#RPGaDay2018 Day30 Lessons

Share something you learned about playing your character

When discussing role-playing I typically mention Intent, whether it is about something that is In Character (IC) or Out Of Character (OOC). This approach grew out of my early experiences of being in games with Adversarial stances, both players and person running the game. I like to have clarity of what a person is trying to achieve, not just IC but also OOC. I don’t obsessively ask the question, I let me players know they can clarify something at any time during a game, and just occasionally check with them if I feel I might be missing something. I find this approach has allowed me to empower not just the players but myself as the GM, and ideally the game as a whole.

I’ve learnt a lot more from particular characters and RPG in general. Empathy, culture, history, art, etc. But since we are keeping things short Intent is my main takeaway, which I also use in day-to-day life a lot.

The story of my first regular lunchtime High School gaming group: Role-play Meets Lord of the Flies.

RPG Lord of the Flies

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#RPGaDay2018 Day15 Tricky RPG XP

Describe a tricky RPG experience you enjoyed

Almost a brain-fog video today, but I think I managed to been coherent enough. I talk about anxiousness and the moment, LARP, Street Fighter and my Mage game; see #PieChartofIndecision below. I didn’t go with any thoughts about handling tricky experiences based around things like clashes of playing styles, system opinions or expectations. I’ve had a few tricky RPG encounters at Conventions in the Living D&D and Star Wars systems, thankfully those were rare. Not that those don’t count, but I went with experiences that were all positive, I think to better keep with the #RPGaDay focus, otherwise I might have descended into a confused rant about something negative; today has been a bad day! Keeping it positive, below is a bit more info about the L5R game event that I list.

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This story is when we were new to playing Legend of the Five Rings. The party were mostly Dragon Samurai, two had Kitsuki training so were odd in the setting. The group were Magistrates and as part of their travels came across a village with a murdered Samurai. Unless the guilty party was found the whole village was at stake. The Kitsuki trained individuals along with their Crab friend proceeded to investigate the murder of a Samurai. Meanwhile the cold-PC decided they did not approve of the methodology and found out who the murderer was using traditional methods.

Short-version: eventually both investigations uncover the truth, the murder was self-defence by the Chonin’s daughter who had been assaulted. The cold-PC is slightly ahead of the rest of the party, calls the village to hear the confession of the Chonin and immediately decapitates the Chonin; an innocent person. The rest of the party are quietly furious. During a drink break the others admit that they are a bit freaked out OCC, but appreciate Rokugan is different and complicated, but thankfully were loving the IC drama of it all.

A long IC awkward silence ensues, eventually the Kitsuki trained PC questions the cold-PC on their actions. The cold-PC is offended, but eventually gives in and explains that the Chonin was honourable, saved his daughter who would have been killed regardless of whether you believe her self-defence was warranted. The Chonin saved face for all, the Samurai’s family will not have their name tarnished, and the Chonin’s soul will gain from his honourable actions. Plus any parent sacrificing themselves for their child is understandable, and is worthy of respect. This way everyone won, whilst the Kitsuki’s methods would have revealed a truth, but would have undermined the Kami’s Order and Tradition. It was a wonderfully awkward session, both IC and OOC, and helped us all learn the tricky political and religious viewpoints about truth in the setting.

 

#RPGaDay2018 Day14 Failure Became Amazing

Describe a failure that became amazing

I go into some depth about a crazy game Vampire that I run back in the 90s, which become a disaster from a certain point of view, but most of the players loved it. It also led to an amazing game. No LARP stories, nor have I included tales about a critical dice roll radically altering a game, not that I have anything against those moments, just that the list I think I made is enough 🙂

Just realised I badly explain my point about high fantasy RPG, pesky sleep deprivation. I guess my foggy thinking was that high fantasy is typically about big failures and big successes, so many of the stories I know from others are the overly-epic type. Such as intentionally pushing scenarios to create guaranteed failures, invulnerable NPCs monologuing, which then requires Deus Ex Machina or there is a party wipe.

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#RPGaDay2018 Day13 Play Evolved

Describe how your play has evolved

In my video today I talk about learning to be less serious, a bit more tolerant of people breaking immersion. We can still have games that are predominately In-Character, have fun, but also allow players to relax when they play as well; appreciating each persons reasons for playing are varied, never mind as a group.

I didn’t mention that I strive to keep evolving, like many players I enjoy researching new ideas and re-evaluating my own opinions about gaming. The impact of studying art and science upon my thoughts.

#RPGaDay2018 Day10 RPG Changed Me

How has gaming changed you?

