Google Wave and Gaming

When Google Wave was first announced I (like probably every other tech-minded gamer) immediately started seeing its possibility as a play-by-chat medium. Unfortunately, that thought took a back seat to other more pressing concerns, even after I got my own invite to the preview.

That all changed when Robin D. Laws posted on his blog some thoughts about the whole shebang. Ignoring his whining about technology moving too quickly for him (keeping up is still optional; people still play RPGs face to face), he links to a couple of good articles. Continue reading

If they sold games based on the way we played them…

Through liberal use of StumbleUpon, I found the “When we play the game, it has this cover” thread on Story Games. The basic idea is for the participants to produce covers for the RPG books they use as though they advertise the way their group plays.

I was particularly amused by Graham’s entries for the Esoterrorists and Trail of Cthulhu.

If I were to do one, it would probably be for Dragonlance. A human cleric argues with a half-elven woman. A number of other people stand around looking bored, obviously waiting for the two to resolve their differences. Over it all, a dragon breathes fire that is about to engulf the group.

Via: Highmoon’s Ponderings

On games where the PC cannot suck

I’ve been waiting to see how this scene would be handled by Darths and Droids.

It actually speaks to an issue that Flip and I encountered with Trail of Cthulhu. Unlike most other game systems, there are no dice rolls for investigation. While there is an element of resource management in the game, it boils down to automatic success for any form of information gathering, and is pretty light on for failure in other parts of the system as well.

Now, I can understand that people don’t like to play characters who suck, but without risk of failure, there is no greatness.

Take, for example, Rolemaster. While it has a reputation for stupefying amounts of arithmetic, and rules to cover even the most obscure situations to the most miniscule detail, the best feature of the game is its critical tables. And the reason for this is that this table can be applied both to player characters and their enemies alike. The amazing level of detail leads to much more dramatic and memorable events.

Every person I know who has played Rolemaster can give an example of amazing things happening while trying to keep their grip on a mechanical gryphon, choking to death while invisible so they can’t be rescued, or watching their enemies die with an astonished expression as their spell backfired and their head popped off.

I bet you can’t find me a Trail of Cthulhu player who can honestly tell you how excited they were when they emerged from the sorcerer’s study having found the spell book, map of the Dreamlands, time and location of the next opening of the Gate of Deeper Slumber, and sample of Shoggoth ooze.