#RPGaDAY2022 day 6 ~ How would you get more people playing RPGs?

This question is interesting. It asks me how I would do it. Not how somebody else should. I don’t know why I have not been voted supreme Emperor of role-playing games but it’s probably for the best. So to steal a line from somebody else, I will think globally but act locally. That is, after all, the best any of us can do.

Thinking about the answer to Yesterdays question, I think the answer to this one becomes more obvious. Meet people where they are. I know plenty of people and we have some common interest in some sort of fiction. If not fiction as such we have common interest in certain concepts and ideas. Maybe current events or history.

I go to the movies with a friend of mine and pretty much what we watch is action. This is the kind of guy that I should ask “hey, would you like to play a game that’s kind of like these movies we watch?,” I’m sure I could use something like broken compass to emulate some of these over the top action movies.

That’s my short and simple answer. Find out what people like, offer a seat at a game like that. After all, it is what we do with our existing groups. We float ideas past each other and eventually we all agree on a genre. For the Newcomer we might as well let them experience some of their favorite things. At least that’s what I would do.

#RPGaDAY2022 day 5 ~ Why will they like this game?

My daughters are just shy of 30 and 27 years old. When they were younger, I really used to enjoy watching the shows they liked with them. In fact, right now, I am watching Steven Universe with my youngest daughter and it’s a fun little show to watch. Sometimes I used to find myself in the house watching SpongeBob or the Fairly Oddparents when I suddenly realized that my children were not actually home.

This is why I backed the Kickstarter for the hugely successful Avatar the last Airbender RPG. even though PBTA type games are not my favorite, I knew that I had a good chance of getting my daughters to play this game with me because of their familiarity with and love of the subject matter. The show itself has a pretty interesting story and a very compelling setting. From what I understand the RPG allows you to play in various points in the history of that world which offers a lot of possibilities.

Because my daughter is well-versed in the genre and intellectual property I don’t believe this will be a hard sell. In fact, my intuition tells me that she will actually enjoy playing in this setting. It’s not that different from when I first started playing dungeons and dragons. The game was heavily influenced by Tolkien, and I was a big fan of the hobbit and lord of the rings. It made entry into that world and “buy in” Extremely easy and I was enthusiastic about playing the game.

Build what they know, and they will come.

#RPGaDAY2022 day 4 ~ Where will you host a first game?

Some people like going out. I like it myself, but I am most comfortable in my locus of control. I like my house. I can’t play rock ‘n’ roll to enthusiastic audiences in my house, but I can play role-playing games there.

I’m lucky enough to have a semi finished basement with lots of room. I have tables and chairs and everything I might need to run a game right there in relative comfort. This is where I would host a first session.

Now considering that my answer for day number one was that my daughter would be the person I would introduced to role-playing games, this means that she should have some friends play with her. However, a lot of them are not local. While this is disappointing, technology has provided a way.

I remember running a game for a group of people that I used to play in a play by post game with. I found it kind of entertaining at the husband and wife were on separate devices in the same house. At the time I ran it on Google hangouts. ~ I can see a similar situation happening with my daughter and I in separate areas of the house with her friends on Zoom as I run a game session for all of them.

So the final answer? At my house, online, or a combination!

Notice how I am always at my house. 😉

#RPGaDAY2022 day 3 ~ When were you first introduced to RPGs?

I became aware of something called dungeons and dragons sometime before 1981. Exactly when is lost in the mists of time. But people are starting to talk about it. I saw something in a comic book, a newspaper article, I wasn’t quite sure what it was.

Somehow I got a bit more of an idea Of what that game might be. I met people in junior high school that played it. I remember asking my parents to get me that game. That Christmas in 1981 I got the Moldvay basic set which later would be called B/X.

And there you have it.

#RPGaDAY2022 day 2 ~ What is a good introductory RPG?

There were several contenders for the spot. A close second was broken compass by two little mice which is a fantastic game and is easy to understand and has plenty of resources. it really was kind of a coin flip.

However I’m gonna have to say Ghostbusters. Keep in mind I haven’t actually played the game, I’ve only read it, dissected it, and discussed it with other people. So why would I recommend that as an introductory game?

The answer could be that it’s easy, simple, and enough people have seen the movies that the genre is evident. However that’s only part of the equation.

