14. What is an awesome RPG for open-ended campaign play?
This is sort of the opposite of the Day 9 question. Most RPGs work for this, unless they are specifically designed for short play. What really matters is how engaged everyone at the table is, and whether you’re tracking what has gone on from episode to episode so dangling plot threads and interesting NPCs can be reincorporated in play, making the GM’s life easier (the adventures write themselves) and the players’ actions more important (they impact the game world.)
That said, some games make it particularly easy for me, because the mechanics are light enough that statting more NPCs and creating new locations and plots does not create a burden on the GM. I particularly like games based on Fate Accelerated (like War of Ashes or Dresden Files Accelerated), PDQ (like Truth & Justice, Jaws of the Six Serpents, or The Zorcerer of Zo), or Heroquest (like Mythic Russia or of course Glorantha.) Some (not all) games Powered by the Apocalypse work well for this style of play, like Dungeon World or Monster of the Week.
4. What’s an RPG item you have played a lot since August 2016?
The roleplaying game I most played since the last instance of #RPGaDay2016 is probably Dungeon World because my husband has been writing and playtesting a hack called “Land of Ten Thousand Gods.” I have been included in three different groups of adventurers, first playing Rahi the Relic-Bearer (~fighter), and more recently Jewel the Wilderness Guide (~ranger) and Sabitri the Shapeshifter (~druid).
All three groups met or are meeting online via Skype or Google Hangouts. I really hope Edmund gets the hack to a point where it can be released for general consumption because it’s such a rich setting, full of marvels and interesting monsters, with player characters that feel important to the story.
We’ve been playing Dungeon World for over a year now, in Edmund’s own setting inspired by Southern Asia, “The Land of Ten Thousand Gods.” We’re nearing the epic conclusion of a big story arc so as a holiday present to the whole group, I commissioned a portrait of our four characters from the amazing Claudia Cangini. Tonight I unveiled it for the group and people sounded very happy — I know I am!
For those who, like me, enjoy seeing how a piece of art comes together, I will post the various steps of Claudia’s work. All images are in the slideshow at the bottom.
2. What is the best game session you have had since August 2015?
Tough one! Since then I’ve had great games at conventions like Dragonflight, CelestiCon, and Big Bad Con, as well as with friends in our semi-regular campaigns of Night Witches, Bloodshadows, and Dungeon World, and great one-offs of Monster of the Week, Fiasco, Kapow, Icons, and many more.
Dungeon World (Sage Kobold Productions 2011, 2012) is probably the best-known descendant of Apocalypse World, the family of games “Powered by the Apocalypse” (PbtA for short.) It owes its popularity not only to its use of the most popular trappings in the history of role-playing (the Gygaxian dungeon crawl and character roles) but also to the clarity of the writing and some simple but effective choices of mechanics.
One of its significant modifications to the AW model is the way characters gain experience and advance. In AW (including the second edition previews released so far) and several of the PbtA games based on it, one player and the GM each highlight a stat on your character sheet at the beginning of the session; your character gains experience by using (i.e., rolling dice based on) the highlighted stats. I really hate this; typically, the stats highlighted are not the ones that interest me as player. In addition, a few specific character moves may instruct you to mark experience under limited circumstances.
In Dungeon World, there are no highlighted stats; instead, you mark experience every time you roll a failure (6 or less on two six-sided dice.) In addition, the End of Session move rewards the behaviours typical to the Gygaxian inspiration: playing your character’s alignment, learning something new and important about the world, overcoming a notable monster or enemy, and looting a memorable treasure. Between these, you can expect characters to earn two to six experience points per session.
But there is one more thing that can earn you experience, and it’s very unexpected in light of the old-school model DW emulates: relationships between characters. Here is how it works: Continue reading “As the Dungeon World Turns”→
I like making graphics! My husband has written a hack of Dungeon World for a setting inspired by the mythologies of the Indian sub-continent and southeast Asia, called the Land of Ten Thousand Gods. We play it twice a month over Google Hangouts, and fellow player Sean Nittner has posted the tale of the first few episodes here, here, and here. Edmund created a hex map, which I re-interpreted in my own way. (Right now, we’re in Fish-for-Dinner, the city on the coast at the lower edge of the big river delta.)
I wanted it to look a bit odd, like watercolours and ink by an NPC artist who doesn’t normally do maps, working on the direction of the adventurers. I also wanted to keep it sketchy because in Dungeon World the players may keep adding locations in-between known sites. I used MyPaint 1.1.0 because it offers an essentially infinite canvas, and added the symbols and labels in GIMP. The font is Samarkan, obtained from fonthindi.blogspot.com; the symbols are primarily from StarRaven’s Sketchy Cartography Brushes on starraven.deviantart.com and a few other brush packs.
My husband has written a hack of Dungeon World for a setting inspired by the mythologies of the Indian sub-continent and southeast Asia, called the Land of Ten Thousand Gods. We play it twice a month over Google Hangouts, and fellow player Sean Nittner has posted the tale of the first few episodes here, here, and here. I made a relationship map of our four characters; naturally it evolves after every episode but I’m rather happy with the style.
The relationship map is created in GIMP; the pseudo-Sanskrit font is Samarkan, obtained from fonthindi.blogspot.com and the main text font is Gillius ADF No2 from Arkandis Digital Foundry; the arrow brushes are from SparklingTea on Project-GimpBC. The background image is a Victorian engraving of the Pudhu Mandapam, Madurai, India.
The character pictures, well… Not so open source. Merit’s avatar is a pirate elf by Minttu; Kanta’s is a photo of Goddess Kali makeup by AllMadHera; Ram Jul’Rash’s is a Dwarf avatar created by Mike “Daarken” Lim for the online game The Hobbit: Armies of the Third Age; and Rahi’s is a promo shot of Lynn Collins as Dejah Thoris in the movie John Carter. Used without permission, no copyright challenge intended.