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2011-01-06 Campaign Wikis Are Belong To Us

I use a campaign wiki for every single campaign I’m in. There are several solutions out there:

  1. I use my own Campaign Wiki site. It’s simple and sturdy. It doesn’t have many features. I wrote the code, I run the server. Feel free to give it a try, or look at existing campaigns.
  2. Obsidian Portal is a fancy commercial service by a bunch of very nice guys that sponsored prizes for the One Page Dungeon Contest. I recommend them for people that like lots of features.
  3. Epic Words is another service I heard about on the Roll For Initiative podcast.

What are the benefits of using a wiki for your campaign?

  • Players create a page for their character, thus allowing others to review stats and background. This makes it easier to integrate characters into adventures.
  • Players can add background and describe what their characters are doing between adventures. This can help focus game sessions themselves on group activities including combat and still promote immersion by encouraging character development between sessions.
  • Pages created for new locations can develop over time. They start with nothing but a rumor and grow links to important characters and other locations.
  • Session reports can be as short as a sentence or two if your game is focused on fighting and looting, or they can be reports a page or two long, allowing the report writers to add character and emotional depths to the events. This will get players up to speed if they missed a session or if you’re not playing every single week.
  • In a sandbox game, providing rumors and incentives for your players is imperative. Creating pages for locations and characters is just that. Instead of providing rumors at the table, the slow growth of the campaign mimics the in-game knowledge of player characters.

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2011-01-10 One Page Dungeons Still Useful

http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4005/4182113829_435186b3dd.jpg
The Alder King game has been moving along slowly. We played a session in October; in November we were on holidays; in December we played a single session with our high level characters (they are around level 7) trying to retrieve the soul drinking scythe from Tavasmok, lord of the bone men living in the top levels of the Caverns of Thracia (I’m using a scythe instead of a sword because I think it is more appropriate for the death theme, and because I have a cleric of Thanatos who wants it very badly). It is January now and time to return to the low level henchmen in the Great Roaring Jungle of the Lenap map in the Wilderlands of High Fantasy.

In October they had just fought a giant snail in the ruins of Zamboanga (There Are No Tails in Zamboanga by Buzz Burgess, an entry in the One Page Dungeon Contest 2009). My players solved the Onyx vs. Obsidian riddle and were intrigued. It’s a super simple riddle but it fit into my setting. The party had met many lizard men in an early part of the campaign, all armed with macahuitls (an aztec sword looking like a cricket bat set with obsidian chips), and thus seeing an old human ruin with images showing men wielding the kind of weapons the grass smoking lizard men are still using these days gave the site a sense of history. Nobody knows why the Onyx faction dominated the Obsidian faction, but maybe that is some interesting detail to explore in another local mini dungeon.

I liked this about the dungeon: There is an in-game riddle. Not solving it is no show-stopper: Players could always decide to bash down locked doors using brute force and a lot of time. The reward for solving the riddle is a non-combat victory and an interesting glimpse of the setting’s past.

The party is also interested in learning how to activate a portal. A mysterious sage (possibly no sage at all) pointed them to a wise man, but double checking facts with a local elven mage resulted in them learning that this wise man was lost and revealed that he was in fact nothing but an apprentice to the earth mage Ken-Kuni. So after having found the dwarven hammer in the ruins of Zamboanga, they continued to the earth temple. There, I had designed a series of tests that should prepare the party for the Halls of the Mad Mage by Justin Alexander (another 1PDC 2009 entry). The party climbed down a well were gravity worked in a 90° angle, found a cube asking the party to “jump twenty feet in the direction of the earth” and a peek at a lava chamber. I’ll use the halls to deposit some useful information and a way to follow Ken-Kuni, if the party is so inclined. We’ll see how it will play out.

Right now the party decided they needed to memorize some fire resistance spells and was attacked by two trolls during the night before we ended the session.

Truly, I love this campaign, and I love using One Page Dungeons.

I recently got an email of somebody interesting in sponsoring the contest in 2011. I should start thinking about it. Is anybody interested in running the contest in 2011? If you’re interested in doing it, or in helping out, let me know. I’ll probably start looking for sponsors and judges in spring, run the contest in May, read the entries and judge stuff in June and July, and announce winners at the beginning of August.

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Comments on 2011-01-10 One Page Dungeons Still Useful


1d30
1PDC is like a 100-deep nesting doll, where each time you open one hot ladies and fabulous prizes spring forth. And next year there’s a new one.

Please PLEASE keep this going. I look forward to this with glee like a child days before Christmas.

“Just five sleeps until 1PD comes out!”

1d30 2011-01-10 19:51 UTC



Boric Glanduum
Yes, oh yes…. I love gleaning the 1PDs… I may even participate this year.

– Boric Glanduum 2011-01-11 00:55 UTC



AlexSchroeder
Thank you both. :)

AlexSchroeder 2011-01-11 09:54 UTC



Roland Volz
I will most definitely contribute this year. I discovered it last year with one month left before deadline and no time to finish mine. So now, of course, I have five possible entries waiting in the wings to be polished off, finished up, and sent in.

