Setting is everything...

I did a post talking about mechanics a few weeks ago, and how problematic they can be.  Mechanics are an important part of the game, but it is never what hooks me into one.  Don't get me wrong, there are mechanics in a game that I really like, but that is never why I want to play the game.  

But that is never what actually hooks me into a game.  First thing is always the setting.  I look at the games I have loved in my life, and the first thing that usually sticks out is the setting the game uses.

  • Call of Cthulhu.  Dark, gothic setting based on H.P. Lovecraft stories.
  • The Dresden Files Rpg.  Urban fantasy setting, based on The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher
  • Dogs in the Vineyard.  Set in the Old west, tumbleweeds going by, rough land and people.  
  • Dungeons and Dragons.  We played in the Forgotten Realms setting, which I love
And others that I may not have liked (or haven't playe)
  • Vampire: Dark Ages
  • Shadowrun
  • Dread
  • 3:16

So, to me, setting is one of the most important aspects of the game.  But there are a few types.  

There is a physical setting the is created from the ground up.  The Forgotten realms setting is like that.  They created people, places, gods, maps, etc.  So much information that you as the GM just have to find a place to start your adventure.  I am a big fan of this type of setting.  I love information about the world and it was the first rpg I ever played.

Then you have something similar, but a little different.  The Dresden Files RPG has a world of canon that if you have read the books, you are very familiar with.  Yet, you also get to create the city it takes place in, along with places, npcs, aspects, and characters.  Amazing stuff.  I love both of those, because they have so much information about the world.  I am an information junkie.

Then you have games where the setting could be entirely based on a time period or genre.  Spirit of the Century based on the 1920's, where you characters are pulpy.  Again the location of the game can be wherever you wish, but the setting itself is based on the pulp aspect of it.    

Then you have a game like Hollowpoint, where the setting can be whatever you wish.  But no matter what, you are a badass that has a job to do.  Kicking someone elses ass.  You can do all kinds of actual settings for this.  You can be renegade cops, starship troopers, assassins, knights of the crusade, or the seven samauri. The setting is inter-changable

The bottom line is this.  I love settings, and that is how I get hooked.  This is why when talking about our own game, I want to nail the setting.  We are creating a game from the ground up, which is a daunting task.  But one that I am excited for and I think it will be awesome.


I just want these dice...

So, at some point this fall, I plan on running our Dresden Files Rpg again.   I have been working on it for a few months (even though I haven't lately), and I think it will be a lot of fun.

None of that matters, cuz I am hoping my life is in a bit more order than it is now, and then I am going to buy THESE dice!

There is a guy on my google+ page, and he creates different dice.  He made these for his up and coming DFRPG he is going to play.  I MUST have them.  :)

That is all.


A name change...

So, after thinking about it for a month, I decided to change the name of my blog.  It was Stacey's Rpg World, which I could not stand.  I don't really know why.  For whatever reason, I did not want my name in the blog.  Some people have told me that you should have your name in it, so you can gain familiarity with those in the industry.  

Why does it matter?
In the long run, it probably won't.  The only person it will matter to is me.  Also, I just like the way it sounds.  I love the Fate system, and definitely want to talk about that, and the fact that I will eventually make a game using the system.  So it is a comfort thing if nothing else.  It makes me happy, so get over it.  :)

How did it happen?
Well, I was talking about it on Google+, and I started asking what people thought.  Well, people started giving me some suggestions.  Some serious, others silly. :)  What else can you expect from people?  Here is a list of them:
Stacey's Fate, Stace-o's The Hand of Fate, Fate's Chancellor, The Chancellor's Office, A simple twist of Fate, Fudging the dice of Fate, Just Fudge it, Fate Plus, Fateful companion, A Fistful of Fate, Fate and a dash of salt, This is your Fate, Fate of Darkness, Fatethulhu, and my personal favorite Chronicles of Fate.

I did a poll on G+, and a few other places, and Chronicles of Fate one.  Here is an important lesson, boys and girls.  Always check to see if the domain name you like IS free, otherwise you just wasted your time.  So, I changed it The Fate Archives instead.  Which is still awesome.  

