Archive for the ‘links’ Category


Narrativist Play, Prep, and Setting

October 31, 2011

Ron Edwards has a new essay on Setting & Emergent Stories, which is a great, relatively easy read on the differences between Illusionism vs. Narrativism, Narrativism focused on characters vs. setting, and how to prep for Narrativist play, especially if you have a game that isn’t designed for Nar play.

It’s a nice tie in to my post on Risk & Emotional Investment.

I also think this in particular is really worth thinking about:

3. Seeing an overt, culturally-supported conflict.

4. Seeing potential for culturally-unexpected, deconstructive conflict (internal or external)

My own overt angle on that sits in my Heroquest Hack with regards to community values and character generation. Less overtly, it’s encoded in a lot of the fill-in sentences in the Extended Character Concept Generator.

Likewise, Conflict Maps also key on this concept as well- first in demarcating sides in a conflict, but the second part about deconstructive conflicts by giving each figurehead, 2 attached characters who angle about HOW or WHY to complete some given goals – it sets up the classic Kirk/Spock/Bones trio.

What happens in play is that you find the group naturally focuses on certain conflicts and ignores others – this is a very natural, and organic way to focus play.



September 26, 2011

One of my favorite rpgs, Universalis, is now available on PDF. Universalis is a game that everytime I play it, I’m always surprised by how much fun it is – that is, it surprises me over and over by exceeding my expectations.

Universalis is a genreless, GM-less game, where the players collaboratively create a setting, situation, and characters.

Each player has a number of “Coins”, which you spend to establish facts about the world, or what the characters do. No one owns a character, but you spend coins to control them in a given scene.

When conflicts occur, dice are rolled to see the outcomes AND it replenishes coins for everyone involved (though winners get more), which gives a general incentive to have conflicts in play.

In play, what happens is that players start aligning in vision- the best way to play is to build off other people’s ideas, so you don’t need to spend as many coins, and to add ideas that everyone finds inspiring so they spend more coins on the things you’re interested in. The ideal strategy means finding something everyone’s excited in and reading the group.

That said, the game is very dryly written, and a lot harder to read through than it is to play. There’s also things I find usually get houseruled out, like having to spend a coin for each line of dialogue.

Overall, this is a great game, and if you can make it through the text, fun and easy to teach.

If you want to try a game with absolutely no railroading, and no GM, it’s a great game to pick up.


Hundred Thousand Kingdoms: Darre

April 21, 2010

Nora K. Jemisin has been putting up posts on the characters and backstory bits to her novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms. She just put up some info on Darre, which is an interesting look at a matriarchy.

She remarked awhile ago, how many readers bought into enslaving gods without a problem, but the idea of a matriarchial society was “fantasy” to them.

Anyway, it’s got a lot of interesting ideas if you’re looking at including a women-warrior society in your gaming (Artesia, Reign, for example).

I could totally see some fun Burning Wheel games working that way, especially since motherhood gives you a higher status as a warrior in Darre culture- (+10 Resources, maybe? Definitely a +1D Affiliation with Mother-warriors). Not only that, motherhood in Burning Wheel earns you an extra point of Steel, which is damn useful for warriors!

I could see a bunch of interesting scenarios built around clans doing raids and counter-raids for husbands, folks who’ve mis-used runes and left themselves sterile, and general bad ass clan warfare.


Changing Faces

August 6, 2009

The Verb Noire site is looking pretty snazzy. I might talk to them about publishing game related books- less that I need a publisher and more that I want to work with and contribute towards building up a company whose goals are in line with my own.

Liar is getting a non-whitewashed cover. “Totally not because a bunch of writers, readers, editors and customers got upset”. I’m sure they were totally going to come to enlightened understanding of whitewashing covers on their own, they didn’t need us nagging them, right? :/

The APIA Word Summit is getting it’s own blog! It should be interesting to hear from a lot of folks over the next 2 years between Summits what’s going on.

The most recent Independent Insurgency Podcast with Emily Care Boss is pretty neat- I haven’t really picked up on Sign In Stranger- but it sounds like it captures the issues of experience of different cultures and a bit of assimilation in a neat way.


Variety of Things

August 5, 2008

1. IBARW3: Intersectionality

It’s the third annual International Blog Against Racism Week. This year, intersectionality! Sadly appropriate given all the bullshit that’s been flying around this year alone. The community will probably start posting links tonight or tomorrow, with a big round up at the end of the week.

2. Filter House by Nisi Shawl

Naamen loaned me Nisi Shawl’s Filter House which has pretty much had me riveted this whole weekend. Short stories of sci-fi and ghost stories? Sometimes both? Delicious. This is also the first spec fic book I’ve read where ATR’s get treated with any kind of respect. Shawl has a great way of grounding the everyday and normal with the strange and supernormal.

For gamers, I recommend it highly if you’re planning to play Shock or Steal Away Jordan, or better yet, some kind of mashup of the two…

3. The Middleman

Finally getting to check out a few episodes. It’s silly and fun, and I love the way it pokes fun at itself. Though I’ve only seen a little bit, I feel like they could push it harder- like Invader Zim harder. Some of the delivery feels a bit off, and I think they’d do well by watching some Stephen Chow movies to get the mood right.