The real thing that makes it such a great introductory RPG is that it contains so many elements that you will find in other RPGs, and in several cases it was the first one to incorporate them. Dice pools, skills, a meta-currency (which doubles as your health no less!), a chance of a result orthogonal to skill roll, and some other gems can be found within.

It can be a fun and light hearted introduction to lots of concepts that you will see in other RPGs down the line.

Who you gonna call?

#RPGaDAY2022 day 1 ~ Who would you like to introduce to RPGs?

Well, I’m back. Once again I promised myself that I would make more blog posts after last RPGaDAY, and once again I did not. So here we are. This year’s prompts are pretty cool so I am excited for it. That said, this one was a little tough.

I’m sure we’ve all had an experience where we meet somebody and think they would really love role-playing games. There are a few friends of mine that have indicated that they would like to try but we’ve never actually been able to get anything together. I’m still hopeful.

However, I think my final answer has to be my youngest daughter. Now, I can’t really exactly introduce her to role-playing games as She played a little bit of Dungeons & Dragons in college. Not very much. That said, I would love to introduce her to Games other than D&D so she could see the wide variety out there. I also believe that she would enjoy different systems more.

Short and sweet that’s my final answer.

Thanks ~ #RPGaDAY2021 day 31

There was a time in my life when I was not on speaking terms with gratitude. Fortunately that was a long time ago now and things are much different. I could spend this post thanking RPG creators, fellow gamers, the organizers & fellow participants in RPGaDAY, and you nice people for watching and reading my thoughts.

But this blog post isn’t about that.

When somebody saves your bacon, it’s only natural to thank them, right? Well, usually it is… but not always.

In our Saturday RPG group we have played several games. One of the things that has been entertaining is that Craig and I very often bring characters to end up being at odds with one another. Not seriously, but definitely a war of egos. The bantering between Max and Bob in Star Wars and between Chace Bannon and Sammy Larson in Broken Compass has been a lot of fun.

In both cases these are people that end up saving each other on a regular basis, but I don’t think the words “thank you“ have ever been uttered. Far from being sad, this has been hilarious.

One of my favorite moments in broken compass was when Sammy saves Chace from being shot by his somewhat upset ex-girlfriend. By this time in the adventure, had saved Sammys bacon twice. After his heroic deed Sammy looks at Chace and says something like “ just to be clear we’re even now.” Without skipping a beat, Mr Bannon replies “ I saved you twice, you still owe me one.” I love these guys. You can guarantee that Max and Bob will never show gratitude either.

Sometimes being an RPG character means never having to say “thank you.” And for some characters and genres, that is exactly as it should be.

Mention ~ #RPGaDAY2021 day 30

Thanks, don’t mention it.

Mention is an interesting word as it can be used in terms of calling attention to somebody or something in a casual and incidental manner, or it can be a more formal citation or commendation. Ideally I would be able to mention a variety of people that have participated in RPGaDAY this year. However, things here have been busy and I haven’t had the chance or the energy to follow very many people. I’m going to reserve that for later. After all, we have 11 months to catch up. I have been listening to Anthony’s podcast (Casting Shadows/Runeslinger) and I have really enjoyed listening to Seb (Nolinquisitor). Both of those have been very entertaining & insightful.

I could mention all those I have had the chance to play with this last year. Anthony, Del, Todd, Jason, Robert, Eloy, Jose, Andre, Craig, Jim, Robin, Ron, Pedro, Logan, & Francois have all been a joy to play with. I’m glad to call most of them friends as well as fellow gamers. – (If I forgot anybody else, you are one of the cool kids too.) There are of course the kids at the library, they have been pretty fun as well.

I suppose I could mention the games I had the opportunity to play this year. Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea, All For One: Regime Diabolique, Leagues of Adventure, Leagues of Cthulhu, Sky Riders of Venus, Star Wars: Age of Rebellion, Broken Compass, Dungeons & Dragons 5th Edition, The adults have been taken over – kids to the rescue PBtA, Blue Planet, Ribbon Drive, Circle of Hands, Dark age of Man, & Mythras. I think that’s it. Fourteen games & Eleven systems. Not bad.

The games I have been reading, interested in playing, talking about, and bought are way too many to mention. and I bought some dice. I will say that Alien by free league is generating a lot of excitement in my group and is next up. I have been waiting to play that for a long time because I have promised not to read certain sections or run the game until after we play it, and I really would like to run this game. Broken compass was a heck of a lot of fun and I backed the Kickstarter because I was so enamored with it. Ubiquity still manages to be one of my favorite systems, not surprising considering that four of the games I mentioned were run with that system. I backed a few other Kickstarters, including the extraordinarily successful Avatar one. I bought that one because both of my daughters really enjoyed that show and I have to confess I found it entertaining as well. Hopefully I can get them to play it with me.

