Jun 04 2014

Foundational Improv

Last time I mentioned it’s been over a decade since I ran a game that was a story I laid out. Since then I’ve developed what I call foundational prep which gives me the tools I need to improvise sessions.

First off, if I have a location I know what’s going on there. I hate static dungeons, towers, spaceships, warzones, whatever. There needs to be something going on in the place that the PCs need to deal with. It also needs to be something that has a real conclusion if the PCs don’t mess with anything in it. If you’re not running a location based scenario then come up with some solid motivation and goals along with an understanding of why the bad guys or gals want to achieve it, and how they go about doing it. For longer games I drop in more locations within the place, have a few more threads of events going on, and mix up the previous two ideas. A great example of this is in the beginning of Masks of Nyarlathotep. The final and most important piece to this is to make sure the characters are tied to the troubles that are about to happen or build your adversary faction with pieces the PCs want to interact with. There are tons of ways to do this but directed questions work pretty well for me which is where I’ll pick up next time.

Talk to you then,

Chris

Jun 03 2014

Why I Think Improvisational is Better than Story

Last time I said,

“I wish the gaming norm was collaborative when everyone seems pretty content with the dictatorship of the GM.”

So I think that might be a little out there but then again it’s not. Now this is all anecdotal evidence from the games I’ve played in over the last 20+ years. When an indoctrinated player sits at a game table they defer to the GM and wait to be spoon feed what they’re supposed to do. When a player joins a group and is more willing to be involved I find they either leave the game or conform and that bugs me as a norm for most traditional game tables. I work pretty hard to include players into the process of crafting our experience with a Role Playing Game, traditional or not. It matters to me because I don’t want to tell a story. I want to be part of the experience; sometimes facilitator, sometimes active spectator, sometimes active participant. We use storytelling ideas because we’re comfortable with them, and improvisation acting games and techniques when we know them. Heck, sometimes we use them even when we don’t. Sort of a discovering or inventing of something that already exists and we just didn’t know about it. Either way, having learned more about improv, how it works, its principals, and usable improv techniques at the table, I can say my favorite gaming moments in RPGs are a direct result of improv, second to the drama of the dice, and almost never because a story played out the way the GM thought it should, including when I was the GM. I love those games from the last category but looking back I know they were forced. Even if the players had fun with the experience I laid out their choices and when they made their own that conflicted with the story didn’t really have an impact. It cheapened their and my experience.

It’s been over a decade since I ran a game like that and next time I’ll talk about how I set myself to be able to use those improv techniques with something called foundational improv.

Talk you you then,

Chris

Jun 02 2014

Introductions to Words from Chris

I’m gonna go out on a limb and guess I’m not an atypical gamer. I like playing D&D just as much as I like playing Dungeon World. I’m into everything about Pathfinder except Pathfinder itself. I think Savage Worlds is one of the most GM dependent games in existence. That mean’s I’d rather GM it than be a player. I dig games like Marvel Dice Masters but I don’t like Magic the Gathering. I love Puerto Rico and Alhambra but not Power Grid. I think Munchkin is cute about twice but really like Cut Throat Caverns. I like match three games like Marvel Puzzle Quest but I’m not so into farmcrushquest or whatever that game is on face book that people are playing at the moment. I equate a lot of games, from video to table top, to storytelling experiences when really the story isn’t even there until we finish the game. I find words we use to describe things in games meaningless because everyone thinks they have a meaning when in reality none of us can agree on a definition. I wish the gaming norm was collaborative when everyone seems pretty content with the dictatorship of the GM. I’m just kinda weird and I’m letting you know. You might agree with me. I’m going to guess you won’t. I have things on my mind that I want to say, like, to quote myself,

“I wish the gaming norm was collaborative when everyone seems pretty content with the dictatorship of the GM.”

Next time I’ll talk about why I wish gaming was normally collaborative. See you then.

Chris

May 29 2014

Episode #114 – War Room 101

War Room 101

141x141MMlogoHey Folks. This week we have Ron and Dan in the brand new War Room where we get to know them and talk about miniatures 101. Also Phil is sick with atomic poisoning and I’m looking around for my friend professor McGowan who’s supposed to fix the portal.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games

0:48 – Intro

1:22 – Bar

News

Crowdfunding

  • 3EG announces Infestation: a Game of Bugs and Heroes. Infestation is the third game to use the company’s Pip System, previously used for Mermaid Adventures and Camp Myth: The RPG.

