Do authors take a peek at current design-space when creating new games? Should they?

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EmperorNorton

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Heh, I know you detected Grog-Heresy and so White-Knighted in to set the world to rights (and after your last few posts, please don’t be a bitch and cry tone-policing) but you really to need to...read the thread?
"Heh, I know you detected "New-School"-Heresy and so White-Knighted in to set the world to rights."

Dude, you project a lot. You know that right?

All I did was come in to explain how clocks are used in the context of factions in BitD, because it was very clear that several people who were talking about them didn't have a clue, had not read them. It was informational context for the conversation. I even pointed out I had no opinion on the other games being discussed (delta green/labyrinth).

You were the one to start the shit about how it makes people worse GMs that they exist. You start shit because the moment you see anything new school you have to deride it, and then you start with the bullshit about people seeing "heresy" and "white-knighting" as soon as people contradict you.

Also, for fucks sake you aren't even using white knighting (a very charged, and honestly bullshit term anyway) right. White Knighting refers to entering into a conversation to defend SOMEONE ELSE, in hopes of earning some kind of social cachet with them. So let's fuck off with that because 1. I entered the thread solely to describe something, then defended my OWN words, not anyone else's and 2. Ascribing manipulative motives that paint them as disingenuous to people, especially when it doesn't even make sense and has no god damn support, is shitty behavior.
 

Lessa

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Robertsconley said:
OK I missed something what are Clocks in the context of this thread?
A tool to track something in a simple/practical manner, whatever form it takes.

E.g: A small text notation describing alert stages in Shadowrun, a little circle with segments to track projects in Blades, a meter with breakpoints to track Sanity in Delta Green, etc.
 

EmperorNorton

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OK I missed something what are Clocks in the context of this thread?
I explained it in my first post in the thread, but I'll simplify it:

Draw a circle. Mark it into segments. This marks how close someone is to a goal/a thing is to happening. When you think that something has happened to make it get closer, fill in a segment. When you think that something has happened to make it take longer, you unmark a segment. When it is full, thing happens.

At it's core, that is what a clock is. That's it. it's just a way to track stuff.
 

CRKrueger

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OK I missed something what are Clocks in the context of this thread?
All the narrative peeps will obfuscate and tell you it's just counting hit points or whatever in a different way. The use that's being debated is their use in a simplistic way in Blades in the Dark to abstract complex relations and goings on in the campaign to the point where how something happens is meaningless, only whether it affects a single metric with a single axis - moving the clock forward, backward or not. Imagine every interaction between factions detailed in a zero sum manner like that.

That's what makes you a lousy GM if you use them instead of learning how to move things behind the scenes in a more nuanced and multi-axes manner - something approaching human complexity.

However, if that's all you want out of worldbuilding or setting depth, then I guess you're home.

Give us your opinion on Blades in the Dark, Rob. :devil:
 

Lessa

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Because sanity meters, winter phases, and Aligments are perfect to depict deep human complexity.

So, how's that? Shit is only deep and complex in the games you like, Krugs?

 
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EmperorNorton

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All the narrative peeps will obfuscate and tell you it's just counting hit points or whatever in a different way. The use that's being debated is their use in a simplistic way in Blades in the Dark to abstract complex relations and goings on in the campaign to the point where how something happens is meaningless, only whether it affects a single metric with a single axis - moving the clock forward, backward or not. Imagine every interaction between factions detailed in a zero sum manner like that.

That's what makes you a lousy GM if you use them instead of learning how to move things behind the scenes in a more nuanced and multi-axes manner - something approaching human complexity.

However, if that's all you want out of worldbuilding or setting depth, then I guess you're home.

Give us your opinion on Blades in the Dark, Rob. :devil:
Strange. Two factions competing could both have their clocks go up. Or both have them go down. Do you also not know what "zero sum" means? Because that isn't zero sum.

