For May, we have another neat challenge for tabletop role-playing game enthusiasts, the #MayRPGQ2018 challenge from Brie Sheldon. It has questions for the even days of the month.
May 2: How do you introduce yourself?
To other gamers, I usually mention my long-time online handles, dating back 20 years: Anemone, Evil Anemone, Méchante Anémone, and variations thereof. If I know we have gamer friends in common, I mention them. And to publishers, I mention that I have written for Atlas Games, Evil Hat Productions, Generic Games, Vigilance Press, and ZombieSmith, and that I am project manager for the Fate line at Evil Hat (plus awesome new responsibilities I’ll talk about later this month.) I do have gamer business cards I use at conventions! Continue reading “#MayRPGQ2018: Part 1”
Final round of Kira Magrann’s cool challenge for April, the 30-day tabletop role-playing game maker or #AprilTTRPGMaker challenge.
Day 25: Being a tabletop role-playing game designer means…
Argh! This kind of question makes me worry about gate-keeping. I feared at the beginning of this challenge that many people would self-select out because of impostor syndrome.
I think of the definition as flexible and inclusive: if you create games, supplements, scenarios, settings, rules, playbooks, worksheets, and other tools to share with the world, if you listen to constructive critique and try to improve, if you keep polishing your work, then I’d say you are a game designer.
I’m not saying that keeping your meticulous DM campaign notes since the first game of D&D you ran in 1979 and trying to run games in that compendium at every convention makes you a game designer. Based on my training as an engineer, I think that in order to qualify as a designer:
- You need to articulate what it is you are trying to create.
- You need to separate the product of your work from your own identity, enough to listen to reasonable criticism.
- You need to want to improve the product of your work even if the improvement goes in a new direction.
- You need to keep informed about approaches other designers have used to solve similar problems so you don’t try to reinvent the wheel or publish fantasy heartbreakers.
- You need to think of several different solutions to every problems rather than pre-select based on bias.
- You need to try, evaluate, reject or refine, and try again until your design can be pronounced good by comparing to your objectives.
These are features of design, any kind of design. It’s not about how many copies you sold, or how long you have been working on an idea.
Continue reading “#AprilTTRPGMaker: Questions 25 through 30”
Part 3 of Kira Magrann’s cool challenge for April, the 30-day tabletop role-playing game maker or #AprilTTRPGMaker challenge.
Day 13: Biggest influence?
In roughly chronological order:
Over The Edge by Jonathan Tweet (Atlas Games); Robin’s Laws of Good Game-mastering by Robin Laws (Steve Jackson Games); Truth & Justice and The Zantabulous Zorcerer of Zo by Chad Underkoffler (Atomic Sock Monkey Press); Fate Accelerated by Clark Valentine, Leonard Balsera, Fred Hick, Mike Olson, and Amanda Valentine (Evil Hat Productions).
Over the Edge
Truth & Justice
The Zorcerer of Zo
But the funny thing is that I also got influences from games I thought were deeply flawed such as:
Primetime Adventures, The Esoterrorists, Burning Empires, Apocalypse World,
Continue reading “#AprilTTRPGMaker: Questions 13 through 18”
Continuing with Kira Magrann’s cool challenge for April, the 30-day tabletop role-playing game maker or #AprilTTRPGMaker challenge.
Day 7: Your workspace.
The important thing about my workspace is that it includes cats. At least one, usually two, even three when the afternoon sun shines on my desk.
Also includes: an antique mahogany roll-top desk, bookcases mostly filled with RPGs (but only a fraction of the ones we own!), a worktable opposite the desk, and my computer (running on Ubuntu 16.04, with Wacom Intuos 5×9 tablet.) Continue reading “#AprilTTRPGMaker: Questions 7 through 12”
Kira Magrann started a cool challenge for April, the 30-day tabletop role-playing game maker or #AprilTTRPGMaker challenge. Everyone who participates in creating RPGs is invited to chime in! Kira’s list of daily questions is included at the bottom of this post. They’re mostly short answers on Twitter and other social media, but I thought I would re-post them here in small groups, with better grammar and a few more characters.
Day 1: Who are you?
I’m Sophie Lagacé, a Canadian expatriate living in the San Francisco Bay, avid gamer, convention organizer, blogger, and game writer. I write and manage projects for Evil Hat Productions, and write freelance for Vigilance Press, Atlas Games, Generic Games, ZombieSmith, etc.
My career outside games has been as a civil and environmental engineer. Continue reading “#AprilTTRPGMaker: Questions 1 through 6”
Unknown Armies 3
19. What’s an RPG item that features awesome writing?
Here are three role-playing games I’ve enjoyed reading as much or even more than I have enjoyed playing.
Weapons of the Gods (Eos Press) featured Brad Elliott as primary system writer, and Rebecca Borgstrom (now Jenna Moran) authoring the fiction and setting material. It is one of a very few RPGs containing fiction I enjoyed for its own sake.
Unknown Armies (Atlas Games) is best known for Greg Stolze and (in the first two editions) John Tynes’ snarky, idiosyncratic, witty writing. I have loved every edition and I was honoured to have a small part in helping write the third edition.
Mutants & Masterminds (Green Ronin Publishing) is another that has known three editions, every one of which I loved. I particularly enjoyed Steve Kenson’s sharing of his thorough knowledge of the superhero genre and explaining his reasoning in making design choices so that game-masters can use the same tools. It really helped me realize what I’m looking for in GM advice.
Over the Edge
18. What’s an RPG item you have played a lot in your life?
The game I got the most play from is probably 7th Sea (Alderac Entertainment Games), since that was a regular, reliable campaign that went on for at least four years. It’s the campaign I have most enjoyed playing in my life.
The game that I have been playing the longest and continue to play is Over The Edge (Atlas Games). I have been playing for 23 or 24 years and it’s still a go-to.
25. Favourite revolutionary game mechanic
- Free-form skills, as introduced by Over the Edge (Atlas Games). They changed the face of gaming for me, turning characters back into concepts, not the piles of numbers they had been reduced to by earlier RPGs.
- Character troubles and backgrounds as stories a player wants to pursue, not a source of of disadvantage points to min-max with. First encountered in 7th Sea (Alderac Entertainment Games).
- A range of success that includes No but…, Yes but…, and Yes and…, as first encountered in octaNe (Memento Mori Theatricks). In the long run, it made a huge difference in my game-mastering.
17. Favourite fantasy RPG
As a standalone game, my favourite fantasy title is Jonathan Tweet’s Everway (Wizards of the Coast/Rubicon Games/Gaslight Press). As a setting, it’s Chris Dolunt’s Nyambe: African Adventures (Atlas Games).
Earlier this week I received the ebook for Robin D. Laws’ Blowing Up the Movies, a backer reward for the recent Feng Shui 2 Kickstarter campaign. This morning I received the alpha playtest version of Evil Hat Productions’ role-playing game Shadow of the Century, which when released will be a backer reward for the Fate Core Kickstarter campaign. And when I got home tonight, Brooklyn Indie Games’ Backstory Cards, which I had purchased through Kickstarter, were waiting for me.
Tomorrow night, I’m having four players over for dinner and playtesting. We will use all three together and build us a giant badass of an 80s action movie!