Reading past entries (and my future ones) fills me with glee.

Roland Volz 2011-02-14 19:46 UTC



AlexSchroeder
Also note the German One Page Dungeon Contest by Moritz Mehlem! :)

AlexSchroeder 2011-02-15 00:25 UTC


I’m happy to help out with the publishing again.

– Harald Wagener 2011-02-15 07:05 UTC



Roland Volz
Also note the German One Page Dungeon Contest by Moritz Mehlem!

Yeah, I ran across that yesterday for the first time. I speak German rather fluently, but I’m not sure I’d be able to translate my concepts correctly to German! There’s a lot of archaic words that I know in English for which I never bothered to learn the German equivalents. Otherwise, my submissions would already have been translated!

Roland Volz 2011-02-15 13:58 UTC

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2011-01-12 Low Res, Fake Colors

Zürich These days I enjoy photo applications like Hipstamatic and Instagram (see the iphoneography tag on Flickr).

Why is that? I think that distorting the image by reducing the resolution, adding noise, and distorting colors invites us to use our imagination to complete the picture. Similar to reading a book, where we imagine the visuals; similar to comics, where we imagine the transitions between the panels; similar to listening to people, where we imagine the rest – less is more.

Which is why we’re sometimes disappointed by movies if we’ve already read the book. I noticed that sometimes I am disappointed when I look at the high-resolution, true-color originals of these pictures. Which is why I love the dream like non-reality of these images.

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2011-01-13 Campaign Start

The gaming table after the session Today I ran the first session of my new Labyrinth Lord campaign. The game uses the Sea of Five Winds map of the Wilderlands of High Fantasy (Necromancer Games). Our starting village is Oathcoomb. It says that there is a male human lawful evil wizard (alchemist) called Pimple Purbody. One of the missions I had offered to the players was to go and buy glass wares in the Greydowns. Check out the (German) player map for the campaign.

Since Pimple is lawful evil, I tried to play him like a little devil. He tries to trick you into signing contracts that will have you in debt, he tries to lure you into breaking contracts, etc. At first, the players were surprised that negotiations didn’t go smoothly. I suspect they felt that the negotiation was part of the prologue, not part of the game itself. I quickly introduced a new character mentioned in the village description, Esgarig the inn keeper. He warned the party of Pimple’s deviousness, and offered free dinner and drinks for a table of ten if they managed to thwart the alchemist in some way, or at least fulfill the contract without falling for any of his traps. I think this allowed the players to accept the challenge.

At the Greydowns, the players decided not to show Pimple’s introductory letter, figuring that maybe he wasn’t too popular. I decided that this saved them 10% of the price… :)

How much money to award for a simple trip back and forth, some haggling and dealing with the alchemist and the inn keeper, a session of three hours? I decided that 1000 gp was about right. Pimple gave them 1000 gp to buy the glass wares. Upon delivery of 1000 gp of glass wares, they’d get 1000 gp to keep. Since the players managed to get a 10% discount, they ended up with a 1100 gp reward.

If the players were really devious and managed to trick the alchemist on his own terms using forgery and the like, they could double the amount to be earned. If they felt like playing chaotic, they could just steal 1000 gp. If they messed things up, they could end up with a debt of 1000 gp. That seemed like a reasonable range.

I had prepared a thing or two for the forest half way to the destination, but the players decided to take the ship to Longbottle and travel from there, avoiding the forest. No problem, I’m sure there will be other opportunities. I improvised 2d6 (nine) bandits on the way back. They were taken care of by a single sleep spell. Apparently the spell allows no save!

Ok, what did I use at the table?