Will anything change?
Not really. I am still going to talk about games I play.  I am still going to review the books and the actual play.  I am still going to talk about the game we are making.  I will definitely talk more about the Fate system as a whole, but I was probably going to do that anyways.  Now, my blog just has a constant link with it.


Looking at a few games...

So, I am taking a break from thinking about game design this weekend to look at a few games.  I have the pdf versions of Hollowpoint, and Diaspora.  These are games by Vsca Publishing, and two of the games I am really excited to get to know.

Just a few words on what they are, and I will review them later when I am done.

Hollowpoint is a game where you are a bad ass, literally.  You are an agent, and you have missions.  Think James Bond, or maybe the A-Team.  It is not a fluff game and deals with violence and death, so because of that it may not be fore everyone.  That is fine, it seems like a nice break and it is a pick up game.  Good pickup games are always a great thing to find.  So bring it on!

Diaspora is a Fate based sci-fi game.  Taking place in SPACE and dealing with a bit of a hard sci-fi approach, you create the galaxies and then on to having your ass handed to you.  You know, cut it is fate.  I am interested in this to see the Fate system in from a different point of view.  I love Evil Hats games, so this should be exciting to read and see what Vsca did with the system.

I am really enjoying reading what I have so far, but will have a review of the games when I am done with them.


The problem with mechanics...

After going back and looking at the work, Chris, Henry, and myself did, I realize this is going to be something that needs to be figured out by us.  I know everyone that makes a game goes about it differently.  I know some people like to work on the mechanics first, and then figure out everything else.  While others create the setting and build mechanics around it.

I am not sure since the one part of this I have struggled with the most is coming up with a new mechanics system.  I worked on it for almost a year and every time I came up with something I thought was cool, I saw someone else already had something like it.

That has been the most frustrating part of all of this.  Setting (which I will talk about next) is going to be a lot longer to do, but easier to create.  Maybe easier isn't the right word, but it will be more enjoyable.

There are a lot of people out there that blog about mechanics a lot.  I try to read through them when I can.  I see how creative people can be.  It is nuts, the things people think of.  Then you have the people that take someone else's game, and tweak it.  Like the D20 games or Fate (to name a few).  How do people feel about that?   Is it ok to do that because of how much they like the setting?  I have thought a few times of what our game would like using Fate...but that is cuz of how much I love the system.  I personally have no problem with it since every once in a while someone will do this and a setting will catch my eye (like Bulldogs!).

Then there is the excitement of creating something new. Something we can call ours.  But that is hard since so many people  have already created so many different things.  I still like this idea as well.

As I said, it is issue.  :)  It isn't anything that we figure out today, but it is something I am thinking about after reading what we created so far.


Excitement about getting going again.

So, we have at least starting discussing ideas about the game again.  Well, at least two us have.  :)  My friend Chris lives in Pittsburgh, so basically we are talking about game design in email for now.  It is a start, and although I wish he still lived here in NYC (cuz getting together would be much easier), we do what we can with what we have.  Again, it is a start.  I also love that he seems to be excited to get going as well.  Haven't heard from Henry yet, but I know we will.

It will be interesting to see what comes of this.  We are three different people, that look at things differently.  Not to mention, no work has been done on this game in quite some time.  So, for now, there is a catching up period. A time where we go over the basic ideas of the game and try to figure out where to go.  This isn't something that can be done quickly, and the problem is I am ready to start doing it.  Yes, I am impatient, this is nothing new.  So, for now, I am going to start writing down ideas I have and go from there.

So, I am excited due to the fact that is fun to look over the things we did before.  Some of them I love, and some of them I want to change completely (pending we all agree).  My favorite thing I look forward to is creating this world from the ground up.  But it is a major job.  You have to factor class, economy, religion, just to name a few.  It will be nuts, but a lot of fun.  Not to mention I am already making some contacts that may eventually help with artwork...so I am excited about that as well.

It is all about momentum.