Additionally, nothing in clocks stops you from thinking out what actually happened, it just moves WHEN you do it. Generally, I think about what the clocks mean when the players are encountering that faction, and will flesh out what happened based on their clocks, and related factions clocks. What I don't bother to do is figure out what every faction is doing (other than very rough concepts and clock) during times that the players aren't interacting with them.

The detail the players encounter doesn't go down, WHEN I come up with the detail changes. It's 100% in the "lazy GM" wheelhouse that sandboxers always talk about and I've never seen you bitch about.
 

Baulderstone

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For a long time people said that Vampire had no support for political games.

Which was bizarre - because it has lots of structural support for politics. It has:
- a setting where the cast of NPCs that actually matter is small enough for the GM to keep a handle on.
- a political structure that is straightforward and simple (much easier then trying to play in a democratic political system with complex law).
- clear in setting groups (clans) to bring some complication to the otherwise simple political structure that can spark intrigue.
- a backdrop human city structure that can easily be interacted with and improvised to fill in details.

The campaign structure for the game is all there - if it wasn't it would never have been so popular. (The individual scenario structure is not so clear though).
The Traditions also helped with this, assuming the GM and/or players didn't ignore them. As vampires killing vampires should be a serious crime in the game, it encourages players to be more clever in dealing with opponents than the standard RPG method of just murdering them.

Of course, this is yet another reason the addition of the Sabbat weakened the game, with all-out warfare being the default mode of vampire society.
 

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I see this thread is still stuck at having the chimp explain calculus. Oh well. At least it's funny when he flings his poo.

Are we going to ignore the troll or is this now a roshambo thread? Im happy either way of course.
 

EmperorNorton

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Also, going to the discussion of the whole thread. I think designers should always read a lot of different RPGs. It's always good to know what is out there and what solutions to problems/styles exist.

That doesn't mean that you need to use things from all of those games, but it is always useful to be more aware and knowledgeable about the medium. It's about knowing what does and doesn't fit in your style, picking up the pieces you can use and molding it to fit and tossing out the rest. I guarantee that even in games that aren't your style, there will still probably be small things about what it does that can inspire your design.

As an example, even though I imagine a lot of the old school players would hate Shinobigami for it's structure and narrative mechanics, but I think it has an initiative system that would be fantastic in an old school game. (I roughly explain it here).

I think the same thing is true of video game designers, writers, board game designers, etc. Being familiar with your medium is always going to help.

I mean, basically the whole concept of fantasy heartbreakers are around designers who don't. "I'm going to revolutionize the RPG landscape!" *dumps game that is like 99,000 other games that already exist* "Wait, this already existed" *shockface*
 

robertsconley

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All the narrative peeps will obfuscate and tell you it's just counting hit points or whatever in a different way. The use that's being debated is their use in a simplistic way in Blades in the Dark to abstract complex relations and goings on in the campaign to the point where how something happens is meaningless, only whether it affects a single metric with a single axis - moving the clock forward, backward or not. Imagine every interaction between factions detailed in a zero sum manner like that.
Mmmm let me think

Nope still no clue what they are trying to get but thanks for trying to explain.

That's what makes you a lousy GM if you use them instead of learning how to move things behind the scenes in a more nuanced and multi-axes manner - something approaching human complexity.

However, if that's all you want out of worldbuilding or setting depth, then I guess you're home.
It about organization, either some type of palace of memory, software, or good notes. Start with a technique and practice it. With experience you track what you need and what you are interested in. It not a game thing in my opinion although a RPG could offer something useful to help organized.


Give us your opinion on Blades in the Dark, Rob. :devil:
Well that interesting because it just was part of a conversation on Enworld that involved Blade in the Dark.

It not my cup of tea.

It goal is to be being a quick and easy way of recreating a tv show similar to Peaky Blinders, Vlad Taltos, Gangs of New York, etc using it's Dark Fantasy Setting. It not a toolkit to help folks get together to run through some complex heists and similar actions. It funnels its mechanics to recreate the structure of a heist movie. It leans into this hard in several spots in the books like the first sentence of Playing A Session.