  1. I suggested that we try and do without the rule book at the table. The players liked the idea! Effectively those who still needed to buy equipment needed the book, and the elf looked up the details of the sleep spell when he needed it.
  2. Hopefully casters will write their own spell and prayer books. That would be cool. It’s what Claudia is doing in the Alder King game.
  3. Maybe I should produce a specific price list for the starting village and bring that as a separate sheet of paper.
  4. I did have four copies of the rulebook at the table, but they never got opened. How very different from my usual D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder RPG games.
  5. I had prepared two sheets of hirelings using the Meatshields website. Strange names, different backgrounds and secrets, fields of knowledge and equipment – just perfect!
  6. I had brought along a copy of JB’s B/X Headgear and my players loved rolling on the table.
  7. I didn’t use my Character Genration Shortcuts. It would have cut down on the time spent buying stuff, but I think my players expected to be rolling for starting gold and going shopping.
  8. One player with Charisma 17 decided to play a bard from JB’s B/X Companion. This player was a bit disappointed when he discovered that there was no random headgear for bards! We laughed…
  9. I had brought along a copy of JB’s 100 reasons for a relationship between player characters, but there somehow was no time to roll on it. The players were engaged and I went with the flow.
  10. When I needed stats for bandits I felt it was easier to use the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book instead of improvising. Shame on me!
  11. I had a copy of Micheal Curtis’ Stonehell Dungeon and Dyson Logos’ Dyson’s Delve and his Lair of the Frogs, and volumes #2 and #3 of Fight On at the table, but that was clearly overkill.
  12. I decided to stick a few tables to my DM’s screen for my players to see:
    1. a table with uses of the d6 (surprise, open door, hear noise, detect secret door, find trap, spring trap, avoid trap, disarm trap, sneaking, and exceptions for elves, dwarves, and halflings)
    2. a table with monster reactions
    3. a table with the morale table
    4. Trollsmyth’s Death & Dismemberment table
  13. We used the reaction table a few times, but none of the others.
  14. As we wrapped up, we talked about XP and gold. My house rule is that you have to squander the gold in order to get XP. No buying of useful things. Donate it to a temple, throw a party, that kind of stuff. Nine bandits gave them 11 XP each. Doing the mission gave them 250 gp each. Nobody wanted to spend the money on XP, though. Interesting…
  15. When I mentioned Jeff Rient’s Party like it’s 999 table, they really wanted to roll on it. I’ll have to produce a carousing table for next session! Roger the GS’ tables might be a good starting point.

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Comments on 2011-01-13 Campaign Start

If using the B/X Companion optional bard class, I’d suggest using the thief base line. More hats and hoods, less helmets. : )

JB 2011-01-14 18:45 UTC


I’ll bring it up the next time we meet. :)

AlexSchroeder 2011-01-14 23:59 UTC

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2011-01-14 Restaurants in Zürich

Many of these require reservation!

  • Blaue Ente – a bit outside of the city (Bahnhof Tiefenbrunnen)
  • Sankt Meinrad – Swiss cuisine, practically no choice (Kreis 4, near Kalkbreite)
  • Brasserie Lipp – French cuisine, slightly overpriced (near Paradeplatz)
  • Lindenhofkeller – haute cuisine, very exclusive, good wine (near Paradeplatz)
  • Restaurant Heugümper – Swiss cuisine, traditional environment (near Paradeplatz)
  • Zum Kropf – Swiss cuisine, very traditional environment (near Paradeplatz)
  • Rosalys – Swiss cuisine, stylish (Bellevue)
  • Zeughauskeller – traditional Swiss food, lots of sausages, busy (Paradeplatz)
  • Bauernschänke – traditional Swiss food (Niederdorf)
  • Blockhus – Spanish and Swiss food but I like their horse meat (near Bellevue)
  • Weisser Wind – traditional Swiss food, haven’t been there yet but wanted this bookmark to remind myself to go (Oberdorf)
  • Weisses Kreuz – traditional Swiss food (near Stadelhofen)
  • Fribourger Fonduestübli – very traditional Swiss fondue vacherin (near Stauffacher)
  • Walliser Kanne – very traditional Swiss fondue valaisanne or horse meat (near Hauptbahnhof)
  • Le Dezaley – very traditional Swiss fondue vaudois (Niederdorf)
  • Sala of Tokyo – Japanese food, traditional (near Hauptbahnhof)
  • Fuyija of Japan – Japanese food, haven’t been there yet but wanted this bookmark to remind myself to go (Bahnhof Enge)
  • Caduff’s Wineloft – good wine, excellent meat (Kreis 4, near Kalkbreite)

Other:

  • Ah Hua – very good, authentic Thai food (Kreis 4, Helvetiaplatz)
  • Bistro Lochergut – excellent food for lunch (Kreis 4, Lochergut)
  • Bottega Berta – simple pasta (Kreis 4, near Lochergut)
  • Die Waid – excellent view (near Höngg)

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2011-01-15 Achievable Ends

Gaming Table When I read Opening Your Game Table by Justin Alexander, I started thinking about DM Peter’s Grenzmarken campaign that tries to follow a West Marches model. I played in Season 1 of that campaign and enjoyed it very much. In Season 2 character goals got introduced. Going on adventures in pursuit of those goals during the game earns you an experience point bonus. Writing about your character on the wiki also earns you experience points.

I decided to share Justin’s article on Google Buzz and some comments were made that got me thinking about running a campaign with a changing pool of players. This page tries to summarize the discussion on Google Buzz.

Justin basically advocates that expeditions into a mega-dungeon enable this sort of play. He also says that there are probably other ways of achieving it, but he didn’t know of any.

I argued that I’ve been doing something along these lines by having a big pool of players both for my Monday and my Sunday games. At one point I had seven regular players! Some of these players showed up for every single session, other players had to skip sessions every now and then.

There were two drawbacks to this very simple method:

  1. There was no sign-up process and thus no preventing of all seven players showing up for the game. Since we were using D&D 3.5 rules, that slowed things down. A bit.
  2. I had to embrace the metaphor of the editing mistake in movies. As people miss sessions, their characters just plop out of the story and return when their players return.

