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Introductions

Vanveen

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Hi everybody!

I'm Troy. I started roleplaying with the Blue Box in 1979, took a long break from the hobby after college, and got back in with boardgames in 2006. Roleplaying followed around 2012, off and on, and has picked up a lot since COVID. I've been running a homebrew 5e for about three years now and have recently started playing in two campaigns, a 5e with some old college buddies and a Starfinder/Pathfinder with some others. I'm a systems nerd--first in graduate literature and teaching, then in user research--so Johnn's structural approach has a lot of appeal for me.

I'm looking for the equivalent of the laws of perspective for roleplaying design. What structures or frameworks can be used to make good roleplaying experiences? I'll throw this out there--modules are written like stories, sometimes plays, but instead should be written solely as stage directions. To make them comprehensible, add narrative about what playtest groups did in a particular situation.

My favorite die is a crystal-clear Zocchi d20, the latest in a series of them I've had since the early 1980s. This one is vicious indeed, a player-killer, inordinately fond of rolling 20s.
 

JohnnFour

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Welcome @Vanveen!

What are the "laws of perspective"? What's a trusted source can I find out more?

I'll counter your modules philosophy with my current one. Modules - published or homebrew - should be written half as plans and half as tools.

Maybe plans = stage directions? Not sure, as I don't know anything about stage directions.

Thanks for the intro, Troy.
 

Vanveen

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I'm looking for those rules of perspective. Syd Field is probably relevant. So is Jeff Vandermeer's book Wonderbook--and something like this: https://electricliterature.com/jeff-vandermeer-on-the-art-and-science-of-structuring-a-novel/ . I'm also interested in, but haven't done much with, William Wallace Cook's Plotto.

If you write Harlequin Romances--I don't, but actually met someone who made a living from it, not as a "name" author--there's a whole guide. Writing a paranormal erotic romance? A scene of this specific type has to happen by page 10, etc. I think most RPGs are essentially genre fictions, not because they have spaceships or orcs or whatever, but because when they work they operate by certain structural frames. What those are, I'd love to discuss with people...in part because I feel like most of this is groping my way through the dark.

Plans + tools is a good one!
 

Thierry DELPIERRE

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Hi all, my name is Thierry (aka Zelli Gar). I'm playing RPG since the eighties. (That sentence sounds weird, like I'm in a kind of anonymous helping group of something ?!...).

I'm from France and a kind of "Grognard" let's say.

I'll never forget the day my friend introduced me to D&D. It was "listen I've a game with no boardgame elements, no cards, and you play with pen and paper and with strange dice". What, I've said. No way, It's a boring game. And I'm still in since that day.

We played that day the B1 module "In search of the Unknown by Mike Carr (I'm still having it. Collector !).

Of course you can imagine I've been playing a lot of AD&D modules, different style of RPG since that day, and one that I recall and haven't played a lot was 'Ring World" based on Larry Niven book. Rolemaster and MERP was tough also but you can't imagine the lore and feeling being in the Moria (was way before the movies guys).

My favorite die is D6. Or little D4 ?

I'm currently not playing a lot but I'm on Pathfinder and ready to jump in 5e soon. I'm trying also Fantasy Grounds.

it's been a long time since I've been on a forum, but I think it's a good idea now.

Voila !
 

Gedece

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Ohhhh, late reply, the PBTA game I run was based on World of Dungeons 1979, a free release 3 pages RPG based on Dungeon World that they made as if it was created in 1979, so it's pretty barebones.
 

JohnnFour

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Welcome @Thierry DELPIERRE! My first adventure was B2. That got me hooked and I got B1 after that. :)
 

JohnnFour

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@Gedece I've been reading a lot of micro RPGs these days and plan to try some in the future. They put a lot more weight on the GM, but that is part of the appeal. Right now i'm looking at Black Hack RPG, Maze Rats, and The Bluehack.
 

Alexandar

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Where in the world are you? What game(s) do you GM? How long have you been GMing? What's your favourite sided-die?
Hello, my name is Alex, I'm living in Berlin, Germany. I play RPGs since 1983, after I saw the DSA box (The Dark Eye) in a shop window.
Since then I have been GMing and playing many RPGs (DSA, Midgard, Sternengarde (Star Frontiers), Traveller, GURPS, Shadowrun, Harnmaster, Over the Edge, Star Wars,...).

After a pause between 2005-2015 (games are for kids, adults play careers... by far the stupidest decision in my life) I'm currently GMing a home-brew campaign/world with a modified rule set of OTE for fantasy settings with my old school buddies, and mostly single adventures with my two daughters, 11 and 13 (Faery's Tales, Mermaid Adventures, Aborea, Self-made settings from my daughters, Fantasy OTE).

Currently the d6 is my favorite die, but my inner paladin always rolls the old The Dark Eye D20...
 

JohnnFour

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@Alexandar My father-in-law says, grumpily, "life is a game!" Heh.