So, what’s it like to play? A session of Blades in the Dark is like an episode of a TV show. There are one or two main events, plus maybe some side-story elements, which all fit into an ongoing series. A session of play can last anywhere from two to six hours, depending on the preferences of the group.
At that it does very well. Good enough to win some major awards. But my feeling is that BiTD nothing more than a elaborate mad-lib with a game bolted on top. A ways for a group of friends to sit around and come up with a story about heists and similar activities within its dark fantasy setting with less overhead than if you were experience it directly with a traditional roleplaying game. The same for the other setting in other genres made with it core mechanics.

In Contrast
My focus is on running a setting in a way that makes the players feel like they visited it as their character. Free to do anything they can do as their character within the setting. Not to recreate a movie or a tv show. I may use the setting of a show like Bablyon 5. But the campaign it not meant to recreate an episode but let players to explore and experience the setting that was sketched out over 5 seasons of the show as their characters.

Everything I do starts with the same premise, "What it would it look like if you were standing there witnessing the actions of the characters". The breaking that down into a greater or lesser detail depending on the system. I have the option of compressing time if needed to account for a lull or something that take a while to do. I can handle things with a great amount of detail like GURPS, or not like with Fudge or OD&D.

The structure of what I do is about as simple as it comes. I describe the circumstance, you tell me what it is you do as your character, I tell you the result and how it changes the circumstances. Rinse and repeat throughout the life of the campaign. This simple procedure allow a group of players to experience a setting as a character and have interesting adventures with pen & paper and sometimes dice.

Again, my goal to give the player the experience of visiting a setting, not to collaborate with them on telling a story about the setting.

Wrapping it up
There nothing unique about Blades the Dark that helps me with the above. What Blades in the Dark and similar games do is provide a structure using the rules of a game to allow the group to collaborate together on telling a story. The mechanics it uses to achieve that gets in way I how run my campaign to give players the experience of having visited the setting as their character.

So again not my cup of tea.
 

TristramEvans

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I honestly don't think I'll ever stop being dumbfounded at people who don't like games I play describing how they are played in a way that is so alien to me that I can't figure out what they were reading.
Well, for the benefit of thus who have never read/played Blades in the Dork, why not describe how your experience differs?
 

CRKrueger

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Because sanity meters, winter phases, and Aligments are perfect to depict deep human complexity.

So, how's that? Shit is only deep and complex in the games you like, Krugs?

Well, if any of those were supposed to be the means by which you determine how competing factions interact in your entire setting, then they would be completely inadequate for those purposes. But, since none of them are remotely close to the same kind of mechanic, that was kind of a stupid post.
 

Lessa

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I honestly don't think I'll ever stop being dumbfounded at people who don't like games I play describing how they are played in a way that is so alien to me that I can't figure out what they were reading.
But remember: aligments and sanity meters and d100s is what makes games really about deep humanity.

"Because my let's pretend is better than yours."
 

EmperorNorton

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Well, for the benefit of thus who have never read/played Blades in the Dork, why not describe how your experience differs?
Has that ever worked? I mean this seriously.

I've repeatedly explained to people how I use mechanics/advice/structures in games that I've actually played on this board, and the same usual suspects come out to tell me how I'm wrong.

The reason my last post was way shorter than the others is that at this point, I don't think actually explaining my experience does anything. Because I've been doing it over and over since I joined this forum and get the same shit every time.
 

Lessa

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Well, for the benefit of thus who have never read/played Blades in the Dork, why not describe how your experience differs?
If people actually read or played the games, instead of trusting the word of those he/she likes most, or adopting loading instances full of prejudices, the discussion would be much more productive.
 