Turning a blind eye to editing errors works well enough if the players are willing to accept the somewhat lame excuses. In some instances, this can even add to the game world in that players will post on the wiki a sentence or two explaining what their characters have been up to. But Justin nails it on the head when he comments that “it can also be very dissatisfying; and if you’re seeing complete player turn-over (nobody here this week was here last week) then the effect can be completely disjointed.”

Some time ago the Triple Secret Random Dungeon Fate Chart of Very Probable Doom by Jeff Rients inspired the OSR. It essential forced characters back into a safe haven at the end of the session. I guess something similar could be cooked up with a wilderness map. One of the remaining problems would be explaining the presence of characters that ended their last games in different save havens. I haven’t tried using the table because I’m afraid my players wouldn’t like it. But I can’t forget it either.

Thus, while I think this episodic play with a changing cast of players is already possible outside a megadungeon, finding more techniques to enable it would be cool.

Lior commented on the fact that maybe we needed to structure our sessions differently. He suggested that each sesssion “has an end that can be reached within 4-6 hours of play.” I think he wanted achievable ends in every session.

How to achieve a simple structure without also falling back to formulaic adventures? Set a scene, small fight, scene, big fight, loot, epilogue? You can spice it up with offline contributions on a campaign wiki, character goals, but in essence you’re recreating the format of TV series where at the end of the session the status quo has been regained. This problem gets worse if you only have three hours per session during the week.

Burning Empires Trying to think of orthogonal methods of solving the problem I thought of Burning Empires. This Luke Crane game is mostly similar to Burning Wheel with the addition of a competitive players vs. game master plot of planetary conquest. The campaign is split into three phases (infiltration, ursupation and invasion) consisting of six sessions each on average (assuming 4-5h per session according to page 15 of the rule book). And now the interesting part: Every session consists of one or two maneuvers. These are the adventures, and the moves in the strategic game. “Players strategize about maneuvers before diving into the scenes.” There are different kinds of scenes: color scenes to set the scene, building scenes to set up favorable conditions for the real conflict, and conflict scenes where things are resolved. Every player should have their spotlight scene, every side should have their conflict scene. In Burning Wheel, this is then factored into a roll to see who “won” the maneuver, disposition is lost (sort of hit-points per side), and the conflict proceeds to the next maneuver (page 612 f). There’s more discussion of this in the Getting Past the First Turn series of articles on the wiki.)

So, what tools does Luke Crane offer?

  1. non-player characters are the opposition, not monsters, locations, or environment
  2. each side as an equal amount of scenes available to achieve goals
  3. scenes are character centric, not location centric

Trying to transpose this to the starting adventure of our current Labyrinth Lord campaign, I’d do the following:

Opposition characters: the alchemist is trying to purchase glass wares and cheat players into debt; the sheriff wants to find some allies (already I see a first difference: the other characters in the starting town did not play a big role in our last session; I’d treat the inn-keeper as a minor ally that can be “circled up” using Burning Wheel terminology), the bandits want to rob travelers, the elves in exile want to retake the palace of Seithor.

First maneuver: Characters want the job, the alchemist wants to give them the job and trick them. Second maneuver: Characters want to travel to other village and secure glass wares, bandits try to find and rob them.

Actually, I think this might work. Setting the scene in the inn, finding an ally, finding henchmen, final negotiations… Then skipping the forest and taking the boat, doing stuff, fighting the bandits on the way back… Maybe I just need to make the scene economy and maneuver structure more obvious?

We’d need to think of a common goal uniting all the characters into one “side” of the conflict such that every subset of characters depending on the players present is interested in doing “maneuvers” to win against the opposition.

I’ll have to think about this some more.

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Comments on 2011-01-15 Achievable Ends

Do you want to continue the discussion here or on buzz?

– Harald Wagener 2011-01-15 20:56 UTC



AlexSchroeder
Wherever you feel more comfortable. Posting my thoughts on my blog is part of my remembering things I said and being able to go back. In that sense a discussion face to face, a game played at the table, a discussion on some other blog page, or on Google Buzz is where I get my inspiration from, but my blog is where I do my record keeping (see RecordKeeper, haha). I also think that Lior doesn’t read my blog, so that’d be an argument for keeping the discussion on Google Buzz (and at the gaming table – if only we had more time).

AlexSchroeder 2011-01-15 23:46 UTC



AlexSchroeder
I’d love to expand my campaigns to this level. I also know that DM Peter would love to find a much bigger pool of people for his Grenzmarken campaign.

AlexSchroeder



Harald
On the commitment side, complex rule systems with long term rewards for continuous play also feed into this.

Harald



Lior
This is pretty much the exact reason why I think it is important to play in short, “loosely bound” sessions. I think putting many such ons/two-session chapters into a larger, continuous context is the way to have the best of both play-styles.

