The third part of a series of "How-I" articles. This specific article covers what I (as a GM) determine regarding maps, magic, religion, politics, style, NPCs and other things best not discussed in polite company. "How-to" implies that there is a best way. There might be, and this might be it, or maybe not. This is how I do it.
Yes, I know this is a popular subject that's discussed all too often in the RPG world, but I plan to take a slightly different spin on things. Come share your thoughts!
I GM-ed a multi-generational D&D3E family game over the Holidays. While that was very rewarding, I was left with some slight doubts. It felt great to bring people together for a fun time and to have some family togetherness, but I saw my young cousins get excited about killing and looting and stealing, which was off-putting to say the least. It made me think about the example I was setting for them at such a young age, and what sort of habits I might have myself that I am unaware of. It made me start thinking about ways to keep the game fun, but to encourage problem-solving that does not always include wanton killing.
In order to make the best use of the company's staff and resources, Gen Con, LLC announces that it is canceling its' show in Anaheim, Gen Con So Cal. The decision to do so was made after extensive deliberation, thought and time.
Steam implies the age of steam say late 1800s, punk indicates the inclusion of weird science, and Musha meaning Stir-fried (OK, I made that up) gives an indication of oriental flavor. Taking this we get an Oriental game with Western flavor and a willingness to combine with traditional fantasy. This is pretty much what you get with Steampunk Musha, a worldbook for the Iron Gauntlets RPG.
Installment-3 in the series of general game design discussion. An old interview of Sid Meier provides some "topic seeds" on taking play elements from one type of game and employing them in another format. The subject is developed with examples from Gamegrene contributors actively cultivating ideas on genre-splicing game designs.
It occurred to me not long ago that during the heyday of Dungeons & Dragons in the 1980s, not only were the movies full of Fantasy (as covered in a series I wrote here on Gamegrene), but so was television. Here is a list of cartoons that I can remember airing in the 1980s that featured heavy fantasy or medieval elements. Can you think of any I missed?
In the late 1970s and early 80's there was a profusion of RPGs unmatched until the dawn of D20 OGL. The difference being that in the earlier renaissance each game came with an entirely new mechanic. Many of these games were amalgams of other systems where authors stuck things together that probably shouldn't have gone. During that bygone era, this game would have rocked.
Some of us are less game 'designers' than game 'providers'. In my castle, I am the master-at-arms of gaming and it is among my duties to seek and provide appropriate amusements. Some might say that makes me the jester or a common fool. The lady of the castle would likely not disagree with you. It is not a bad thing, laughter and fun are important things. But the kingdom's coffers and lady's leisure time are not endless. Great care must be taken in managing the entertainment provisions. And for this I depend on player analysis just as designers might.