May 8, 2012

Two Things You May Have Missed

I started a new job about three weeks ago, and they brought me on during a fairly hectic time, so I've been sorting things out there instead of blogging too heavily. This should be clearing up in next few days as one of our major events occurs and I get my subordinate (who is planning and coordinating the event) back.

In the mean time, I've been keeping my reading and gaming up. Two things that you may have missed:

1) Age of Raven's fantastic post on description in games. The blogosphere would be drastically improved if there was more of this (and Justin Alexander's posts on game structures) and fewer blog posts about minutiae, D&D 5e and kids these days. One of the reasons that I hang around with (online and off) more old school gamers than almost any other group of gamers is that my experience with them has been that they actually game at a higher rate than most other groups of "gamers", especially online ( is cluttered with non-gamers throwing their two cents in).

2) RPGGeek's Game Master University threads. RPG Geek represents the extremely consumeristic element of the hobby to me, but the GM University threads are good threads that could be made better by the participation of the blogosphere. Rather than wasting our time with threads about "O is for Oh Shit I Ran Out of Interesting Ideas On This Theme Twelve Days Ago", you should go and help folks out.

Bonus content: Cole from Abraxas asked me "...what, in your opinion [are] the most important questions to ask and answer in developing a society and its material and social culture for a fantasy setting[?]"

I've been meaning to answer this in more depth than I gave him in my initial response, but I'm busy digging into that depth to provide a meaningful response that isn't too idiosyncratic. My initial response was:

"The main questions I ask when I design a setting are "Who are the PCs and what do they do?" I don't use these so much for any specific group, but rather in the sense of "What kinds of people go on adventures What allows or forces them to? What do they hope to gain?"

I also find it useful to ask the question-series "What do things look like? How are they made? Why are they made? Who makes them?"

I find that trying to answer these as exhaustively as possible is very fruitful, though I love to spend hours on Wikipedia reading about textile production, or food crops, or nomad customs."

More on this to come later this week.