– Lior



AlexSchroeder
In Peter’s Grenzmarken campaign, however, this turned out to be tricky when sessions did not involve simple dungeon delves. When the adventure involves overland travel and exploration, sessions sometimes seemed formulaic: travel, small fight, reach destination, big fight, loot, skip travel home.

Actually, this reminds me of another random table I’ve seen in recent years: Table of Despair – other variations exist online. http://jrients.blogspot.com/2008/11/dungeons-dawn-patrol.html

Maybe something similar could be devised for overland travel. You need to end every session in a safe haven.

AlexSchroeder



Harald
Overland travel can become a moot issue over time if characters pick allies and abilities wisely. Another solution is the nearby megadungeon which forfeits the overland travel part for the “adventure proper”.

Harald



Lior
I think it goes even further: the idea that campaigns are planned as basically without consideration for the concept of a “session” is just wrong. Its one of those things that cause the designer’s dreams to clash with the actual play or with players “real-worldness”.

I have a suggestion for a different mode of organization. Instead of having bases of operations (aka safe havens aka towns) from which the basically same group of PCs make long but formulaic expeditions we should have unique chapters:

  • Each chapter may involve a different set of PCs.
  • Each chapter has an end that can be reached within 4-6 hours of play. Either because the designer designed it that way or because the system allows for that. That means that each chapter should be simple in its structure of content.
  • Each chapter changes/advances the setting, making it more interesting and opening new possibilities for exploration in further chapters. This is what gives the players the continued, long-term campaign feel.
  • The system should support or at least allow for splitting PC groups. That will make the group more flexible in organizing play sessions.
  • We need more tools and techniques for creating story/meaning during play, whether guided by a GM or using player input. Once we have that we can build the challenges and stories instantaneously around what happens at the table instead of around what a settings-designer dreamed up.

– Lior



AlexSchroeder
I think I’m in broad agreement, here. What I did in my Alder King campaign was to give up the idea of a home town or safe haven, and instead I embraced the metaphor of the editing mistake in movies. As people miss sessions, their characters just plop out of the story and return when their players return. This works well enough if the players are willing to accept somewhat lame excuses. In some instances, this can even add to the game world in that players will post on the wiki a sentence or two explaining what their characters have been up to.

To recap:

different set of PCs? Yes, if a player is there, their character is there.

achievable ends per session? Hopefully. This is something to strive for, but during the week I just have three hours available for a session. Traditionally, I have not played RPGs this way. So either I need some indie rules to replace the traditional RPGs, or we discover that it’s just a question of play style.

continues changes to the setting? Hopefully. I would not want to plan for it, because then I’m setting myself up for some heavy handed railroading, but I want to cultivate the state of mind that enables and invites changes to the setting by the players.

splitting groups? Yes. As I explained, if the players are understanding, this is no problem at all. There are methods to keep suspension of disbelief up, such as writing about your character on the wiki, or going on adventures off camera.

creating story during play? I’m not sure. Some people subscribe to the idea that story is what happens as you look back on the seemingly disconnected events. Others believe that using techniques from improv theatre (Play Unsafe, say Yes, Yes And, or at least No But) provide enough player empowerment in order to meaningfully add to the story or setting.

In short, I think this is already possible. Find more techniques to enable episodic play would be cool.

AlexSchroeder


The real trick is determining “achievable ends”. I’m absolutely lousy at predicting at how long X, Y, or Z will keep the players occupied and/or frustrated. A couple sessions ago I had prepped 12 pages of material in which the PCs were going to investigate every church in town. One of them transformed into a bird, went to a random church, and flew through exactly the right window to determine that, yup, this was the church they were looking for.

On another occasion I had 1 paragraph written about an event that was going to be reported in the newsheets: An attempted assassination at the local tournament field. One of the PCs randomly decided to go to the tournament field on the same day and the anticipated 15 seconds of table time turned into 2 hours as the assassination attempt evolved into a running battle through the city streets and a siege of the Godskeep.

A willingness to turn a blind eye to “editing errors” regarding PCs who are present or absent can be a work-around for this. But it can also be very dissatisfying; and if you’re seeing complete player turn-over (nobody here this week was here last week) then the effect can be completely disjointed.

Justin Alexander



AlexSchroeder
Maybe the problem of determining achievable ends is inherent in a traditional RPG setup. If characters are free to go wherever they want, and adventures are location based, then nobody can predict the exact developments. This can be a boon if you like being surprised and if you like improvising, or it can be a bane if all your prep goes to waste.

Trying to think of orthogonal methods of solving the problem I thought of Burning Empires. This Luke Crane game is mostly similar to Burning Wheel with the addition of a competitive players vs. game master plot of planetary conquest. The campaign is split into three phases (infiltration, ursupation and invasion) consisting of six sessions each on average (assuming 4-5h per session according to page 15 of the rule book). And now the interesting part: Every session consists of one or two maneuvers. These are the adventures, and the moves in the strategic game. “Players strategize about maneuvers before diving into the scenes.” There are different kinds of scenes: color scenes to set the scene, building scenes to set up favorable conditions for the real conflict, and conflict scenes where things are resolved. Every player should have their spotlight scene, every side should have their conflict scene. In Burning Wheel, this is then factored into a roll to see who “won” the maneuver, disposition is lost (sort of hit-points per side), and the conflict proceeds to the next maneuver (page 612 f).

