I am trying to find a Kickstarter that’s supposed to run in June, and I came across a Kickstarter for a RPG.
Considering that I’ve been largely disappointed with RPG Kickstarters and rather happy with the one boardgame KS I backed and fine with the Shadowfist KSs I backed, why back this game?
I’ve played it.
I enjoyed it.
A two-hour game (not billed as a two-hour game), and I enjoyed it.
I’m particularly down on foreign KSs where I get hit with international fees and shipping is quite expensive, but I just find what I end up with from RPG KSs so uncaptivating. Now, this could be because the concept of trying to play anything besides L5R is challenging given the nature of who I play games with these days.
It’s a low buy in for the level I’m backing. Amazingly enough, I’m not so into a game I’ve played once and don’t have on my mind-list of things to play that I’m looking to mortalize myself as a NPC in the game. Or, whatever.
I really like Kickstarter because I can influence whether someone even makes something, rather than discovering something already made, and it seems like it gives way more capital to RPG publishers.
So, my PTG experience was mentioned in Gen Con 2016. Saturday, if you want to skip down a few thousand words.
It’s just my kind of thing and the game played much like my early Ran Ackels Immortal: The Invisible War games which got me fired up about modern supernatural RPGing and made me a CCG designer. Immortal greatly helped push me towards Precedence Games/Publishing/Entertainment, who put out the Babylon 5 CCG, where I ended up doing design for that CCG and Wheel of Time CCG and offered Tomb Raider CCG ideas which probably didn’t get used.
Part-Time Gods, though, gets me thinking about something. The games I run are missing something. I don’t feel like my players get to have the experiences that I, as a player, enjoy the most. They don’t get the “How about I look into the future and keep what happens to myself so that it doesn’t necessarily happen?” moments. The “I’ll lick the blood off of the dude’s face to sense where the enemy will strike next.” moments.
Or, maybe they do and I don’t know, but let’s assume they don’t. Is it because I’m not a player in my own games? Do I set up situations that enable the players to do the things I like doing, but they don’t jump through those hoops?
I don’t think that’s the main reason. I think the main reason is that I’m not including an important hook that gives the players the clear enough openings. Meanwhile, in trying to give players opportunities to do certain things, I also allow some things to happen that don’t make a lot of sense.
I don’t talk much about simulationist play because it always just sounds like not my glass of extremely sweet tea, but it occurred to me after the last Rokugan 1600 session when we talked about stuff for a long time that a weakness I have is accounting for simulationism. I allow worlds, even ones I didn’t make, to go in directions that aren’t the right feel because I have this conscious or unconscious high fantasy agenda. Oh, I’m not saying I make everything into some form of coherent high fantasy. I’m saying that having a high tolerance for reality warping events leads me to come up with reality warping events that are incongruous with the setting.
To the extent that I understand simulationism, it’s about the play experience being consistent with a provided world. Where I can see an example is that gamist play will tolerate out of character actions that are successful and narrative play will tolerate out of character actions that make for a more coherent story, simulationist actions should be in character to make the play experience more realistic and more meaningful at the character level. Saying something similar, gamist is for players, narrative is for the plot, and simulationist is for the characters (to be thematic constructs and not just mechanical ones).
If I put more effort into my games, I could probably get a more consistent experience. Though, as I said, I think rather recently, I often put effort into the wrong direction. Somehow, I need to better understand the players’ perspectives and what actually matters to them. For one thing, I need to have a better sense of how plot intersects with player activity. I have things in my mind that are going on behind the scenes, but they just don’t matter to the players. So, that’s not an area to focus on. The area to focus on is “You did this, now the world is going to react in this perceptible way rather than being a convoluted series of impossible to notice adjustments in the grand scheme of creation.”
I think I think too widely. Grand conspiracies don’t lend themselves to building a foundation for a campaign that can end on a high note with the resolution of some grand conspiracy. Sometimes, Wolverine just needs to punch Sabretooth rather than understanding what the ultimate goal of the Weapon X program is intended to be and how that has to do with magic-using aliens.
When I ran Solomon Kane, I started with adventures from the core book. Those seemed to go over better. Again, personal, limited in scope, and consistent with the setting. Why is this so hard for me to stick to until a campaign really calls for something else?