Archive for May, 2006

Theory Shmeory

Wednesday, May 31st, 2006

Hello, 🙂

Well, this was a weird weekend for me, not only RP-wise, but in general.

We had an interesting session of Dogs in the Vineyard on Friday, but I don’t want to go too far into that before we actually get to finish the town. We also put together a new PTA season, but again, play has yet to begin, so nothing to advance on that front.

Also, back and forth and back and forth, I drove a grand total of 250km, on Saturday. Tiring, I tell you.

All this to say, I don’t have much to advance regarding interesting actual play, today. So, I thought I’d take this moment to point something out: Every once in a while, I try to engage someone in conversation and use terms from the Big Model, like GNS and stuff, and I get glazed look, or worse yet, a response along the lines of “we’re not interested in theory, we just want to have fun”.

The thing is, GNS and the Big Model isn’t really theory. All it is is language. It’s a dictionary, created so that different people can talk about their games and actually communicate with each other, instead of talking past each other with empty catch phrases like “this is role-play, not roll-play”.

But wait. If GNS isn’t theory, then what is?

Anyone want to see what actual theory looks like? Check out this thread. Then, tell me if you want to talk about theory or not. 🙂


Experience Is Bad For You?

Saturday, May 27th, 2006

Hey, all, 🙂

The Shadow Of Yesterday continues to shine for us. After a rather bland start, an awesome third session and a rather bumpy fourth session, last week, we had one of the best RPG sessions I remember ever having in my role-playing career. Ever!

We stopped playing at about 2:00AM. We lingered about for a while, then Ana and I drove home, and because we live far from where we played and we’re responsible for distributing everyone, we didn’t get home till about 3:30.

At 7:30 AM, I still felt like the session had just ended, and I just could bring myself down enough to even think about falling asleep!


Mother May I (part IV)

Wednesday, May 24th, 2006

Hello, all, 🙂

This is the fourth and final post in my Mother May I series. To recap:

  • The first post was the rules to the children’s game that titles the series
  • The second post was my description of how certain ways of playing RPGs are similar to the game
  • The third post was a description of two exceptions to Mother May I play

In this post, I finally want to talk about some rules sets and play techniques you might use if you wanted to get away from this sort of play. This post is mostly aimed at people who are in camp n. 3. In other words, if you’re a player and want to find out how to have more cretive input into the game, or if you’re a GM and want your players to have more creative input, this is for you.


Mother May I (part III)

Monday, May 22nd, 2006

Hey, all, 🙂

Content and Meaning (continued)

Before I start into other modes of play, I want to talk about two exceptions to what I wrote in my previous post. So, what follows is a description of two types of situations where all players have a chance to create content and meaning, regardless of the set of rules or techniques in use.

Both of these exceptions have their up side and their down side, and I’ll take a stab and describing those as well. If you feel that you can add to my accounts of the advantages and disadvantages of each, please don’t hesitate to add a comment. 🙂


Mother May I (part II)

Thursday, May 18th, 2006

Hey, all, 🙂

What’s In A Session

I was talking to a friend, the other day, trying to understand what it is that he likes in RPGs, and he described the following situation:

“We were all trying to figure out how it was that we were going to off this high-powered sorceress. Taking her on directly was way above our means, so we needed to come up with an alternative plan. I decided to bank on her being a regular biological being and we booby-trapped her bathroom and waited. It could have failed in so many ways. We might have been caught. She might not have needed bathrooms at all. (We didn’t know if she wasn’t an undead being.) Or she might have noticed the booby-traps. As it was, it worked and we blew her to kingdom come. As a further point of coolness, these NPCs some times leave a specific type of loot, which one of the players needed. We got to console the player as the GM described said loot mixed in with the debris, destroyed and worthless.”

I’m listening to him, and I’m thinking two things:

  1. This story is Way Cool ™ and I wish I had been there
  2. I probably would have hated it


Mother May I (part I)

Tuesday, May 16th, 2006

Hey, all, 🙂

Who remembers this game?

Mother May I?


Dogs in the Vineyard

Saturday, May 13th, 2006

Hello, 🙂

Yeah, finally, I’ve wanted to try this one out ever since I met the rest of the crazy indie dudes in Lisbon. (Especially Ricardo, who buys indie games in bulk, I suspect…)


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.


Lisbon Gamer is ON!

Thursday, May 11th, 2006

Hello, everyone!

I’ve been wanting to do this for the longest time. So now, after quite the number of long hours getting my already-proccess-riddled machine to accept that it too can run Apache and PHP, and Lisbon Gamer is finally on the air.