What tools does Luke Crane offer:

  1. non-player characters are the opposition, not monsters, locations, or environment
  2. each side as an equal amount of scenes available to achieve goals
  3. scenes are character centric, not location centric

Trying to transpose this to the starting adventure of our current Labyrinth Lord campaign, I’d do the following:

Opposition characters: the alchemist is trying to glass wares, and cheat players into debt; the sheriff wants to find some allies (already I see a first difference: the other characters in the starting town did not play a big role in our last session; I’d treat the inn-keeper as a minor ally that can be “circled up” using Burning Wheel terminology), the bandits want to rob travelers, the elves in exile want to retake the palace of Seithor.

First maneuver: Characters want the job, the alchemist wants to give them job and trick them. Second maneuver: Characters want to travel to other village and secure glass wares, bandits try to find and rob them.

Actually, I think this might work. Setting the scene in the inn, finding an ally, finding henchmen, final negotiations… Then skipping the forest and taking the boat, doing stuff, fighting the bandits on the way back… Maybe we just need to make the scene economy and maneuver structure more obvious?

We’d need to think of a common goal uniting all the characters into one “side” of the conflict such that every subset of characters depending on the players present is interested in doing “maneuvers” to win against the opposition.

I’ll have to think about this some more.

Links: http://www.burningempires.com/wiki/index.php?title=The_Scene_Economy_and_%E2%80%9CImmersion%E2%80%9D

AlexSchroeder



AlexSchroeder
I am also thinking that there is some sort of affordance at work, here. D&D enables exploration of space and mechanisms or magic items, resource management. Those things will be lost if we pursue ‘achievable ends’ and maneuvers since they seem inherently open ended even if maybe they are not always in real life at the table. This needs more thought.

AlexSchroeder



Harald
Another thing to consider is mentioned in the link: “Play faster. Five to 10 minutes for a scene, then move on!” You may remember my frustration when we were done with negotiating with the ruthless alchemist and another player wanted to look into other options …see http://burningwheel.org/forum/showthread.php?3832-Strategy-roleplaying-and-the-scene-economy&s=2624b77c45f23faa735b7044dc6811eb&p=35696#post35696 for a BE-bent discussion on playing faster.

Harald



AlexSchroeder
Damn, now I want to play Burning Empires. :)

AlexSchroeder



Harald
… yes. Let’s finish the Alder King. I’ll be GM.

Harald



AlexSchroeder
The Sunday Alder King game is one of my favorite campaigns (I’d love to switch from D&D 3.5 to Labyrinth Lord, however). Perhaps you were referring to the Monday Rise of the Runelords campaign? If so, I agree with you. But I’d like to finish in style. Xin-Shalast has been reached, the end is nigh.

And when it ends, we’ll play something else on two Mondays per month! :)

AlexSchroeder



Harald
Yes, I meant the Rise of the Runelords, sorry. You have too many games running …

Harald

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2011-01-18 Facebook Werbung

Brettspiele Ich habe mal beschlossen $20 in die Hand zu nehmen und etwas Werbung für meine Rollenspiel Zürich Facebook-Seite zu machen. Ganz schön interessant!

Mein erster, deprimierender Versuch:

Geschätzte Reichweite: weniger als 20 Personen

  • die in Schweiz leben
  • die im Umkreis von 40 Kilometern von Zürich leben
  • die rollenspiele mögen
  • die noch nicht mit Rollenspiel Zürich verbunden sind

Mit der folgenden Werbung hatte ich zwei (!) click-throughs:

Geschätzte Reichweite: 1.420 Personen

  • die in Schweiz leben
  • die im Umkreis von 40 Kilometern von Zürich leben
  • die spiele mögen
  • die noch nicht mit Rollenspiel Zürich verbunden sind

Jetzt habe ich die Kriterien etwas erweitert:

Geschätzte Reichweite: 39.880 Personen

  • die in Schweiz leben
  • die im Umkreis von 40 Kilometern von Zürich leben
  • die spiele, rollenspiele, dd, dsa, role playing, roleplaying games, roleplaying game, rpg, rpgs, tabletop rpgs, abenteuer, final fantasy, dragon age, world warcraft, guild wars, vampires, wow oder fantasy mögen
  • die noch nicht mit Rollenspiel Zürich verbunden sind

(Wobei dd = D&D)

Wow, die Computer-Rollenspiele sind schon verdammt populär! Am allerpopulärsten sind aber die Vampire. Das hat mich echt erstaunt.

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Comments on 2011-01-18 Facebook Werbung


2ni
Dass Vampire am populärsten sind, erstaunt mich nicht. Es hat zZ ja x Serien im Fernseh zu Vampiren und auch im Kino waren dazu ein paar Filme vorhanden. Scheint bei den Teenies ein aktuelles Thema zu sein, wie ich das wahrnehme.