Local

  • Dark Forest Games is having a Game Day on the second Saturday of the Month which is June 14th. It starts at noon. Mark is usually there all day playing board games.
  • Saturday May 31st is also a Warmachine/Hordes Tournament at Dark Forest Games.
  • QCC update: Mark and I are plugging away moving data from the Kickstarter to the QCC site getting everything updated and ready.

Rapid Fires

10:15 – Gameroom

Chris
1) Krossmaster Arena
2) Bang the Dice Game
3) Dungeon World
4) Fate of Elhal
5) Marvel Puzzle Quest
6) Johann Sebastian Joust

19:52 – The War Room - Introductions

1:01:31 – Geekery

  • Godzilla and $5 movies at Regal.

May 26 2014

The TKV-Team Podcast, Episode 0: Pardon Our Dust

A challenger approaches!

A challenger approaches!

Hi, everyone; I’m Joan, the engineer and editor of the MMcast, and I’m taking just a moment to hijack the stream here ;)

I’m pleased to announce a new video game podcast on our little network: The TKV-Team Podcast, starring Karol Szymczuk , Tim Jones, and myself. We’ve worked very hard on creating it, and while we’re still getting the kinks sorted out, we hope you’ll listen in and enjoy it. If you like video games – or just want to hear a couple of us talk shop about them – we think you’ll be pleased.

Direct download here!

00:00:30: Opening & Introductions

00:04:15: A small retrospective on video game magazines

00:08:10: Karol & Tim talk PAX East

00:30:53: Gameboy 25th Anniversary

00:59:28: What games are we currently playing?

Karol: Bastion (with a side discussion of Transistor), Luftraosuer
Tim: The Legend of the Zelda, Spyro the Dragon, Final Fantasy XIII-2
Joan: Fallout: New Vegas (Mods named: Roleplayers Alternative Start, Frozen World, New Vegas Bounties I), Dejobaan Games (123 Kick It, The Wonderful End of the World), Mass Effect 3, Metal Gear Solid 5 Ground Zeros

01:26:07: Closing

Karol’s Twitter: @blizzardjesus
Tim’s Twitter: @inkjetpowered
Joan’s Twitter: @lady_goggles

May 21 2014

Episode #113 – Blindsided

Blindsided

Hey Folks. This week we’re scrounging for parts for the atomic portal at miskatonic university. While we’re there we chat about the news and talk about The Blindside and how to use it in your game. Hope you enjoy and next week we go back into the place outside of existence or wherever the house is.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle.

0:45 – Intro

1:53 – News

Double Cross RPG
Gen Con Registration

D&D v5 Release Schedule

Crowdfunding
Havoc Brigade
Nova Praxis
Wield
World of Dew

Local
Jen’s Graduation!

Rapid Fires
Unframed Table of Contents up at Gnome Stew
Randomizing Questions

34:25 – Workshop – The Blindside
From Phil’s Article on Gnome Stew

Level 99 Games Spot – Argent the Consortium

1:01:14 – Geekery

Phil
Iron Empires: Void.
Agents of Shield Finale!

Chris
Penny Dreadful

May 15 2014

Episode #112 – Staying Classy

 

Staying Classy

Hey Folks. This week we discuss the class mechanic in the garage as the house is assaulted by something from beyond.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle.

Intro – Knights of the Night

Bar

News

Crowdfunding

Rapid Fires

  • Table Top will be doing an RPG Spin off for season 3
  • Game Chef is going on now.
  • Torchbearer has a commercial and non-commercial licence.

Sponsor Spot: Evil Beagle Games – Shaintar Adventure Deck

The Garage - Being Classy

Sponsor Spot: Level 99 Games – Battle of the Indines

Gameroom

Phil

1) Fate of Elhal
2) Savage Elhal
3) All the Minecraft

Chris

1) Dungeon World
2) Marvel Dice Masters
3) Marvel Puzzle Quest
4) Fate of Elhal

Geekery

Gotham Trailer

Strong Museum of Play acquires 22 pallets of Atari History

May 08 2014

MMP #111 – Atomic Marvel Dice Masters and Fudging Part 2

 

Atomic Marvel Dice Masters and Fudging Part 2

Hey Folks. This is part two of episode 111 where we get into the workshop to chat about Fudging and make our way to the geekery to chat about all things geek.

