- What is Model United Nations?
- The "mechanics" of how it works
- What to take away from this for TTRPG stuff
- Some fun stories where I gush indulgently
Tuesday, September 21, 2021
Model United Nations: the Most Popular FKR Game
Sunday, September 19, 2021
If you work in any form of engineering then this is probably a familiar idea. I just want to talk about how valuable I find it to be when it comes to RPG design. I've always really liked that the standard in RPGs is to have new "editions", rather than straight-up sequels. And because it is, to greatly generalize, a fairly scrappy and accessible hobby, we get to do lots of communal collaboration. We build on each others' work. We actively encourage the theft of good ideas (within the bounds of intellectual property rights). Most RPGs list their "Rule 0" as being something along the lines of "the GM can and should ignore or change any part of the game they want to if they judge it best for their group." It's like you have a game designer at every table.
The problem is that a lot of folks are pretty amateur as game designers. The single biggest failing, I think, comes from this very gap: not enough would-be designers are engaging with iterative design.
You look at what's come before and you use it as a basis for what you'll create anew. You examine the previous version to understand its design, paying attention to the context which created it and asking yourself whether or not those same factors remain relevant. And at the very least, the common corollary to that rule 0 is this: "a good GM will first make an effort to understand the original rule's purpose before deciding to change it." All-too-often ignored wisdom.
I especially find this to be common in two cases: 1) people complaining about design they don't understand, and 2) people making poorly thought-out houserules. Let's talk about some examples.
Sunday, September 12, 2021
The New School, the Old School, and 5th Edition D&D
|This was easily the funniest picture I found for "Edition Wars"|
Thursday, September 9, 2021
The Only Two Enemies You'll Ever Need
I have two types of enemies that I fall back on if I don't have something interesting or appropriate prepared:
A. Powerful but dumb
B. Weak but cunning
Monday, September 6, 2021
Happy Birthday Knight at the Opera: A Blog Retrospective
Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Associates vs Parties
- A true party is united by a purpose. They either all have the same patron or they operate a single enterprise together. A party that's also a thieves' guild or a pirate crew or an order of knights or something would be an example of this version. A victory for one is a victory for all, and they are frequently attacked, aided, and rewarded as a group. They probably share a single headquarters. Some games go so far as to create a "party sheet" that's like a character sheet but for elements that only exist as a feature of your unity, and aren't an element of any one single member alone (e.g. reputation or turf).
- Adventurers who merely associate may still go out on adventures every week, delving into dungeons together and saving each other's bacon. But they each have separate goals and will break off from everyone else if they have good cause to. The wizard owns his own tower from which he performs magical research. The rogue owns her own tavern where she smuggles contraband. The cleric has built a temple in order to better serve their personal deity and the fighter has raised an army to conquer a fortress in order to better protect the peasantry. Especially if you're playing an open table game, then you may not even have a consistent party makeup from session to session. There is no "party," there's just instances of adventurers in a shared world choosing to work together temporarily, and the stories we play out are following different combinations of adventurers each time. You'll also almost certainly not all be the same level, and there may even arise competition between you! An old party member may grow powerful and corrupt and become a villain for everyone else!