Comments on 2021-05-08 No programming

I’m glad to hear you got your vaccines!

I’ve found that when I lose interest in a hobby or habit or anything else, it helps to do just a tiny bit every day, kind of like what you said about building a habit. It won’t get you out of the funk any faster, but it lets you know exactly when you start regaining interest, and helps to keep momentum for when you return to it. (Of course, that’s easier said than done. My desktop, both physical and virtual, is cluttered with abandoned projects - but almost all the ones I have finished faced a period of disinterest and survived, so I guess the rule works when I manage to follow it.)

– Malcolm 2021-05-09 07:56 UTC

Interesting corollary, haha!

A related post: Momentum Has a Quality All of Its Own where noism argues for “weekly sessions that you run come hell or high water”.

– Alex 2021-05-10 07:44 UTC

How about a village generator? With everyone in it? Some inspiration:

– Björn Buckwalter 2021-05-14 16:50 UTC

It’s an interesting idea. At the same time, however, how would that ever be relevant at the table? I don’t think I hardly ever need four or five non-player characters per settlement. It’s a bit like a movie: sure, there are a ton of nameless faces in the background, but how many of them have a name the protagonists remember, a face the protagonists can recall? A handful, I’d wager. And I’m suspecting that this might be true for settlements as well.

To put it another way: if the players need a blacksmith, and it isn’t important, then there is one, nameless, and the interaction is quick, pay the money, get the goods, done. If there is dramatic tension to be had, then it’s different, of course. I’d say this should be rare: does the blacksmith guild hate you? Are orcs the best blacksmiths there are? If so, perhaps the scene can be tense, and perhaps the blacksmith needs a name after all.

I fear my own generator doesn’t live up to these principles, unfortunately. If you check out the village generator, it generates:

All non-player characters generated with levels have names, a portrait, treasure, sometimes with a mission.

The generator can also produce the leaders of the local branches of secret societies, the members of a travelling circus, war veterans, and so on.

Sometimes, I think it’s a bit much. It’s so long! Then again, I often thing: every one of these villages could be a starting village. To be really good starting villages, however, there should be more missions. I’m not sure whether adding a named blacksmith, a named rope maker, a named baker, or any of the other jobs would help.

Perhaps I need to see or hear of an example of play where all the data actually made the game better. If I as the referee have to sit down and prep the town for half an hour with a highlighter, then I’d say I’d rather spend that half an hour adding the two or three people I know my players will look for by myself. At least that seems like a more enjoyable way to spend my time.

As an example, I offer the town table. The town generator generates two kinds of towns. The one I’m referring to contains the phrase “protected by a large keep”. It’s modelled after the classic keep on the borderlands. I think looking at the ten towns it produces per page is an interesting exercise: what do you like about it, and why? Right now, I think I like the village generator above the best: it’s limited in scope. What do you think?

– Alex 2021-05-14 18:16 UTC

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