Week 13 class cancelled, D2 due date moved to 4-14.
Note the change in weeks above! I have lost my voice, which for a professor is intolerable, so class is cancelled we are kicking tonight's presentations and the D2 due date to next week (4-14, #14) and I'm giving you next week's viewing content now for you to watch sometime in the next two weeks on the topic of "New Media Interactive Storytelling and ARG." -- Got that? Good! Below are the three videos I want you to watch - I recommend you use tonight's scheduled class time to view them. The points you are to extract from these videos are in the very short presentation below the videos, so read that too! Sorry for any inconvenience, but there's plenty below to keep you busy! -Doc
(Those who turned in D1 late, I have your papers, just swing by my office on Wed any time or Thurs afternoon.)
This week focused on the evolution and history of the CRPG genre. Big takeaway? That the digital rpg has followed a path of least resistance within the context of system and innovation, and as we might expect, to properly understand the underlying game systems in place in even our most advanced digital games, we must look at the originating mechanic which more often than not can be illustrated via a traditional analog model! In other words our computers do certain things really well - they do complicated math fast and well, they visualize and homogenize experience, and they connect players across vast spaces and time differences. But, we must not forget they also do some things really poorly, like find creative and innovative solutions (the ones that do are the result of creative and innovative people behind the system) and they limit our imagination and in some ways even our very player agency. The right tool for the right job I say!
Progress Quest here if you want it: http://progressquest.com/
Ongoing HW if you never have:
Play Zork - http://freebies.about.com/od/onlinegames/p/how-to-play-zork.htm
Play a Facebook (Social) Game like Castleville https://zynga.com/play/castleville/
To reiterate: D1 was about comparing your player experience narratively and within a player's perspective of the mechanics. It is now time to dive in deep into the mechanics and even math (eek!) of the systems we have played and yes, the one you are now playing on your own for D2. Read it, run it (on your dog if you have no friends), and analyze it in the context of your very broad base of game knowledge from the class so far. If you have not read the texts (Like 2nd Person) parallel to the discussions as listed on the syllabus, I recommend it - since there is far more detailed info there than we could possibly cover in a mere 2 hours and 45 minutes. That said, Dungeons and Desktops for next week is not one you read, rather a reference book meant to be cited. Those of you doing crpgs for D2 will find that book quite valuable. Also below are the presentations as usual, but the second one has in it a few slides we didn't cover in class as well as my "Simple RPG" solution I use to play with high-schoolers when teaching this stuff to them. If you were to turn this in you would not pass the D3, just so you know. I'll be posting that rubric soon.
1) Begin looking for a tabletop RPG system (not a board-game) you want to do an in-depth review of for D2. Much information about them can be had at http://rpggeek.com/. Remember that it can’t be one of the ones we did at length in class. If you are poor, check out these free game downloads or search for more, but please choose something fairly mainstream with some forum discussion available to you:
2) Look over the following two web comics and comment about them below:
DM of the Rings (shamusyoung.com)
Darths and Droids (darthsanddroids.net)
Have a great spring break! See below for ice day instructions on turning in your D1 if you haven't already. The D2 assignment details are below! When we get back we will sign up for presentation slots on weeks 12 &13
So much for Monday's class! You can turn in your D1 (and the stuff below) to me as late as WED 3/5 (weather permitting of course) under my office door (or in my hand) without late penalty. Have an ice day. REMINDERS below.
Regardless -- Great class this week! The evil has been defeated and the Palantir is safe -- at least until it ends up in the hands of Saruman some centuries later -- Mwa ha ha!
Next time is where the class shifts towards discussion and presentations. First up is - "RPG theory and models" and "Interactive Story" defined. You should have Second Person section I & II read if you want to sound smart when you say things.
Remember that D1 is due! You need to turn in 4 or 5 things to me on Monday!
It's -30xp for late work (SO DON'T DO THAT!)
Since you asked - Regarding length of the paper - I have no requirement for length for this one (but it will likely be about 10 pages double-spaced, 12 point font, times, etc.) because I want you to follow one of the two guides for writing I have given you. This is about structure and content - not length!
