June 9th, 2009

The Distant Future


While investigating the mysterious disappearances of several men from a logging village (going through the module called "Terrible Trouble in Tragidore" anyone else played through it?), my character hears some rumors about a "big green flying lizard" and a "green dragon flying around" and yes, someone eventually describes being gripped with Fear, and seeing tree-trunk-sized legs of some enormous green creature.


It is THAT Dragon. Still looking for me.


Wanted: Pictures of your roleplaying group

Hey there, my name is Bill and I maintain a roleplaying advocacy website called The Escapist (www.theescapist.com)

Recently, a reader submitted an idea that I like a lot - posting pictures of gamers enjoying a good RPG or LARP on the FAQ page and various other pages, to put a human face on the hobby for the non-gamers who visit the site.

So, if you're interested in participating, and you have some good pics of you and your group playing an RPG, drop me an email at RPGadvocate/at\gmail/dot\com

Here's what I'd like to get from you:
- A picture (naturally)
- The names of everyone in the picture (or aliases) and which of you is the GM
- Where you are from (outside the U.S. is great, by the way!)
- Your statement that I have permission from everyone in the picture to post the picture and names on my site (just a little CYA here...)
- What RPG you're playing in the picture
Thanks in advance!

- Bill
The Standard

Random Nation Generator

I've mentioned the Arcana Wiki before. And now I'd like to start on a project which should be very useful for people here - a Random Nation Generator.

Such a generator would work similarly to the Random Character Generator. It wouldn't bother with coming up with specific statistics (such as "how many people live here"?), since that wouldn't work well with the Wiki software and those details are massively setting-dependent anyway. Instead, it would come up with random entries from specific categories - see the Random Character Generator for how it works for a different application.

So what needs to be done is to come up with (a) specific categories which represent the basic building blocks of the generator, and (b) come up with and write different entries within these categories. Here are some ideas I have so far:

Government: In this entry, the random generator would pick one of a large number of different government types. I have created a list of different government types here, which is based directly on a list given by a Wikipedia entry - but for the generator to work, these must exist as distinct entries. Furthermore, this list only covers real world forms of government - and there is no reason why we shouldn't add forms of government from fantasy and science fiction, such as "Magocracy" or "Hive Mind".

Dominant Terrain: This would expand on the Terrain page. Users could use tabs (like with the Random Character Generator) and select how many predominant terrain types they would like to have for their nation (let's say from one to five). However, the number of terrain types listed in the wiki is still rather limited, so new entries for terrain need to be written as well.

Trade Goods: After that, we need to figure out the economy of the nation. For this, we need entries for all sorts of different industries. This page of the CIA World Factbook is probably a good starting point. However, substances from mythology and fiction - including various types of Phlebotium - need to be added as well (how about Orichalcum?).

Religion: I think there should probably be two sub-categories for religion. One is the overall form of the predominant religion(s) - Shamanism, Monotheism, etc.. I haven't yet found a good page for all those different types, but this might be a good starting point. The other sub-category should list specific divinities or other powerful entities which are worshiped - the Mythological Characters page should be a good starting point for this. Note that these entities don't need to represent the actual deities of the setting - just something you can base your own creations on.

What other categories should there be in such a generator? And more importantly, who would be willing to help me out with it and write entries for it?
trc: sakura flowers

(no subject)

Hi! I've been lurking and commenting for a while, but never posted. I am interested in your thoughts. YES, YOURS.

I run an old World of Darkness Mage game where the PCs are all Technocrats. We play online, and we have a group with very busy schedules. As a result I tend to craft sessions so that they are extremely flexible - I try not to make anything hinge on any one player in case he can't be there that night, and I often make more NPCs than I need in case more players turn up than I expected so I can balance the difficulty. That said, I've also been really carefully tailoring the game to the kinds of characters my players are playing. I would consider this a really player-driven game, and I feed very heavily off what the players want. It's not like I sit down and go "OK, Michael is really good at shooting things, and his player likes to shoot things, so I will make sure he can solve any problem by shooting things," but for example... one player asked if there was any point in putting dots in Hypertech (a fairly obscure knowledge, for those unfamiliar with the game) and I told him that if he put dots there, I would make sure he had an opportunity to use them. I think it's cool to encourage players to have niches. It makes it easier to give everybody spotlight time.

This same group of players, myself included, is playing ANOTHER Mage game together, but one of the other players GMs that one. He's got a different approach: he went in with a certain story in mind and the PCs have been forced to adapt to it. It has occasionally made it frustrating for us; it has put us in completely unwinnable situations sometimes because nobody in the party had a certain sphere, for example. I guess the upside is that it has really been challenging and it's kind of realistic. I can't drive IRL, and sometimes being without that skill thwarts me. But he's definitely the kind of GM who would have told Hypertech!player above that he could put dots wherever he wanted, and maybe it would be useful and maybe it wouldn't. Heck, I'm playing a Virtual Adept and I have likely made a Computers roll about five times in a game that has spanned two OOC years. I don't have many other skills. :D I have definitely been loving this game, but this GM has a very different style.

Which do you prefer as a player? Which do you prefer as a GM? Have you had especially good or disastrous results with either style of gaming?
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