Archive for the ‘Game Design’ Category

The West – Part III

Monday, June 15th, 2009

Ahey, 🙂

Gun Duels

Gun Duels are handled using a semi-detailed scripted mechanic that lies half-way between a normal conflict and Extended Resolution. Gun Duels always take place between two characters only. Should any third character wish to interfere in the duel, the Gun Duel mechanic is no longer applicable and play should proceed using standard Solar System conflict resolution rules. As long as the Gun Duel mechanic is in effect, no check can be turned over to Extended Resolution.


The West – Part II

Sunday, June 14th, 2009

Hey, all, 🙂

This is where I continue my previous post with some more general stuff and all the open stuff.

A Note on Sources

The West is a Solar System game, and Solar System is based off of The Shadow of Yesterday. As such, if it seems that many, most, or even all of the Abilities, Secrets and Keys look familiar, frankly, that’s because they are. 🙂


The West – Part I

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

Hello, all, 🙂

The West

In The West, there’s cowboys and indians, saloons and poker, high noon duels and general stores, miners and prospectors, chinamen and mexicans, outlaws and bounty hunters, the telegraph and the train, trading posts and fur trappers, and the US Army’s 7th Cavalry.


The West is a game for Eero Tuovinen’s Solar System rules set, as based off of The Shadow of Yesterday, by Clinton R. Nixon.

The West was developed by Rogério Alecrim, Ana Carrilho, Luís Figueira, Bruno Galvão and myself.


Murk and the Fundamental Structure of RPGs

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Hello, all, 🙂

A long time ago in a distant land, Joshua “El Fuego” BishopRoby was met with the following apparently unsolvable conundrum:

Does the GM need to apply some measure of Force in order to get to the interesting bits of the bangs?  Is there some ‘acceptable level’ of GM Force in the bang-structured game?  Is bang-structure advocating short bursts of illusionism to get to the very non-predetermined decisions that the PCs make in the bangs?

The question was asked by him and answered by Ron Edwards, and the answer is a flat and unequivocal No! The GM tools used to lead characters to bangs are, in fact, not Force, but rather Authorities, which I expounded on at length in my previous post.

In truth, this question was actually one of terminology, rather than one of actual form, and so, this thread would have been one among many, and quickly forgotten, were it not for one simple fact:

A long way down the line (in page 3, posts 4 and 5), in the process of constructing an answer, Ron unwittingly (or perhaps very much wittingly) dissects the whole damn structure of a role-playing game.

Like the previous one, this essay is my attempt at explaining these concepts in my own words, as a way of fostering my own understanding, as much as anyone else’s.


The Man in the Black Velvet Mask

Saturday, October 21st, 2006

Hello, all, 🙂

And welcome to my latest diatribe on game play and design techniques. This little essay is called:

A Study on Stances, Authorities, and Shared Narration Rights

GM: You are attacked by a man in a black velvet mask.
Player: I spin around and strike at his face, tearing his mask right off!
GM: Guess what, it’s Barnabas, the stable keeper!
Player: No kidding? Holy shit!
(Adapted from an example provided by Ron Edwards in this thread.)

Aside: Most, if not all, of what I say here can be gleaned directly from that thread, by the way, so really, you should go read it. This essay is really just my attempt at explaining these concepts in my own words, as a way of fostering my own understanding, as well as that of any hypothetical persons that might still be a tad lost about all this stuff. So, really, go read the thread before you read this. 🙂


The System Monkey meets the Fruitful Void

Tuesday, September 5th, 2006

Ahoy, 🙂


Yeah, I’ve been looking for deepness to write about for a while, because, you know, I like deepness, but the fact of the matter is that, of late, my gaming sessions have been all fun and wholesome and fulfilling and whatnot, and as such, there has been no need for deepness.

And yet, it’s about time I try to come up with something deep to write about, and so this is it:

Think about the games you like to play, and about how you like to play them. Do you like to go all out and explore the hell out of the system, trusting that the game play will be satisfactory, or do you like to have your play be about something other than the system, trusting that the system will support you?*


CKK – Immersion’s New Kid on the Block

Thursday, July 20th, 2006

Hi, 🙂

Whilst I’m typing, Mo does it again. CKK is Catharsis, Kairosis and Kenosis.

The post is a few days old already, but in case you haven’t yet, you should check it out pronto:

Immersion Goals Borrowed from Literary Theory


Ancient History

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Hi, 🙂

If I had had a blog, back then, I’m pretty sure all this stuff would have been in here:

  1. First time with GNS: Once upon a time, I read about GNS and I found it interesting, but I didn’t really know what it meant in terms of Actual Play. Here’s me suddenly grasping it.
  2. First time with Sorcerer: Here’s me finally getting to meet some indie fans in Lisbon, and us getting together to play the indie flagship that is Sorcerer. Unfortunately, we never did get the chance to get it to work.
  3. First time with PtA: The first time I actually had an incredibly succesful and fun RPG session. It didn’t begin well, but in the end, it finally fell into place.
  4. First attempt at creating jargon: It failed miserably, but I still think the Shared Gijsbers Space is a worthy concept.
  5. First serious attempt at game design: Here’s the thread that started it all. Power Plays, as it is now called, is an ongoing project, which is currently undergoing the first complete actual rules draft. This project will see the light of day. Of particular significance is the first playtest session.
  6. First complete minigame: Well, microgame, actually. No, Mr. Bond, I Expect You To Die.
  7. First time with TSoY: Well, technically, not the first, as this was our fourth session, including chargen. Nonetheless, this is my wife totally making the game for me.
  8. First time with Capes: Each time I try a new indie game, I get farther and farther from traditional. As usual, there were lots of problems with this one as well. Fortunately, they all got sorted out. I definitely want to play more of this.
  9. First time I was actually surprised by theory: Surprised being the operative word. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of folks a lot smarter than me, but this is by far the weirdest thing I ever did see. The right kind of weird, of course.
  10. First time with Death Stakes: This game is so weird. It’s not supposed to be fun, but it is. Here’s me winning it, and here’s me GMing it. Apparently, there’s two ways to win. If your GM is blown away by your description, you win. If your GM can’t decide between typing and laughing, you win.

That’s it for now. There’s a bunch of definitional blog entries out there that I should have linked to, but since it’s not within my grasp to recall them all, well, hopefully, I’ll just remember to at least refer to them if and when I decide to talk about their respective issues.