Month: June 2014

Fourthcore and Seven Sessions Ago

I know that the idea is long dead and gone, and some people will hate me for bringing it up, but I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the concept of Fourthcore. It was an idea by some people trying to use a different design philosophy for the adventures and thus bring about a shift in the resulting playstyle of the game, and I think it is something that I agree with because of what I’ve seen in a lot of adventures in different games, though maybe worked in a slightly different way.

Their key principles are broken down as basically:

  • Adventures should be DIFFICULT
  • Adventures should be DEADLY
  • Magic and treasures should be GREAT
  • Everything should be OVER THE TOP
  • The world should be BLEAK
  • DEATH TRAP DUNGEONS!
  • GAMIST

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Better Video Games Make Better Gamers

I like video games, but I mainly like ones that propose different styles of challenges than the normal. It’s why I liked the Ultima series, something different than what was on the market with Ultima 4, the virtue system. This is going to be another such example of how I believe tabletop gamers will benefit from video game experiences. Roguelikes and Metroidvanias, two game series that have a lot of things of benefit to people.

Roguelikes
Roguelikes are randomly designed games, some will have little to no real ‘direction’ beyond exploration and survival. Some deal with resource and time management, such as Unreal World where you must survive in the wilds by hunting, fishing, growing crops or trading for the things you need to stay alive. Others like Dwarf Fortress are a mix of building and exploring. There is also a lot of pure questing types like Caves of Qud. I like the roguelikes because it can be a different experience everytime and with a majority of them being developed by indie developers, you’ll have a large collection to play from ranging from medieval types, such as Dwarf Fortress, to more realistic modern types like Cataclysm Dark Days Ahead, where you survive zombie apocalypse for as long as you can. For those of you worried that roguelikes are all ASCII art, fear not for many have tilesets (such as fan-mods for Dwarf Fortress), others are made with tiles like Unreal World or Project Zomboid and Rimworld and Prison Architect. (more…)

Gamemaster School 2: The Three R’s

This is the second in my series of elements of Gamemastering with various examples, trying to help provide a different viewpoint  for improving you skills or at least challenging them.

Today it is about three points in particular, which playing on school theme I classify as the Three R’s just for cuteness sake. They don’t really have much tying them together besides the simple fact that they all start with R. Responsibility, Reacting and Revisionism. (more…)

Rebel Without A CLU

Tron, Mirror’s Edge, Star Wars, Final Fantasy 6’s Returners, Final Fantasy 7’s Avalanche, V For Vendetta. This is a theme that I haven’t seen much in RPGs. Rebels and Uprising, a small force fighting the good fight against the oppressive regime, without a huge army versus army war. Occasionally, I’ve seen stories where the players will fight against a ruler in a physical style fight. Attack the armies, destroy the kingdom, etc. What I want to talk about here is instead resistance, freedom fighters, rebels, taking a stand against a government they oppose and seriously outnumbers them. It is the next step when thinking about things at an empire/kingdom/planet style of level.

First thing is I would generally assume that the resistance movement is a smaller group than the government, because if not, they could wage an open fight and make it army against army. Look at the movie Dragonheart as an example of this. The villagers had the numbers, just not the abilities and direction until they were able to be spurred into action by Bowen. The examples I am talking about is more Robin Hood and his merry band. Maybe it is just the players and their associate NPCs, or maybe it is a large network with agents in a lot of places, like the Global Frequency. I would use Star Wars Rebel Alliance as an example but they were somewhat matched in numbers with the Empire. (more…)