Stuff to Watch: January 2008

edited January 2008 in Stuff to Watch
In A Wicked Age, Vincent Baker's sword and sorcery game, is getting published! My game group has played a super-modified version of this game a number of times, and it ranks among my favorite games ever. I'm really excited to see where the design ended up.
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  • There is a new organization CAR-PGa for the advancement of Table top RPGs
  • edited January 2008
    Posted By: thorThere is a new organizationCAR-PGafor the advancement of Table top RPGs
    CAR-PGa is hardly new. It's been around for... I don't know, at least a decade. However, they've just launched their new site, which is cool!
  • Posted By: RemiIn A Wicked Age, Vincent Baker's sword and sorcery game, is getting published! My game group has played a super-modified version of this game anumberoftimes, and it ranks among my favorite games ever. I'm really excited to see where the design ended up.
    I interviewed Vincent about this for my podcast, and it's going to be the next episode (2 Saturdays from now).
  • By the way, IAWA will be coming out at Dreamation 2008.
  • Over at RPGNet, someone suggests a 24-hour World Creation contest (like 24 hour rpg, but for a campaign setting). No limits, yet, but a cool idea nonetheless.
  • edited January 2008
    WotC is relaunching the Endless Quest series of solo adventures. (Forbes)
    Book 1, Claw of the Dragon (originally published in 1986) is being released this month; Book 2, Search for the Pegasus (originally published in 1985) is due in July.
  • edited January 2008
    The Escapist is looking for gamers outside the U.S. to discuss the role-playing scene in different parts of the world in a new column.
  • http://www.nekogames.jp/mt/2008/01/cursor10.html is a 20 minute Flash game, and one of the cleverest games I've seen in ages.
  • So, if you have any interest in large scale games and the analysis of social dynamics, you might want to look at what the original evil hat (our editor who also goes by the handle Amberyl) has posted regarding gathering and analysis of data on a MUSH. She has two posts, one of the initial analysis and a second with the graphs.

    This stuff is totally why I like having friends with huge giant brains.

    -Rob D.
  • Seth Godin points out a trend which should, at the very least, make Thor happy.

    -Rob D.
  • Shadow Unit is a collaborative writing project by Emma Bull, Elizabeth Bear, Sarah Monette & Will Shetterly with a X-Files/Conspiracy-X vibe to it. It's going to be a mix of free and subscription content, but at the moment I believe it's all free content.
  • Protagonise - online, user-generated, choose your own adventure.
  • The article I wrote about My Life with Master for Second Person: Role-Playing and Story in Games and Playable Media (MIT Press, 2007) is now up at the Electronic Book Review. It's an actively edited site, so your ripostes should be sent to editors@electronicbookreview.com.

    I honestly didn't expect the articles from other RPG designers (Will Hindmarch, Rebecca Borgstrom, etc.) would be so expansive compared to my own when I submitted it, so I'd be quite glad to see you take this as an opportunity to expand on me, if you're so inclined.
  • Tom Spurgeon interviews Sean T. Collins about the past year in comics. The following section reminded me of my own feelings about roleplaying right now.
    SPURGEON: How would you describe your specific interest in comics? What core elements drive your interest in the art form?

    COLLINS: Wow. You know, those are hard questions! It's like asking me what drives my interest in rock and roll or movies. I honestly couldn't tell you why I'm so focused on comics as opposed to, like, prose fiction. I guess it's the sense that comics is the last Wild West medium. You can pretty much do whatever the hell you want, be as weird as you want, and still be published and find a passionate audience for it. That makes me feel passionate. The feeling I get when I crack open a comic is pretty close to that feeling I get when the lights go down in a movie theater or the opening notes of a really great record come on, only if anything I think I get it more often and more viscerally from comics than I do from movies. Comics are fun, even or especially when they're really just brutal and dark and awful.

