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Good News, Bad News

June 16, 2011

The good news first; RP created a great short booklet of the rules for the example setting of Hydrafel (same as the larger book): Team Event Short Booklet: Hydrafel I think we’ll need to create a booklet like this for each setting so that the teams have a reference in play.

The bad news is two fold. First, my computer access has been limited this week so I less blogging and tweeting. Second, I had to postpone the first run of the Team Event. I just didn’t have enough teams on board (the game needs four, minimum) so I didn’t want to get myself and others hyped up for an event that was very unlikely to go off. I still hope to playtest locally before Tacticon, but I’ll try to get the teams together and schedule a time that will work for them first. Another thing I’m going t0 try and do is run a small-scale playtest with five or six people each acting as one team.

Work Log w/e 10 Jun 11

June 10, 2011

Only a week to go before the first play of the game!

Lessons from Iron GM?

June 6, 2011

I recently listened to Jennisode #40 about the Iron GM competition. It’s exactly the kind of thing I would’ve loved to compete in or help run when I was GMing D&D 3.5. It’s also the only current, popular, and GROWING roleplaying competition I’m aware of. I need to learn their secrets and apply them to the Team Event! From the episode, it sounds like there’s a lot of fanfare and excitement built up by the folks running it and we definitely want to do that for the Team Event. They had the advantage of starting on the large stage of Gencon and we need to start smaller and local – but that doesn’t mean we can’t dream big and think big!

For the first run of the game, we’re offering a prize of a WotC boxed set for the team to share and a $10 game store gift card for each player of the winning team (thanks to Petrie’s Family Games and WotC’s sponsorship of our local meetup group). I think that’s a pretty good haul for showing up and having fun for four hours – and for our first time. I don’t have any idea how to get sponsored for the kind of big prizes that Iron GM has to offer –¬† $12,500 at a recent regional convention! I know I can’t lean on my local game stores anywhere near that hard, so that means contacting game companies and asking them to sponsor us to run a game that they aren’t selling. Sounds crazy, but Iron GM is running the 3.5 SRD as their base system which no one is directly profiting from at this point, so it can be done. But I think it best to wait until I have some success (and photo/video evidence of it) with the game before I aim that high.

Right now I think I’m doing all I can to generate excitement before the event, but the Iron GM folks work hard to create an atmosphere at and surrounding the event. It sounds like their event is structured to have certain slow points where they’re waiting for results or for their GMs to finish prep and in those lulls they have quick group games and performances that make a lot of noise and keep people pumped. The Team Event is pretty tightly schedule as it stands now so the sideshows are probably out for us, but we need to keep an eye out for opportunities to interject some more fun and excitement. I think keeping the doors to room we’re playing in open at a convention would be smart (and hopefully the room won’t be out of the way). I’ve got advice in the game text about doing the big finale in a more public venue to attract attention – and you can bet I’m going to take my own advice! But after listening to the Iron GM folks, I’m thinking I need to get a bullhorn…

Work Log w/e 3 Jun 11

June 3, 2011

Here’s the work log for the week:

  • Saturday: Continued to mark up the laid-out draft.
  • Sunday: Met with co-author and went over mark ups.
  • Monday: Wrote Give Me an Example post. Sent co-author some emails.
  • Tuesday: Put the Creative Commons License on the sidebar, wrote a couple emails, started a new blog post
  • Wednesday: Released The Team Event – Version 1 Woot!
  • Thursday: Scheduled first run of the Team Event
  • Friday: Added the Downloads page to the site, finished new blog post (for Monday)

That’s a good week if I do say so myself; and I got some great feedback via Twitter to boot! (But more, more, and more feedback is always welcome!)

The Team Event – Version 1

June 1, 2011

This is the second full draft of the game text, but I’m going to go ahead and call it Version 1 since it’s the first one intended for wide, public release. We’d appreciate any and all comments and critiques. Please feel free to send this to anyone who might be interested in the game.

The Team Event – Version 1

RP (my co-author) did a great job of laying this out, but he’s actually going to convert it into an A4 form factor so that we can better use booklet printing in Adobe. There will also be at least one shorter version (without the setting creation and play sheets) and maybe a pocket version as soon as we can; but we wanted to get a full, readable version out there as soon as possible for you to take a look at.

Give Me an Example

May 30, 2011

I don’t think I realized how much I like examples in RPGs until I started reading and running games that I hadn’t had the opportunity to play before. With D&D and other traditional RPGs, I usually had a chance to play the game at a con or at a friend’s house before I’d buy it and try to run it myself. In those situations, the examples were mostly in the way – I’d already done that. I’d usually skim or skip the examples to get on with the rest of the rules. But when I started playing Story Games I was buying them on scant information, reading them, and then teaching them to my group and examples really helped.

Even with shorter books with fewer rules (as most Story Games are), it’s easy for me to get wrapped around the axle if I don’t fully understand the mechanics of a game. Sometimes with a new concept or technique that I’ve never experienced before the apparently simple can become incredibly difficult. Sometimes it’s a matter of multiple, possible ways to read a sentence or not being able to see how some of the rules work with each other. Whatever the cause of confusion, good examples can really help clarify how to use the rules.

This weekend my game group played Shock: Human Contact. While I’ve only played two sessions, I can definitely recommend the game to all fans of good scifi. It does a great job of genre emulation; it feels like your playing through a scifi novel. It’s one of the best RPG experiences I’ve had in a while. The only weakness of the game text is that there are very few examples. The conflict resolution mechanics are straightforward and well explained, but I still got stuck when we sat at the table and tried to use them the first time (to be fair the other players weren’t confused). Sure, I was tired and it was late, but I think that having an example or two for reference would’ve got me unstuck much quicker. The game includes some great fiction which clearly shows you a potential outcome of the game system, but it’s too far removed from what the players d0 to create the fiction. Now our group’s story is moving on to a chapter transition and I feel like the game could use an example there too.

In our first draft of the Team Event, there weren’t any examples. Thanks to some excellent feedback, we decided to add examples for the main mechanical actions. Then we added examples to the end-game mechanics and character creation. Now we’re adding a faction creation example. We even have a brain-storming example in the make-your-own-setting section! Some of these examples deal with creative decisions and player interactions more than they do mechanics. These may seem strange or unnecessary to some, but I think it helps to envision how the game is going to flow before you play it. And if you don’t need an example for something, you can always skip past it.

Maybe we went too far with the examples, but right now I don’t think so (you’ll get to decide for yourself soon enough). Of course, we’ll have to wait until we run it to find out if the examples are as effective in play as we hope they are.

Work Log w/e 27 May 11

May 28, 2011

I’m trying to return to form now with the weekly summary of what I did for the Team Event RPG – actual writing, promotion, networking, webstuff, etc – to keep myself focused and accountable. If anyone has suggestions or more/different/better things I can do, please let me know!

  • Monday: Wrote Power 19 blog post.
  • Tuesday: Added randomly rotating banner pics that represent team competition (look up!). Joined the RPG Blog Alliance!
  • Wednesday: Exchanged email with co-author on layout and additional settings.
  • Thursday: Got the first laid-out draft. Printed it out and started marking it up.
  • Friday: More mark up. Met with co-author and debated a few points with him.

Okay, so the last week ended on Sunday and this one ends on Friday. I figure no one is gonna audit me.

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