Possibly the most often heard words in all roleplaying tables around the globe. One of the most houseruled and diverse rule between different roleplaying games. From roll d6 each side to different narrative rules, the rules and rulings are never enough to satisfy every roleplayer, or even the majority of roleplayers.
Let us start from the beginning, OD&D. Roll d6 for each side, high roll goes first. Then the tweaking begun. Bonus from dexterity, bonus from being whatever and the seemingly endless exceptions to the rule. Someone claimed that when all the rules and exceptions for AD&D were put together, the text would take at least one full page, if not two. Some, if not most roleplayers take this taking turns thing for granted and have succumbed to it, going through the motions without even thinking about it.
I originally wrote this for our Dog Week last summer, but our attempt to get that theme week going didn’t really work out. However, I think there’s something to this, so now that I found this in the drafts, I thought I’d flesh it out a bit and publish it. So, here goes…
I encountered this situation in Hyde Park last year. I was walking through it when I saw two women. One of them had two unleashed dogs running around playfully. The other had one unleashed dog following her intently at a set distance to her. Of course, the other two dogs tried to get this dog to participate in their games, being social animals, and the dog did, for a second, before its owner said sternly something in the lines of “Princess, that’s not like you”, and the dog returned to its spot meekly.
Last Sunday I published the beta version of rules for Eldritch Sigils. This is a game I have been working on for about five years. I have actually published earlier drafts over the years but this was the first time it actually has consistency and it is actually playable.
This has been a long process and one that is still in the works. But now that the rules are “out there” I thought it would be a good chance to talk about them. Since game design is quite an interesting topic I hope that sharing my process might produce new ideas or at least be curious.
You love science, right? Well, you all should, anyhow. There’s a guy called Brian Uzzi. What he did was kind of interesting (actually, apparently he’s done more than this, but this is the one I’m interested in right now) and I feel it could be transferrable to RPGs.
To my tastes, science fiction in RPGs and television is too often about adventure and excitement. The scifi that grabs me, though, is about ideas and their impact on life and society and thought. Joshua A. C. Newman‘s RPG Shock: Social Science Fiction is built on this very premise. I tried it out with a couple of people I’d never played with, and who hadn’t had any experience with games as Forge-y as this. The experience was two-sided: fun and cerebral on the one hand, heavy and somewhat disconnected on the other. Continue reading →
Maps. Most roleplayers (that I know of) like them. Some (like me) are even fascinated by them. In my opinion they make many situations in games easier to handle and might even inspire the players. Last night while playing Eldritch Sigils the group explored the subway tunnels under Berlin and I happened to draw a map I was exceptionally contended with. This made me think about mapping while playing in general and I decided to share a few of my thoughts.
If I say that Lord of the Rings is the book that has most influenced role-playing games, outside of the RPG books themselves, I don’t think very many of you would disagree. Sure, there are going to be some voices that differ (because there always are), but I think I can safely assume most players would see it that way.
Now, since you are literate, you are probably a bit wary right now. “Where is this leading to? Why is he making such a big deal out of that?” Well, because if Lord of the Rings is the most influential book, why don’t RPGs look anything like it?
I probably don’t have to tell you this, but the world is fucked up. I’ve used actual curse words only a few times during the history of this blog, but this is one of those places, where its completely justified. However, today I’m interested in the places that are specifically very fucked up in a way that you might want to use them for inspiration for your games.
New season for Eldritch Sigils is on. This time we will play in the end of the 22nd century where the PCs are member of the organisation trying to keep the reality from shattering. It’s less than hundred years from “now” but Cyberpunk (as a time and style) is still a thing in the past and that means some changes in the way things work. And during the first session we had an interesting conversation about transhumanism.