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junebug

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A member registered Apr 14, 2015 · View creator page →

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(2 edits)

Sometimes in english the third person plural pronoun "they" is used as a non-gendered pronoun to indicate a single person of unknown or indeterminate gender. For example, if you have just come back from answering the doorbell, I might ask you "what did they want?" because I do not know the gender of the person who is at the door. This has been a feature of colloquial english since about the 14th century.

More recently, it can also be a personal preference for some people to be referred to as "they" if they do not feel like the masculine or feminine forms describe their experience of gender. It is generally considered polite to respect this.

In this case, I would suspect that Nergal, the Astro-Lich, is not gendered because can an Astro-Lich be said to have a gender? Who knows! They're an ancient and unknowable being, bored with this reality, who can shoot lightning from their hands!

At sunset, as you're crossing that ridge you saw in the distance, which turned out to be the skeleton of some giant beast, its ribs filled with crumbling dirt. Treacherous ground.

It grabs the scout, whose screams of terror are cut short as her body is rapidly drained of life, skin starting to flake away in wisps of ash and dust in the breeze. You can wriggle free, but now there's a murderous ghost on the loose.

There's a point near the top of the hill where the boulders are more closely spaced and the old sentry road weaves right through them. They'll be forced to move single file and you might be able to get the drop on at least one.

no gods watch over you

No, they ride swift-footed feathered lizards and will be upon you any moment.

The Guillotine, by The Coup

I don't typically play OSR games, but I have found nothing more creatively stimulating than listening to the Fear of a Black Dragon podcast and free associating about game design.

What are your favourite OSR modules, and why? What do you look for? How do you run them?

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Here's what I mean:

(cw for violence against teenagers)

One time I was playing Apocalypse World with my partner, and this shitty teenager was going to rat my character out to a gang of fascists in the community for raiding the liquor stores at night with a friend. It wasn't a moment of indecision, where we had to reach to the game for support. This was an active decision, where I picked a move of my own volition for some perceived benefit. I threatened the kid with my crossbow to try to get him to back down, but nah, he was a shitty teenager pumped up with his own sense of importance and invulnerability so he wouldn't back down, and because I was going aggro neither could I. I couldn't bear to kill him so I shot him in the leg and bolted.

(end of cw)

I, me personally, regretted the hell out of that decision. After the end of that session we haven't played in that campaign since.

From some distanced narrative perspective that I can acknowledge but not fully inhabit, I know that that was a powerful moment, that it had moved the game forward somewhere new and interesting, that it was a profound statement on the nature of violence and my regret was in that sense justified. I know that I most definitely had not been locked out of play, and none of my powers as a player to act on the conversation had been diminished, but all the same I was no longer willing and eager to roll the dice.

Now, we could totally go back and retcon that event, but for some reason we haven't done that. Some sense of fidelity to the fiction and the rules prevents us.

I'm sharing this story because I want to try and figure out whether there are different kinds of regrets, and whether the kind of regret that Vincent is talking about is the same as this kind of regret. Either way, the implications are really interesting to me!

If it's the same kind of regret, then we have more information about what it means when we say "regret" making a contribution, and what it means we we talk about positively asserting your idea in the conversation. Maybe we can consider more closely how to separate conversational benefit from a player's emotional attachment to fictional outcomes.

If it's a different kind of regret, then we could perhaps consider the possibility that when a player reaches opportunistically for the rules with an idea they want to bring to the conversation that it might be a bad idea, and when the game affirms that idea as a positive and active contribution to the conversation they might come out bruised and unhappy. How the heck do we deal with that?

(A third possibility I see is that you can design rules that are supposed to sting and when they do, that's the point! And yknow, fair.)

Bronwyn! Hooray!

Words can't describe how excited I am to be a goose and kill god

I'm gonna be a goose and kill god

Hi, I'm Kirk (he as in boi, not he as in man). I once shared a name with a tropical storm, but then it got downgraded to a tropical depression.

Which seemed somehow appropriate to me.

I'm very excited by this.

I present, for your review, some tools that may be of use:

How to avoid getting into unnecessary internet fights

How to disagree with people online

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I also want to talk a bit about what it means to regret making a move! Why would you regret your contribution, and under what circumstances?


[edited, because I regretted the word "ever". I have definitely regretted moves I have made, and did not want to imply that isn't a thing I thought was possible]

It's very, very good! Looking forward to future episodes. I very much hope you end up doing a whole tour.

Here's the thing, expressed differently: thinking carefully about aesthetic vocabulary suggests an approach to game design that aims to imbue play with a theatrical quality (or cinematic, or literary, or...) without necessarily attempting to emulate the structure of a different medium in its entirety.

I recall this post by Vincent Baker on his blog from way back when, and it has informed my thinking about the OSR ever since:

http://lumpley.com/index.php/anyway/thread/602

A finished thing is better than any beautiful palace of notes, no matter how perfect.

Here's a thing that the folks of the Feelings First podcast did when setting up for their Under Hollow Hills campaign that I absolutely loved: They talked about medium-specific metaphors for structuring gameplay, like how it has become commonplace for groups and games to borrow the vocabulary of film editing as a way to frame their engagement with the game. Because Under Hollow Hills is a deeply theatrical game, they made the deliberate decision to use a theatrical vocabulary to structure and inform their play, instead of a cinematic one. Spotlights, scenery changes, soliloquies, exit stage right (pursued by bear)...

Lots of games have attempted to formally or mechanically emulate the distinctive features another narrative medium. But I was excited by the possibility of instead approaching the way players talk about the game in play with a lighter hand, as a set of principles or vocabulary to lean on in the moment.

The value of this is the same as any shared language or vocabulary - it lets us communicate more effectively to each other what we are trying to do. What vocabulary you give your players is also part of game design!

How about a Cut It Down To Size game jam, where you take an overly large or ambitious project and cut it down to a small and snappy zine format.

Thinking about not only the fact that we need a space, but what that space sense was in concrete terms, it strikes me that rich and vibrant online RPG communities like the one that formed on G+ (or historically, places like The Forge) have two qualities:

1. A shared and common space where a diversity of voices can be heard. That is, a shared timeline or a forum for people to speak into, where what you can see and who can see what you say is not silo-ed by who you follow and who or how many follow you.

2. Are driven primarily by conversation between and with designers, focused on facilitating the creative excitement, cross-pollination, and sense of possibility (see point 1) which motivates people in the community to become designers themselves and make new games.

I believe that these two are some of the major contributing factors to creating a rich creative environment for new forms of play to develop, and it is new forms of play which expand and enrich the community.

So I'm really excited about this forum!

100% agreed!

For the past couple of months I have been preoccupied with thinking about the smooth flow of play. The moment that everyone who plays-to-find-out experiences, when after a while the game just catches and all of a sudden, Woah! we're going somewhere! We have momentum, and events are flowing from our lips with direction and purpose. I think that what you've outlined here is a crucial element to understanding exactly what's going on when that happens.

You don't get that smooth flow of play and purposeful direction unless the game addresses itself to the smooth and purposeful flow of conversation. But since we're making this up as we go along, and we can guess but never know for certain what the next move could be, there's always going to be gaps and uncertainties in the conversation. And those moves which give you a positive and active role in shaping the conversation can only really come into play if you already feel more or less certain about the conversation and the grounds on which you invoke them.