Playing With Others

Breaking Down the 20

The last three questions of the twenty question background are probably the hardest to answer because they’re usually answered in a state of ignorance. It’s difficult to say why a particular character is with the party when you don’t know who else is in the party, what their purpose is, and why they all hang out together despite being murderers and centaurs. These questions are holdovers from Conversation Cafe, but I find that they help encourage people to develop ties within the group and it alleviates some of those early trust issues that fantasy adventurers or paranoid investigators tend to have.

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TPktalk for Jan 25

It’s the 10th anniversary of Opportunity! That little rover has been running around Mars for ten years! That’s a whole other planet! For weird space things, art things, and other stuff you should check out the Concept Crucible Hexup, though you should not do so until partaking deeply of the gaming articles contained herein, which include history, advice, and lessons learned from World of Warcraft, that MMO that everyone played for too long (if you’re still playing World of Warcraft, you’ve also been playing it for too long).

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The Virtues of Sharing

Abu, from Diney's aladdin

This is something I try to promote at any table I’m at. Share everything equally. Disparities in experience points and those kinds of out of character rewards I’ll talk about in two weeks, but in character, it’s generally better to share everything equally. It builds trust, helps with prisoner’s dilemma, promotes fun, and generally is a good idea in a cooperative game.

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TPKtalk for Jan 18

It’s been a fun-filled week for us. I put up the first episode of my F.E.A.R. full play, and on Monday I record the first episode of a new podcast series for my other blog, Concept Crucible. It’s been a good week in gaming too, and we’ve got some nifty posts for you as well as a Kickstarter that’s basically the thing you’ve been dreaming about since you were a small child. Not that. The other thing.

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Money Isn’t Everything

Scrooge McDuck

Once, when collecting my student loan money at university, I found out I’d already been approved for a grant. I wasn’t about to say no to a free $800, and didn’t. The loan officer commented, “There’s nothing better than free money!” Actually, there are lots of things better than free money. In fact, almost anything is better than free money, because I’m going to take that free money and trade it for things.

It’s simple, in a game where people essentially play professional hobos and mercenaries, to say that a character is motivated by money. That they’re looking for the payout, plain and simple. But the fact of the matter is that no one is doing that, and that wanting money for the sake of money isn’t really a motivation worth having. So today I want to talk about why, and some ways to describe mercenary tendencies without talking about them in terms of money.

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The Unexamined Life

The Death of Socrates, by Jacques-Louis David

Brand new year, brand new, well, not much. We’re puttering with things but it’s too early to say. At the very least, more videogames and more Youtube things. Also less posts from Ryan, on account of him being eaten by his phd and his fiancee, but I’ve got a few ideas around that too, mostly involving kidnapping and daring rescues. This isn’t a post about the new year though, not directly. It’s a time to reflect on what’s important, and what matters to me and to others in gaming. For me, it’s the unexamined life.

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My Beholder Hatrack

Beholder (Dungeons & Dragons)

Recently, my D&D character helped kill a Beholder. A small one. We did what adventurers do, looting its treasure and making off with its prisoners, and I paused for a moment. Properly stuffed, that beholder would make a lovely hatrack in my character’s foyer. Because he has a foyer in the small house he shares with his wife. I asked if anyone else wanted the body, but no one did. They couldn’t carry it with them. That was when I figured out something important.

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I Love Alignment

D&D alignment defined by GM attitudes

I know I’m practically the only one, but I do. I love that it’s super vague, and I don’t like the move away from it in newer editions of D&D (though I don’t like the notion of tacking it on to games that don’t have it). I know that it’s an unnecessary piece of the system that’s carried forward for the same reason that fireballs always do 1d6/level damage, and I still like it because it’s an occasionally convenient piece. Read more

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