Sponsored by Level 99 Games

2:40 – The Workshop: Fudging

40:13 – Geekery

Phil

Chris

  • Arrow’s last episode was amazing
  • Atomic Robo

May 07 2014

102.4 The Lounge – Realmworks with Liz Theis

Realmworks with Liz Theis

Hey Folks. This time in the lounge we have Liz Theis from Lone Wolf Development to talk about Realmworks, some excellent software to help manage your campaign, and you know how much one of us cares about campaign management around here, so tune in and see how you can raise your game organization to the next level.

Links

Realmworks Video Tutorials
Razor Coast by Frog God Games
Realmworks forumns

May 01 2014

Episode #111 – Atomic Marvel Dice Masters and Fudging Part 1

Atomic Marvel Dice Masters and Fudging

Hey Folks. In part one of this double sized episode we cover the news and then break down Marvel Dice Masters in the gameroom. See you in part two where the atomic blue lights will shine on us talking about fudging in the workshop and we geek out in the geekery.

1:10 – Intro

3:51 – Bar

News

  • Acthung! Cthulhu Investigators guide for Fate now out for A!C Backers
  • New Gnomes Join Gnome Stew! (http://www.gnomestew.com/gnome-gnews/welcoming-two-new-authors-to-the-stew-angela-murray-and-john-fredericks/)
  • Encoded Designs  (encodeddesigns.com)

Crowdfunding

Local

Rapid Fire

  • Storiumn Update
  • Worlds in Peril Update

31:36 – Gameroom

Phil

    • No Savage Elhal
    • Minecraft
    • Dungeon World  (Airy Peaks)
    • Forbidden Desert (Almost made it…)

Chris

    • Dice Island
    • 3.0 D&D
    • Ticket to Ride
    • Ostia
    • Revolution
    • Artemis
    • Love Letter
    • D&D Encounters
    • Dungeon World x2
    • Storium

52:53 – In Depth with Marvel Dice Masters

Apr 26 2014

The Lounge 102.3 – Worlds in Peril

 

Worlds in Peril

Hey Folks. The Lounge is open and this time I’m hanging out and chatting with Kyle and Adam from the Worlds in Peril Kickstarter. This superhero games is powered by the apocalypse, has amazing comic book art, and is my recess peanut butter cup of gaming.

Links
Worlds in Peril Kickstarter
Daniel Solis Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple Layout
Magicians 
Jonathan Rector

 

Apr 24 2014

Episode #110 – Percentile Dice and Managing the Micro-Campaign

Percentile Dice and Managing the Micro-Campaign

Hey Folks. This week we chat about percentile dice in the Garage and drill into managing the micro-campaign in the workshop while searching for our easter baskets. I hope you enjoy and please feel free to tell us everything we’re doing right and wrong with the show.

Sponsors - Level 99 Games

1:55 – The Bar

News

Crowdfunding

Local

Rapid Fire

25:12 – The Garage: Percentile Dice

43:19 - The Workshop: Managing the Micro-Campaign

Gnome Stew Article

1:09:10 – The Geekery

 

Apr 17 2014

Episode #109 – Our First Around the Table

Our First Around the Table

Hey Folks. This week we’re holding onto some odd paintings for a friend who is moving to here from Massachusetts and we have our first Around the Table. It’s a new segment we’ve been trying to get going and this week it happens so let us know what you think and send us an email if you’d like to come on the show and ask us a few questions about your game.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle.

0:44 – Intro

2:20 – The Bar

News

Crowdfunding

Local

17:25 – Gameroom

Chris
D&D Encounters
Savage Elhal
Lords of Waterdeep
Ticket to Ride
Love Letter

Phil
Minecraft
Elder SIgn
Lords of Waterdeep
Breach and Clear

32:51 – Around the Table – With Mathew Chase

1:14:06 – Geekery

Captain America with Spoilers on.

Agents of Shield with Spoilers on.

The Misdirected Mark Top 3 movie list:

  1. Star Wars: A New Hope
  2. Blues Brothers
  3. Ghostbusters

Apr 10 2014

Episode #108 – Point Economies and The Mystery

Point Economies and Mysteries

Hey Folks. This week Phil finds a book, we pull point economies off the wall in the garage, Meta-game gets a discussion, Love Letter gets a look, we delve into mysteries in the workshop, and I saw Captain America but Phil hadn’t so I spoil nothing. I hope you enjoy the show. Also I think our combined sleep for the previous night was eight hours and I got three of them.