    Lately there are two sort of vibes that get me going in terms of comics. In genre comics, it's what I've come to call "the art of enthusiasm" -- a creator taking all sorts of stuff that they find awesome about the art they enjoy and presenting it for your enjoyment as filtered and expanded through their own imaginations. Things like Ed Brubaker and Matt Fraction's Immortal Iron Fist, Geoff Johns's Green Lantern, Bryan Lee O'Malley's Scott Pilgrim.

    In art comics, I find the way I interact with them getting closer and closer to the way I interact with music. So I like the short story format because it's like listening to one good song. I get fired up by the tension and rhythm of repetition. I like the elements to sort of jangle against each other at angles, almost in abstract fashion, so that the impact is primarily emotional rather than intellectual, which is how I listen to music -- I mean, I can really really love a song and not be able to tell you what it's "about" at all, maybe not even be able to sing more than a lyric or two, but I really really love that song. I'm thinking of Anders Nilsen's comics in Mome, The End, and Monologues for the Coming Plague, Kevin Huizenga stuff like "Sunset" or "Untitled," John Hankiewicz's Asthma. I can't even tell you how much all of those excited me this past year. And yet I also loved finding out that there's a whole rainbow of Lantern Corps floating around the DCU. It's still rock 'n' roll to me.
  • DriveThruRPG is giving away free PDF copies of Bruce Cordell/Malhavoc's When the Sky Falls, a solid D&D supplement from 2003 about your gameworld getting hit by a giant meteorite. Yay for free stuff that doesn't suck!
  • CAMPAIGN CONTROL: KEEPING THEM ON A LEASH

    "And remember, the importance for your player is not to have total freedom in your world but have the illusion of it. As long as they think they can move freely and that their characters face obstacles when going out of the way instead of being the players that faces the limit, they will enjoy their game. Have fun!"
  • Holy shit, dude, that's Hilari-awful.

    It's basically pages and pages of clever or cruel tricks to use so that:

    1) The players don't "fuck up" your awesome story that you're giving them.
    2) You don't have to lose face by daring suggest "Oh, I don't have that part fleshed out yet, maybe later. Want to go there? I'll put something together for next week. I've got some hooks over in this town over here, though. Let's find reasons that you start there this session...". Because if a GM loses face in front of his players, he must commit seppuku.

    The opening is about how he hates "2 foot high fences" in video game design, which keep you from interesting areas of the game" (I too sometimes laugh at/get annoyed by them: FF-X heroes can leap and fall endlessly in cut scenes, but when you control them they can not lean/cross over a fallen .5 meter column), and then he proceeds to give you 7 pages' worth, dozens and dozens of examples, of physical and psychological 2 foot high fences to put in the way of players.

    -Andy
  • Posted By: Andyand then he proceeds to give you 7 pages' worth, dozens and dozens of examples, of physical and psychological 2 foot high fences to put in the way of players.
    Oh, Andy, don't be naive.

    We all know that any GM worthy of the title is, by definition, so very much more intelligent than their players that they will be able to maintain the illusion seamlessly. The players will never, ever suspect, feel pressured, manipulated, or disempowered; nor will they sense that they are being (dare I say it?) deprotagonised.

    Real GMs are just that good.

    *Nod*
  • edited January 2008
  • Posted By: Judd
    "And remember, the importance for your player is not to have total freedom in your world but have the illusion of it. As long as they think they can move freely and that their characters face obstacles when going out of the way instead of being the players that faces the limit, they will enjoy their game. Have fun!"
    This is amazing! Look and see for yourself--here are some favourite excerpts:

    (These list ways you can keep players out of certain areas in your gameworld.)

    Gossips, legends and rumors: Terrible legends, gossips of a
    powerful monster roaming the area or the rumor of a plague can scare
    most people and only foolish or experienced player will want to see if
    the legend is true.

    Hmmm... ever seen this one work? Sounds like a good plan. :P

    High passage fees: If the only way to get to an area is to pay a
    fortune (fee for crossing a bridge, getting on a ship, zeppelin or
    crossing a portal), the player will have to find that money or be willing to
    bribe, sneak or kill.

