Rifkin’s Answers

Everyone thinks they know what I should do or what I am up to but no one seems to fucking know what I am going to do next.

– Rifkin, procurer, former Ravensgate convict, hero of the Sangre and wizard-slayer

Answers in MoBu City

Came to some conclusions about running a whodunnit in BW.

  1. The game has to be more interesting after the reveal than before. Meaning, the reveal should inspire the player into action.
  2. The pace of the mystery is actually set by the player, I think.
  3. The GM should be putting obstacles in the way of the character, not the player.

Woke up and I was late for Friday

My body was going to give me a square 8 hours sleep no matter what last night.  This meant that I had to do some running around and did not get any morning errands done and I dropped my Blackberry under a parked bus (but all’s well with it).

Reading: I am less than a hundred pages until the end of my first Ian M. Banks Culture novel, Use of Weapons and it is splendid but I just want to carve out enough time to sit down and finish it in one go.   I am finishing up Diaspora and then, after that, Tunnels & Trolls will be my next game-related reading.

Planning: Some Halloween gaming (mayhaps some Shotgun Diaries) and writing a short paper while hanging out with the special ladyfriend.

Wearing: Jeans a v-neck gray t-shirt.

Writing: This week, nothing got done.

And you?

Judd’s Jargon: Museum Games

Judd’s Jargon will be a regular thing, I think. It is more of an excuse to talk about some gaming thing, then really trying earnestly to insert new phrases out into the world. We already have words that we are trying to figure out to describe our gaming.

Today’s word, Museum Games, is inspired by Paul’s thread on SG. This is a phrase that me and Jim Bryant came up with back in the day. It described a GM we knew who did not want anyone futzing with his world or his beloved plot. Because in a museum, you look and do not touch.

Jim seemed to get his kicks by manipulating the group to do his bidding and altering the campaign’s direction through social pressure (I called this Back-seat GMing but that is a term for another day). I dealt with it by not showing up to these games.

It was most certainly a term meant in derision, because back then we thought people who use different techniques towards different goals and who got different things out of their games were gaming incorrectly. This isn’t to say that I am a saint now. Shit, there’s plenty of judgment and barbed language choices in this post. Feel free to call me on it if something particularly wrankles you. That is, after all, what the comments section is for.

Paragraph edited in after a night’s sleep:

It is a term that was not meant as a compliment but I am not sure it has to be used to insult anyone.  There are beautiful things in a museum and some of the best days I can think of were spent wandering a museum with friends, finding ourselves stimulated by what we saw there.  I reckon some folks like not having to make difficult decisions or have a tangible effect and god bless their chainmail dicebags, I say (yes, I totally do have a chainmail dicebag too).  I’d be interested to hear from folks who play in these games to hear what they dig about ’em.

Museum Games have a cool set-up, have adventurous shit going on and might even have fun moments but the fun drained away for me when I got to a set piece, a kind of masturbatory description in which the GM wants you to marvel at their amazing imaginations and you realize that there were no meaningful choices in getting there. You had to get here or else there would be no one here to appreciate how clever the GM’s world has turned out to be.

At the end of the day, we wished he had written a novel instead and left us to save or damn the worlds based on our choices and the roll of he dice.

This will cruise nicely into next week’s installment of Judd’s Jargon, The DelRosso Principle.

When the bones roll and when they rest.

Rob just wrote something interesting about when to roll dice.

He divvies up the categories of when to roll into three categories:

Challenge, Excitement and Drama.

A few days ago, gaming with Storn asked to make a roll to do something and I told him not to bother.  “I can’t think of any interesting outcomes that come from you failing the dice roll.”

Its the old, Say “Yes,” or roll the dice Maxim.  When to say, “Yes,”?

One good and easy criteria is when failure just is not interesting.

What is interesting?

A set-back, an injury, a change in a social balance, a drive towards conflict, a mounting of tension, a loss of a resource, a scar, a threat to something the player cares about.

Roll the dice when failure is interesting and adds something to the game.

Otherwise, keep on keepin’ on and keep those dice in your bag.

The 13 Cities, Book 1.

Why write all of this shit down?

Part of it is sharing my experiences with certain techniques and systems – talking about what is working and more importantly not working for me and my friends at the table. The more selfish reason is just to have these threads as a way of remembering. Now that I have a body of AP’s built up, it is satisfying to look back on the various blog tags (ap04, ap05, ap06, ap07, ap08, ap09) and read about old games, like a tabletop gaming yearbook, a way to remember good times with friends.

Also, seeing the names of the different threads, the titles each night of gaming grew into, really makes me giddy, just seeing an outline of how it all came together is immensely satisfying.


Part I: The Horselord Prince

Part II: The Summoner of Gaham

End of Book 1.

Bloody Night in MoBu City

I really need to make a google doc to keep track of NPC names and MoBu City places. But like most good settings, MoBu City feels like just another character.  When I create the document, I’ll post a link to it in this thread.

The game began with Rifkin doing a job to get rid of some tax on his Resources. Helder the Fence wanted him to steal a piece of art from a thief who had stolen it. Ruiz, a hot-headed kid who had cut his way out of a job gone bad, stole it weeks ago but would not give it up, even now that the merchant who was thieved from was offering decent money for its return.

Thread here at the BW forum