#RPGaDay2019 18th August: ‘Plenty’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 18: Plenty

There are plenty of games that I would like to try but probably never will. The combination of being engaged with the wider hobby, being the regular campaign GM and reality of adult life just doesn’t facilitate experiencing all the games that I hear of. It’s why I try and pick games I’m unfamiliar with when it comes to attending conventions. If I want something I already know then I’ll probably be running it but conventions are a chance to branch out.

All this isn’t to say that I’m not trying to engage with the various games I’ll never play. I try not to think about the ones that I own just because they piqued my interest enough for me to pick them up as reading material.

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#RPGaDay2019 17th August: ‘One’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 17: One

One to one games are something that I would really like to try, both as GM and player. There are some stories that I think are best told from only a single perspective. The Cthulhu Mythos is a prime example, the majority of the original stories follow a single individual or narrator as they uncover the larger world. It’s been explored in Cthulhu Confidential, a game I’d like to pick up in the future.

Solo games don’t interest me as much, the few I’ve encountered boil down more to writing prompts which scratch a different itch for me. I need the input of at least one other player/GM to bounce off of, to introduce complications and solutions that I hadn’t thought of.

#RPGaDay2019 16th August: ‘Dream’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 16: Dream

I got to make a dream convention trip back in 2015 when I flew out to attend Stratigicon’s Gateway convention in LA. The HappyJacks community has played a massive part in keeping me involved in RPGs during points where I could have easily abandoned the hobby. It was great to finally meet up with various people that I had been interacting with for years online and I honestly had the best time possible. GenCon may boast of being the best 4 days in gaming but I think the attendees of Stratigicon probably have them beaten, the event is big enough to have variety and no shortage of options without loosing the feel of being part of a community. I’d love to go back someday but flying halfway round the world for a long weekend is unlikely to be a viable option again any time soon.

#RPGaDay2019 15th August: ‘Door’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 15: Door

I’ve never really bought into the whole ‘spend an hour of game time scouring the door for traps’ style of gaming. I know that’s largely an exaggeration but I have encountered a few players and GMs who go too far (in my opinion) with the requirement to describe every little detail of your actions. The idea that to find the hidden message in a hollow of the desk leg requires me to describe dismantling every piece of furniture just doesn’t sit right. As a player I’m literally not in the room my character is and it is all too easy to either miss or misinterpret a detail that I would spot if I were actually there. I don’t want to have to go round asking ‘how thick are the legs on the desk? Does the interior depth match up to the exterior depth? Is there a hollow sound when I tap X, Y or Z?’ and then repeat it for the bed or the cupboard etc.

This isn’t to say that description doesn’t have its place. It does, but for me it is all about finding the sweet spot. If you say you’re investigating the room looking for concealed evidence that is fine, tell me that you’re taking the time to dismantle everything and I’ll lower the difficulty significantly but at the cost of how long the process takes. I don’t know whether I’d feel differently if I had gotten into gaming when I was a kid rather than an adult, I don’t have that association that I think some aspects of OSR games are trying to recapture.

#RPGaDay2019 14th August: ‘Guide’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 14: Guide

I always try and let my players guide the flow of the game but that doesn’t mean I don’t do session prep. Most of the games that I play are structured around objectives so I use those as guideposts, if I know the Jewel of the Ancients is being kept at the governors mansion I think about the obstacles that surround it but I try not to assume the approach that the players will take. Perhaps the most valuable skill I’ve learned is a willingness to throw away prep when a game unfolds in a way I hadn’t expected. Its rare that I have to throw away an entire adventure premise but I’ll regularly end up improvising entire sessions because the players latched on to an unexpected angle.

#RPGaDay2019 13th August: ‘Mystery’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 13: Mystery

I find adventures built around a mystery really hard to write. When you look at mystery novels or shows they tend to involve the investigator going in circles or following dead ends. That only works because a writer can cut the boring bits, imply time has passed and then jump to the protagonist trying a new approach. It’s much harder in games where we have this tendency to try and explore every avenue. Spending two hours on following a lead only to be discover it’s a red herring? Frustrating and likely to kill a game. Ditto a stalled investigation, its just no fun to get stuck and then have a clue just land in your lap. One of the ways around this is using time jumps. Start going down the wrong direction? Make an investigation check to determine how much time you waste rather than working through the scene in detail. It’s not a revolutionary concept but I do wonder why we don’t do it more (or maybe other GMs do and its just me that doesn’t).

#RPGaDay2019 12th August: ‘Friendship’

August has come around once again which means it’s time for RPGaDay 2019. In a shift from the questions format of previous years this year is characterised by a series of prompts, which I’ll be attempting to answer each day with a short post, with the prompt word highlighted in bold each day.

Day 12: Friendship

As an adult RPGs have been the foundation for the majority of my new friendships and have resulted in some of the strongest that I’ve ever made. I can’t really put the value of that into words, it has a massive impact of my life and continues to do so. When I got married last year a whole contingent made the trip down from Scotland (by bus no less!) to be there, even though it meant a ridiculously early return trip while half of them were probably still drunk (I pity anybody who had to share the journey with them). My best man was somebody I’d met through gaming while her husband was one of my ushers. I’ve been able to connect with people across the globe, online and at conventions. I may take a while to build those connections with people but I’m damned sure that thanks to gaming I will never be without them.