Saturday, June 28, 2014

New Online Convention Aug. 16,2014: P&PGCon!


PPGCon I (Pen and Paper Games Convention) is taking place at http://penandpapergames.com in the Chatroom and its various game rooms, and will feature many live text-chat games, as well as possibly some using the chatroom-based voice feature. The chat has exploding dice, card draws, a good selection of game rooms which can host a solid amount of different games at once and alternating all through the day, as well as special guests.


Pen and Paper Games Convention I (Aug. 16, 2014)

Join us in the chat room on the first P&PG Mini Convention on August 16th,2014, where great DMs host one shot games for you! We have practically every genrecovered to choose from! The gaming site caters to roleplayers and gamedesigners alike looking to test their games. With over 20,000 members thissite is one of the few that has an active forum and chat room. You can look forplayers in your area, enjoy tabletop games online in the chat room or in play bypost format. You have friendly staff that will help cater to your needs and tonsof discussions on all types of topics.

Come in and have a great time and look for the chat room on August 16th to play great games or just hang out!

More information can be found at www.penandpapergames.webs.com

 
Please feel free to sign up to be a GM or player, and if you're feeling really civic-minded and want to help encourage and promote gaming and fellowship and help players and GMs find new avenues of opportunity, please plop a banner on your site, print out and put up a flyer at your local gamestore, library, laundromat or any other public place, or mention and link to PPGCon on Facebook, Twitter or whatever else you use - thanks!




SEPTEMBER 20th 2014
OCTOBER 18th 2014
NOVEMBER 15th 2014
DECEMBER 20th 2014
JANUARY 17th 2015


PPGCon Flyers (please print out and place in appropriate areas to help promote PPGCon!)

Register as a GM (register at webs.com, fill out info for game you want to GM)










Sunday, May 11, 2014

A Way of Approaching RPG Design

Once you are confident you have established your dream for planning, what reality you want to make available to your players, to seize and personalize this world through their characters, you have your initial steps to designing a game that is not just "playable" but is a true interaction and activity, with respect to and for the players themselves.

How then is the best way to allow this, while retaining useful but non-invasive structure which serves to accompany as a subtle, contributing guide, acknowledging the heroism and greatness of the characters but also the players themselves, and which provides an opportunity for players to push their characters from already accomplished and satisfactory heroes as envisioned by players, and rise to new levels not even considered by the players, to excel in a way only possible through in-play decisions and significant choices pregnant with potential.

Narratives, step dice, ladder structures of values, linked attributes, freeform details and embellishments all are possible, and can be made to form themselves int a vision, if only interpreted and fixed with finesse and grace by the designer. Only you can know your vision for the basic complexity, and if, for example, you want to provide freedom to players without needing a lengthy document, so considering the various existing short approaches known to you and available to study, as well as related or derived similar methods, and also the very real possibility of completely new ideas of operation, would seem to be the step you're at.

Having started on this path, now you face the challenge of imparting this easily and making this approach to play appealing to players - what will make them WANT to do it, to learn and play by your framework - what can you offer to them, what is important to them, what will make not just the characters but the players *great*?

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Using Role-Playing Games to Teach a Language?

Recently on the Pen & Paper Games forum, someone mentioned he or she was teaching English to some Japanese students using a simple custom board game and asked about the possibility of using an RPG to do the same, without it seeming "too linear". I find these kinds of topics really interesting, so I replied - I hope it was helpful, and would welcome any thoughts on the topic by readers here.

 I can understand you mean you don't want it to be railroady, but teaching people a language through the medium of gaming has different rules (in my opinion) because like math is a universal language, so too is is physics and the law of cause-and-effect, inertia and sequence.

You WANT situations and solutions to be linear to a great extent, I would think, so they can associate what they know as the phrases and concepts and words in their language for some actions, to be easily understood and readily identifiable by their analogues in the language being taught, so they'll know that the "cut the rope" action in English has the same effect on the suspended weight to open the door, that they would intuitively know as the phrase and action for their language.

You want to firmly establish similarity and counterparts to give them a definite grounding in the basics that will make them feel confident and excited to try to come up with and discover and learn new things and concepts and ideas, language-wise - advanced phrasing to escalate their progress, so they can be proud to know they've moved from "stand on log" to reach a shelf to "fill bottle with rocks" to get water, deepening the complexity of actions and relations of objects and situations, and easing into things naturally.

I'd recommend looking into the concepts of "token parsing" used now in many games but most notably in early text adventure games like Zork, that delved into the idea of verb-object examination and conjugation, with one example coming to mind, "The phrase 'put on fur coat' means something entirely different than 'put fur on coat', which we'd rather not guess at". There were some really good magazine articles of the times, and a "How to write computer adventure games" book (metal spiral bound) that insightfully considered varying complexity from the simple "verb object" (take sword) to "tell Joe to get the gun and follow me" and how to program the game to interpret that natural language structure that Westerners would intuitively type.

