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Wednesday, September 21, 2011

After Party

This is a sequel to Michael Thompson's game from last Dragoncon which you'll find here in the feed. This one was a lot of fun and lots of great humor and laughs. I was a bit sleep deprived so I'm going to listen and refresh my memory.Here.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Get me Central Casting on the Phone!

This isn't about the wonderful Central Casting products from the nineties, though I got quite a bit of use out of them back in the day.
This is about how Casting can improve your game. Now, first off, this doesn't apply to games where you're playing giant robots or mutant chickenmen or a very non-human character.
When I refer to casting I refer to asking the player, prior to play, who would play their character in the movie that is the game session.
I've been doing this for years and it really helps some players visualize their character better. It also helps the other players see the characters around the table as not just the player with a character sheet.
I realize that not everyone out there will have an encyclopedic knowledge of cinema and its not required. IMDB is your friend but, as always, talk to your players, ask questions, get feedback and don't force your idea on them.
As always, tailor to fit your group. If someone is resistant to the idea, don't force them.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Ghostbusters 1884 part 1

This is the first part of the Ghostbusters FATE game I played in at Dragoncon 09. It was run by Michael Thompson and sharp listeners will recognize Steven Thompson's enthusiastic voice around the table.

Matter of Honor from Dragoncon

This is the first of my Dragoncon recordings and I had a great time because I was PLAYING!
The game is called a Matter of Honor and its run by Michael Thompson, one of the Macguffin Society; a group of GMs in the Atlanta area who are all top notch GMs and great folks.
I'm sitting at the table with a couple of the folks from the Ghostbusters 1886 game from two years ago and we had a blast.
Its set in a fantasy realm much like the setting of The Three Musketeers though there's a liberal dash of intrigue and politics as well. It uses the FATE system, one of my favorites to play.Link
I hope you'll have as much fun listening as I did playing.

Top 3 Genres that don't translate to the table that well.

I've been gaming for a long time. No, longer than that.
I was lucky, though, in that I wasn't in the initial, late-seventies generation of gamers. When I started gaming in '82 it was when companies and games were popping up out of the woodwork. D&D was the king of the sword and sorcery fantasy genre so other companies decided the best way to 'win' was to not directly compete.
This article is about which ones I've felt, over the years, that don't translate so well. I'm not saying that they couldn't, but so far, not so much.
3. Western.
Now, I imagine many folks have great Boot Hill stories but its not about the stories I'm talking about. No, my difficulty with a traditional western is the lethality. Don't get me wrong, I love westerns, film and literature, but when you are playing in a game with a random element for task resolution you are going to have folks get shot.
Without superpowers or some supernatural defenses, folks get shot, folks die.
So most 'western' games that do work do so by being non-traditional or, in the case of Dust Devils, make the destruction of the character the point of the game.
2. Super Heroes.
This is going to sound crazy coming from me, as its my second favorite genre to run but this one makes the list not because the rules don't work but, generally speaking, its the players vs the genre.
Most players find the idea of not killing their enemies and not looting the bodies and dealing with the melodrama to be dumb. Unless all of your players are superhero comic junkies, its going to be a rough road to hoe.
And finally, at number one..
1. Horror.
This one sounds even crazier coming from me as this IS my favorite genre to run. Once again, it doesn't go to fault with finding a game that works. There's some great systems for horror, from Little Fears, to Dread to Call of Cthulhu. The difficulty comes with getting the players to not only get into the mood but to STAY there. Players are friends and sometimes they want to joke and jibe and break mood. Its normally easy to recover the flow though, but in horror its much much harder.
Once one of the guys mocks the monster or makes a sexual innuendo about the dangerous psycho its almost over for the horror part. Also, since you are trying to evoke fear and horror, its doubly difficult because not everyone has the same idea of what is fearful or terrifying.
Some folks cover their eyes at a a slasher flick while others are having a ball and laughing.
Session 9 is my prime example. Its an hour plus slow burn until the horror erupts. I find it one of my absolute favorite horror films because of that slow build.
But you run a game like that, some of your players will get bored. And a bored player is a dangerous and disruptive player.
Tomorrow, the three that translate, for me, the best.