EmperorNorton

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If people actually read
Oh I have no doubt that people have read BitD. And I don't expect people to play games they aren't interested in. But I do think they read it with a certain pre-existing prejudice. And I do think it is wild how they think they understand how it plays and what it accomplishes better than people who've played it.
 

EmperorNorton

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Also I'll just never get over how the same people who would write 8 thousand word posts if someone started calling old school gaming "mother may I" (which I also agree is a shitty thing to do), get surprised and indignant when people disagree with them calling games "like mad libs" or that the structures in the game make GMs shitty.
 

EmperorNorton

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And here is the thing, for people who want to make this about "Those narrative peeps" vs "us old school folks".

I also agree that games don't necessarily need structures like that if it doesn't fit their style. Just writing a lot of setting detail and letting GMs run with it is a perfectly fine way to design a game. And I do think silva gets a bit indignant about people not designing games the way he likes.

I just felt that since other people were already making those points, I didn't need to weigh in on that. The only thing I came in the thread to do was explain how BItD faction clocks work because it seemed like people didn't understand what they were. And then I get told about how wrong I am about how something I've actually used works. So. *shrug*.
 

TristramEvans

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Has that ever worked? I mean this seriously.
I mean, if you're asking are you going to convince someone like CRK? My guess is no, never. But for those of us who haven't formed opinions, probably including the hundreds of lurkers that read The Pub rather than posting, then maybe. At the very least it might at least bridge a gap of understanding from the PoV of the way you are approaching the game vs the way Robertsconely percieved it through his experience.

But, I mean, you don't have to, if you're feeling discouraged or feel it's not worth it. And I understand, there's many an argument online that I am simply burned out on, and won't bother engaging. It's just, if that's the case, we can't really have a conversation. My viewpoint as an outsider on several of these topics and games is just that I'm seeing entrenched "camps" sniping at each other.

Robertsconely's post, even if you completely disagree with it, was at least informative for someone reading like me.
 

TristramEvans

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And here is the thing, for people who want to make this about "Those narrative peeps" vs "us old school folks".
The thing is, that started with the OP. It was intentional, and so has informed this entire thread. That's why I think so many people entered the conversation with their hackles already raised, the chips on their shoulders freshly polished.
 

Lessa

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And here is the thing, for people who want to make this about "Those narrative peeps" vs "us old school folks".
Are there really "narrative pips" here? I know at least me, you, Voros and Fenris play and love both old and new games alike, from Mythras to OSR to Cortex and Free League etc.

It seems the more sedimented crowd is actually the "old pips" one.

(I agree Im a bit overly indignant though Lol)
 
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CRKrueger

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Oh I have at least a couple dozen XxxX games and I read them all. One of the issues is, a lot of people don't use the rules as the author describes and shows. As a result, even when you quote the book to them, "that's not how the game is supposed to work.

@TristramEvans and I got into it once about WFRP3. It turned out, his GM had cut out the narrative structures I was talking about, he didn't even know the game had them.

For all I know, @EmperorNorton evaluates every PC action, each one of which causes a cascade of dozens of changes to clocks and his campaign notebook has more clocks than Switzerland and he's hacked all the rules so the midgame sameness Krakajak mentioned and I've seen lots of people complain about doesn't occur.

Maybe he exists in a reality where shortcuts gain time with no sacrifices.

The reality I exist in, an entire software industry exists dedicated to note-taking and planning because lives are complex for office workers. He can run a whole campaign of criminal gangs using just pie wedges without sacrificing depth. Of course he's going to sacrifice depth, he's already admitted he made that choice.

Norton never said clocks were a universal tool, but Silva did. The whole point of this thread is "Why isn't Delta Green XxxX?"
 

CRKrueger

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Are there really "narrative pips" here? I know at least me, you, Voros and Fenris play and love both old and new games alike, from Mythras to OSR to Cortex and Free League etc.

It seems the more sedimented crowd is actually the "old pips" one.