Sponsors for the Show - Level 99 Games

Show Notes

1:37 – Intro 

2:00 – The Bar

News

Crowdfunding

Local

  • QCC Kickstarter video is done and we’re just waiting on the folks from Amazon and Kickstarter to approve the project so with any luck the project will be live when you hear this.

  • UBCon is this weekend and I’ll be hanging out at the Universal Gaming / QCC table selling the convention. That’s right. You can sign up on site if you’d like or ask me any questions about the QCC. Also I’ll be running some Savage Elhal on Staurday night so look for the Savage Satruday Night event at UBCon and show up. Everyone gets to play at Savage Saturday night. I also might be convinced to run some Dungeon World after.

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers VS X-Men Dice Building Game

Marvel Dice Masters: Avengers VS X-Men: Booster

15:52 – The Garage – Point Economies with Metagaming on the backside

43:11 – Gameroom

Chris

  • Love Letter

  • Forbidden Desert

  • Fate of Elhal

  • D&D Encounters

  • League of Legends

  • Marvel Heroic

Phil

  • Moar Minecraft!

  • Savage Elhal

59:57 – Workshop – The concept of the core clue and mystery games.

Some ideas:

Story Pacing – http://www.gnomestew.com/gming-advice/story-pacing-the-carter-way/

The Clue Map – http://www.gnomestew.com/gming-advice/the-clue-map-building-a-web-of-clues/

Clue Cards – http://www.gnomestew.com/gming-advice/clue-cards-pacing-a-mystery/

Level 99 Games Spot – Golden Sky Stories

1:34:15 – Geekery

Chris

  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Phil

  • Going to see Winter Soldier this week.

  • Big Bang Theory – Xbox One vs. PS4.

  • Global Frequency comics

  • Dangerous Space Jail coming together

Apr 03 2014

Episode #107 – Margin of Success and Gathering Players

Margin of Success and Gathering Players

Hey Folks. This week we pull the Margin of Success of the wall in the garage and pull it apart and we chat about how gathering your players for your game can be a lot like dating. There’s also this little shadow problem but I think I got a tool for it.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle games

0:55 – Intro

2:46 – The Bar

News
Fate Codex Issue 2 is out and delivered to Pateron Backers
CFP: Edited Collection on the Cultural Influences of Role-Playing Games
Relam Works 1.0 released
Gnome Stew hits 2,000,000 Visitors!

Crowdfunding
Sean and Ross Big Denver Adventure
Mobile Frame Zero 002: Alpha Bandit
Post Human Pathways
Bethorm: The Plane of Tekumel
Dice and Slice KS

Local
The QCC Kickstarter
UBCon April 11-13
Lil’ Con April 19th

Rapid Fire News
War of the Ashes Playtest is live. Unfortunately signups are closed.
Dungeon World 3rd Printing
Bundle of Holding – Delta Green!
Around the Table is still a thing.

18:32 – The Garage – Margin of Success

39:16 – Gameroom

Phil
Minecraft
Fate of Elhal
Madness Games and Comics

Chris
Marvel Dice Masters
Raiden Fighters and other shooters
Fate of Elhal
D&D Encounters

56:17 – Workshop – Building Your Group

1:22:30 – Geekery

Chris
True Detective

Phil
Chris has never seen Animal House
Larger Question: Is there a list of Must See movies for this community?
Watched Pacific Rim
How I Met Your Mother series finale

Apr 01 2014

Patreon #6 – Garb and Cosplay

Garb and Cosplay

Hey Folks. For this patreon episode we have Tangent Twin Katie on to talk about Garb and Karol of the V-Team to chat about cosplay. Hope you enjoy this patron sponsored episode.

Links
SCA Garb Advice

Cosplay.com

Featherweight

Mar 27 2014

Episode #106 – Multidimensional Dice and Making Story Happen on the Grid

Multidimentional Dice and Making Story Happen on the Grid

Hey Folks. This week I learn we have a garage and it needs an access card or a portal gun. In there we pull apart Multidimensional Dice as a mechanic and then we chat about Making Story Happen on the Grid and ways you can keep the narrative strong when the mini’s and the maps come out.

