Jeffro's Space Gaming Blog

Microgames, Monster Games, and Role Playing Games

Blog Watch: Schrödinger’s Ogre, JB on D&D Next, and the Importance of Fail

Gaming Theory (Random Wizard) Mr. Kerpen Comments — “Another thing to consider is not the result of the behavior, but what the behavior suggests. The placing of an ogre battle is not the issue at all. The players might like placing an ogre. The problem is pretending to give the players a choice (you can go two ways) and then invalidating it (either way is the same ogre). Maybe it is harmless with something this small, but if the GM is not comfortable enough to allow their players to make meaningful choices for something like what happens when they turn left instead of right, then what is to say they will be any more confident letting the players choose their own adventure over doing something the GM has decided is awesome and the players will love?”

Strangeness (Monsters & Manuals) The Tri-Dimensional Planebox Megacrawlathon Sandhexamagig — “Each campaign takes place across several planes of existence, all of which are different and yet the same: reflections of each other, refractions of the same light. One is high fantasy, one is Arabian Nights, one is Lovecraft, one is Space Marines, one is Sword & Sorcery, one is Everything is Dolphins…. Occasionally, there is seepage in between: the PCs may slip through portals to the other dimensions and back, and what they find on each plane will remind them of their home dimension and yet be subtly – or hugely – different. Locations, magic items, NPCs, geography, will all be familiar, and yet at the same time not.”

Etiquette and Protocol (Look, Robot) 11 Ways to be a Better Roleplayer — “It is hard to think of a way to be more dismissive of someone’s game than playing a different game during it. If you find yourself getting so bored by what’s going on you’re resorting to playing a game on your phone, or reading a book, or checking Facebook, then step away from the game. You are draining the group with your very presence. I would rather have an empty chair than someone who wasn’t paying attention, because I don’t have to entertain an empty chair.”

D&D Next (B/X Blackrazor) JB Weighs in on the Playtest Rules — “Allow me to wax positive for a moment: hot mess or not, it’s NOT an un-fun game. It’s just not a role-playing game and it doesn’t feel much like ‘Dungeons & Dragons’ to me (probably because it’s not really a role-playing game). It has the tropes of D&D…dwarves and elves and fighters and clerics and armor class and saves…but it doesn’t play like D&D. It plays like a souped-up boardgame.”

Gaming Theory (The Rhetorical Gamer) Failure is Interesting — “An example I come back to is the old Pick Locks rule that if you fail, you cannot try again until you gain a level. This makes perfect sense to me. It’s simple – the lock is too hard. Sure, it’s sad that you ran into something your character wasn’t good enough to defeat but unless the adventure is such a linear nightmare that there is only one path (which is its own, separate problem) the failure is an interesting outcome. Once I fail to pick that lock – I don’t need to be allowed to Take 10 or another chance – I need a new plan.”

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