(I agree Im a bit overly indignant though Lol)
The fact that you can't distinguish Narrative peeps from non-narrative peeps is one of the signs you're a narrative peeps. :grin:
You guys are like Catholics in Heaven (and that old joke was told to me by a priest when I was an altar boy, so , no I'm not bashing Catholics). :hehe:
 

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How do we get from Blades in the Dark is an example of a game that has mechanical structures to support it's play, to arguing about clocks?

For one there's a lot more to Blades in the Dark then clocks. There's the way stress works, and downtime etc - there's a really big picture there. Clocks seem to be the least of it really.

To be honest when I played Blades in the Dark I felt a bit strangled by how much system there was everywhere, but I can't really say I've given it a fair shake since we only played a few sessions before the GM seemed to lose interest.

But I tend to think that there's a pretty big middle between high concept 90s game that doesn't seem to know what you should do with it (Mechanical Dream?) to Blades in the Dark, and Blades in the Dark is pretty much a fair way toward the opposite extreme.

There's plenty of room in the middle.
 

CRKrueger

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How do we get from Blades in the Dark is an example of a game that has mechanical structures to support it's play, to arguing about clocks?

For one there's a lot more to Blades in the Dark then clocks. There's the way stress works, and downtime etc - there's a really big picture there. Clocks seem to be the least of it really.

To be honest when I played Blades in the Dark I felt a bit strangled by how much system there was everywhere, but I can't really say I've given it a fair shake since we only played a few sessions before the GM seemed to lose interest.

But I tend to think that there's a pretty big middle between high concept 90s game that doesn't seem to know what you should do with it (Mechanical Dream?) to Blades in the Dark, and Blades in the Dark is pretty much a fair way toward the opposite extreme.

There's plenty of room in the middle.
I mentioned that I thought that the campaign use of Clocks were a crutch that made you a worse GM because they showed you a shortcut that led to a shallow campaign. As such they're a terrible teaching tool.

The Warhorns were sounded, the Avengers Assembled and Playstyle Skirmish 763940462 was underway, just as the OP intended.
 

EmperorNorton

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How do we get from Blades in the Dark is an example of a game that has mechanical structures to support it's play, to arguing about clocks?

For one there's a lot more to Blades in the Dark then clocks. There's the way stress works, and downtime etc - there's a really big picture there. Clocks seem to be the least of it really.

To be honest when I played Blades in the Dark I felt a bit strangled by how much system there was everywhere, but I can't really say I've given it a fair shake since we only played a few sessions before the GM seemed to lose interest.

But I tend to think that there's a pretty big middle between high concept 90s game that doesn't seem to know what you should do with it (Mechanical Dream?) to Blades in the Dark, and Blades in the Dark is pretty much a fair way toward the opposite extreme.

There's plenty of room in the middle.
I agree that BitD has a lot more structure than just that. I joined into the conversation because people were SPECIFICALLY talking about clocks, and their discussion of clocks in the context of them being a structure for tracking factions. Clocks are one of only many parts of the structure of BitD. Though I think they are the only one that is specifically applicable to making it easier to run a conspiracy specifically. (Heat might be another one that could be used).

I will say that a lot of structures have existed in games for a very long time that seem to have disappeared from over time from editions of games or that most people have just internalized to the point that they don't recognize it as a gameplay structure.

Things like Old School D&D's turn based dungeon crawling rules. The last edition to include them was what? 1e AD&D? I can't even remember if they were in there. But they create a specific structure to gameplay as well.
 
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EmperorNorton

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I mentioned that I thought that the campaign use of Clocks were a crutch that made you a worse GM because they showed you a shortcut that led to a shallow campaign. As such they're a terrible teaching tool.

The Warhorns were sounded, the Avengers Assembled and Playstyle Skirmish 763940462 was underway, just as the OP intended.
It blows my mind that you see yourself as the victim in these conversations.
 