1:06 – Intro

2:23 – Watercooler

The One Page Dungeon Contest
All Rolled Up is turning 1 year old. - Phil’s Gnome Stew article on All Rolled Up
Dungeon Elementary -
Icons Assembled Edition
Shop Till You Drop by Mike Merals
Night Witches

Coming to DnDClassics this week:
Eberron Campaign Setting (3E Eberron)
Mind Lords of the Last Sea (2E Dark Sun)
Circle of Darkness (2E Ravenloft)
FRA3 Blood Charge (2E Forgotten Realms)
SJA1 Wildspace (2E Spelljammer)

and looking ahead to next week:
Thri-Kreen of Athas (2E Dark Sun)
RM1 Roots of Evil (2E Ravenloft)
The Gothic Earth Gazetteer (2E Ravenloft)
WGR5 Iuz the Evil (2E Greyhawk)
SJQ1 Heart of the Enemy (2E Spelljammer)

Crowdfunding
Combat description cards from Conflict Roleplaying
Sean Patrick Fannon’s GoFundMe

Local News
The Buffalo GenCon Party Bus Mark@misdirectedmark.com
Painted Ogre Games is Looking for Minion’s 
UBCon
The Queen City Conquest Kickstarter
Around the Table – Remind about this new segment

22:34 – The Garage — Multidimensional Dice

39:58 – Gameroom

Chris
Marvel Puzzle Quest
League of Legends
D&D Encounters

Phil
More Minecraft! On the iPad a well as PC
Scattagories (parents house)
Ticket to Ride (parents house)
Gloom

52:03 – Workshop – Making story happen on the battle map.

1:09:26 – Geekery

Chris
Letters of Note: Make Your Soul Grow

Phil
Star Wars Ep 7 30 years after Jedi
X-Men Days of Future Past Second Trailer:
Gauntlet Trailer
Breach & Clear coming to Steam 
Incredibles 2 is a go.

Mar 20 2014

Episode #105 – The New GM and Moving Day

The New GM and Moving Day

Hey Folks. This week Phil Vecchione is in the house as the new co-host of the show and we’re moving all his stuff in. It’s a lot of stuff. I mean a whole tone of stuff. Good thing I have an extradimentional space to put it in. We also take a listener question about tips for starting a new campaign as a new GM in the Workshop and announce a couple of new segments. Enjoy and feel free to tell us what you think and how we can make the show better.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle Games

0:47 – Intro

3:16 – Watercooler

Secrets, Rumors and Fast Setting Building
Banking Fate Points to create suspense in Fate
Latest Bundle of Holding: Fantastic Valor
Descriptive damage for Dungeon World
Adding mini’s to your fate game
Corporia the RPG
Ritual in Roleplaying games
Two Column Fate
Mall Adventures
Project Paradigm
Ross and Sean’s Big Denver Adventure
Around the Table

25:10 – Gameroom

Chris
Marvel Puzzle Quest
League of Legends
Killer Bunnies
Dr. Who
Dungeon World – The Airy Peaks
Savage Worlds: Elhal – The Harvest

Phil
Minecraft!
Dungeon World – The Airy Peaks
Elhal
Dangerous Space Jail

41:43 – Workshop – Advice for the New GM

Start small…just get your first adventure under your belt.
Learn the core rules…skill checks and combat.
Understand what your game is doing.
Connect with the players, connect with the characters.
Don’t sweat the first session its like the pilot of a TV show.

Golden Sky Stories

57:14 – Geekery

Chris
Veronica Mars Movie

Phil
Agents of Shield
The Boys (comic)
Minecraft Wiki

Mar 13 2014

Episode #104 – The Two Year Extravaganza Audio Drama Show

The Two Year Exstravaganza

Hey Folks. Chris here and I’d just like to say thanks to everyone for listening these past two years. Going forward there will be some changes but this last year and the story we’ve been telling with all the gaming, game mastering, and entertaining we’ve been doing has been great, and fear not, there will be an episode 105 and a year 3. So I hope you enjoy and feel free to let us know what you thought of this episode.

