the things they are doing or are going to do. I usually start with a few vague statements and the flesh them out from there. These are the things I can do to jump-start a given scene.

Assessment is how will they react to a given situation? What is their personality and what does this mean. I usually place them within the world/setting at this point.

Voice is where I give some stylistic things that I hope will make the NPC stand out as a separate person. As this is my weakest skill as a GM I really ned this to help me make better NPCs. Otherwise they all start sounding the same.

Mechanics, I hate mechanics, I really do but they do help so I give powerlevels or stats or whatever is appropriate. And some more stylistic flourishes for how they’ll use them.

And then every time I use an NPC I update this material with the status of the game. What I prefer to do is do a lot of work on these up front so I can coast by from session to session just make the NPCs more and more realized. What I’m finding in a Long Road to When is that due to its travelogue structure (something I rarely do as a gm) I need to do a lot more of this just to keep up. And since one of my objectives is to get better at NPC voice (and in using erotic content) it requires me to spend a lot more time working on my NPCs, especially voice.

Being the king of process flows, mind maps and concept maps I usually map the NPCs and the world out, but thats a seperate post. What I'm striving to do here is set the nodes.
jeregenest: (Default)
It should come as no surprise to most folks that [livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom and myself tend to naturally fall onto the diceless side of light mechanics. We've been discussing a 1:1 game for a while and finally decided that of all the games we have and like Nobilis seems the best idea. So we took a stab at 4 attributes and relevant miracle tables.

This is a post-humanist world. Take a bit of Sterling, some Cowboy BeBop, some Robin Hood and a whole lot of Greg Egan and mix vigorously. I promise a background post very soon (mainly because we have to define some tech levels and such for this to work)

Stab at mechanics )
jeregenest: (Default)
So this summer has not been the best for gaming for me. But I do have a bunch of ideas swirling about. It looks like Alexander's March won the polling which is cool, its a very solid idea, though I'm still debating overruling democracy and running my last minute un-entry, Drink and the devil had done for the rest. Probably my biggest issue is the inability to find mechanics for the unstoppable hoplite army marching into weirdness game. Didn't like Shadow of Yesterday, didn't like Active Exploits, feeling a little uncertain about Hero or GURPS, etc.

Luckily [livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom has brainstormed and come p with a creative mechanic solution, which I'm currently muling over.
Read more... )
jeregenest: (Default)
So..I'm working on a game concept and could use a little brainstorming. I'd appreciate it if folks would rank the Greek heroes by warfare skill and physical prowess.A similar process of Greek mythic folks by magic prowess would be helpful too.

Just pure brainstorming, theres no right or wrong.
jeregenest: (Default)
[livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom recently posted on context is gaming fits in nicely with a lot of discussion we've been having about setting and how to comunicate it.

I've also been reading a lot of stuff in SF/Fantasy circles about exposition/infodumping (and here), the place of maps (which really has to do with broader concept of setting, theres an even better post here, which of course leads to Maps of the Imagination).

The challenges I'm currently considering are:
  1. How to develop an effective setting

  2. How to communicate that setting to the players

  3. How to communicate that setting to the characters (these are actually two seperate things)

  4. How to have the setting evolve

jeregenest: (Default)
Why setting? is a question [livejournal.com profile] peaseblossom, [livejournal.com profile] jeffwik and I chewed around last week. Or more specifically what is the advantage of working with a setting upfront.

The purpose of setting is to influences theme, character and action. What setting allows is a set of shorthand that allows one to easily tap into a large body of shared collective experiences. Doing a game set in the Inner City provides a ready opportunity to talk about decay and responsibility, because gamers have a whole bunch of assumptions and stereotypes that come standard-issue with that type of setting. Setting, and world-building, is the framework within which a lot of the important character driven stuff happens. Sure plot and character and theme can happen with no front-loaded setting, but having a front-loaded setting makes it so much easier and gives a shared framework from the get together.

Yes, communicating setting can take work, but on the opposite end not communicating setting means you have to rely on other aspects of System to communicate stuff like theme, which can often lead to mechanics that exist to deprive of choice. So one of the things I firmly believe is that setting isn’t about depriving choice, setting is all about giving choice in real and meaningful ways.
jeregenest: (Default)
Anyone who has gamed with me, or followed my gaming, should not be surprised that I like to think about theme and genre tropes a lot about the games I run, and play in. I’ve long been very clear about spelling them out ahead of time and referring back to them as play continues. I’d like to think that while themes exist in any game, making a conscious decision to place them in the forefront allows one to connect to the story on a deeper level.

That said, I don’t really see the need to have explicit rules to encourage people using the theme. I do believe that adherence to the tropes of genre and theme are ones that everyone should buy into upfront of the game and solely exists on the level of social contract. Anything more than that is stifling, it removes the ability to interpret, and for me any creative encounter is at heart one of interpretation. Any mechanistic attempt to regulate theme just serves to limit the potential of interpretation and limit the fun.

But recent events has led me to wonder about other system aspects to help here. Stuff that I'd bundle under social contract and play strategy. But I'm having a real bit of trouble getting my ideas on paper so I'm posting this, more than any other reason, as a brainstorming space to think about the question "What parts of the game can serve genre and theme expectations""
jeregenest: (Default)
One of the tasks set before me for a new game is to be more light and action orientated. Not sure if I have it in me, need to figure out some good exercises to help myself here. I'm actually serious.

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