April 26th, 2003


These Dreams

Wacky dreams last night, no doubt caused by fever.

I was Spider Jerusalem, fighting the forces of evil. I was accompanied by my two filthy assistants and was both wearing a jetpack and firing a rocket-launcher.

I wasn't until I recountd this to Erin some hours later that I realised that this is possibly te coolest dream it's possible to have. I may as well stop dreaming now.

Random thoughts on Story versus Plot

Following on from what a few people have been saying in the post below - I definitely agree that a certain amount of plot is necessary. Players need something to be drawn in by and at least some path to follow. But I object to games that expect the players to follow the path A->B->C. I object to games where the players can be expected to reach the end no matter what they do. Heron said the other day that Succeeding at least half the time for anything important doesn't seem unreasonable. Well, I'm sorry, but it does to me. Combat should be fairly well matched (most of the time, characters should have to run away occasionally), but success outside of that should depend on character actions. I'm not going to hand out success if the characters don't do the things that are necessary to bring success. If characters consistently fail to learn from their mistakes and insist on doing things that (in whatever fictional reality we're talking about) would lead to egg on their faces, then they'll consistently be wiping it off. If success is handed to you because you failed the previous time, then it's not your success at all - it's the GM handing you things on a plate and you might as well just have typed in a cheat code.

It's also important to note that there is a big different between a storytelling game and a roleplaying game. White-Wolf have, I think, done a great disservice to the gaming community by calling their system the Storyteller system. It's not - it's very much a _roleplaying_ game, where the essence of the game is the characters and their behaviour. Baron Munchhausen is a storytelling game - one where the point of the game is to create a story. To me, any game where a roll of the dice can seriously affect the plot of a game is not one that you can use to create a solid story. If your hero/villain can die halfway through when their gun explodes in their face, you're not going to get a coherent story out of it.

I tink part of the problems that I've seen with discussions around this before is that they've been approached as "Like the roleplaying games you've played, only different." rather than "A whole new type of game, that happens to have a few ideas in common with roleplaying games. And books. And plays."

Recent history in 4 acts

Scene II
USA: Ok, we're going to go after countries that arm terrorists, countries that possess Weapons of Mass Destruction!
World: Like nuclear weapons? Countries like Israel (or the USA)?
North Korea: Pick me, pick me! I'm working on nukes!
USA: You're what? Um... no, not nukes, like...um... chemical or biological weapons. Or countries that might buy nukes... you know. like... countries with crazy dictators, and...
USA: Like Iraq!!

The rest is here.

Shoggoth's Ahoy!

The lovely Leslie was challenged to write a short story starting with:

"Well, I got this Shuggoth up on my front porch, an' he's a good ol' boy, an' he ain't much to look at, an' he just lies up there under the porch swing all day, but as long as strangers come around, I never have to feed 'im."

You can find the result here. Recommended