    ...what about stealing? Anyway, good thing we've never seen PCs commit any of those kinds of acts or engage in any of that kind of behavior, especially not in railroady follow-the-dancing-plot games.

    And, finally, my favourite. The language used, in particular, is just too ironic--almost making me wonder whether this is a joke.

    Trains: They are fast and can put your players hundreds of miles from
    where you want them in a matter of hours. The advantage is that their
    course is restricted to the tracks leading them
    and a fee is usually
    expected to get on board.
    Thanks for that link, Judd!
  • All aboard! Wow, just wow.

    In other news: Mickey has a podcast! I'm super proud of her. She set up a libsyn account for both Geek Girls Rule and Valerie Strangiato, but this first on is a GGR.
    http://sirriamnicast.libsyn.com/index.php?post_id=295548
  • Posted By: JuddCAMPAIGN CONTROL: KEEPING THEM ON A LEASH

    "And remember, the importance for your player is not to have total freedom in your world but have the illusion of it. As long as they think they can move freely and that their characters face obstacles when going out of the way instead of being the players that faces the limit, they will enjoy their game. Have fun!"
    Ow, Ow. Now I've got blood running out of my eyes. Thanks.
  • I see a game, now, where the players are fantasy gods, trying to keep a band of annoyingly low-attention-span heroes on track for some vital sacred quest or another.

    "Looks like they're wandering south again. Actions?"
    "I strike the lands to the south with a lethal plague! Let's see if they think their shopping trip is worth lesions and boils."
    "Hmmm, looks like that worked. Now they're investigating the east."
    "Can I use my Lightning Wrath to start a nicely discouraging forest fire?"
    *rolls* "Failure. The Wizard has magical protection! Now they're convinced they need to investigate the source of these unnatural flames!"
    "Damn them!"
    Magical force or elemental walls: magical walls are probably impossible to cross to almost any player unless he possesses anti-magic spells.
    My favorite of the bunch. Nothing will keep the PCs from realizing you don't want them in an area like an impassable wall of magical force. Awesome link, Judd.
  • Does he mention letting the players wander into a Zone of Magic Boredom? You know, where everything is fine and nothing particularly exciting ever happens?
  • "Foolish or experienced"!?
  • I know this is drifting dangerously off-topic... but does anyone know of any threads discussing that article?

    I would just _love_ to see some sort of survey or poll of roleplayers, asking them whether they would enjoy playing in such a game or not. Now that would be interesting.
  • Posted By: BenhimselfI see a game, now, where the players are fantasy gods, trying to keep a band of annoyingly low-attention-span heroes on track for some vital sacred quest or another.
    Oooooh, this has given me an idea...
  • edited January 2008
    What makes me shiver is not so much the thought that I might find myself in a game in which the GM or designer wants to block my every move with some arbitrary and impassable barrier, but that having decided on subjecting me to such asshattery, they would be unable to come up with their own list of suitably railroady and ham-handed set pieces and would find themselves in need of this lengthy tome of the obvious.

    "Ah....to the south....hmmm....to the south you find....(types on his laptop)...the ocean! HAH!"
  • Changing the subject from RPGs in general and insane, asshat articles specifically...

    SimCity Source Code Released to the Wild! Let the ports begin...
  • Posted By: Paul T.I know this is drifting dangerously off-topic... but does anyone know of any threads discussing that article?
    We've been talking about it on ENWorld, where the author was pimping it.

    General consensus: terrible advice.
  • Posted By: philarosPosted By: BenhimselfI see a game, now, where the players are fantasy gods, trying to keep a band of annoyingly low-attention-span heroes on track for some vital sacred quest or another.
    Oooooh, this has given me an idea...

