Monday, January 30, 2006

General comments

The purpose of this post is to act as a place for readers to post general comments and questions. It will be linked from the menu bar for easy access.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Rules and background stories

Two treads on RPGnet have made me realize some important stuff about roleplaying.

- Maybe the main difference in how Forge-style games are designed and how I want to use rules is when the rules are used. Forge often makes a point in having rules for the things that matters most in the game, and makes sure that you use these rules. I personally mostly want to use the rules for unimportant stuff, when they help me get on with the roleplaying. Instead of playing out a long scene where the outcome is not crucial, I let the player use a skill. If is is really important, I want the full experience and having the outcome depend on what the characters do or say, not the dice roll. (RPGnet tread)

- When players write a background story for their characters, it is not primarily for me as a storyteller but for themselves. Many in the RPGnet tread argues that a long background story makes the player think he has managed to explain his wishes for the game in great detail, while the GM in reality do not get the important information. That may be correct, but as long as you do not use the background story instead of actually talking to each other, that problem should not arise. I find a well developed background, mostly describing the personality, to be of great help in making the character come to life. (RPGnet tread)

(And no, I haven't read everything in those two treads. Some RPGnet discussions have an ability to go on forever. There are rarely anything important being written after the first ten pages...)

Sunday, January 08, 2006

Ending stuff is good!

This Friday something rare happened, as I played the planned final session in a RPG chronicle. This is rare because most chronicles I have participated in have ended in a much less satisfactory way. They are fun for a while but not having a set ending they sooner or later turns into nothing as people move or the general interest wanes. More often than not this is discovered to late to give everything a proper ending. The next session is planned to be "sometime soon" but this point in time never arrives.

The chronicle, named Utmark (Outlying land), was set in the Fading Suns universe with some use of the rule system from the Swedish game Skymningshem. The characters was part of an expedition examining an abandoned space station. The style of the game changed a bit as we played, having its ups and downs. This made me very aware of my preferences as a player, rather than a game master. This will be a great help both when choosing games to participate in and when designing my own chronicles.

- I do not like dungeon crawling at all, even (or maybe especially) when there is no rules or combat involved. The second session had a detailed exploration of the station. The exciting parts was drowned out by hours of choosing between the right or left door.

- I sometimes like to roll dice. It was a bit weird to realize that I was asking about or requesting a dice roll more often than many of the other players. I have always seen myself as primarily a free former, but in many situations I found that a dice role gave certain strategic actions a bit more weight, or that what was going to be a very long discussion with an NPC might better be decided by a roll. Note that most sessions only had around ten rolls, so this is in contrast to using no rules at all. A conflict resolution system would be entirely out of the question.

- Player secrets are unimportant. In most cases when one character has a secret from another we handle it with sending notes or talking with the GM in private. In this case nearly everything was open, even thou there was a lot of scheming. The immersion gets a little bit trickier but in no way impossible, and you win a lot getting to experience the full story as a player. Splitting the group for longer times have always been a cause for loss of interest among the players not in focus.

- Music can be done right. I've never managed to use music in a good way. I usually put it on in the background with it sometimes reinforcing the theme and sometimes ruining it. Trying to change track for different parts of the game have never worked as I wanted. Kristoffer (the GM) made really good use of music by only playing it in certain parts of the story, and leaving it off for most of the time. I observe and hopefully learn.

- Immersion is still king! As much as I liked the other parts of the game, the situations where I really go the chance to feel my character was the most enjoyable. Setting these scenes up with other types of play might actually make is even better but no immersion is like no orgasm...

As Kristoffer will most likely read this I grab the opportunity to thank him for a good chronicle!