EmperorNorton

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Things like Old School D&D's turn based dungeon crawling rules. The last edition to include them was what? 1e AD&D? I can't even remember if they were in there. But they create a specific structure to gameplay as well.
Want to add to this, and trying to drive back to the whole point of the thread.

So I was reading Kamigakari recently. And the first expansion book, which hasn't been translated from Japanese officially yet, but there is a fan translation hanging around out there that you can find, and it specifically add rules for the equivalent of dungeoncrawling.

And it was so interesting to me to see a modern game (JP publication 2013) actually follow something similar to old school D&D turn based Dungeoncrawling rules. It is simplified in some ways, for instance your "map" is just a group of rooms and hallways (though you can pretty much break down all dungeons this way if you don't bother with the exact shape and just go "this goes to this goes to this, branches here"). But it includes a structure of how to move through the dungeon, how long each type of action takes, consequences of taking too much time, etc. etc.

It felt so fresh to me, but really it goes back to the very beginning of rpgs.

It reminds me a lot that we shouldn't be just looking to current design trends, but at design trends from all kinds of eras of gaming.

Basically, I think designers get better just by being more aware of the medium as a whole, not just a specific subsection of games. Be it era/design style/etc.
 
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TJS

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Want to add to this, and trying to drive back to the whole point of the thread.

So I was reading Kamigakari recently. And the first expansion book, which hasn't been translated from Japanese yet, but there is a fan translation hanging around out there that you can find, and it specifically add rules for the equivalent of dungeoncrawling.

And it was so interesting to me to see a modern game (JP publication 2013) actually follow something similar to old school D&D turn based Dungeoncrawling rules. It is simplified in some ways, for instance your "map" is just a group of rooms and hallways (though you can pretty much break down all dungeons this way if you don't bother with the exact shape and just go "this goes to this goes to this, branches here"). But it includes a structure of how to move through the dungeon, how long each type of action takes, consequences of taking too much time, etc. etc.

It felt so fresh to me, but really it goes back to the very beginning of rpgs.

It reminds me a lot that we shouldn't be just looking to current design trends, but at design trends from all kinds of eras of gaming.
Another example would be Fria Logan's rules for Hexcrawling in Forbidden Lands and Mutant Year Zero.
 

EmperorNorton

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Another example would be Fria Logan's rules for Hexcrawling in Forbidden Lands and Mutant Year Zero.
I have Mutant Year Zero, and it is on my list of games to read through when I have a spare weekend. (Again, I will never ever be able to play all the games I own).
 

CRKrueger

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It blows my mind that you see yourself as the victim in these conversations.
Victim? Nah. The only one's who actually go beyond passive aggression to aggressive aggression are you and Fenris-77, and that's one of the reasons I like you.
What blows my mind that you see the Grognards as the clannish OneTrueWayists in these conversations. :wink:
 

CRKrueger

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I have Mutant Year Zero, and it is on my list of games to read through when I have a spare weekend. (Again, I will never ever be able to play all the games I own).
You should read it. If I like it, you should love it.
 

Lessa

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Basically, I think designers get better just by being more aware of the medium as a whole, not just a specific subsection of games. Be it era/design style/etc.
Agreed. By current design space, I meant everything available, regardless of the era of release.

Don't know why the grogs take offense with that.
 

TristramEvans

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OK, I think we've reached maximum disengenuousness.

If anyone wants to discuss one of the individual topics brought up thus far in a different context, other than the "grogs" vs "narrative pips", please feel free to start a new thread. As I mentioned to someone in PM, if you feel you can't discuss a particular aspect of gaming or gameline without encountering excessive negativity, the mods have discussed before being open to a limited number of curated (+) threads being created where moderation will be much stricter, and our initial experiment with this so far went well. Otherwise, avoiding framingindividual preferences in a manner that denigrates or is antagonistic to other playstyles and preferences among gamers goes a long way to keeping discourse from descending into the mud.
 
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Cthulhu Mythos - Available Now @ DriveThruRPG.com
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