    Go, man, go.
  • Here is a fascinating attempt to create an irc chat channel with a really good signal to noise ratio, by the creator of the XKCD comic and his programmer friend.

    http://blag.xkcd.com/2008/01/14/robot9000-and-xkcd-signal-attacking-noise-in-chat/

    It makes me wonder about the feasibility of something like this with forums.
  • Fun with settings: some RPG.Net guys invent "Flamepunk". It's the City Built Around a Tarrasque for 2008.
  • Canon and the death of everything we hold dear is an excellent rant/article (ranticle?), crossposted seemingly everywhere. I found a copy on my cat.
  • edited January 2008
    Posted By: Justin D. JacobsonThe identity of the Mona Lisa model has finally been confirmed.
    Finally! I've lost so much sleep over this issue over the years. Now, I can finally sleep happy. :-)
  • Green Ronin will make the True20 license free as of May 2008.

    Rumors of this being a big "fuck you" to the $5,000 fee license for 4e early adopters are unfounded, but funny as hell.
  • Posted By: buzzWe've been talking about it on ENWorld, where the author was pimping it.

    General consensus: terrible advice.
    Actually I find that very reassuring.

    p.
  • Posted By: DanielGreen Ronin will make the True20 license free as of May 2008.
    Makes me want to buy John Kim a beer, since he's waited so long for this.
  • Here's an interview I'd be proud of. It's of John Wick recorded by Sam Chupp of The Bear's Grove podcast. They talk mainly about House of the Blooded. I'm just sad he cut the interview in half.
  • Posted By: Jonathan WaltonPosted By: DanielGreen Ronin will make the True20 license free as of May 2008.
    Makes me want tobuy John Kim a beer, since he's waited so long for this.
    Wow, I'd never seen that site. It is now prominently bookmarked on my toolbar. Thanks.
    Posted By: Clyde L. RhoerHere's an interview I'd be proud of.It's of John Wick recorded by Sam Chupp of The Bear's Grove podcast. They talk mainly about House of the Blooded. I'm just sad he cut the interview in half.
    I thought it was a great conversation. The more I hear about Houses, the more I want to give my money to John for a copy.
  • Posted By: DanielGreen Ronin will make the True20 license free as of May 2008.

    Rumors of this being a big "fuck you" to the $5,000 fee license for 4e early adopters are unfounded, but funny as hell.
    My guess is that it's (a) the True20 brand hasn't taken off as they'd hoped, in terms of things like online buzz and supplement sales; and (b) like Adamant, seeing a potential fracturing in the d20 market and wanting to put themselves in a stronger position to grab a bit more market share.
  • Posted By: Tim GrayPosted By: DanielGreen Ronin will make the True20 license free as of May 2008.

    Rumors of this being a big "fuck you" to the $5,000 fee license for 4e early adopters are unfounded, but funny as hell.
    My guess is that it's (a) the True20 brand hasn't taken off as they'd hoped, in terms of things like online buzz and supplement sales; and (b) like Adamant, seeing a potential fracturing in the d20 market and wanting to put themselves in a stronger position to grab a bit more market share.

    I think that's a good analasys. The 4e OGL will be very different from the 3e and its cousins. True20, IMHO, has the best chance out of all of them to satisfy the needs of those gamers and designers. It would be nice to put this in a time capsul, then come back in three years to see how thinngs have evolved. GenCon will be exciting this year :)

    Peace,

    -Troy
  • drop.io/voice allows you to record mp3s from your phone. If you want to record voice, but don't want to buy a microphone, this seems like a handy solution.
  • Gamerz The Movie, a Scottish film that seems like Gregory's Girl rpgifyed, is coming to (limited) silver screens and also to DVD. Looks fun!
  • Posted By: Alex FGamerz The Movie,
    USians - you can get this on DVD last year. I rented it via Netflix. It inspired me to make a game, even!
  • Posted By: DanielSolisdrop.io/voiceallows you to record mp3s from your phone. If you want to record voice, but don't want to buy a microphone, this seems like a handy solution.
    That requires further study, cause it could make podcasting so much easier.
  • I made my very first Abulafia table!

    It still needs work, and some weighting, although I don't think I'm going to make drug offenses quite as prevalent as they are in real life. Still, holy cow, it was easy and fun.
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