Saturday, January 2, 2010

Images for CN: Ascend

There is a second component to the 2010 Design Competition. One thus far neglected. But no more! I stumbled a hook, that has caught me line and sinker. The path yet to be traveled is unknown to me, but it is bubbling up!

Meaningful Play

What do you think the game mechanics in an RPG are really for?

A recent thread started by CodexArcanum asked this question.

It started with an example by David J Prokopetz, of, in my opinion, some pretty bad play:

“This may be going against the grain a bit: GMs whose preferred style boils down to "total up the modifiers, roll the dice, then ignore the results and make something up". On the rare occasions I've made an issue of it, the usual response I get is something along the lines of "well, everything is really down to the GM's discretion anyway" - or snarky accusations of being a "rules lawyer", as outlined up-thread. To my mind, you shouldn't have a rule unless you're actually going to use it*; however, I've run into many GMs for whom the only function of the game mechanics is to serve as a time sink for the players, affording the GM time to decide what happens next, without reference to mechanical resolution. Really irritating. “

CodexArcanum proposes an answer to his own question in list form:

1)Provide some means of pacing
2)Eat up a certain amount of time, which helps pacing and provides some thinking room.
3)Be a fun game in their own right. (Combat is entertaining, even if it usually is kind of a distraction from the story.)
4)Guide the story in unexpected but interesting directions.

His answer is best describes his description of what he uses Game Mechanics for.  The answer misses the mark by a wide margin, in my opinion.

Friday, January 1, 2010

Quick Link II

From the same thread, and not so much a link as an unearthed quote.  But god, can Vincent Baker break it down like none other.

Quick Link

We have an early candidate for best post of 2010.

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Ripping off Mechanics Part I

One idea generated by my mashing and gnashing of Themes is using dice to create game elements.   I won't lie.  I am ripping this idea off.

Today's Challenge CN:Ascend Themes Part V

A couple disappointments. Adventure Seeds and Adversaries! My list has narrowed to 3, and only one was at the top to begin with.  One I never thought to touch with a ten foot pole.  

What I learned in 4 days of shifting through the ashes of 10 themes.

Writing Introductions

My thinking has turned to Introductions, RPG style. A quick perusal of web advice has left me cold. Rob Lang's wonderful guide aside, blog entities, essays and abstracts dominate. Dominated by the Abstract, that's my problem.
From Rob Lang:
The introduction is likely to be the first thing that the reader will go to after the cover, so ensure it is fluffless. It must include the following:
·         What is in the book? System? Setting? Sample adventure?
·         What is the genre of the setting? What are the major themes?
·         What will the characters do?
·         what sort of mechanic is it (dice/diceless/pool)?

The first bit that may jump out is “fluffless.” Isn't an introduction exactly the place for fluff? What, oh what, could Rob Lang be smoking?