In Tucson with MadJay Brown for a weekend of gaming, starting with this game from Ross Cowman run by Aaron Feild. I’m pretty sure Aaron is Ross’ biggest fan in the southwest.
It’s an interesting game, and not at all what I expected. It’s sorta kinda gmless, very talky-talky, and wide open in terms of playsets. We played a superhero themed one, per this convention’s theme. The GM duties/authorities are split up into three sets, and in the course of play those authorities can be kind of fought over and taken from the facilitator. I didn’t get any sense of what the purpose of that is! But it was interesting.
I signed up for nothing and am just kind of floating down here. Should be interesting tomorrow when the day really gets started.
It wouldn’t be con prep without frantic last minute arts and crafts projects!
This is a proof of concept for an idea I have to streamline and decentralize setup for Space Wurm vs Moonicorn one shots. They’re ugly af but they give me what I want, I hope. I’d share but I need to talk with Johnstone Metzger about it first.
A thing over in the Night Witches community has been rolling around in my head all day.
First: yes, very easy to score cheap laughs off the dude who wants detailed rules for very specific weaponry used maybe sorta-kinda in the same theater in which Night Witches takes place. You want to know blast radii of an explosive in a game about duty, honor, love and trust? Mmmmaybe just make “a bomb hits the airfield” a GM move? Fine, whatever. I scored that cheap laugh, because I can be an asshole. I still think it’s funny.
So, being both a jerk who likes cheap laughs but also an introspective, empathic adult (more often than not, I hope), I started playing with other allegedly funny missing-the-point gags. Like, hashtag that shit, let’s get something funny going.
And some of them were! Maybe. You decide:
* D&D frequently features violence that’s nonlethal to the PCs but one assumes still injures them. Given the recent focus on traumatic brain injury in football, has anyone come up with a way to deal with CTE in the realm of fantasy adventuring? Maybe drop INT by 1 each time you level up? What about effects on spell memorization and saving throws? Et cetera and so on, haha.
* Why no difference in carrying capacities of the Sasquatch and Ghoul playbooks in Monsterhearts 2? Seems like a tragic oversight. The Sasquatch should totally be able to haul more equipment to school or wherever.
* Okay here’s my hot elevator pitch: Glorantha, but set on Reagan-era Wall Street.
Right, so I started messing with this idea for a post. But then I was like…I’ll bet there are folks for whom these are unbelievably cool ideas. There are probably people who would very much play Bondquest and White Bear & Red Bull (later renamed Arbitrage Pass).
Every dumb idea I think is funny is quite possibly someone else’s genius mashup. Because what is creativity, really, other than surprising recombinations of ideas never previously combined?
It still leaves me scratching my head when folks simply cannot imagine a mode of play outside of their skinny-but-very-tall silo.
Why don’t I play this all the time?! Oh my gosh I love Eclipse so much. But I haven’t played in…two years maybe? Too long. I even bought the gorgeous insert from The Broken Token.
I haven’t actually played with the Shadow of the Rift expansion, so why not, field both the new races. My race has weaponized their own evolution; my opponent uses time travel, borrowing stuff from the future and sending stuff to the future. And those twists are available through discovery and rare technologies as well.
I thought I’d forgotten how to play but it’s just so very well designed. Two players is pretty solitary, but a good way to relearn this old favorite.
My genetics race won very handily, mostly by being left alone until one final throw down at the Galactic Center. Gotta play more more more.
Just bought my tickets, and have booked nothing, because I’m terrible at cons where I have to reserve a seat. Terrible.
So! I think there have been efforts to pull together a Games on Demand type thing, but last I heard there’s not anything set up. Usually I either talk my way into a table or run my own stuff wherever I can score a free table.
Who’s into me running something this weekend? I think everyone I know who might be there follows me. Plus or comment please.
Thinking about, not in any particular order
Coriolis, although it’d be a cold run
Space Wurm vs Moonicorn (one shot rules)
The Veil (also a cold run but I’ve got a good handle on it)
I could also bring Inheritance on the off chance I can find ten players and a big room. Seems crazy.
I need to take a Sagas of the Icelanders break, sorry, played it enough and not feeling it.
There’s a thread over in the Gauntlet community asking for system recommendations for a very specific use case. I guess I should not be surprised that, even in this day and age, there’s still a nontrivial — and maybe even majority — view that the tool just doesn’t matter. Rather than making arguments in favor of specific implementations that seem suited to the themes and goals of the use case, what you get instead are essentially lengthy rationalizations/pitches for folks’ favorite systems. Because if it’s their favorite system, by definition it must work great for any use case.
The thing that I need to get and keep in my head is that, for a lot of folks — even in my home group, even at allegedly progressive/bleeding-edge cons — whole passels of players reject the premise entirely that specific themes and goals even need specific tools. And for their mode of play, they’re probably not even wrong.
There was a very close parallel thing I used to see when I was all-in in the mountain biking scene (I’d written a big, popular trail guide, ran some festivals, raced a little, moderated the biggest online community). Lots of this might not make sense if you’ve never even thought about bikes beyond the fact they have pedals and wheels. Just go with it for a second.
So anyway, mountain biking. Someone would ask for recommendations of bike for specific use cases, right? And the replies would look like this:
Query: Hey I’m starting to hit bigger moves and I’m afraid I’m going to break my frame. What would you recommend in terms of beefier suspension but also light enough that I can still pedal up?
The Hardass: Learn to ride better. What you think is “bigger” isn’t, really, and you don’t need anything more than what you’ve got.
The Scold: You shouldn’t be hitting those bigger moves, have you even considered the environmental impact of your actions? What about the carbon impact of driving to farther and more challenging trails? Check your privilege.
The Booster: Specialized! Specialized makes a great bike. Buy Specialized! I’ve ridden Specialized my whole life! Why would I need to try anything different?
The Retrogrouch: Back in my day, we’d hit that on a modified beach cruiser and laugh at anyone wearing a helmet. Damn kids.
The Technician: Okay, what’s your current body weight? What’s your budget? Do you have a well-stocked workshop at home? How familiar are you with high and low speed damping? Have you ever changed the oil weight in your suspension? What about tubeless, have you gone tubeless? Also consider the difference between a 9mm and 15mm through-axle. You might also look at adding a drop post (et cetera until their entire body of knowledge has been put on display).
The Rep: The Turner RFX 4.0 was introduced at Interbike this year and I can assure you it is precisely the correct choice for your ability and location.
I’m sure you recognize the equivalents in the gaming recommendation scene, yeah? The folks who are overloaded with technical knowledge all the way through to the folks who reject that there is anything other than the pure central experience.
Thing is, I’m not even sure they’re wrong. It was true in the mountain biking scene as well: when you knew your trails cold, had spent your life mastering them on whatever kind of bike you’d fallen into in the beginning, then the whole “what bike?” question inevitably looks like “help me rationalize buying a new bike” or “I don’t have the skills and am unwilling to work on them the way you did when all you had was a Schwinn, help me buy the skill you worked so hard to earn.” Hard to argue against any of that.
Me, I’ve always been a proponent of bringing the right tool to the job. But that means framing that discussion in such a way that I identify what the “job” even is. Make the “roleplaying” category big enough and, sure enough, any old bucket can contain it.