Show Notes

Batman Arkahm Knight
State of the Hat
Katana’s and Trench coats
Mutant Chronicles
Bruce Cordell on Ordering Art
Wield Kickstarter
Everyone is John
D&D Classics
Nathan Poletta’s Wrestling Game
International Boardgame Day
The Queen City Conquest Kicksarter

Mar 03 2014

Episode #103 – Eloy Lasanta’s AMP Year One and Dopplechris

Dopplechris and Eloy Lasanta’s AMP Year One

141x141MMlogo

Hey Folks. This episode has Eloy Lasanta on to chat about his kickstarter for AMP: Year One. A game I’m very excited about. We also hit the normal spots and things happen in the story parts which are winding down to episode 104. Because of a computer crash and some extra recording that needs to be done for 104 I’ll be taking a week off so there won’t be an episode this Thursday but 104 will come out on the 13th of March.

Sponsors for the Show – Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle Games

Intro

Watercooler

GenCon Volunteers Needed
Making Monsters Cool
Jim Butcher is the Author Guest of Honor at GenCon this year
CRAGGNAROK is on March 15th
The Queen City Conquest Kickstarter is coming
Era:The Consortium
Project Dark
Amp: Year One
The Mutant Chronicles Kickstarter
The TimeWatch RPG
Licensing for 13th Age

Gameroom

Chris
Small World
Boss Monster
Gloom
Do: Fate of the Flying Temple
Dungeon World (Airy Peaks)
D&D Encounters x2
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game
Played Dungeon World (Dangerous Space Jail)

Mark
Board Game Day,
-Shadows over Camelot
-Dominion
-Takenoko
-Cards Against Humanity
-Shadows over Camelot, redux
Encounters,
- I died!
Dresden Files
- I magicked!

Workshop

Lounge – Eloy Lasanta of Third Eye Games and his AMP Year One kickstarter.

Amp: Year One Kickstarter
Third Eye Games
Maxium Laurdinois

Geekery

Caper
Timey Wimey Puppet Show

Feb 25 2014

Episode #102.2 – Chris Birch and The Mutant Chronicles

Chris Birch and the Mutant Chronicles

Hey Folks. Here’s part two of the interlude episode while we get things set up for the finale of year 2 of the podcast. This time I have Chris Birch from Modiphius on to talk about the Mutant Chronicles Kickstarter, which is doing exceptionally well, and other games and interests Chris has. Hope you enjoy.

Show Notes

Mutant Chronicles Kickstarter

Modiphius Games

Feb 20 2014

Episode 102.1 – Interlude with Will Hindmarch and Project: Dark

Interlude

Hey Folks. This week is a little different as I have two great interviews for you. In the first part I chat with Will Hindmarch about his very successful kickstarter Project: Dark and get some insights on where where story and gaming intersect.

Shared Worlds
2nd Person from MIT Press
Persuasive Games
Protagonist Labs
Gameplaywrite press

Feb 13 2014

Episode #101 – Traps and Flower or Flour

Traps and Flour or Flowers

Hey Folks. This week Mark and I chat about traps as we plot capture and deal with Marks Doppelganger. The action is heating up as year 2 is winding to a close.

Sponsors for the Show: Level 99 Games

0:56 – Intro

2:40 – The Watercooler

13:17 – The Gameroom

Chris
Marvel Puzzle Quest
League of Legends
Marvel Heroic Roleplaying Game

Mark
Nothing

18:56 – The Workshop: Talking about Traps

39:31 – The Geekery

International Board game Day and Local board game day

Sword Art Online

 

Feb 06 2014

Episode #100 – The Beginning and Miles Kantir from Savage Mojo

The Beginning and Miles Kantir from Savage Mojo

Hello Folks. Well here it is. Episode 100 which begins a four part story about the ending of our battle with the master of dungeons. I’ve been looking forward to these episodes which will mark the end of the second year of the show and the beginning of a new era of the Misdirected Mark Podcast. Changes they are a coming. On this episode we also have an excellent interview with Miles Kantir from Savage Mojo about the Suzerain Continuum, publishing, and the advances in PDF technology they’re trying out these days. Enjoy the show.

Sponsors for the Show: Level 99 Games, Evil Beagle Games

1:09 – The Intro

6:56 – Watercooler

DL4 Dragons of Desolation (1E Dragonlance)
GAZ4 The Kingdom of Ierendi (1E AD&D)
Player’s Secrets of Helskapa (2E Birthright)
FR4 The Magister (2E Forgotten Realms)
Heroes of Battle (3E AD&D)

16:27 – The Gameroom

Mark
microscope
Pathfinder Adventure card game X2
Running Gagg
Silvervine games
Eldritch horror – with friends!
Fiasco

Chris
Fate of Elhal – Awesome Game
Pathfinder Adventure Card Game – Distracted by the tangent twins
Marvel Puzzle Quest
Dungeon World: The Airy Peaks
Do: Fate of the Flying Temple

44:08 – The LoungeWith Miles Kantir of Savage Mojo, The most interesting man in gaming.

