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     Very ... Narrative games? Tell me of them

    I've only gotten to play a little bit of Polaris - it takes a bit to get used to the bargaining mechanic. One of the pitfalls to avoid is going for too high stakes outside the immediate situation ("And then the world is broken forever") but if you can stay immediate and press within the...
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    Attack Sequences - Further considerations for cinematic fantasy combat [potential spoilers]

    This is one of the things I like about Riddle of Steel - it's core combat mechanic typically involves one person has the initiative, and gets to keep making attacks. The defender only steals back the Initiative if they roll more successes than the Attacker - a tie might block the attack, but...
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    Hard sci-fi systems?

    Diaspora is the one I usually point to. If you're willing to edit out the anthropomorphic aspects, the Albedo RPG (Platinum Catalyst edition) is low-medium complexity and hard sci fi. I remember the comic was actually my first experience with hard sci-fi and the terrifying idea that space...
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    Fusion school of design - why no difficulty?

    I can't say for other designs, but within Apocalypse World as it's own game? The PCs are the action heroes of the world. They're a significant step above the NPCs, and, as such, their space for improvement in terms of raw effect is small (see the low range of stat improvements). Difficulty...
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    Setting for GMs only?

    The main problem for settings is that, if done well - they unify the group in understanding what sort of characters, conflicts, and situations make sense for the game, and if done poorly, they splinter the group across the same lines. In the cases you're talking about, it's usually because you...
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    "Here Is How I Failed."

    There's a good number of indie RPGs going back to the early-mid 2000s that do this. Primetime Adventures and Bliss Stage are two of my favorites. Vincent Baker's Otherkind, Jared Sorensen's Inspectres and octaNe both play with success/narration trading. - Chris
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    Kung Fu game

    To be honest, "Wuxia" is like saying "Superheroes" - it's a broad label that can vary drastically depending on what people are thinking - so it's probably a good idea to find out what the players are more interested in and familiar with. You've got "no magic, no super skills, political drama"...
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    Little things that turn you off settings?

    "Here's this whole new fantasy world - we'll describe 10,000 years of history but tell you nothing directly about the culture, political structure, or values - just assume it's fake fantasy European feudalism". While I totally get that many games work better with referencing common touchstones...
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    What's the Point of a Timeline?

    I generally use timelines in one of two ways, but in both cases it's about tying things to immediate play. Context for Current Play "It's only been 3 years since the first AI went rogue? So basically people are still coming to terms with it. Think pieces, thinktanks, no one has a 100% solid...
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    TX Gaming con, Sexual Assault, rapists, terrorists all welcome to come according organizer.

    "Hey this (unsafe, harmful thing) has happened repeatedly. What is your policy to prevent that at your con?" "I have no policy and it's ridiculous that you ask I have one. I'll kick people out if they do things that fail to meet my nebulous standard, so, at least you can know if you get...
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    Don't Prep Plots + Obstacles

    The key to making it work is having enough for you, the GM, to be able to improvise from. For me, I find "X does Y" is not really dynamic or interesting enough. What works better for me is a roster of NPCs who are involved in a situation, usually between 6-8, who all have their own angles...
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    How to make secondary skills useful?

    I think you may want to take a look at Burning Wheel. It has several things going on that make it useful for characters in cross training skills. First, if you're using a skill and a secondary skill or two would help, you can get bonus dice from those secondary skills. "I'm trying to convince...
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    The origins of fail forward

    Dogs in the Vineyard started the "Say Yes or Roll the Dice" which was not in BW Classic, but did come in during BW Revised. Stakes setting in general was being talked a lot in the Forge around that time, so quite a few games used it as a functional method for play - Primetime Adventures, A...
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    The origins of fail forward

    The first formal discussions of "Fail Forward" I saw came out of the Forge Forums, in the early 2000s, in discussions around setting stakes. One of the ideas people were talking about was "Whiff Factor" - you roll a test, you fail, you roll again, you fail, you keep rolling until you succeed...
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    Odd Change of Focus

    There's usually 3 things that get you to this kind of burnout (and I've had all three, so, speaking from experience here): Does everyone playing want the same game? If the group is pulling in different directions for what kind of fun this game is supposed to be about, then you find that the...
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    Sell me on short games!

    Some awesome short games: Primetime Adventures by Matt Wilson A genreless game that does amazing things with simple rules for narration trading, scene creation and reward system based on players being great roleplayers to the group as a whole. Campaign arcs are 5 to 9 sessions long, which...
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    Real life Cleric examples

    Bilal ibn Rabah was designated as the first muezzin, and Muhammad's "Mace Bearer" and followed him into war, and continued as a soldier after his death. It's probably worth researching how much that title is literal vs. the figurative, but he's probably a great example for a cleric. Scholars...
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    Mouse Guard vs Bunnies and Burrows

    For a brand new person to RPGs, I would probably pick something like Primetime Adventures or The Pool, both of which are genreless systems - easy enough to learn quick but adaptable for anything. My friends and I have had great times with Mouse Guard, BUT: 1) We've read the Mouse Guard comics...
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    Rethinking Shields--as a weapon system

    Two of my favorite games treat shields as more than a simple defense buff. Burning Wheel Burning Wheel does two things with shields mechanically that help reflect their use in reality. First, you can bash, of course, but because Burning Wheel deals a lot with reach of weapons, the shield as...
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    Let It Ride In Other Games, Especially In Combat

    That's a misapplication of how Burning Wheel's Let It Ride mechanic works. If you make a single roll to encompass the whole conflict, THEN that one roll stands for everything. So you wouldn't make a roll then say "I scored 5 successes, every round I'm attacking with 5 successes, over and...
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