Dienstag, Oktober 28, 2014

Learning from Experience or "Failure. Now try again."

Learning from experience can be read as trying to solve a problem in a different way than before.
Let's just add: [...], and making notes.

GMs need to encourage their players to try solving a problem in different ways, and making notes for future reference. That way the player characters will evolve, as well, and have more options for interacting with the game world.
  • Keep a gaming diary - for keeping notes on character actions in different situations, information gathered during conversation, and research, and keeping track of events, locations, and planning. E.g.: Strategy of persuasion didn't work on the wood elves. Need more flowery language, and glittering gifts next time. And tell Argnukh to not wear chainmail of the Dark Ones in the forest!
  • Draw maps - make an effort, and draw maps of the dungeons your characters explore. Many old school dungeons are designed on graph-paper, and although the general layout of buildings, towns, and wizard towers is often ridiculous, and doesn't make much sense, these maps are usually fairly simple to describe: the wardrobe slides to the side, and reveals a tunnel that runs three squares to the north, with a wooden door at its end. So, go with that. And it's really more fun for the whole group to know where they are in that labyrinth. Note: Some GMs prepare maps, and hand them out to the players. While that seems quite nice, it usually adds to the preparation time for the GM. Player empowerment can be read as giving them the tools to participate. So, here's one. Use it.
And now, let's add: [...], and keeping those notes.

Please bear in mind, that those notes are what will be left of your gaming experience apart from your memories, and shared anecdotes. If you're planning on playing a campaign, no matter how long it will run you will want to return to your notes and recall the events of previous sessions. Do this before you start the game.
Be prepared! Your GM prepares the game for you, and you need to prepare your character, recall previous events, revisit your motivations, plans, and TODO lists. Remember, that the game system is fairly simple. Your GM will help you out, if you forget a rule, but it's your job to prepare the rest. Because keeping track of the experience, the travels, and the deeds of your character is essential to be able to make use of that experience.

Mittwoch, Oktober 22, 2014

Something different

Not quite RPG

As I mentioned in a previous post, I needed something different to occupy my mind with than reading rules books, such as Dungeons&Dragons in its fifth edition. I read some books on philosophy, music, and spent time with music engraving using LilyPond and Frescobaldi.
Frescobaldi comes with many helpful tools, and an assistant for different applications (e.g. engraving vocal leadsheets, or a guitar, and bass tablature) but I want to understand the lilypond document structure, and so I practiced writing the code by hand. Somewhere along the way I was reminded of LyX, and LaTeX, so I read up on both, installed it, and quickly realized that this was exactly what I needed.
I've noticed my preference for writing plain text over using word-processors before, namely when using distraction-free editors such as PyRoom, or just gedit. And I loved writing in qed on my Atari Clone/Milan, too.
Now, with LaTeX I get to write plain text with markup, and receive a well-set text at the press of a button, or keyboard command. (It's relatively easy, and LyX is supportive.) LilyPond can be used within LaTeX documents, too. So, now I have the tools to write and publish for music tuition, and do it all in one document.
During the process of getting to know LaTeX I picked up work on a novel again, and finally visited an important chapter, which had been hidden from my inner eye before.
I didn't stop there, instead I went on, and installed emacs and org-mode and since then use it to organize TODO lists, projects, diary, and calendar entries. I get weary learning the keyboard commands, and I am rewarded by working faster, and with more joy. Keyboard commands are great. I can surf the web more gracefully now, using keyboard commands with Firefox.

Then, last night I had the impulse to install Arch Linux on my desktop computer. I failed the first time, messing up my GRUB file for the other operating systems, but I was not discouraged, and read the Beginner's Guide again, browsed the web, read up on GRUB configuration, and then succeeded in installing Arch Linux with the Gnome 3, and MATE desktop environments. MATE is more my cup of tea; there's just less distraction for me. After getting accustomed to Arch, and MATE, I installed Tex Live, LyX, Texmaker, LilyPond, Frescobaldi, emacs /w org-mode, and Python 3 along with the Eric IDE. No media stuff. So, when I start the desktop and choose Arch Linux I can sit and work on my LaTeX documents, engrave music, and learn to program with Python.
Getting the Arch Linux installation right was an initiatory step.

