anyway.
A Penny for Your Thoughts



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Antiquated


137.html:
I started posting at the Forge in August 2001. I was the 116th person to sign up. Now there are 3,854. I've written about 1200 posts there, almost one per day. Mine are less than 1% of the total. 300 pages of threads in the general forums, 30 threads per page, 2 to 100+ posts per thread. The Forge is on-topic enough that you can safely ignore only, oh, half of the threads, maybe two thirds. Let's round down and say that to own the Forge you have to read 20,000 posts. Let's be generous and say that reading the essays will substitute for 10,000 of them, so if you prefer: all the essays and 10,000 posts.

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A friend of mine said to me over thanksgiving that RPG rules are just whatever, right? What matters is the group and the setting.

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Well that was a rough Christmas. Boy did I end up cranky.

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Also, here's me, if you can believe it, actually praying.

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I'm going to write a short story called "The Technophage."

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Good design, bad design.

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Conflict Resolution in D&D-style combat:

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This is a lot to ask you to read. It's a couple years' worth of my, Meg's and Emily's gaming written up on the Forge:

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Let's make a few definitions concrete. These that follow, despite being in my own words, are the definitions we use at the Forge and also the definitions that Egri uses in The Art of Dramatic Writing. (Allow me a gripe: my edition has it "The Art of Dramat!c Wr!t!ng." "The Art of Dramat!c Writing" I could see, but three bangs? Please.)

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We played another kick-butting session of Primetime Adventures. I'll write it up at the Forge soon, but afterward Emily and I had an interesting conversation about game design and stuff, out of which came this for me:

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Will everybody get it better if we call it Stakes Resolution? So we have Stakes Resolution vs. Task Resolution?

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Here are some wicked groovy FitM Stakes Resolution rules you can use tonight, if you wanna!

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Christopher Weeks just made an online automatic proto-npc generator for Dogs in the Vineyard! It is the sweet.

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The Food Timeline! Gacked from MetaFilter.

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Speaking of food, I praise whatever God or chance brought Korean restaurants to the Pioneer Valley. I just finished a squid dish so spicy that I was weeping openly and scarfing down kim chee to ease the burn.

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The Skiffy Game

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Just for Ninja J: A Bloated Stupid-fest RPG, part 1.

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"An atheist. You haven't done much magic then? Just fooling around or whatever? Any kind of you know tradition or anything?"

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Whoa.

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How RPG Rules Work

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The goal of designing rules is to change social contract.

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Kenneth Hite awarded Dogs in the Vineyard his Outie for Best RPG of 2004!

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Skiffy Game, character creation, some thinking. Based on Eric's observation about Sorcerer down here.

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Quite out of the blue and absolutely positively with no provocation whatsoever, Matt Wilson says to me:

Post on your blog about these non-person-to-person conflicts and why they're stupid. I am ready to disagree. "Can I climb the wall?" Maybe stupid. "Can I believe in myself?" Not stupid, but not necessarily person-to-person.
Am I allowed to just take on your examples, Matt, or do I have to state my position clearly?

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I I E E

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This is a test. Does changing the html mean changing the php?

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I am returned!

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Several different individuals at the con asked me about stuff on my blog here. Particularly, they asked me about what should I contribute? in RPGs, referencing this post and comment thread. Apparently they think I have something in mind, about how answering how should I treat others' contributions? - IIEE, Conflict Resolution - is the easier, smaller part of designing a game.

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I've made my second big Dreamation post on the Forge: Roleplaying Theory In Person.

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Ben Lehman:

P.S. I also want to talk about your "what makes a character a protagonist" bit. I think you're missing something.
First I remind us what's a protagonist: a protagonist is a passionate character locked into conflict across a moral line with fit opposition. A protagonist begins at a turning point (creating a dynamic, unstable situation) proceeds as the situation escalates to crisis and resolution (through the opposed actions of the protagonist and the opposition), and ends when the situation resolves at last to stability.

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Keith:

Endgames for games without defined endgames
Yeah.

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Emily:

Player input mechanics like fan-mail(PtA) and trust(tMW), and the dynamics they create between players.

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Tony:

Roleplaying game vs Storytelling game. Which one am I? How do I tell?
I call bogus!

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Chris:

-How people can use creative limitations(focus the elements) to add momentum and direction to play("You're all Dogs!") and what that means for players, for GMs, and the group as a whole
Say more! I could list some games that do the "you're all Dogs!" thing, but you've already thought about that. I could also say that creative limitations add momentum and direction to play, but you've already thought of that too!

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Ben:

I want you to talk about mechanical, rigorous system that is not about conflict resolution at all.
Chris:
Good situation building!
Jasper:
Any mechanics that are not resolution.
Emily:
Hear, hear to Jasper's suggestion. We need a taxonomy of what mechanics can & do do.
Ben:
Yes, Jasper! Yes!
All worthwhile rules are about conflict resolution sooner or later.

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Tom:

If I want to make a new class for d20, what are the major factors to consider? I'm interested in both the underlying math (how to make sure class features keep pace with other classes and rising CR levels) and more subtle issues around keeping the class interesting to players and useful to the overall party.
Undoable. Those three things - making sure its features keep pace with other classes', making sure it's interesting to players, and making sure it's useful to the overall party - contradict one another. As you move toward any one of them, you'll sacrifice the others.

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Matt:

The division of authority, and new ways to spread it around (cf. GOG, Universalis).
It happens that our very own Emily is writing an essay on this topic, so I'm going to not answer. When she publishes, we can read and discuss!

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Weeks:

How about you summarize the state of the art as you see it. You've been talking "this is better than that" and you've mentioned obsolescence in game designs a couple times recently. Want to synthesize it all?
Uh... Want to? It all? Not really.

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So, like, almost three weeks later it occurs to me that I need to mention this here: Clinton R. Nixon has made an RSS feed for anyway.

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I've written up our most recent Primetime Adventures session: Epidemonology ep2. It was fun!

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Charles:

One thing I keep wondering about is the idea of using high mechanics systems for short periods within a larger low-mechanic game... What would it look like to play out a couple of sessions of an existing game (with highly developed characters, ut probably relatively low narrative movement per session) using a system that emphasizes stylization and narrative movement?
Well, I have to tell you that it hasn't worked for us.

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Luke:

I was wondering if you could open up a thread so I could grill you about some of the stuff you said in Conflict vs Task Resolution and A Small Thing About Character Death.
Sure thing. Done!

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Simulationism


anyway.