Another day of differing answers, with so many that I particularly appreciated.  My favourite was this tweet:

Several of today’s participants went quite personal. This is part of the reason my video initially involves literally hiding behind a mask, made myself be silly and open to ridicule and then go personal. Whilst there is more that could be mentioned I hope watching Skaven Dungeon Master Rollfang’s declaration of being the best at least makes your laugh, or roll your eyes 😉 Nothing like a bit of LARP / Cosplay improv to leave me wondering if I should put a lot more effort in and rehearse or something.

This topic also relates to a project I’ve been slowly working on, my role-playing guide. I have some comic strips relating to what I mention in my video about different ways to frame and consider things. Gamify your life #RPG4Life

#RPGaDay2018 Day07 GM & Stakes

How can a GM make the stakes important?

On the surface this is quite a straightforward question and therefore I could give a simple answer, but as like most of things in role-playing there are a lot subtleties lurking beneath the surface. I think the easy answer is personal, a perfectly valid answer. I just happened to take it a step further, since what is personal? Why do people care? Why is someone motivated or invested? I go in to more depth of my #PieChartofIndecision in my video, plus touching on my L5R and Aberrant campaigns.

#RPGaDay2018 Day07 graph

Following on from the time pressure point, when I was working at KJC Games running role-playing Play By Mail games (PBM) for a lot of customers, one of the big issues was players had a limited amount of things they could do each turn. Yep that sounds quite obvious, but since the players had in-game friends and enemies also trying to achieve things, gather resources, uncover mysteries, improve their alliance, undermine their enemies, time pressure really stood out. Thus the relationship between time and choice was emphasised.

A quick short story about being an NPC at the Lorien Trust LARP. As an NPC I created and ran out plots, potentially hundreds of players could interact with or at least hear about the plot; plots at the Gathering could affect thousands. Some of the players chatted with me about how surprised they were with my style of GMing, that I didn’t just run out big deadly plots that I also did several small things, or rather they seemed small to them, but then they wondered. Thus the players didn’t know whether somebody coming in to the guild was actually a threat or not. Then they had to determine what was important, made harder because there were so many things happening, which resulted in some plot being given to other players. Not that everyone was happy, nor everyone was involved, but a bunch of compliments was still great 😉

A common thing that I found at LARP, particularly festival LARP, is that a few proactive players were regularly resolving plots, whilst less physically capable or newer, less well-known/connected players struggled to be involved. This is partly a result of competency, understandably established characters had proven themselves.

The large scale LARP problems mentioned above are rarely a problem in tabletop, mostly because the players can discuss things directly with the GM; so much easier and appropriate to freeze game time than at LARP.

I think another thing to think about is with ComputerRPG (CRPG/JRPG), they are quite different than tabletop. Overwhelmingly with CRPG is that time is not an issue, with the main plots being put on indefinite hold whilst side-quests are carried out; daft when the main quest keeps emphasising how urgent something is. Elder Scrolls and Fallout in particular do this, but it is a core CRPG approach. Whilst I like the games the ignoring of time undermine my character and story immersion, time doesn’t really matter.

Coming back to this fusion of the #PieChartofIndecision, plus other things I’ve not mentioned, we are mortal players playing a game, time matters, time is our stake, the fact we are playing the game itself is part of our choice in life; any game is a stake of our life force.

#RPGaDay2018 Day06 Make World Seem Real

How can players make a world seem real?

I first noted the word real and not realistic, an importance difference. I also decided to avoid discussing whether a GM counts as a player, which is an interesting debate, with differences between systems and playing styles.

Every day I have been reading a lot of tweets, blogs, short podcasts, and watching videos. The majority of answers are the similar about the players helping make things in game, a brilliant point. I quite enjoyed today’s different answers, which is why I choose to directly reference some below, but part way through I was reminded of the extra work involved in doing so ;-)#RPGaDay2018 Day06 graph

Decades ago I used to role-play with a player that was known locally as a power-gamer, but thing they also role-played. Whilst they would obsess about the best ways to min-max a character, what powers were ‘broken’, what rules were open to exploitation. What I think was noteworthy about this player was that they always played power-obsessive characters with strong motivations, had a background and reasons for doing things. Despite some problems, overall I can recall most of the games they played in were good.

Adding taking the previous paragraph to a more abstract level would be: Concept, Connections & Consistency. After all if players have a reason to be immersed in their characters then they will find the game world will seem more real. If any of these abstract aspects are ignored or reduce then they will struggle. For example if the player’s character concept does not matter the genre/game/setting then will likely result in problems.

Concept, Connections & Consistency

http://autocratik.blogspot.com/2018/08/rpgaday2018-day-6-how-can-players-make.html

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