Glad to hear you are homebrewing! It's very rewarding. Welcome!
 
Well met, All!

The name's Aaron, and I've been GMing since '99. I'm currently running two games for my two steady groups, both pathfinder, but I've played a good chunk of the more common systems since the late 90's.

I think the d4 is my favorite die type. I'm not sure why but staring at a set of 7 right now, of all of them, it is the one that keeps drawing my eye.
 

Mike Mac

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Aloha all,

I'm Mike, and I live in Hawaii. I've been playing a variety of TTRPG's since 1990, but I just recently put on the DM hat for the first time in over two decades. I'm currently running a 5e Lost Mine of Phandelver campaign for my grandkids, and they are thoroughly enjoying their intro to D&D. I have also run Star Wars: Edge of Empire games for friends and family. For now, I think it's best to just stick to those two systems. My favorite dice is the d100: so much potential and so many possibilities.
 

JohnnFour

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Aloha @Mike Mac! I know another gamer who lives in Hawaii on Kauai. It's awesome to hear you are gaming with family. That must be a lot of fun.
 

Surumon

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Hi There,

I'm Surumon. I primarily have done some DM-ing of D&D 3.5, Star Wars d20, a few ill-fated Pathfinder campaigns, and look forward to FATE at some point in the future. Otherwise, I'm primarily focused on variety of games mainly in the strategy or sim category. Hot picks right now include X:4 Foundations and Tropico 6 (great writing and music).

Most fun I've had with 3.5 was introducing a new generation (6-8th graders) to D&D. The eagerness of some blood thirsty young children is always welcome as a DM!

Otherwise, I've been known to stretch a few rules here or there to tell a better story as I emphasize the adventure and the story that goes along with it rather than the cold, harsh rules.
 

JohnnFour

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Greetings @Surumon. Sounds like you had D&D Lord of the Flies on your hands, lol.
 

Surumon

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Greetings @Surumon. Sounds like you had D&D Lord of the Flies on your hands, lol.
Once they got over that initial learning curve, which was faster for some than others -- The kids had an absolute blast. There were so many kids that my wife and I had to run two tables to seat them all. It took a little bit, but it lead to some of the more memorable characters. One of which was an insanely aggressive Cleric who threw daggers as well as lead most of the charges against her foes. They were a good bunch!
 

Doug the Winter

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I think most RPGs are essentially genre fictions, not because they have spaceships or orcs or whatever, but because when they work they operate by certain structural frames. What those are, I'd love to discuss with people...in part because I feel like most of this is groping my way through the dark.
Admittedly I have a significant apprehension about writing a module solely because I'm intimidated by the prospect of it being incomplete or lacking. That aside, I've kept a volume of notes and considerations over the years I've GMed various RPGs. That being said, I'd love to participate in this kind of discussion.

Something I'd like to throw out there, if I'm interpreting your description of structural frames correctly, is how I approached one of my biggest tv-drama pet peeves into reliable session model. Look at any number of old school crime or mystery dramas and you'll see painfully recycled themes of Intro-hook-suspect/redherring/mcguffin-investigate-lynchpin/pivot-conclusion. From a writer's perspective, it's boring as sin once you've pinned down the cycle (it killed Castle for me after a while) but translating that to game/session design has been a huge boon for me.

Diatribe aside, the takeaway I thought was worth sharing is the habit I've gotten into of making sure the players have a meaningful reason to start rolling dice early in the session. It's one of my nonnegotiable planning points per session. Much like your previously mentioned Harlequin template of "action by page 10," I always plan to enter sessions and scenes with something tested or revealed on a non pass/fail basis. This could be an active group perception check (5e) to determine whether they get one or all of a prepared list of details in the room. Alternatively, it could be the inconvenience of running into a random town's guard that takes a sudden interest in what they're doing, and who probes them for details with suspicion or passing interest depending on the group roll. Much like early action in a book, I find that nothing grabs my players attention like making them roll dice, especially if the result remains meaningful if the result is low. It brings them into the scene and the players suddenly have a numerical grasp of the context of the situation.

For how reliable this has been in my table top games, I'd love to hear what similar nodes, templates, or framework you are looking to delve into or refine.
 

UbiquitousRat

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Hi!

My name is Che.

Where in the world are you? UK, Nottinghamshire
What game(s) do you GM? Lots, but currently I am beginning a homebrew variant of Harn played with GURPS.
How long have you been GMing? 35+ years, 40+ years roleplaying.
What's your favourite sided-die? 6-siders, preferably used in pairs or threes to get a bell-curve (although, technically, there is no bell on two dice).

I am the host of the Roleplay Rescue podcast. Here to learn how to use Campaign Logger - I bought it when it started but haven't used it hardly, but the Beta has me back. New campaign, new tools.

Game on!
 

JochenL

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Welcome, fellow GURPS gamer!
 
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