I’m sure there are many other things that I forgot to mention. I hope they forgive me.

System ~ #RPGaDAY2021 day 29

A regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole; an organized or established procedure; a harmonious arrangement or pattern.

There are more definitions of “system”, but these three are the most relevant to the discussion of today’s singular prompt. It’s no secret that I have become a real RPG system enthusiast. While a premise or a pitch may grab my attention first, mention of a new or beloved system isn’t far behind. Sometimes information about some of the mechanics of a game that is new to me is enough to convince me that I must give that RPG a try.

RPG mechanics are fascinating to me and always have been. It’s amazing how differences in the math have profound changes upon how a game feels. Matching mechanics to desired feel, tone, & genre is as much science as it is art. It’s amazing how many dice mechanics there are, not to mention other methods of randomization. So much of the feel of any given RPG depends upon the mechanics used.

However, an RPG system isn’t just dice (or other) mechanics. As my friends and I often discuss, the procedures of an RPG are just as much of the system as the mechanics they interact with. The procedures let us know HOW to play the game. This can be as simple as letting you know when to roll and when to just compare the skill rating with a task, and as complex as a detailed sequence of steps, contingencies, and protocols. It’s clear that the procedures of an RPG also have a dramatic effect on the play experience.

When an RPG has a system that is truly harmonious arrangement or pattern that fits perfectly with the intended genre & tone, it is a thing of beauty. Very often we must play these games as written to discover the experience that they produce. We may surprised at the genre the system produces versus the genre we expected. It’s a real joy to play with that spirit of discovery. Even if a game has a system that is less than harmonious, it’s interesting to examine it to see what went awry.

It’s also fascinating to observe the effect of our culture of play upon the system and experience of an RPG. As Ron Edwards has mentioned, there are the rules written in the game, and then there are the “real rules” of your table. This doesn’t have to mean wholesale changes and house rules. Game groups are full of organized and established procedures, and often qualify as a regularly interacting or interdependent group of items forming a unified whole. Very often there is a bigger system than the one contained in a specific game, there is “our system” established by each group.

Perhaps these are the best systems of all. A regularly interacting group of friends forming a unified whole with organized and established procedures which create a harmonious arrangement and pattern.

Dream & Delve ~ #RPGaDAY2021 day 28

This was one of those days where it was really hard to choose one of the prompts. So I decided not to. Why not both? Yes, there are four prompts but don’t ruin things, I’m on a roll. Just go with it.

I’ve always been a dreamer, stuck in my own head. I used to create quite fanciful stories as a young boy and I much preferred the worlds of fantasy to the real one. RPGs have allowed me to turn those dreams into reality, at least after a fashion. What I noticed about my daydreams was that they never really went anywhere. They didn’t get terribly complex. I had great ideas but I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with them. I’m more of a premise guy. The magical thing about RPGs is that for the most part they aren’t solo activities. Other people can help us along.

These other people at the table are able to add on to my ideas and together we delve into them, exploring as we go. Maybe I’m dreaming of things as a game master and I include them in a campaign or session. Perhaps I have dreams or ideas about my character, who they are or what they might want to do, and later on these guide my actions in the session. I get to experience what it would be like to be that person in a particular situation, or, I get to experience what it would be like if the situation in my head happened. How would the people in that situation react?

The reason I had to include delve in today’s discussion is simple. If what I dreamed happened, it would be kind of boring. I would already know what was going to happen. I would be limited by my own creativity. Omniscience comes at a terrible price. Fortunately role-playing games are often about exploration. In fact, they are always about exploration in a certain sense. We delve into the real or metaphorical caverns of the game world or the human condition. Delving deep into these passages we explore and discover the creations of somebody else’s dreams, we attempt to unravel mysteries, and we discover where we belong. We play to find out.

These forgotten tombs waiting to be explored could be the unexplored world of the game master’s design, mysteries best left unsolved, or the psyche of the character standing next to us, maybe even our own. We can boldly go forth, discovering mew and different types of experiences, and we can see where our combined dreams take us.

What could possibly go wrong? Ask young Danforth. Just don’t expect him to answer.