The Suzerain Continuum

Shaintar: Legends Unleashed

Savage Mojo

Savage Mojo Products on Drive Thru RPG

1:56:00 – The Geekery

Dresden fan video site

Jan 31 2014

Plot, Character, Player, or Story Driven?

This post is based on a comment concerning Episode 98 Talking About Adventures:

What do you mean when you say “story-driven” adventure/game? Are you trying to say “character-driven”? Can a “dungeon-crawl” adventure ever be story-driven? Is a story-driven adventure “plot-specific”? How would you describe the characteristics of a “non story-driven” adventure?

First, after considering the terms for a while and what they mean I don’t think character driven or story driven are the right phrases to use. I think it should be player-driven and plot driven. I also think character-driven is a tool GMs can use to promote Plot driven games.

Plot-driven: The plot of the game and moving the characters through the plot so they can experience the elements of the module or the GMs plot is king. I don’t think this kind of game is bad or good it’s just a style of playing. A lot of LFR adventures have this feel to them as do a lot of published adventures.

Player-Driven: The characters are truly the center of the story being told and their individuality and the players choices with those characters create plot points and scenarios in the adventure being played and can create future adventures. Once again I don’t think this is a bad or good way to play, just a way.

Character-driven: A character is not a player. A character is the avatar used to interact with the game being played. That means the character is a resource that is useable by the GM and the Player to make things happen.

On the player-driven side of things the player can use the character to create plot points and scenarios through their actions as the GM decides to work off the player’s choices for the characters. Then the GM can have the setting react to them. Example time:

A player is a paladin and chooses to heal his fallen enemy instead of smiting him out of existence. This gives the GM an NPC to use later and create a plot point from. Now the Paladin has an enemy who turns into an ally, or the enemy is angry and confused and acts like a wild card in the background with the players never knowing if he’s going to help or hinder their actions.

Maybe a character with the greedy hindrance stole a gem during a heist only to find out the gem belongs to a powerful crime boss who politely asks for it back. Now the players choice will inform the GM how the setting will react to them. Maybe the boss will be impressed with the greedy characters skill if the character returns the gem. Maybe it’ll be all out war to get the gem back if the character is rude or refuses to return it.

On the Plot-Driven side of things a character can be used by the GM to prompt the players to make certain choices in a very Schrodinger plot point way. This is providing the illusion of choice. Some quick examples:

The paladin is going to help the good people of the town because they’re a paladin so its easy to hook them. The character with the greedy hindered is more apt to take the job if the reward is substantial.

Moving on I also think these styles of games aren’t exclusive. In episode 96 I was part of a discussion that talked about Story, Character, and Game. I mentioned these weren’t on/off switches but most game groups use parts of all three aspects when playing. I think plot and player driven work the same way, sometimes you’re more plot driven and sometimes your more player driven with an ebb and flow during a campaigns and even sessions. It depends on group make up and the game being played.

Dungeon Crawls
Dungeon crawls can be plot driven if the location is given a story. Exploring a dungeon can be just as much about learning the story of what happened to the place but if the players decide to not explore the dungeon and the GM says, “well, I guess I don’t have anything else for us to do” the game really isn’t player driven.

Plot Driven Adventures
I feel plot driven adventures are very plot specific and those plots are GM driven or module driven if the module has a specified start point and end point.

Non Plot Driven Adventures
Some modules/adventures have no plot associated with them. The Temple of Elemental evil doesn’t really have an end. It’s just a place to explore and you can see the story at the end of play as it emerged from the players choices. That’s probably the primary trait of a non plot driven adventure. There isn’t a defined probable ending so it’s on the players around the table, and make no mistake, the GM is a player, to create an ending.

Well that was a large amount of words to try and get some terms strait. I feel it was worth the effort. I’m curious to hear what anyone might think about the things I’ve said and if I’m missing something from my descriptions or just off base and if so what is a better way to look at these terms, their meanings, and their uses?

Your Friendly Neighborhood Podcaster and GM,

Chris

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