December 23rd, 2008

over 4000 words

I've been working on an essay for this past week on my remembrances of gaming. I kept trying to tie it all up neatly at the end but I hadn't worked on it for two days, so I wrapped it up as best as I could this evening and as I was doing so I thought I would share it on the community here as well. Its quite long, and keping in mind that it is written for a non-gamer to be able to read, I'll spare those of you who aren't interested in it with an Collapse )

Handling encounters in short-term games

Something has been bothering me for a while now. I ran a Firefly campaign for my friends a few months back -- it was a short-term campaign, only about four or five sessions -- and we all had fun with it. The only thing that's niggling at me is a comment one of the players made during the game.

The characters were on their ship, going from planet to planet. This, of course, takes some time. During the trip, I mentioned that their sensors picked up a distress signal from another ship, a little bit off their course, but not too much. The person playing the captain said, "Well, let's go check out the obvious GM hook."

And that kind of irritated me, because I really don't know how else I could have handled that. It was an encounter I'd planned, yes, but it wasn't absolutely critical to the plot and had they ignored it, that would have been okay with me. It wouldn't even have been out of character for the crew to ignore it at that point, either. I would not have railroaded them into it at all.

It also irritated me because how else do you handle encounters in space? I mean, either you run into something or you don't. Not running into anything ever is boring, but running into something is kind of a blatant "I'm here for the campaign" sign. Maybe if it were an open-ended long-running campaign, I'd throw in trivial stuff like that, but I always thought short-term campaigns are kind of like short stories: there's an economy of story going on that kind of requires the Chekhov's Gun principle or the campaign gets far too unwieldy. I can't really afford to put too many red herrings in or people will get bored and the game will go on for far too long.

I guess I'm wondering if my campaign design is flawed and my player had a point, or if the game was fine and she was just being a jerk.
Natural 1

4ed Skill challenge request

Ok, I got the original set of books, which were promptly changed about a month after I got them (Grrrr). I know that the errata changed the skill challenges, however, the errata is in a form that doesn't easily fix things. It's "page 4 replace 14 with 13" or some such like that.

Does anyone know a webpage or similar that spells out the new skill challenge .. "stuff" in plain English and in paragraphs?

Something I can print out and stick in my 4ed DMG.

... and please I'm a 37 year old with not a lot of time here, don't assault me with "it's pretty simple you just switch this and that." That's fine and dandy but I need it in the book so when I play I can refer to it.

This is one of the reasons I'm a bit miffed at WotC, they put out a book and then fundamentally *change* aspects of the book (not spelling changes but how an important thing works) making my friggin 75 purchase lesser.

Anyroad, any assist is greatly appreciated.
  • Current Mood
    cranky cranky

Wiki help

I have a wiki set up for my Nexus: the Infinite City game, and it's a work in progress. I'm the only one with edit permissions; I didn't want the players changing things around.

But I was wondering if other people might have some advice. I know I need to do more complete write-ups on things, but is there more information I should put up? Is there sections I'm missing? Is there something I should be doing differently?

Please take a look and let me know:
  • Current Mood

Amusement of the Season

My roomie's setting up for Christmas on his NwN server, and came up with something amusing. There's an ancient elf by a tree in the town square, called the 'Spirit of the Season' or something similar. But the real amusing part is that beside the tree to guard it is a troll named Carol.

Carol, the Ancient Yuletide Troll.

*groans* :)
  • Current Mood
    amused amused