June 27th, 2007


[Game Design] Making the Future Disposable

When discussing themes and styles for newTribes (our cyberpunk game), one of the themes I love is single-use products – a truly disposable future. In the classic CyberPunk 2020 RPG this is well represented by the polymer one-shots (cheap plastic handguns that are thrown out after use instead of reloaded). However, very few players will use these crappy guns, no matter how cheap they are – they are best used as a way to arm NPCs in a manner that allows them to be a threat, but that doesn’t give the players anything to salvage.

However, for newTribes, I want a more disposable feel. Since so many games revolve around combat, most of the suggestions we went through were weapon and armour related – but here they are: 


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Random thought through my brain - RPGs as an educational tool

Hi all,

I had a thought that just floated through my brain about using RPGs as an educational tool. I'll prefix this by saying I have no experience teaching or spending much time with kids. But I've friends and a mother who are teachers.

I'm imagining a set of guidelines for teachers where a story is constructed by the kids and they then explore the story through the characters they construct. I guess it's definitely a narrative approach where whether something happens is determined by the kids rather than any dice or random mechanic.

So a teacher sets the initial scene of a protagonist, Jack in this case and sets him up to be someone that the children can identify with. Perhaps a child of their own age or related to something else they are learning about, for example if they are learning about the second world war Jack is an evacuee. The teacher then asks the kids what is 'known' about Jack and together they flesh out the character, again drawing in threads from other areas of the circulum. For example they know that if Jack is 10 then he needs to be born in 1930.

After Jack is fleshed out and his relationships with other people (the NPCs) are determined then if the children are up to it they are asked 'what sort of things are going to happen to Jack' or in RPG terms 'what are the themes / motifs of the game'.

They then run through a scenario in a narrative fashion where they determine what will happen to Jack and how he will interact with other people. So for example a child may decide that Jack should meet a German spy, another decides that Jack should find an un-exploded bomb, another has a flight of fancy and decides that Jack should find a faerie dell at the bottom of his hosts garden.

The path the scenario goes is determined by the children with the teacher poking when things get too over-excited or de-railed. As long as the scenario obeys the rules of integrity where what's happened cannot be changed I think it could work well.

I know in Scotland there used to be the 5-14 documents that detailed the ciriculum and what children should be able to do at certain ages so I think they could be referred to as a basis.

Has anyone tried something like this or are perhaps teachers who are able to give an indication if this sort of thing is possible.

Oooh, shiny!

Changeling: The Lost demo now up!

I know several of you are old school Changeling fans, so this might be of interest. Me, I never cared for CtD, but the teasers I've seen so far of CtL really intrigue me. Downloading the demo right now, I'll have some thoughts in the comments once I've read it.
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Shadowrun Noob

A friend of mine is starting up a Shadowrun campaign, and I've never played in it before. Anything I should know going into it? I come from the experiences of mostly D&D 1-3.5, Star Wars d6, Dark Conspiracy 1-2, and... that's about it. A little bit of TROS.

It's 4th ed, if that matters.

Any tips, tricks, recommendations, overviews, or suggestions welcome.

[EDIT:] Is there any kind of rules overview or quickstart guide on the web somewhere for a free download?