October 31, 2012

Man vs. Nature

As you can see, I'm late posting this week.  A hurricane threw me off schedule, but it gave me an idea for a post.  Or rather, a comment on a post from last week.

Last week, I posted an example of a situation in an RPG, and different approaches GMs could take toward it based on the idea of Creative Agenda from GNS theory.  This week, I had a lot of time to think about the question of man vs. nature conflicts -- house fires, hurricanes, surviving in the desert, etc.

Here's my advice on building such a scene for an RPG.  I'll tie it to the GNS post with an example.  Note that a "man vs. man" combat scene uses the same kind of creative process.  The difference is that the rules for noncombat challenges in most RPGs are a lot more mutable, so you usually don't have to (get to?) choose a system for those scenes.  There are still system decisions (stats for the enemies, terrain and situation modifiers, etc.) but they're a lot more prescribed for combat encounters than noncombat encounters.

October 26, 2012

Playtesting Asylum

So last week I guest GMed an indie-developed game called Asylum.  Now I didn't sign an NDA, but I'm going to act as if I had, out of respect to the designers.  I'll give some very general ideas and keep it brief.  After all, it's Friday.

October 23, 2012

PATV on game theory

In our continuing digression into game theory, let me propose an alternative to GNS theory for player motivations.  This one is directly applicable to running a game.  GMs, ask yourselves a question:  Why do your players play your game?

October 19, 2012

Example of GMs and GNS

You should probably familiarize yourself with GNS theory if you want to be a serious GM.  To compliment Ron Edwards' theoretical academic essay for you, my dear reader, I've written a concrete example below that should evoke and illustrate the three creative agendas.

October 16, 2012

Elysium Style LARP

As a follow-up to the Adventure Style LARP post, I want to talk about one aspect of Elysium Style LARP that confuses a lot of GMs: The plot.

October 12, 2012

Adventure Style LARP

I've mostly talked about tabletop gaming here.  I've been part of and written/run a good deal of adventure style LARP.  That's the sort where the PCs go on adventures, instead of fight each other to see who's in charge.  I'm not experienced enough at it to claim mastery, but I want to offer some very basic insights.

October 10, 2012


Sorry for the lull.  I was on vacation.  Later this week I'll post a guest post I did for Reinhart's blog.  For today, here's a guest post I did last month for his blog.