2ni 2011-01-20 10:46 UTC

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2011-01-18 Old School vs. Old Age

Fight On! Today I asked on Twitter: “What do you think: Is Dragon Age RPG an Old School RPG?”

Most people agreed that the Dragon Age RPG is “old school inspired”. And I wondered: What does that mean? This goes back to the various definitions of traditional role-playing games out there.

I think when people think of one of the following ideas whenever they hear old school role-playing games:

old
the game was published in the seventies and early eighties (such as B/X D&D)
retro clone
the game was published recently using modern layout and structure but basically striving for compatibility to games published in the seventies and early eighties (such as Labyrinth Lord)
OSR
the Old School Renaissance are the self-selected publishers and bloggers that write new material for either old games and retro clones, or they publish games and material for games inspired by the games published in the seventies and early eighties

Personally, I think that the Dragon Age RPG is a recent game inspired by the old games and clearly not a clone of an existing game. Thus it basically belongs to the Old School Renaissance.

I think this also has two other consequences:

  1. “old school” is a fashion, a style, a mind-set and not an indication of age in the context of role-playing games
  2. the words “inspired by old school” is usually equivalent to “old school” unless you’re only referring to a very small number of features

I think this is supported by my favorite Rob Conley quote: “It is about going back to the roots of our hobby and seeing what we could do differently.” I think Chris Pramas and Green Ronin are doing just that with the Dragon Age RPG.

I also liked Daniel M. Perez’ blog post Wait, There’s A Video Game As Well? where he explains that he never played the video game and he still enjoys the game. That’s a big plus in my book!

I’d love to get into a campaign. :)

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Comments on 2011-01-18 Old School vs. Old Age

Here is an interesting interview with Chris Pramas (http://www.escapistmagazine.com/articles/view/editorials/interviews/6727-Designing-the-Dragon-Age-Tabletop-RPG)

In the interview he explains that he looks at Dragon Age as “Neo-Retro.” The article is very good and I recommend it as a read, but here is a awesome clip of it:

“To be clear, however, Dragon Age is not a retro clone of BECMI D&D. I designed a new game to capture the feel of the Dragon Age world, but I did so very much mindful of the history of tabletop RPGs. There is a tendency these days to look back on the games of the 70s and early 80s and pat ourselves on the back about how far we’ve come from such primitive beginnings. I felt like there were still important things we could learn from those games, lessons perhaps forgotten over the years to the detriment of the hobby. With Dragon Age I was trying to take inspiration from the old school while still creating a modern design. I guess you might call it a neo-retro approach.”

wrathofzombie 2011-01-18 17:08 UTC


Thank you for that link!

AlexSchroeder 2011-01-18 17:19 UTC

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2011-01-21 With Kids

After the game… I try to game once a month with my friend Zeno and his three kids. I love it, and I think they love it as well.

Last time Noah had learnt that his priest of the Iron God could remain at an abbey in Yellzurthi for a year and study to be great and gain levels. Apparently he had been thinking about this ever since the last session because he announced that this is what his character was going to do. Without missing a beat, the others handed him a new character sheet for the character he was going to play in the mean time. Awesome old school spirit, I say! :)

I started using my Character Generation Shortcuts. He didn’t know what to play with the stats he had rolled, so I asked him if he was going to be religious (cleric). He was not, and thus he rolled on the fighter table. The result was mercenary and I explained that the Swiss used to be fighting as mercenaries all over Europe. Immediately his character switched to a different Swiss dialect. We looked up pictures of halberds in a book I had bought (Weapon by Richard Holmes and others). We also rolled up some useful dungeoneering equipment (torches and chalk), a trait (vain, start with a mirror, razor, soap, perfume, kohl, and lipstick) (having lipstick resulted in big laughs all around the table) and being an explorer, thus owning a mule, a map, and being in debt (starting with -20 gp).

The map was immediately understood to be a map leading the party to the hidden fortress of the Mitra resistance in the area (remember we’re running this in Rob Conley’s Wilderlands setting from his book Points of Light.

The new character was called Voldemort. A bit later the name Tom Riddle was added to that. I said that Voldemort was obviously a forbidden name and that nobody should speak it aloud. The kids couldn’t resist, of course, and so I said that I’d be rolling a d20 and on a result of 20 something wicked was going to happen. Zeno said that they should be careful, but the kids proceeded to chant “Voldemort! Voldemort!” This happened while they were being attacked by ten pirates. I decreed that an Erynne (from the Swords & Wizardry Monster Book: 0e Reloaded) showed up in the middle of the fight.

To make a long story short, once again their daddy’s character bit the dust… And it was a Str 18 fighter, too! This is the second time the kids caused their dad’s character’s demise. I laughed. :D

I actually wrote a session report (in German).

