Saturday, April 14, 2012

Who is the true creative power, GM's or Game Designers?

Here is a post I put up in reply to a Post World Games blog entry.  I highly recommend you check out PWG blog.

I remember back in the day when TSR’s motto was “Products of your imagination?” That is something that I took to heart all the way back since first edition.

As I progressed in gaming I really began to look at game systems as a loose bag of parts that allow me to construct the framework necessary for my players to interact with my narrative. Mind you, I didn’t say that they allowed me to construct the framework of my narrative, but allowed me tools by which my players may realistically or sometimes fantastically interact with it. Once those tools were in place and allowed me a “physics” to my game, the rest was really up to me.

Now that is not to say that I didn’t go out and buy source books once I had the base book. If I came across some story elements I found compelling I would get the book and use it as a springboard or inspirational material. But I found my imagination to be fertile enough to not have to purchase everything that came out and discovered I could pick and choose the things I wanted. I was always confused by some of my friends who would give White Wolf their credit card number and just have the newest supplement automatically shipped to their house. (cough, cough, Steve, cough)

With games like D&D, Rifts and some others like L5R who’s supplements added things like advanced schools, heritage tables and ancestors its a little difficult to not have a newer better cooler thing come out and have it eventually be brought in by one of my players and break my game. I find it difficult to say no to players who seem excited about a new game element, but feel the need to cut down on some of the “cheese” and keep some control over the power levels of my characters. I find this to be systematically true for games that have a) a really precise combat mechanic with multiple ability options and b) a game that has several “classes” of characters with their own unique capabilities. Add new abilities and classes to the mix and you get into combo building and things no longer being focused on story but on game mechanic.

I am beginning to like systems like Savage Worlds more and more. I buy the base book that gives me an engine by which to tell a story and I can hop around and either apply that engine to anything I like or most likely find some supplement somewhere that can help me out.

The thing about D&D is that it is no longer strictly an RPG. It’s, in my opinion, returned to its Chainmail roots. It is an evolution and derivation of MMORPG’s, CCG’s, miniature hobby games and the good old RPG. I do not think that D&D will ever become a pure RPG ever again. Nor would I want it to. Games who’s primary feature is not the story nor the story world nor the ability to tell stories in any setting, but who’s focus is the fun ways you can hack, stab, crush, burn, freeze, electrify, smother or otherwise maim an opponent, the game designer is more important than the GM because most of the options are in their hands to develop.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Bruce Wayne: The Big Sissy.

Alfred Pennyworth: Master Bruce it is time for your night patrol.

Bruce Wayne: -*snore*-

AP: Your respiration has increased and I saw your left eyelid twitch shut. Master Bruce, you are not fooling anyone.

BW: I have a charity function at 9:00 and I am getting my rotator cuff scoped tomorrow afternoon. I'm not going anywhere tonight Alfred.

AP: I sent an RSVP regrets and a rather large check to the charity ball. You are getting your ACL repaired tomorrow. Your shoulder is on Thursday. Get up.

BW: /rolls over

AP: Master Bruce? Is the Bat Man there? I need to speak to him.

BW: Fuck off, Alfie, I'm staying in bed.

AP: Don't you "Alfie" me, sir. I'm giving you two minutes and then I'm coming back with the ice water.

BW: Heartless bastard.

AP: Unrepentant sissy. (leaves room to get the ice water)

AP: (Under his breathe) Fear me for I am the night? He's got ruffles on his underpants. I am the spirit of unrequited vengeance? I am the master detective? The Dark Knight? I've skinned my knee and 'wants you kiss the boo-boo' is more like it.

AP: (returns down the hall with a carafe of ice water) Wakey wakey time Brucey-wucey. Uncle Alfred brought you some ice water. (under his breathe) Wake up or wear it. (enters bed room door)

BW: (standing nude but for his mask and cowl facing the full moon through the window) Bruce isn't here, Mr. Pennyworth ... I'm BAT MAN.

(fade to black)