May the Force be with you! Some prevailed at the helm of the Kryat Fang, others may have died of terrible fates. Again, all was very different from table to table as is kind of the point. One team one-shotted the enemy ship, another was populated nearly entirely by assassin droids and ignored the horrible smell left by the Trandoshan you stole the ship from.
Regardless, Edge of the Empire is a great example of what we call 'dice pool' and what's more, a proprietary system much like the Warhammer Fantasy RPG, which shouldn't surprise you since FF was behind both. That said, this game should have felt very different from D&D since we didn't phys-rep, we didn't count distances on a board, and the map was merely for reference, not for placement, range or other mechanics.
Yet this system may still feel stiff and mechanical after next week, when we experience the story-driven yet extremely detailed BURNING WHEEL. Note also the existence of BURNING EMPIRE space setting, and others from Luke Crane. Bring a large handful of D6!
FOR NEXT WEEK: the BURNING WHEEL FANTASY RPG
*THIS is the hard, crazy, confusing -- but really fun -- one! Start on this character right away so you don't fall behind next week! There are two major phases for this and it usually takes a few hours (at least) the first time.
Using any edition you like (I prefer Gold), "BURN UP" a 5 life-path Burning Wheel character, making sure to start with a "born" and only going to leads that are permitted from that path. If you follow the rules, everything is derived from your choices so there are no further instructions.
[Alas, NO ORCS or mods (like Hobbits) ALLOWED, but the other 3 core races are fair game! You can burn a basic wizard if you must, but be warned - you may discover that your magical abilities are not all you had hoped once we begin. There were only ever 5 wizards in the Tolkienverse, FYI.]
The scenario will be "Lord of the Rings: Year III-861 in the city of Annúminas - Ancient seat of the Kings of Arnor. You start with 3 fate - 2 Persona - 1 deed point. Brackin will GM the entire class at once, so expect a very different type of game experience.
CHARACTER BURNER AND SHEET
Full download list is here: http://www.burningwheel.org/wiki/index.php?title=Downloads. Note that there is an "extended campaign" character sheet HERE which I will not accept for the assignment, though I prefer it when playing personally.
There are TONS of resources for this game (http://www.burningwheel.org/) including the fan-based wiki (http://www.burningwheel.org/wiki/) and forums to help you out (http://www.burningwheel.org/forum/forum.php). You MAY also use an online burner to help you out - but beware - many are buggy and you must still turn in a fully completed burner worksheet HERE and character sheet HERE. (or the form-fillable one HERE) You can play with and learn from the automated burner, but you MUST transfer it over to the above sheets correctly.
Need a hand? Don't Panic! Come to Strategy Game Club in ATC 3.102 after 6pm this Thursday where the SGC plays board games and you will find many BW experts to ask intelligent questions of!
Star Wars: Edge of the Empire is next week! Character requirements below!
D&D game study day today. All 5 groups ran the scenario with very different results! Surprised? Don't be. Even a game with a packaged linear scenario has many factors which change the experience from the GM to the players to the characters and everything that comes with it. That's the point!
Regardless, D&D is the most "board game-like" tabletop game that we will play. By this I mean we phys-repped, used a strong ruleset with a rich history, and a very strict interpretation of a preset scenario. Be ready to compare this experience to the new Star Wars: EotE system, which uses proprietary dice and a number of interesting story-driven mechanics.
Keep your character sheets until the D1 Due date, then turn them all in together with the analysis paper. Feel free to fix any problems with your character sheet you noticed today, but there should be evidence that this character was played too. You can spend any XP you earned.
*Begin thinking about your D2 and what kind of system you might want to pick up for your presentation.*
Edge of the Empire requirements are as follows:
Create a character with no more than 30 obligation. (That's a LOT!) You do not have to roll for it, you can choose what you want. You have a base amount of XP to spend based on species. Costs are the same before and after character creation so don't sweat it if you have to wait for a skill. Obligation lets you have more starting xp (or credits) to spend on character creation. Note that EotE characters don't have 'levels' per se, as XP is given in order to level up specific things, not your character. (You can literally buy a skill after each encounter without ever worrying about 'leveling up' first.) You can use any source-book that is out for species/career/specialization, (don't forget your species bonuses/abilities!)
