22 August, 2017

RPGaDay2017 #22

Which RPGs are the easiest for you to run?

This seems an odd question, I suspect it's asking if I prefer to run crunchy games, or if I prefer rules-lite systems. Maybe it's asking of I'm an OSR grognard or a hippy story-gamer.

Honestly, it doesn't matter much to me. There are types of games I don't particularly like to run... I don't particularly like railroading games that weave a specific narrative every time, which is probably why I never really got into many of the early Indie games. My GMing style tends toward giving the players a long leash, or maybe giving them plenty of rope to hang themselves by. Weaving logical ramifications to the actions undertaken by players through their characters.

If a game is "hard to run", I just ignore the hard parts, get stuck into the setting, focus on a few of the signature elements of the game, and in most cases, most players don't know the difference. They have a good time (or a gut-wrenching emotional time), and that's what's important to me in a game session.

21 August, 2017

RPGaday2017 #21

What RPG does the most with the least words?

Visit the Pocketmod Games community on G+, there are some great designers doing some phenomenal stuff within that format. I've probably seen more innovation there than in most other
parts of the RPG community, and I'm not just saying that because I moderate that particular community.

Otherwise, I'd be pointing back at the muse of a game GHOST/ECHO which has informed a lot of my design work since it's release. Many people have referred to John Harper's other minimalist game, Lady Blackbird, but for sheer minimalism of text and impact-per-word I have to sat GHOST/ECHO is far higher on the scoreboard.


I've finally gotten around to indexing the "Game Mechani(sm) of the Week" series. That means the tab at the top of the blog page is actually useful now. I've indexed half of the original series (which was done 8 years ago...back in 09), and will hopefully cover the later attempts to restart the series as well. Hopefully it won't take another decade to finish.


20 August, 2017

Images from the Sprawl (Part 3)

During this series of images, I reached the point where I needed to actually start creating the pictures necessary to address certain elements of the game rules. This gives us motorcycle chases, equipment depictions, a distinctive gang, and a conspiracy pin-board. Many of these images have already been added into the Dispatch Guide.    

RPGaDay2017 #20

What is the best source of out-of-print RPGs?

As a lot of people have pointed out, the various POD and PDF websites which currently exist mean that there really aren't many RPGs that are truly "out-of-print" any more.

I dig through all sorts of sources when looking for out-of-print stuff...but mostly it comes down to opportunity, and since I'm not doing a lot of tabletop playing at the moment, I can wait. That means "Bundles of Holding" might be an option, but in a lot of cases I've actually got the games within. Second hand bookstores can be pretty hit or miss, and when looking for a specific book it's pretty useless.

I used to have a friend who ran a second hand bookstore, and I could ask her for almost anything, and within a few weeks she'd have tracked it down as long as it had an ISBN, and even managed a few cases knew I more than simply a name and an author. She'd do runs into elusive warehouses on the outskirts of the inner city, or attend auctions of deceased estates (often bringing home trailer loads of various books, and onselling them to a mysterious grey market of second hand booksellers). Alas, she had to get out of the business when family issues started getting complicated for her. If she was still conducting dealings in that world, she'd have instantly been my answer to this question.

For now, I just have to say "the internet"... pdfs, print-on-demand, and/or the fact I've got a good printer and bookbinding equipment at home.

19 August, 2017

RPGaDay2017 #19

Which RPG features the best writing? 

In certain circles, I'm hearing Blades in the Dark for this...but it's the new hotness, so that's to be expected. A couple of years ago, I'm sure everyone would have said Apocalypse World because it was oh so edgy with its over-use of expletives.

In other circles, I'm hearing Blue Medusa, Lamentations of the Flame Princess, or anything by that edgy crowd of OSR personalities who values shock factor over elegance of writing or game mechanisms...and who apparently scream down anyone who compares their work to the Emperor's New Clothes.

These are certainly all games that speak to a specific audience, often an audience of fanatical gamer cultists on one side or the other of the mysterious tribalist division between story-games and the OSR.

In my mind, the best RG writing goes back to the work that first exposed me to Jeremy Keller, Chronica Feudalis

This game is written in the form of an artefact, dug up from the archives of 12th Century monks. It's the kind of technique I first remember seeing in Castle Falkenstein, and while I believe that game did it well, Chronica Feudalis takes it to the next level.  

Dispatch Guide

I've almost finished the Dispatch Guide, which is basically a book of ideas and hints for the player who takes on the GM/Arbiter/Referee role in a session of The Law.

The poll I put forward to Google Plus seemed to agree the idea of a mysterious overlord in the shadows might be a good idea for the cover image...so here's where my current thoughts lie.

Hopefully I'll be releasing this shortly...another couple of editing passes and we'll be done.