well… it depends…
I’d like to hear the B&S take on aligning GM and player expectations with regards to the description of in-game elements and actions. Wordy, I know, but this is something that appears most sessions in the groups that I play in or GM.
What I’m referring to is how to align the way the GM and players exchange information. The best example I have is a GM looking for players to say “I’m looking for any irregularities in the walls, drafts, breaks in the mortar” vs. “I search the room”. Both can be effective in the game, but only if the GM and player expectations are aligned.
I know that this is something that is a session 0 thing, but it always winds up in my groups that we still have to hammer things through on case-by-case bases until we’ve built up a vocabulary of action descriptions and expectations that both parties understand.
The other side of the coin is the GM descriptions of in-game elements. How much do you give as the initial description of a location and how much is revealed only when the players ask pointed questions. I tend towards a middle ground, but the most important thing is obviously that the GM and player expectations align.
“The role of social media in creating a community”
I don’t know if this has been done before, but as someone who completely missed the whole G+ thing, I am continually reminded of how that site became the virtual neighborhood bar where people would hang out and discuss their fave RPGs. It seems like half the people I have met at Gary Con knew each other for years before meeting in person thanks to the G+ forums, especially those in the OSR world.
So, a brief history of the social media sites supported by gamers, the current landscape (FB, MeWe, various forums around (Tenkar’s, etc.), and where things may be going along with some extrapolation on what the ideal hangout would be is my topic suggestion.
Very interesting topic.
The correct answer has to be hardcover and full size, unless you don’t want your books to stay open when laying flat on a table and don’t want to play after you reach your 50’s. The font size used in digest versions is unreadable by anyone with old eyes without reading glasses and even then it’s an unnecessary strain - presbyopia is a thing.
LOL. Fair enough. I am 51, almost 52, and had to start wearing glasses full time a few years ago. I still love digest sized, but I agree, I want a decent font-size. I don’t worry about open flat because I don’t use books at the table if I can help it. I like to game without too much shit in front of me. But if your book needs to be USED at the table, I can see why digest wouldn’t be a great option.
5E vs. OSR D&D. Mechanics. Play style. Corporate vs. DIY. Importance/value to the hobby. A related question that could be its own show is do we even have a unified hobby? At Gamehole and many other cons, there is a clear segregation between 5E AL D&D and all other RPGs. I know there are pragmatic reasons for doing this, but does separating these groups of gamers into different spaces exacerbate the partitioning of the hobby? I’ve played a fair amount of AL at my FLGS and mostly those players know of WOTC/Paizo/Shadowrun, what my FLGS carries regularly.
Brett and Sean,
Please consider doing an episode on playing RPGs solo. You may not have personal experience doing this, other than testing out a new system or module (Sean). But solo play has been a factor in RPGs ever since the early days. Gygax himself published rules for playing solo back in 1975 and there were a bunch of choose-your-own-adventure style “gamebooks” published in the 70’s for the Tunnels & Trolls system.
Recently, there has been an explosion of solo RPG tools available and presence online. Here is a review of several “game master emulators” - the core set of “oracle” tables and mechanics that help a solo player add some unpredictability to their game. This simulates the twists and turns in the narrative that they would experience if a GM was running them through an adventure.
The Mythic Game Master Emulator is a set of solo tools that spun out of the Mythic RPG that can be played either with a GM or GM-less as a solo game. The Mythic GME can be used in conjunction with any RPG system to create a solo experience. This is the granddaddy of modern solo GM emulators, and there are a number of supplements available, including a Creature Crafter, Location Crafter and Adventure Crafter.
If you search for “solo” on Drive Thru RPG, you will find a boat load of solo tools and solo modules. Besides Mythic, some of the most popular tools include CRGE – the Conjectural Roleplaying GM Emulator, UNE – the Universal NPC Emulator, ABS12 Flexible Solo Game Engine, and the GameMaster’s Apprentice decks of cards for randomizing your game. There are a number of people who have created D&D solo variants including this one for 5e and Scarlet Heroes, which is a game and setting by itself, but can also be used as a toolkit to create a solo D&D game. For further ideas, check out the Solo Roleplaying Reddit and the Mythic GME Reddit.
Ironsworn (Ironswornrpg.com) is a 2019 Ennie award winning “inspired by the Apocalypse” gritty, low-magic fantasy game, that similar to Mythic, is built from the ground up to handle solo play, GM-less multiplayer games, or a small party with a GM, with no changes to the rules. The default setting is vaguely Viking-era Scandinavian, but the game provides you with dials to tweak the setting to suit your interests (level of magic, other races, etc.) and players have ported the system to the Wild West, modern espionage games and other settings. The PDF of the full Ironsworn game is totally, 100%, no-strings-attached free! So, there’s no excuse not to download it. But the layout is so well done you will want to purchase the hardcover or softcover book through Drive Thru.
