June 18th, 2008

Which system should I run

Hey guys,

I have a question about which system I should use for a game I'm considering running in the near future.  I don't particularly care about genre or rules set, so long as whatever choice I make ends up helping me run the kinda of game I'm interested in. 

Here's the elements that I, as GM, am interested in exploring: Politics, society, relationships, romance, family, economics, social advancement.  I want my players to get involved in heated and passionate affairs, arranging marriages, exposing their foes to OTHER enemies through machiavellian schemes, betraying their own allies to advance their positions, making heroic stands on principles, only to reveal those stands were a way to get promoted.  Basically, something along the lines of the series Rome or The Tudors.

Oh, and yes, I still want to have the cool action/combat sequences. 

Here are the game systems I currently own.  I'm hesitant to buy a whole new game, since I feel I'll have enough to keep track of without having to remember the basics of a new rules set.  Though, if there is one that people agree would be perfect, I'd like to look into it.

Vampire (Masquerade and Requiem)
Werewolf (Apocalypse)
Mage (Ascension)
Gurps (3rd ed)
D&D (AD&D 1st ed-4th ed)
Mutants & Masterminds
Heroes Unlimited
Call of Cthulhu
Star Wars (D6 and D20, but not Saga)

So, do you think any of these would work?  If so, which one?
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  • paka

(no subject)

Some more intellectualized random 4e thoughts;

I know that 3e's rules were really amenable to creating stuff like alternate WWII scenarios, 1970s racing games, pirates, Saturday morning cartoon bands, and so on.

4e really seems to scream "this would be a great basis for superhero gaming," because of its focus on everyone getting an advance of powers, plus tactical awareness and use of terrain, but I can't really come up with any other possible stuff. What else do people think might be fun as alternative things to plug the rules into making? (This is just idle curiousity. I'm nowhere near professional enough to actually make and publish an alternative.)
  • gillan

(no subject)

Killjoy Cooking With the Dungeons & Dragons Crowd
Posted: 2:17 a.m. by LordOrcus I have read the new Better Joy Cookbook and I am devastated to my very core. Their macaroni and cheese recipe, the very macaroni and cheese I've been making since I was in college, has been ravaged and disfigured and left bleeding on the page. Where once it contained only cheddar cheese, now the recipe calls for a mix of cheddar and Colby. It may contain macaroni, and it may contain cheese, but it is not macaroni and cheese. This is a slap in the face and a knife in the gut. You have lost me, Better Joy Cookbook. I would bid you goodbye, but I wish you nothing but the pain and rage you have delivered unto me.

Solicitation: The Good GM is . . .

Soliciting thoughts from the community: what makes a good Storyteller/Game Master/Hollyhock God/Royal Bastard?

If you are the local head honcho, toot your own horn: what do you do that you know makes your games excellent. What skills do you have that make you particularly suited to the position? Or --if you have a GM/ST/etc. who's doing something well now, has some quality you find particularly valuable, what is it?

I'm particularly interested answers that acknowledge the social dynamic, because, let's be honest: when you sit down at that table to run a game, what you're really doing is running interference between a bunch of people, and that requires some pretty particular people skills.

Working on a post on the subject; will credit folks for their contributions at the end of the essay and if there's interest, will post here.

Wait...THAT'S Roleplaying?

Ok, so, I'll admit....I'm confused and a little sheltered.  I've done a few play by email games, but most of my experience has been LARP/Table top.

What's the deal with the rpers who play on LJ?  I've seen some groups that are all about this, and seen a number of rants about people being quite rude in such games, but I don't understand it.  How does one make a character?  Are they all like based on fan-fic?  What's a Mary Sue (I know what it means in fan fic, but how does one make a 'Mary Sue' character)? What's 'godmode'--again, I know what it means in a video game, but how the heck does that work in an RPG?  I mean, you can't just SAY "BAM! BAM! Two shots to the heaad!"--and the person dies--can you? 

Is there anywhere  I can look that would explain these things?
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Establishing a political world

One of my proudest games as a GM came from a Vampire: The Masquerade game that I ran a little while ago.  It was very small scale and about as "old school" as you could get...I mean, it was set in Gary, it was so old school.  My players, most of whom were relatively new to roleplaying, were vicious and cunning and smart and engaged.  They lied and politicked, led NPC’s on, and were, in many ways, an idealized Vampire group.  Heck, one of them even betrayed the party out of love, and the Ventrue was in charge.

Now, I want to go further with that, and try to take such a game to the next level, making it even more social and political and interesting.  Here are my thoughts on what is necessary to make a good political game.  As these ideas are still being processed, other thoughts and criticisms would be greatly appreciated.

First off you need a setting.  It needs to big enough to contain what you need, but small enough that the players can learn it, or at least most of it, relatively quickly.  Examples would include a small city/borough for Vampire, a barony for D&D, a single system for Star Wars…that sort of thing.  Naturally, any setting needs a cool thematic hook, a conflict that defines the setting; perhaps the kobolds are swarming the Barony, or the city is slowly falling apart due to decay and despair.  Whatever fascinates you.

Secondly, you need an opposing group, a faction of people who will, inevitably, come into conflict with PC’s. Assuming you know nothing about the characters, it’s generally safest to make these people conservative (with a small “c”)—those who stand for the status quo.  For example: the long on going war with the kobolds?  They have no desire to see it resolved.  As most players roll into a new area and immediately start mucking things up—“Kobolds?  GET ‘EM!”-- this will almost guarantee some type of conflict.

Now, you need to have a neutral party for the PC’s and their foes to politick about…a leader.  This leader should be powerful enough to take on either faction in a toe-to-toe fight, to keep either group from just deposing him—and also to keep civil war from breaking out, encouraging both sides to rely on less-than-lethal tactics.  This power can be either internal (elder vampire, high level character, powerful cleric, etc.), or part of his authority as the prince/Baron/Mayor/Governor/what have you.  However, while he must be powerful, he can only be so competent at his job.  After all, a powerful and competent leader leaves little room for the players to run around and do things, and also you want the players to at least have a chance pf manipulating the leader for their own designs.  At the same time, I would hesitate to make the leader too well established, and instead force them to rely on the support of some local faction or the other to effectively maintain control. 

Finally, you need “others”—those who are not PC’s, nor defined as the “Enemy” nor part of the current administration.  These are the ones the players and their foes will be politicking most actively, trying to sway them as allies, even if only for the short term.  Naturally, they should have their own factions and their own goals and desires.  In general, since I like my players to be as active as possible, I tend to keep any faction among the others to smaller/poorer/weaker than the players group.  Doesn’t mean any faction can dictate to them, just means that the players should have some edge against them. 

Hrmm, this already seems long enough, so I’ll leave it at that for now.  Thoughts? 

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