As we begin the play-by-post over at gameplayers of titan, I started thinking about what makes Abstract Dungeon such a great game for me. Sure, the quick combat resolution is appreciated, but I think ultimately it is the narrative control afforded to the players.
As a GM, the greatest joy I get is when the players value the world enough to try explain something about it, even if it doesn’t fit with what I had planned. I find myself as a player doing the same thing. I enjoy being given small pieces of the story, or narrative, that I have control over. D&D struggles to allow that sort of play, but it is inherent in Abstract Dungeon. That is because the players decide what each die represents each time they use it to defeat an obstacle or enemy. I could use a strength die to state that I bash an enemy in, or a spirit die to state that I weakened the enemies resolve and they have surrendered. The player has narrative control for that instant and decides how the play continues.
As the GM, I then get to react to this choice in how the player resolved the conflict. If they bashed the enemy’s head in, they now have a bleeding enemy that is unconscious. I can either consider that encounter resolved, or raise the stakes by adding additional complications to what they have done.
This is the itch that I’ve needed scratched. I needed control again in the stories I tell as a player, and I needed a way to engage the players in helping to tell the story as a GM.
What is hopefully a new feature will be a round up of good blog posts and news articles about gaming and rpgs. Below you will find links to some of the articles I found interesting this week.
The D&D Brand, by Monsters and Manuals
“There is something odd about this notion. We are living in an age of booming popularity for nerdiness…So why on earth can’t somebody make a play at bringing D&D into the mainstream in the same way?”
Great post about how nerd culture is dominant right now, and yet D&D and RPGs are becoming more of a niche market because they don’t represent the stories that people want to tell. I happen to think it’s also related to the rise of board games. Board games allow you to tell a story with rules that are designed to be quick and easy to pick up, but we create RPGs to be the opposite, with 500 page rulebooks. More games should be designed like Apocalypse World/Dungeon World. People should be able to sit down, get a quick idea of the rules, and be able to start playing within 15 minutes. I love me some D&D, but you won’t see me mastering rulesets for 500 page RPG books anytime soon.
30 Days of Gaming, by Polar Bear Dreams via Tim Brannan via Armchair Gamer
This is a great idea, and I’m going to try and do it this in September. Great idea!
The Paintings of Dune
These are simply beautiful.
At my sister site, I’m starting a play by post. We’ll be using abstract dungeon, whose beta rules can be downloaded for free! I’m looking forward to it, because I think the rules will allow a lot of fun, freeform roleplaying while also providing a structure for resolutions.
Come on over, create a character, and post a connection your character has to the mysterious city of Bellona.
The way it’ll work is I’ll post an encounter or event each Sunday based on the previous week and what people want to do, and we’ll spend the week playing out the action.
Brothers is a fabulous game. For 15 bucks, it’s available on the xbox arcade and playstation 3.
It follows two brothers, who are controlled with each joystick, as they journey to find a cure for their father. The graphics are unbelievable, and it does a fabulous job, like Shadows of the Colossus, of presenting a complete world without words. You slowly begin to fill in the back story as you climb higher and higher up the mountain.
It’s emotionally intense, and short. Both of which I find to be a value. In these days, I find it hard to play a game long enough to beat it.
Seriously, if you have a chance to pick this up, do it.
My friend, Matthew Hanson, has been hard at work on a new gaming system called abstract dungeon. This gaming system scratches an itch for gaming that I’ve had for a long time. The system allows for quick and easy resolution, allowing the gaming to be spent more on roleplaying, worldbuilding and exploration.
It’s pretty simple. Enemies or challenges are represented by a die or dice. You have a pool of dice that you roll at the beginning of play, and then apply to each challenge as you see fit.
He’s running a kickstarter, and you should check it out.
Genconbot: reposting anything that includes gencon in the tweet.
Gencon: office twitter feed.
This Just In From Gencon
Morrus: from Enworld
Hey everyone, each year I try to keep up to date with the goings on at Gencon as I will again (sadly) not be able to attend. Below are some of the interesting news and events that I’ve heard about so far.
Indie RPG Awards will be announced at 3 PM on Friday. While not necessarily a part of Gencon, apparently they will be posted at the con.
The Ennies will be announced with a big award ceremony on Friday night. You can also check out a live stream if you aren’t able to attend.
Wizards is hosting a sundering party. Wish I could be there, as the invitation looks super cool.
Boardgamegeek has a list of all the new boardgames releasing at Gencon this year.
20 Board Games to check out at Gencon.
Suggestions on things to do and buy
Story Games has a discussion about games to check out and buy. Jason Morningstar (Fiasco) popped in and talked up his new game Carolina Death Crawl. IPR will be there with games like Fate and Dungeon World as well as the Seattle Doomsday Map (which I will be sending my minions to pick up for me).
Other interesting info
A list of where designers and other people will be during Gencon.
Apps for Gencon over at Enworld gives some good suggestions for what to bring on your smartphone, particularly because Gencon is not releasing a phone app this year.
I’ll be posting a twitter list later today of people to follow for gencon news and events. If you have any suggestions of things to include, that would be great!
Filed under gaming, Gencon