Month: July 2014

Gamemastery School 4: Angels with Filthy Souls

We play games for the story. Win or lose, we love telling stories to each other about the events that happened, the victories won, the ones who got away, the times we may have gotten beat down and things like that. I still know stories of interesting sessions where it was like watching a high roller in a casino in one of those movies, the dice roll, spinning, spinning, as time slows down and you’re waiting to see the crucial seconds of what number does it stop on before the cheers or weeping begins.

What makes stories is the choices made. Game Theory talks about various decision making examples, like the Prisoner’s Dilemma. These choices can be interesting, like mentioned on this article at Gnome Stew. There can be a lot of great information gained by studying the details of decision making, but what about making the decisions actually mean something? Even thought it says so in the intro I doubt Freakazoid¬†wouldn’t rescue Washington D.C. if something better was on TV. Players generally won’t turn down a plot hook when presented to them, and some will try to min-max them all, so what you usually want to do is give them choices that they can’t just solve at their leisure. Dead Rising is one of the first games I remember with time sensitive plot points rather than ‘Do these at your leisure’, and it required the player to strategically decide what they wanted to do and when and where and manage resources to make sure they could achieve that goal. (more…)

Gamemaster School 3: Weather Or Not: Environment as a Non-Player Character

Joss Whedon stated with Firefly that the ship was the tenth character of the show. So much so that they built the full ship as two sets, the upper and lower halves, allowing filming to be done in a fully constructed ship. Compare that to Star Trek:The Next Generation where a corridor set was made to be every corridor in the ship and they had to write a scene in the engine room for the pilot or they figure they never would have made the set.

Firefly is at its core a space western and Serenity is their ‘wagon train to the stars’. So, it does have its own personality, as many objects seem to. Car people will tell you their cars have personalities, we will say our computers are out to cause trouble when they don’t work right. All sorts of things like that. But what about the world in general?

Shakespeare’s work had weather reflecting the acts of men. Bad weather any time something evil was happening, echoing the actions and giving the world a bit of a personality. Something that would work well in a role-playing game. (more…)