Hope you’re having a great Saturday so far. Just to let you know, there’ll be no posts from Dec 16 to Dec 30, on account of us taking a few weeks off for the holidays. Still, many more things to come after that. Also, if you’re local, you can catch me live at next week’s Nerd Nite, playing music as their artist in residence! It’s at 7pm on Tuesday, Dec 10 at the Rum Runner Pub in Kitchener, Ontario. Anyway, lots of great links this week, including mini hacks, good games, sounds, and real-life D&D.
Breaking Down the 20
Very little of the twenty question background explicitly asks players to tell stories, these ones definitely do. No one cares that your character has a memory of baking bread or that they like to whittle. It does not matter one bit. What matters is why they do it. It is the only thing that matters. The best answers often have nothing to do with adventuring, fighting, or conjuring small rodents through magic. They describe a life before these things and outside of it. Boring answers reference a character’s main skill sets. Cartography isn’t a hobby for a scout, it’s part of their job.
It’s Thanksgiving and Black Friday and all manner of other things that we don’t have here in Canada. It’s a busy weekend. However, all of our links are free and contain no calories or trans fats, so take a look around and I’m sure you’ll find something you can take home with you.
Two weeks ago I wrote about three ways I’ve seen religion used as a cultural force in rpgs as a preface to talking about the way that I like to use it, along with some general thoughts on religion in games. I think there’s a lot of different relationships characters can have with their faith, just like in real life, and I wanted to find a way to articulate religion so it was accessible to everyone and couraged people to created deeper characters with a more interesting narrative. As an ethicist who’ll talk anyone’s ear off about values, it seems like the obvious way to do it.
Wicked things are happening this week. If you’re local to Kitchener-Waterloo, you can find me tonight and tomorrow playing at the G33K Art Show, from 6:30-8:00 tonight, and 4:30-6:00 tomorrow! Also, on Wednesday the 27th, we’ll be meeting at 7pm at the Rum Runner in downtown Kitchener for our first GM Jam, where we’ll cackle at the misfortunes of our players and swap tips about what’s best in GMing.
Today’s wiki update is quick, and more of an upgrade! Obsidian Portal, the site that hosts our wikis, just went through a wicked update thanks to their Kickstarter campaign at the beginning of the summer. Every wiki is more mobile friendly, has some more customization options, and they’re slowly rolling out additional features as they get their code working. This has me really excited, not just because I love having websites, but because I like managing information about my game and encouraging people to participate. So even though it means a big reformat for me, I’m looking forward to overhauling it, and I thought I’d psych myself up by posting a couple of things that I want to do with my wiki.
Breaking Down the 20
I just added a number of new players to both my D&D games, and was reminded that it’s high time to finish this series. Every D&D character that joins my game needs to answer twenty questions about their background and who they are. Answering the questions isn’t hard, but there are ways to answer them that encourage stories rather than shut things down. So I asked, they answered, and here we go. There are only eight questions left, and they break down into nifty sections.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned from comic books, it’s that heroes are defined by their enemies. Batman has the Joker, Superman has Lex Luthor, and the Aquaman has his reputation and orange shirt. So today, villains. Or enemies, at least (after all, villainous characters would have heroes).
Short post today because it’s late and because I am watching Desert Bus and playing Feed the Beast again.
Getting back in the habit with a post I’ve wanted to write for a while. Religion at the gaming table can be an interesting and sticky subject. There are a lot of ways to treat it, and I could write for months about it. I’ve played with people of a few religious stripes, from those with none at all to pagans and various flavours of Christian, and they’ve really helped me define my idea of what belonging to a religion means, and how it can matter narratively. I’m an apatheist myself, but I understand the power of religion as a cultural force in the lives of millions of people, so I’ve always wanted to give it a treatment that resonates with faithful people without disincentivizing secular players. There’s a wide gulf between representing real-world religion vs. fantasy religion, but today I want to pay attention to fantasy religion. We’ll talk about the way I do it next week, but here’s three other ways you could treat religion.
Remember, when failing a blogging challenge, it’s important to fail it as much as possible kids. No, really I’ve just had a lot going on and had trouble finding my focus. I even gave Ryan the month off intending to tackle the challenge head on. That was, in retrospect, not a great plan. But I’m back, and we’re good to go with another TPKtalk!