This discussion took place a while ago, at the end of February. I wasn't sure it had enough content to merit posting, but as it turned out, BPG found it to be a breakthrough. We've done an intense further session about that, which is tied into the Boiling Pitch seminar and you'll see it, or a text version, soon.
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Here's where I post about my current role-playing game design consulting, with the permission of the clients. Sometimes it's a text piece, sometimes it's video or audio. Sometimes it's a discussion, and sometimes it's a playtesting session. Check out the Testimony and What I Do items below to see what it's about.
- If you want to become a client, please click on the "Come into the Lab" link to contact me for initial discussion. If we agree it's a good fit, then the fee is $100.
My current clients are: BPG (Directions Storyplaying System), Tor Erickson (5th edition D&D OGL), Bill Burdick (Death of the Vele), GGstudio (BE-Movie), Jeff Slater (House of Spiders), and Petteri Hannila (Tales of Entropy).
My latest consult with Tor brings us his working title, "Belitsunnu's Manticore," and extensive discussion of winning/losing, procedures for player input into preparation, and improvised tactical play.
Please add the collective intelligence to this one. We raised tons of questions and I tried not to drive toward answers - help me round out and deepen the questions so Tor's muse and/or subconscious can surprise him with the right answers for his game.
We met again to keep playing Tales of Entropy, and I think we're getting a good look at how "story" happens, or perhaps, an exercise in whether fictional events are or are not a story. It won't surprise anyone to know my position: that the more we anticipate and compose a story, the less we do create one.
I’m spacing out the discussion of Tor’s project post by post, because it’s in such an early stage that each chat we have turns into a big block, or stage, of the process. If I’m not mistaken, this one is pretty much the turning point from “playing D&D 5th edition on purpose” to “his own actual game using the 5th edition OGL.”
With great thanks to Petteri, Santiago, and Paul, we enjoyed diving pretty deep into the game, with more to go. Given four briefly-described choices from Petteri for our starting short-story piece, we used From the World of Old, which concerns a dragon who wakes into the developing civilized world (not really historical, but symbolic thereof) and decides to make his way there in human form.
I first encountered Be-Movie during Modena, a gaming convention in the city of that name, just about one year ago when I was running little consults at the Narrattiva tables. I confess I was suspicious about it. For one thing, the term “B movie” in hobby culture is almost always parodic, in the sense that making fun of something stupid is the automatic meaning or use of this medium and content.
Who could have asked for a better inadvertent experiment in comparative design? Four consulting clients, one specific historical ideal of role-playing experience, similar influences and familiarities with games and ideas, resulting in four non-converging, distinctive games. Directions Storyplay, Tales of Entropy, Be-Movie, and this one, Jeff Slater’s House of Spiders.
Here’s a summary of some of their comparative features.
Tor and I continue our discussion of his embryonic, not-5th-anymore fantasy adventure design. We talk about inspiration/behavior mechanics, the large context for play I call the Crawl (with juicy game references), and the importance of making it your own, gloriously embarrassing fantasy.
Here's the first consulting session with BPG, author of Directions Storyplaying System, of two sessions we've done which includes a pretty detailed amount of "let's play" across two of them. I found working with this system simultaneously with Tales of Entropy to be a little challenging, as they share the rhetorical philosophy of design and play, but fortunately they turn out to be rather different.