Tales of Terror

In the spirit of the happiest holiday of the year, here are my top ten red flags sure to scare me away from a table. All drawn from real life!

1) Oh, we don’t even worry about the dice. We just roleplay and have a good time! (Which is hilarious because I’m totally down with games where you don’t roll dice and just roleplay! But context is everything, and if I’m sitting down to Play A Game, I want to play that game and not skydive into whatever microcommunity understanding you’ve developed with your home crew.)

2) This is gonna be more of a demo than a game. (I kind of feel bad about this one because lordy knows designers/publishers need to sell their stuff for #latecapitalism reasons. I still want to just play and decide for myself.)

3) You can play anything you can think of. (Yikes.)

4) We’ve been looking for a publisher for 20 years now, but nobody wants to take a chance on us. (Oh my sweet summer children creaky old fossils encased in amber.)

5) I just picked up the PDF last week (alt: the Kickstarter just delivered a couple days ago) but it doesn’t look like there’s anything surprising. We’ll just look stuff up if we need to. (Please, please no. I’m begging you. Take a few days, honest, it’s okay.)

6) I’ve been working on this hack. It’s kind of a mix of Rifts and Savage Worlds and PbtA but it’s more complicated than that. (Errrr maybe? This is like that middle school haunted house thing where you reach your hand into a bowl behind a curtain and squish whatever’s in there.)

7) …4…5…6. Sure, we’ve got room for one more! (Nooo! Probably!)

8) “The rule of cool.” (Hard pass.)

9) We’re all about roleplaying, not rollllplaying, maaaan. (HARD PASS.) (Also see 1))

10) It’s basically Mouse Guard/Apocalypse World/Fate/Fiasco but I fixed the problems with it. (…orly?)

Have a safe and spooky one and see y’all when it’s safe to come out.

0 thoughts on “Tales of Terror”

  1. I think the important, unsaid caveat here is “scare me away from a table… full of strangers“. Most of them might be fine if you can trust the people you’re playing with.

    #10 is funny because, yes, probably an awful game, but it’s also how pretty much every designer starts.

    I don’t think I know the “rule of cool”, but I’m guessing I’m better off.

  2. Having someone tell me “It’s basically [Bret’s favorite game] but I fixed it by getting rid of [Bret’s favorite part of the game]” totally unsold me on that person’s games forever.

  3. My anecdote on Rule 7: I once was invited to a game of In a Wicked Age… When I showed up, I discovered that there were 9 (!) players. One participant played a bird who would fly in and out of scenes to steal people’s hats. It got worse from there.

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