Inspirations and Links


The Alexandrian: Don’t Prep Plots
“(When you create a story) What you’re looking at is a chain of potential points of failure. Each of these points is heavily designed with a specific and expected outcome… and if that outcome doesn’t happen the GM is left to railroad the players back onto the tracks he’s laid out.”

Hack & Slash: The Quantum Ogre
“What’s really terrible about the destruction of player agency in the above examples is the implicit thought that ‘your encounter that’s sooo cool’ is what makes Dungeons and Dragons fun. It’s not. It’s getting in that Dispel Evil on Strahd that slays him outright. It’s getting that critical on that dragon while it’s talking shit. It’s taking down that frost giant at first level – not your fsking precious encounter.”

The Alexandrian: Jayquaying the Dungeon
“In other words, it’s not just random chance that’s resulting in different groups having different experiences: Each group is actively making the dungeon their own. They can retreat, circle around, rush ahead, go back over old ground, poke around, sneak through, interrogate the locals for secret routes… The possibilities are endless because the environment isn’t forcing them along a pre-designed path.”

Robin’s Laws Revisited: parts 1 through 9

West Marches
“2) There was no regular party: each game had different players drawn from a pool of around 10-14 people.

3) There was no regular plot: The players decided where to go and what to do. It was a sandbox game in the sense that’s now used to describe video games like Grand Theft Auto, minus the missions. There was no mysterious old man sending them on quests. No overarching plot, just an overarching environment."

Blog of Holding: the Mearls

Comma, Blank – Magically Generating New Adventures (now defunct, but has some interesting methodologies for creating content)

Hack Slashmaster – list of tables.

D&D with Porn Stars - This does deserve a quick summary. I was on the escapist quite a bit and one of the shows that I never really watched but knew of by name was “I hit it with my Axe.” I have never watched it, but I have now read the blog that the DM, Zak Smith, writes (Zak also has a design credit on 5E) – This is some really next level stuff. Perfect example. on Hack Slashmaster, you’ll find a list of lists, which is mostly people solving a problem by generating some content in a format that you’re pretty familiar with. Zak just comes at stuff from a completely different angle. Like just turns the whole design concept sideways and comes up with solutions that just flabbergasts me, over and over again. Example of how he “maps” a city and generates a hexcrawl.

“Roleplaying games are entertainment; your goal as GM is to make your games as entertaining as possible for all participants.”

“….the Main Thing in an awesome-focused campaign is this: Your players are rock stars and they’re here to rock your house. In this paradigm your job is to be the roadie and the manager and all the other people who make the concert possible. This isn’t one of those analogies that can be stretched forever, instead just meditate on the simple fact that your job is to help your players rock out without getting in their way. Everything below builds from this foundation.”

“In a recent D&D Next playtest video, Mike Mearls ran the D&D R&D team through the classic adventure Slave Pits of Undercity. At one point, after a spectacular explosion, Mike turns to James Wyatt and asks “what happened to your character”."
“Every game that I have ever run that involved doing some form of Session Zero before or as a part of play has run perfectly. The first hour of last night’s session was character creation, world building, character bonds, discussion of what to expect. The actual play that followed could not have gone better. If this was a regular campaign, our 3.5 hours of play produced enough material for me to build an entire world and campaign. Most of that content came directly from the players and their interactions.”

“And does everything go according to plan in your play?” → Yes > “Yeah Right.”

“So in this case, if Lucy Clawless the Ranger is searching for the clue and her player rolls a 1, she can still find the clue. However, there is some additional cost. Maybe another adventuring group finds out what they’re looking for and now it’s a race to the Caves of Order. Maybe the agents at the Cave catch wind of the group’s efforts and set a trap.
In any case, failure is interesting. In fact, it’s often more interesting than success.”

“So this is what a D&D party so often is: not a group of people necessarily destined to grow and change and bend to conform to Principles of Drama, but a group of people who demonstrate, with infinite variation, how you can get through life by enacting different styles of being week after week in different short stories.
And what styles are these? These are styles that emerge organically from the psychologies of the people playing them, and styles that, from a distance all look like “pulp fantasy” but, on further inspection, reveal shades of differences in tactics and role-playing that are really differences in outlook. And when you put these differences in outlook together in a crowded matrix of poorly-lit 10×10 rooms for a few months, you get drama. And comedy. And it’s all a surprise. And it’s fun."

Inspirations and Links

League of Xee _X_ _X_