Archive for the ‘Podcast Announcements’ Category
Writing about Dungeon World in my 2011 round-up post made me think more about it. And if you listen to today’s Podge Cast episode where David Pinilla & I talk about hacking games, you’ll hear me spout forth love for Dungeon World. Oh, that reminds me…
I talk about hacking games on the Podge Cast! Also I hit on David. A lot. And I’m apparently an accidental dubstep DJ when my Skype goes to pot.
And you only have a couple days left to get your submission to me for Don’t Hack This Game! The pitch window closes on this Wednesday, January 4th, 2012. 11:59PM Pacific Time.
Back to Dungeon World
The way Dungeon World works in combat is interesting, because it puts everything on the player’s roll. If you do the Hack and Slash move, on a 6- you get fucked, a 7-9 you hit & get hit, and 10+ you hit without getting hit in return (or can boost damage in exchange for getting hit).
When a player damages someone, they roll damage dice. But when they’re hit, the DM just tells them the amount they take in damage. And the more I think about that, the more that feels flat. Recently in looking at board game mechanics & terminology, I have a better vocabulary for articulating that:
That removes a great deal of the Push Your Luck vibe that D&D and other games inherently have with random damage rolls. If I can determine whether or not I know getting less than 10 on 2d6 plus my stat will kill me for certain, there’s something uninteresting there. Like the way crap skill challenges can be run.
There’s nothing to say you can’t push the randomness back in. Give monsters variable dice. Don’t say that a monster hits with four points. Roll a d6, d8, d4+2, 2d4, whatever works. This is the sort of thing that could be tailored by level, naturally.
One of the elements to DW (and its predecessor Apocalypse World) has is that only the players roll dice. Now, I can take or leave that in design, so I don’t really care if it’s the DM rolling damage or the players forced to roll their own pain. Either way suits me fine enough.
Now that we’re rolling for damage, we’ve introduced Push Your Luck. Say you’ve got 5 hit points left, and you’ve discovered that the monster does 1d8 in damage. Well, now you can choose whether or not you’ll risk another straight-on Hack and Slash, or if you’ll try something else. If you know for sure that the monster does, say, 6 points of damage, you know you’re dead — there is little interesting choice there.
The other way makes sense when you have a game with six hit points, three of which are “and you’ll eventually get better on your own”. Not so much for a game of increasing hit points.
Anyway, once dice are added, if you want to add a bit of chaos, you could have monsters have custom hard moves that are triggered upon how those dice react. Like, say, having a giant slam a character across the field of battle when a 1 is rolled on damage. There is still the fiction-in-fiction-out elements: the giant is attacking & inflicting harm on the character, and the character is being hit across the field. The only thing added here is a sense of a critical effect against the character.
Maybe that’s too much to the hack, maybe not. I’m curious to try it out. As with many hack brainstorms, some ideas are shittier than they appear. But trying tells you something you didn’t know before about game design.
 Some will argue that “what about setting up a meaningful death”? Sure, but that requires actually setting something up. And using dice doesn’t remove or add to this element anymore than a fixed, known amount does.
If you’re into the whole “listen to me on a podcast” thing, you’re in luck! I’ve been on a couple recently:
Kevin Weiser took some time to interview Elizabeth Sampat & I about the Random Kindness Encounter Bundle on The Walking Eye, which you can find here. We talk quite a bit about the various challenges of doing a project like this, and it’s of interest if you’re looking to do similar. Because the bundle was nearly closed when we talked with Kevin, it was far more deconstruction than promotion.
Rich Rogers from The Voice of the Revolution, one of my old audio stomping grounds, interviewed me about editing based on my recent blog post about the pillars of developmental editing. I talk a bit more about flow and such, so if that post was up your alley, the interview will be as well. (And I’ll be following up what I mentioned there with some more posts, cuz, hey, editing.)
Happy Monday, friends!
 Judging by the URL, it seems like a damned saucy interview. But I assure you it doesn’t warrant its triple-X rating. And for that, I deeply apologize.
Last week, ENnie-nominated Dave the Game interviewed ENnie-nominated Brennan Taylor and ENnie-nominated me about one of my most very favorite probably-ENnie-nominated topics ever, convention GMing. It’s on the ENnie-nominated Dungeon Master Guys podcast, episode 11.
In This Episode:
- Special guest Sarah Darkmagic assists in hosting duties
- Dave talks to Brennan Taylor and Ryan Macklin about running convention games
- NewbieDM talks to Daniel Perez about running online games
- And we answer reader questions, including how to break the stigma of D&D to potential players, eating healthy at the game table, how to appeal to a mixed party of roleplayers and minmaxers in 4e, a time when a game really clicked, and money in game.
The episode is 65 minutes long (63M). Brennan & I talked for around 10-12 minutes, much like you’d expect if you listened to ENnie-Nominated The Voice of the Revolution. I mentioned that I should write up my convention questions as a blog post, so it’s now on my giant list of Things I May One Day Write About.
Oh, and remember, vote for the ENnies. If you don’t, They win. Who are They? You don’t want to find out, do you? So vote.
 Who should perhaps be known as Dave the Fame. Right, ladies? Hello? Is this thing on?
 Technically, it’s ENnie-award-winning, but that breaks the pattern.
Last night, Josh Roby and I ended up spontaneously podcasting with the ever-charming Tim Rodriguez of the fine podcast Dice + Food + Lodging. Josh and I talked about playtesting — how we go about it, what we’re looking for, pitfalls we’ve dealt with, and lessons we’ve learned.
The episode. It’s 25 minutes long. Josh was on shortly before recording a game we’re designing, Atlantis Risen, and I stopped partway through my commute in order to talk. (If you’re curious where I recorded from, outside The Ferry Building in San Francisco [image]. It’s the stop between the first and second third of my commute home.)
Was a good talk, even if I ended up talking more than Josh. He and I have very different environments: he has a dedicated playtest group that is trained the way people who do writing or art critiques are trained. I travel to conventions and constantly playtest with new people. Both are awesome, as they generate different experiences and feedback.
Apologies for the lack of Fate content. I have one more bullet point, though I’m unlikely to blog tomorrow, as I’m going on an Origins-methadone vacation. :) But that’s what next week is for!
 Which has no website yet.
This Just In…From Gen Con!, the podcast that Paul Tevis and I started back in 2008, is about to do its fourth season. I’ve given the show to the esteemed Daniel Perez and Rich Rogers, both fine podcasters and gentlemen of note.
I’ve mentioned that the show takes a lot of work to do, which is why I’ve happily stepped away. Daniel & Rich are well aware of the work — they’ve seen what I’ve had to do over the years. So they’re doing something smart: looking to crowdfund the show. I’ll let them tell you about it:
It’s pretty exciting what they’re doing — they’re going farther than I did, using Twitter, Facebook & Tumblr to connect with fans and broadcast news and highlights from the show even when they’re not podcasting. And they’re going to do short early-morning segments for the at-GenCon crowd that listen to the show on the wait to the hall. Seriously, they’ve blown me away with their plans for this year.
I hope you’ll consider funding them. Let’s keep the show alive. Check out the IndieGoGo campaign here.