I don't know of any official character generators (by FF) so be careful if you use one. You must transfer to the standard character sheet if you do. Feel free to post a link to your fav generator in the comments below!
Character sheet here:
A great step by step guide for first timers here:
Don't forget your (hard to find) proprietary dice and/or the (easy to download) app!:
A great FAQ / game reference here: http://www.scribd.com/doc/206257081/SW-EotE-Reference-Sheets
Don't waste your money on the "beta" beginner game as it does not have character creation rules and some things changed since release, obviously.
Today we playtested five popular story-games to lay the foundation for mechanics heavy physical representation storytelling games. Consensus was that with notable exception (TotAK) board games use story as a loose framework when at all, and most are very rigid in their storytelling, relying on the game mechanics to drive the "story"/scenario forward. We will compare this to D&D 4.0 next week
(D&D Character Sheet Instructions below!) V V V V V V V V
Our scenario/narrative board game case studies were:
Betrayal at House on the Hill: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/10547/betrayal-at-house-on-the-hill
Decent 2nd Edition: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/104162/descent-journeys-in-the-dark-second-edition
Castle Ravenloft: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/59946/dungeons-dragons-castle-ravenloft-board-game
Wrath of Ashardalon: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/66356/dungeons-dragons-wrath-of-ashardalon-board-game
Tales of the Arabian Knights: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/34119/tales-of-the-arabian-nights
Other great story games to check out:
Mansions of Madness: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/83330/mansions-of-madness
Descent (1.0): http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/17226/descent-journeys-in-the-dark
Legend of Drizzt: http://boardgamegeek.com/boardgame/91872/dungeons-dragons-the-legend-of-drizzt-board-game
The board game elements/mechanics we discussed are here:
FOR NEXT WEEK:
Player's Handbook (PHB)
Completed Dungeons and Dragons Character Sheet
(one $$ option is here:
Char Creation: Level 3 - give yourself gear, abilities, and gold for this level as described in the PHB using the POINT BUY mechanic. Stick to core classes / races unless you own the book (PHB2/3). You may create your character's core and derived stats using any of the 3 methods. (Array/PointBuy/Random) Very good and FREE detailed instructions on how to do this can be read here: http://www.wikihow.com/Create-a-4Th-Edition-Dungeons-and-Dragons-Character and of course instructions are also in the PHB. Total noob? Try the "choose your own adventure" style character creation tool found in this book: https://www.dropbox.com/sh/1rwiotpbbzd5mt9/t1_mXOS_40/Players%20Book.pdf but be sure to then transfer the information over to a proper character sheet and fill out all the rest of the information on it to get your character to level 3 according to the PHB!
Starting gold / items follows this formula: During character creation for a non level-one character, take One magic item of character level +1, One magic item of character level, One magic item of character level -1, and Gold pieces are equal to the cost of a magic item of your level -1. You may then buy items as you see fit before the campaign begins with your gold. (See Pg. 223 of the PHB for more on this.)
Other helpful FREE downloads including the char. sheet we are using, ability cards, and sample characters can be found here: http://www.wizards.com/dnd/tool.aspx?x=dnd/4new/tool/charactersheet
(I will be posting the Star Wars: EOTE links/info next week - but you don't need it yet! Have no fear those who have been unable to track down dice - buy them online or download the app
[no class week 2 due to MLK day]
Discussed our case study "Gamers: Dorkness Rising" with special emphasis on the film's themes: what RPG culture is, the gender issues that come with it, and when and if story trumps rules. If interested in the "orignial" and very campy "The Gamers" movie, then here you go. I can't be held responsible for any mental anguish or brain damage caused.
Don't forget - board game demos start next week!
GMs COME 15 MIN EARLY TO SET UP.