Tonight on GeekNights, we have guests Luke Crane (creator of Burning Wheel, Mouse Guard, etc...) and Jared Sorenson (creator of Lacuna, Action Castle!, etc...) on the show to talk about role playing games with us. After a bit of noodling on the nature of roleplaying games at their cores, we consider turtling, roaches, games we're playing, the Adventure Burner, and more! We also touch on their new joint project Freemarket.
GeekNights 20100727 - Luke and Jared on RPGs Expanded Show Notes - Show Run Time: 01:29:51 Time | Notes ---------+---------------------------------------------------------- 00:00:00 | Intro 00:00:36 | Beginning of interview | - Introduction of Luke Crane | - Discussion of how drunk Rym was when he first met Luke Crane | - Introduction of Jared Sorensen | - Note of games Jared and Luke have created 00:03:29 | Main Topic | # What is a role-playing game? | - Tangent on game shows that haven't been invented | - Do people really care what is and isn't an RPG? | - RPG Examples | - Discussion of using house rules in existing games | - Discussion of Legend of the Five Rings 00:07:51 | # What makes a GOOD RPG? | - What are the things someone looks for in a good game? | - Game needs Player Agency | - Player has to be able to make meaningful choices and have effects on the world | - - The ability to make irrational decisions as a player character | - Player priorities are important as well | - - What the player wants to do shoudl be factored in | - Game needs not just mathematical conflict resolution but also takes player choices into account | - Choosing not to choose should still have consequences | - The game should have a philosophy and it can either coincide or conflict with the player's philosophy | - Jared: There are no characters in an RPG, there are only players | - Rym notes that many players may internalize the role-play and only burst out for certain parts | - Turtle = Player that just sits there and does nothing | - Roach = Player that is active until the spotlight is on them | - Discussion of players that have huge backstories for their characters | - Note that players can make decisions within the framework of a character they have built | - Note that "what my character does" can be somewhat schizophrenic and disassociate the player from the game. | - Discussion of playing characters that don't fit with the game mechanic (e.g. pacifists, Deckers) | - When is it the GM's part to address that versus a broken game mechanic? | - Some games require certain you be a certain character in order to play the game | - Discussion of how Political games don't work in D&D | - Many games don't tell you how they work up front | - Many players won't admit they are playing a game that's bad or poorly constructed | - Do computer/video game RPGs count as RPGs? | - JRPGs fall prey to the Sunk Cost fallacy | - Tangent into Jared met Roger Ebert, gave him a copy of octaNe and Against the Reich! | - Tabletop RPGs allow for a greater degree of avatar embodiment | - Tabletop RPG characters have memory and history, video game RPGs have levels and quest goals | - How are characters in WoW not like tabletop RPG characters? | - Jared: Because those characters don't have memories. | - Luke: So do characters exist or not? | - Jared: for an RPG the player's memory of the events and the character's memory are similar but disparate | - Jared: The events that happen to the character are not the events that happen to the player | - The character sheet is a record of the character's history that is filtered through the player | - Discussion of translations of Luke and Jared's works for other countries 00:30:19 | # Games Luke and Jared have played recently | - "Pandemic" & playing it like an RPG | - D&D is not a theatrical experience, behavior like that has been emergent | - Discussion of Inception and how Jared already did a game like that called Lacuna | - Tangent into films | - Luke won't ever do a Noir-themed RPG because people won't get into character 00:35:49 | # If role-playing is a natural emergent behavior, what is the purpose of a Role-Playing Game? | - Answer: to reward that behavior | - Discussion of emergent role-playing in games versus role-playing games | - The quality of the mechanics of a boardgame are very different from an RPG | - Discussion of the evolution of the mechanics of Freemarket | - Discussion on how a game mechanic can ruin the role-play aspect | - Discussion on how some board games can mathematically eliminate a player without ending the game | - On hitting the point where there are no more meaningful decisions in games and mechanics to get around it | - Tangent on memes and internet infiltration into games 00:50:01 | # What we like about RPGs, how to get someone into a new game and away from D&D | - People at cons seem to be more open minded about it | - Discussion on convincing your own gaming group | - - Make it as low-commitment as possible | - - Try to make it fun for everybody | - Tangent on Jungle Speed | - - Don't rock the boat too much | - - People are bad at arguing | - - People are bad at learning instructions | - - People are bad at arguing | - - People are bad at having an open mind about things | - A lot of gaming groups are dysfunctional (mainly due to geographical limitations) | - Discussion of Gaming Group Drama | - Discussion of The Sword and the mechanics of it | - Burning Wheel question - do the female dwarfs have beards? | - Answer: You can't play a female dwarf because there is no lifepath for them. | - Reason: Dwarfs in BW are conservative to the point of being fascists 01:06:21 | # What games should people out there be playing? | - If you liked Inception, play Lacuna | - Discussion on Lacuna | - Kagematsu by Danielle Lewon - Feudal Japan theme RPG | - Tangent on violent/disgusting movies | - Mouse Guard RPG | - Fiasco RPG - a game of small time capers gone bad 01:17:49 | # Pimp Your Games & Cons | - Adventure Burner - Book 5 of the Burning Wheel core books | - Discussion on Adventure Burner | - Parsely Games will be sold in a bunch at GenCon | - Freemarket will launch at GenCon | - Discussion on Freemarket | - Pimpage of the websites 01:28:55 | Outro