Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Principia Has a Web Site

The Principia Web Site is now live. There's a quick description of the game, some actual play links, and a bit more. I'll probably have playtest stuff there in the near future too.


Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Story Games Situation Book Project

It looks like I'm going to be editing The Story Games Situation Book Project. The Project is a for-charity book of RPG-ready situations; characters, conflicts, and conundrums that are ready to explode into action.

We've already some generic interlocking plot element lists. I'm planning to do a two page write up based on the court of Queen Elizabeth I, complete with historical characters and conflicts. Hopefully we'll have Oracles flavored for various settings (what's an Oracle you ask?) Brandon may also give us a list of wedding conflicts from his current secret project. I'd also love to see something like letters to heaven featured in Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple. There's a lot of space for cool in this project.


Friday, August 10, 2007

gaming the system

So last night I was playing Burning Wheel (which has been kickass fun so far except for my damn dice), and I had the opportunity to make a skill roll that would help me advance something. I puzzled over helping dice and challenge types needed to advance. At one point, Thor (GM) says to me, "if you really want to game the system..." and then pointed something out to me. And now today I'm not entirely sure if he meant that derisively or not.

I remember a time when that phrase, "gaming the system," was nothing but derision, a term for exploitation of loopholes and players ignoring story in favor of bonuses and strategies and so on.

But now a great many games depend on it for those games to be the most fun they can be. Imagine playing Nine Worlds or TSOY or AGON without gaming the system. Gaming the system is an essential part of play.

So what I'm wondering about now is the idea that when a game system becomes so complex it inevitably creates exploitable loopholes that become counterproductive to play. Can a game system develop the same problems as, say, a legal system, while still being an excellent, well-designed game system? I think so.

And I'm not really comparing BW with the legal system, for crying out loud. It was just the first thing that popped into my head when I thought of systems with loopholes. BW is undoubtedly less vulnerable to rich people.

But the game text does have warnings and admonishments. Are they indicative of those inevitable loopholes, or are they just the crazed ramblings of a poor game designer broken down by players with contrasting creative agendas?