Several YouTubers are producing content on how to play RPGs solo, including Geek Gamers, Artichoke Dip, Solo RPG Guy and RPG Tips. Me, Myself and Die! is an awesome new solo actual play show on YouTube, created by voice actor Trevor Devall. Similar to Critical Role, he uses character voices, multiple camera angles and a dramatic soundtrack to up the drama. He’s using Mythic GME and UNE and other supplements with random tables to support his solo fantasy adventure running in the Savage Worlds Deluxe system. He’s published six approximately half-hour episodes so far.
Lastly, full disclosure, I did not start listening to Gaming and BS from Episode 1. I first found you guys in the summer of 2018, so I started with Episode 201 and have continued from there. At that time, I did go back and listen to few older episodes with topics that intrigued me, but only a few. In researching this post, I scrolled through the list of episodes to verify that you indeed have not previously spotlighted solo RPGing. Wow, there are a bunch of intriguing topics listed there. Now I am convinced I need to listen to ‘em all! Inspired by DM Cojo, I am now working my way through the back catalogue.
Moments from the first three episodes that caused me to laugh out loud – 001 – same intro music as now, surprisingly, but it goes on for 60 seconds! Sean asks listeners to send emails and checkout the website without giving out the email address or URL. D’oh! 002 – Brett’s first killing babies reference on the show. He also briefly talks about Avalon but says it’s not anything he’d ever publish. 003 – multiple killing players vs. killing player character jokes, Sean’s first (I think) on-air utterance of “It depends” and the first telling of the story of Jeff tossing his D&D books into the snow. Good to know that you two have been consistent BSers throughout the life of the podcast. Keep up the good work!
Good Night and Good Gaming All!
Great stuff, and a good topic idea! Thank you as well for the feedback on the episodes - very cool that you found us and are having fun with the show
We were supposed to this past week. I thought Brett was joking. Hint: it’s been postponed.
Buying game books that you have no intention of every playing. A sickness. Is there a cure?
Desert Island Games. If you could only play one game for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?
All call in show. Ask BSers to call into the VM. You guys respond. Almost as good as live radio.
Prepping your resume to get a job moving data centers (this one’s just to see if you guys are reading).
Weddings in classic fantasy RPGs. Are PCs (not players) getting married rare in your campaigns? Sure is rare in mine. But that’s a very very very common thing in regular popular narratives. And I’m talking married to another PC, married to an NPC. I guess marriages of 2 NPCs can sometimes be backdrop to other shenanigans. But again, rare involving PCs.
Child sidekicks. My very first GURPS character was Lone Wolf and Cub. Batman and Robin. What are the RP opportunities when the PC has a kid to pay attention to?
Another idea for a future show. System-neutral RPG books/adventures. Do they work? Supplements vs. adventures.
Let’s assume you have one night a week to FtF game (because adulting!).
Is it better to pick a game and stick to it until everyone is sick of it?
How do gamers and GMs feel about leap-frogging two (or more) games, allowing more variety and more prep time for individual GMs?
Thoughts? Feelings? Pros/cons?
Let’s assume you have one night a week to FtF game (because adulting!).
You’re obviously doing a better job at being an adult than I am. There’s no way I can manage one night a week (I work nights.)
Likewise… 2300hrs-0730hrs (when I get out on time).
Topic suggestion. The fallacy that “the next game” is the one that will make you happy. It’s nearly identical to the consumer fallacy that the next thing you buy is the thing that will make you happy. Until you “fix” the game you are in and learn how to fave fun NOW, the next game is simply a temporary solution that allows you to outrun or dodge your problems. They will eventually catch up to you, usually within a few weeks and sometimes as soon as the first or second session, and you’ll find yourself dreaming about the NEXT game, and the one after that. As long as the perfect game is a dream for you, it will never be a reality. One of my favorite sayings at work is Perfect is the enemy of done. Play. Play hard. Put your energy into making your game – the one on your table right now – fun. When you see a problem, talk it out after or before the session and find some kind of group consensus or compromise and keep playing! Assume THIS is roleplaying at its best and that it only gets better with dedicated work and focus. Not by switching to another system or genre, or resetting the campaign world.
Oops. I guess I sort of provided my own podcast script there. Never mind.
I myself would not mind jumping around a bit. If you play every week. I have played weekly in the past. Now with gaming only ever other week it would be harder to keep a group interested just one night a month for a dedicated RPG. Most people I game with and or hang with complain if the group doesn’t stay on one target.
These are just my thought.
Yeah, we play twice a month, and I try to have an email thread to keep people talking/ excited in the middle.
I think trying new games is fine. I do it too, especially on nights someone doesn’t show. And we rotate GMs. So … yeah, my point only makes sense in context. Which is if you are always thinking about the next game because you are unhappy with the one you have.