An open (if just a bit sarcastic) letter to all Gen-con participants

Dear sir/madaam,

You suck. I say this with the utmost respect, but it doesn't change the amount of sheer suckitude that you posess. Having to endure post after post about how excited you are to be going this year is becoming unbearable. Talking about awesome games you are going to play, blah blah blah. We get it, it is captial A awesome.

Now a better person than I may try to point out that I am just jealous. This could not be farther from the truth. Me? Jealous? That is absurd. I mean seriously. Who would want to go to a convention to play a bunch of silly games, meet all the people I have talked to online over the years, and check out the new games that are coming out. Like Bulldogs! or Hollowpoint, or the One Ring.

That just sounds lame. I have better things to do here. Like...um...be on google+. Yeah this is much more awesome.

Well, there is always next year. Not that I care. Nope, not one bit.


I hope everyone has a great time there. :)


Character death

A lot has been said today on Google+ concerning character death in rpg’s. So, I thought I would put my two cents in.

I think a lot of it depends on three things. The game you are playing, the GM, ad your fellow gamers.

The game.  Dungeons and Dragons has always been a game that you could potentially die. It is a combat first game that has only gotten more so as time goes by. My very first D&D character(and first rpg experience) did not make it five minutes in the game. I have seen seriously bad ass characters bite it cuz the GM rolled a few 20’s and wiped them out. It has happened to me both as a player and a gm.

Then you have a game like Spirit of the Century. I am not saying you cannot die in this game, because you can. But I have always felt like it was a game that the pulp heroes are created to succeed. Oh and look awesome doing it. Swinging by a chandelier, defusing a bomb, escaping off of a airship that is on fire…those type of thing . But then you take the Dresden Files, which uses the same Fate system for the most part. All of a sudden, you can g.t taken out fairly easily (or concede). Is just how much more dangerous that game is.

 Last, you have Call of Cthulhu. Not only can your character die, but it is just a matter of time until you lose your mind. I love this fucking game and need to play it again. Sorry, I do tend to get distracted b all things Cthulhu.

Yes, there are other type of games out there, this was just a small example. 

The GM.   This can so many ways depending on whom is running the game. I used to game someone that was a marine, and it was damn duty to try to kill us…oh and quickly. But I have also ran with people that seem to shy away from trying to kill you. Make your life difficult, but not kill you

I am somewhere in the middle. I want there to be a threat of death, but I don’t want it to be all the game is about.

Oh, and don’t think that the GM isn’t affected by his mood. I once went into a situation just after fighting with my girlfriend at the time. I was in a pissed off mood and because of that wanted the players to die. It isn’t really cool when this happens, but it does.

Fellow gamers.   Again, not everyone has an opinion on this. But not knowing how they will react can bring an epic sized temper tantrum.

So a few tips about character death. Especially when it comes to new gamers.
  • If it there first time playing, you may not want to kill them. Remember the D&D character I mentioned earlier? It took me almost three hours to have people explain the game and make a character. It was D&D 2nd edition and I made a wizard. I had 3 hp, and I died in the first fight. I was so pissed I almost left and to this day have never played a wizard in any other game.
  • NO ONE likes to die their first time out. You want them to come back, not be pissed off that the DM killed you. Gaming should be fun and people want to do kick ass things. They cannot do that if you are killing them five minutes into the game. Give them time to enjoy it as much as you do…and then kick their ass. J
  • Don’t assume you know how they will react. In that same campaign of D&D (about 3 years later) another play had a seriously bad ass wizard. Powerful spells, magic items galore, etc. His character died by a dragon. He was so pissed off, he quit the game and never came back. Was a bit much really, but was a serious hissy fit.
  • Talk about it. It helps if you are on the same page. If you are running the game, ask your players how they feel about it. Hell, if it is that dangerous of a campaign, they may even make a spare character just in case. I have done that.
  • Don’t be a dick. If you do kill a character, try not to gloat about it. I have seen that and it is just such a douche move. I have been on both sides of this and when you realize just how much of a jerk you were….that is such a crappy moment. You can lose the respect of everyone at your table quickly this way.
Keep in mind that theseare just my opinions, and if you don’t agree with them…that is fine.