Trust Me

In the middle of a zombie apocalypse, you're two people who have just gotten themselves to safety. The biggest threat now is sitting across from you, wearing a dirty hoody and torn jeans. If they’ve been bitten, you’re dead...but there is a gun between you, which might solve everything.

Discover - Why I Won't Back Numenera 2

Seeing that Numenera was produced in 2013 is *absolutely fucking mindblowing* to me, because it feels like every other d20 Open Gaming Licence production that started with copy-pasting the D&D 3rd edition SRD. It doesn’t have any of the elegance of games from 2000-2010, and doesn’t have any of the engagement of games from 2010 onwards, and it has no interest in helping players to tell the story it promises to them. Numenera, much like the wonders and resources around which the game was built, feels like a relic of a bygone age.

Laika is an analogue RPG by Melody Watson that seeks to replicate the love and loss felt by Dr Yazdovskiy as he watched Laika shoot into the sky. It is a game about finding something already precious to you, spending a little time telling it how precious it is, and then releasing it into the world forearmed with the knowledge it will be lost forever. It is a shame, then, that beyond the fantastic idea, Laika didn’t help me as much as I needed it to.

Creep

Ten Candles is about the idea that you are not enough, that you will struggle, and ultimately die. Or maybe Ten Candles is about how, no matter how dire the world is, you will still rage against the darkness. If those two ideas both seem too heavy to be truly experienced by an RPG, Ten Candles is sneaking up on you too.

Engage the Mechanics

One of the big misunderstandings in DMing at the moment of the idea that “if failure isn’t interesting, don’t roll the dice.” This line isn’t a rallying cry against dice rolls, it’s a rallying cry against boring failures. The take-away from this advice shouldn’t be that we should roll less, it’s that we should fail more interestingly!

Be Complicit

The point of this discussion isn’t to tie our previous discussions with a bow, there's just too much to be said about choices. It’s not about complicity being a nice word to describe something that we’ve been mentioning for months (though it is and we have), it’s about highlighting the role of the player in making choices. 

Respond

Consequences are what make player choices matter, and choices are how players express themselves. Therefore consequences are how you, as a DM, say to your players “in this game, you matter”. So why is it that as a community we're obsessed with wielding consequences as a weapon of punishment, rather than using it as a reward, or as a tool of the fiction?

Get Resourceful - Part II

DMs often make complaints like "my party is bored," or "they're steamrolling content," or "my players aren't listening to my descriptions". In reality these are (most likely) all questions of investment. And while there are many, many ways to engage players in a scene, this is a focus on the Four Key Resources