Regarding word-processors...
Since LibreOffice, and the odt format is used for Basic Fantasy publications, I will continue to use it for Basic Fantasy supplements, and the German translation.

Operating Systems in use (updated)
Apart from getting to know Linux better, I spend my free time playing music, and theatre. There's more.

Random RPG thought of the month
"Rolemaster's Orientation roll is probably the most underrated roll of all."

Currently reading
Donna Tartt 'Die geheime Geschichte'; Mason Currey 'Daily Rituals', Cody Jackson 'Learning to Program Using Python'

P.S.: One of those eco light bulbs just died on me... Is that a sign? Return to candles!

Sonntag, Oktober 19, 2014

Wunsch ist Wunsch 2014 - Zugeteilt!

Wunscherfüllungsservice der deutschen Rollenspielblogosphäre

Auch dieses Jahr werden Wünsche erfüllt! Das Prinzip ist einfach: wer einen Wunsch hat, gibt ihn zur Erfüllung durch andere frei und erfüllt im Gegenzug auch einen zugeteilten Wunsch.

Organisiert wird dieses Jahr von Greifenklaue, De Malspöler und Würfelheld. Die Zuteilung erfolgte durch Würfelei im Greifenklaue Podcast.

Auf Mad-Kyndalanth wird der Wunsch von Niniane erfüllt. Ihr wurde im vergangenen Jahr der Wunsch von Mad-Kyndalanth zugeteilt und sie stellte hilfreiche Überlebenspakete (Teil 1 und Teil 2) für diverse Settings zusammen! Niniane schreibt auf Stories&Characters und wünscht sich dieses Jahr fantastische Gestalten und Artefakte, die sich in einem Großstadtmöbelhaus befinden.

Das Brainstorming hat begonnen ...

Mittwoch, Oktober 08, 2014

Montag, Oktober 06, 2014

Definition War

Brought to my attention by Obskures, and Stargazer...

John Wick in this article says: “roleplaying game: a game in which the players are rewarded for making choices that are consistent with the character’s motivations or further the plot of the story.”

So, what is the reward?

Edition Definition War

'roleplaying game' is defined differently by various groups of people in different times. Distinctions between roleplaying games, as defined by these people, and other games (e.g. card games) these people might or might not play, may change.

Just because Gary Gygax said something about Dungeons&Dragons doesn't mean anything to a German gamer playing Das Schwarze Auge.

If you're serious about defining roleplaying game, then find out who used the term in which context, and when, and where. Do research.

So, we know now what John Wick, the RPGPundit, and others thoughtwrote about it, and Legion of the internet who commented on the articles.
Does any of this matter to my game?

Does my opinion matter to yours?

Meaningful Choices

In order to play the role of a character, the player must have the opportunity to make meaningful choices within the game. Quite a few game situations present the character with a double-bind: fight1, or fight2. It doesn't matter whether they fight with fists, thumbs, tea cups, or lightsabers. They need different options. The players then will get rewarded by enjoying their decisions, and the consequences of their characters' actions.

So, to make the game more roleplaying-ish create situations where all the characters (monsters, too) act not according to the standard protocol: fight1, or fight2.
Roleplaying games are like thought experiments: What would happen, if ...? How could a character act, if ...? How likely is the character to act one way, or another?
Find plausible solutions for a given situation within the limits of the character's role, and means.

And yes, you can turn chess into a roleplaying game. Because, just as with D&D, who cares who designed it for what! It's my game, when I play it.

Samstag, Oktober 04, 2014

Chris Gonnerman's RPG Primer & Old School Playbook

For Beginners who want to unlock the secrets
of role-playing games.
During the last weeks Chris Gonnerman wrote a short book titled 'The Role-Playing Game Primer and Old School Playbook' meant to introduce beginning players to role-playing games, and the concepts of old school play.

Discussion took, and takes place in a thread on the Basic Fantasy forum here. (The download link to the pdf file is included in the first post of the thread.)