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Comments on 2011-01-21 With Kids

This sounds like fun. I never really played table top RPGs… but sometimes I think I should try it.

Andreas Gohr 2011-01-22 10:04 UTC


Macht absolut Spass! Wer auf Deutsch einsteigen will, dem empfehle ich Dungeon Slayers, Barbarians of Lemuria (warum die deutschen Titel trotzdem englische Buchtitel haben müssen – verkauft sich das besser?) oder Labyrinth Lord: Der Herr der Labyrinthe (na wenigstens im Untertitel in Deutsch). Ich spiele Herr der Labyrinthe. Die Kinder haben bis jetzt noch kein Bedürfnis gehabt haben, die Regeln genauer durchzulesen. (Die zwei Mädchen lesen im Gegenteil viel lieber meine Elfenwelt Comics.)

AlexSchroeder 2011-01-22 15:24 UTC

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2011-01-24 Spam

Wow, what a spam storm! I rolled back all those changes and locked the wiki for the moment. There’s no fighting a bot manually. 😊

I’ll look into what allowed this to happen later today and hopefully enable page editing and commenting again. ;-)

Update: IP number blocked, lock removed. That was weird. vee

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2011-01-26 Perry Rhodan

Band 1 Seit dem 8. September 1961 erscheint der Groschenroman um Perry Rhodan, den ersten Astronauten, der auf dem Mond gelandet ist. Man bedenke, dass die erste reale Mondlandung am 21. Juli 1969 statt fand. Seither beschreibt die Serie eine Art von retro-future. Jeweils 50, 100, oder 200 Bänder à 50-70 Seiten erzählen ein grosses Kapitel der sich ewig fortsetzenden Geschichte. Die Hauptfiguren sind unsterblich, in der Serie ist man im sechsten Jahrtausend angekommen, pro Woche ein Heft über fünfzig Jahre macht etwa 2500 Hefte insgesamt.

Angenommen ich lese jede Woche ein Heft à 70 Seiten im A5 Format, dann muss ich jeden Tag 10 Seiten lesen. Wenn ich doppelt so schnell lese, brauche ich fünfzig Jahre, um aufzuholen! Das ist ja schon fast ein Lebenswerk!

Zur Serie gab es übrigens auch ein Rollenspiel. Und gerade sehe ich, dass Ende letztes Jahr die Lizenz ausgelaufen ist. Wenn ich das richtig durchblickt habe, war der Midgard Autor Jürgen Franke auch Mitautor des Perry Rhodan Rollenspiels.

Ob eine Traveller Runde im Perryversum statt im Kaylash Subsektor mehr Spass gemacht hätte? Oder Diaspora?

Ich habe mir auf alle Fälle die Hefte 0001-0099 als PDF Dateien gekauft und bin im Moment an Band #3. Es gibt noch viel zu tun! :)

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Comments on 2011-01-26 Perry Rhodan


Graf Hardimund
Willkommen im Perryversum!

Es gibt gleich zwei Perry-Rhodan-RSPs. Das jüngere basiert auf Midgard-Regeln und ist irgendwo in der Handlung nach Band 2000 angesiedelt. Aber es gab in den Frühneunzigern noch ein anderes. Ich hab’s nie in den Händen gehalten, aber ich glaube, es ist wesentlich taktiklastiger (Bodenpläne von Raumschiffen, Verbindung mit einer Raumkampf-CoSim) - und ist in der Frühzeit der Serie angesiedelt.

Ans Perryversum als Spielwelt habe ich mich nie rangetraut, aber viele Ideen gerade aus den ersten 100 - 200 Bänden sind super um auch in anderen/eigenen SF-Welten als Szenario verwurstet zu werden: Die Jagd nach dem Kreuzer, den alle haben wollen; Ein Planet als Neuling und Underdog im Konzert der Mächte etc.

Alte vergilbte Hefte sind übrigens viel schöner als schnöde PDFs. Wie die duften und wie die sich anfühlen …

Gruß
Graf Hardimund



Greifenklaue
Ich habe einsmals die ersten 40 Silberbände gelesen, danach ist mein Interesse aber rapide abgekühlt! Aber viel Spaß beim Lesen.

Greifenklaue 2011-01-26 18:01 UTC


Zum Midgard-basierten PR-Rollenspiel gibt es einen meiner Meinung nach lesenswerten Verriss.

Im Midgard-Forum gabs darüber auch eine ausführliche Diskussion die die Designziele der Entwickler weiter beleuchtet

– Harald Wagener 2011-01-26 19:25 UTC



RowC
Schön, daß wieder einmal ein Rollenspieler zu PR gefunden hat, diese beiden Hobbys sind einfach wie füreinander gemacht (du wirst bald merken, was ich meine). Würde mich freuen, wenn du noch öfter schreibst, wie die die Serie weiterhin gefällt.

RowC 2011-01-26 20:15 UTC

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Define external redirect: 2010-06-24 Character Genration Shortcuts PDF RecordKeeper