Consulting for Tales of Entropy has become almost a way of life, considering the multiple sessions, the length of the sessions, and the processing throughout. Especially for a game which is entirely finished and published, thus system development isn't the point, and for a game whose typical play-time is single-session and relatively short, in the two-hours-plus range.
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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).
"Let's try it out" became a genuine hydra of extended play, especially for a game conceived as a swiftly-coiling drive into final conflict. We ended up with five sessions, some pretty long, and here are the last two.
My judgment calls, consulting thoughts, analysis, whatever you want to call it, are reserved for conversation with Petteri, but here are some things to throw out for general discussion.
... then maybe the corruption isn't so bad!
Because there's no other way to fight; in this game, Aslan isn't coming, there's no cool tattooed bunch of rebels to locate, there's no haven to escape to. You have to join the evil. Rise in it. Grow powerful. And not give in.
The question being, what is the anchoring procedure for playing Tales of Entropy? When it is so easy to go awash and awry when one's character twists into what you didn't anticipate, or when one is now cast as Narrator with no idea of where to go.
Something has to make sense, to begin, to change, and to end. And that is the Grains. Neither "my character" nor "the plot" will work.
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.
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.”