There are "skill challenges" as I understand it, for D&D and Pathfinder that relate to specific skills or abilities that are needed to be used to overcome obstacles, that could help slowly expand understanding of new terms or references, within a limited scope that you as the instructor choose, mostly puzzle-solving but with set criteria, like the group must generate 5 successes in 10 turns before the stone guardian arrives - somewhere in the RPG books, the rules and such for these are buried but I don't play d20 so I'm afraid I can't be more specific.

Simple one or two-scene scenarios, like very short role-playing game sessions, could also work, probably a single main challenge that all the players/students could contribute to, and then a few other smaller ones that individuals or smaller groups could break up into, to solve. Relating to a very simple exercise in imagination which might also be useful in your purposes, I wrote an article for Strolen's Citadel about a creative visualization exercise that probably a lot of gamers have never done:

http://strolen.com/viewing/Imagi...Imagi...whut

My 7th grade science teacher did an exercise for the whole class to just close their eyes and imagine they were an animal and a storm was rolling in, and imagine what they would do, where they would go, and then she asked a few people to name the animal and describe its size and movements, which seems like would be a really good exercise in working on the familiar basics your students are learning, in an imaginative way.

Lastly there is a free game called Wushu Open (also a commercial version) by Dan Bayn that you might be able to modify for your uses, that relies on success rolls in the game being informed by how many details/embellishments a player adds to their actions, so "I hit the guy" or "I jump the pit" gives you one die to roll, but "I run forward and leap at the guy, spinning in mid-air with a kick to his chest" or "I take a few steps back and sprint forward, yelling as I spring over the chasm" gives you maybe 4 dice to roll.

http://danielbayn.com/wushu/

Monday, April 14, 2014

Roll20 Token Actions (for Solomon Kane/Savage Worlds)

Hello there neighbors, I've put up a short video demonstrating one way you can use Roll20's Token Actions, which I didn't understand the nature of until very recently. This video covers the free browser-based virtual tabletop (VTT) roleplaying game application's Token Actions macro feature as implemented for the Solomon Kane/Savage Worlds campaign I run online.

The video involved things like a player choosing one or more targets for a certain type of attack, and rolling Fighting against the target('s) Parry, which the program references from the enemy's Character Sheet in the Journal tab. I'm very impressed with Roll20's progress and features and am pleased the Token Actions are so much easier than I thought they were at first. The techniques I use in the video can easily be applied to any other game system, even board or card games, so if this sounds intriguing, I urge you to please check out my video and Roll20. Thanks for reading and watching! -JP



Friday, March 21, 2014

Lots More Random Toys and Generators Added!


Check out the Toys Page here for a summary of all the different things available or go straight to the main Toys and Generators site for all kinds of fun and generators, from gems and items to animals, potions, wrestling moves, monsters, locations and more!



Please feel free to drop me a line or comment on any of these. Got a suggestion for a type of generator? Tell us what you'd like to see - who knows what could happen! Have fun!

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Intellectual Property/Domain Name Case: RPGLife Site Dispute

So, this isn't terribly interesting or relevant to RPGs overall, but I came across this somewhat novel example of copyright/intellectual property and internet domain names. Essentially, a medical site established as having "distinct" intellectual property terms including "RPG" and "RPG Life" had filed a complaint that the website rpglife.com had registered a domain name "in bad faith", to simply squat on the name.

An international arbitration found otherwise, and RPGLife, owned by an American, dealt with the more universally "generic" abbreviation for "role playing game". Apparently the Indian claimant did essentially NO homework on the term and believed "RPG" to be their own distinct term. How the company's legal team missed this rather common usage is perhaps explained in that the Swiss arbitration also noted that this was not the first claim the Indian company had made in this manner, and found that company itself, to have a history of making such claims of intellectual property violation "in bad faith". Interesting.

Amusingly, the current owner of RPGLife offered then to sell their domain name to the Indian company, who in the article was said to be considering the purchase. Currently, rpglife.com redirects to RPGShop.com, an online retailer for role-playing game materials, so apparently the Indian company RPGLIfe decided the asking price was too high, though the value wasn't revealed. The article was published in Times of India in Feb of 2014, however, so it is possible there are still negotiations over the domain name.

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/RPG-Life-loses-battle-for-domain-name/articleshow/30593959.cms

On a personal note, I was a member of the now apparently defunct roleplaying game site RPGLife, as well as RPGBomb and RPGArchive, all of which are now redirecting to other things, indicating perhaps a lessening or at least increasingly focused avenue or venue for role playing game interaction, which to me is probably not overall a positive sign, as it probably means less variety - plus rpgarchive had a ton of free adventures people wrote and submitted (myself included) for a variety of systems and genres, and that is all apparently gone now.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Free West End Games (WEG) Ghostbusters  Adventure - Forever Halloween


This is an episode of the Real Ghostbusters cartoon/animated series that I adapted into a Halloween adventure for the original West End Games Ghostbusters RPG.


Summary
The Lord of Night, Samhain, has been brought to the USA and your fair city, by accident, and unleashed upon the nice folks by a pair of hench-goblins. His plan is to bring about eternal night – eternal Halloween! Based on “When Halloween Was Forever” by Michael J. Straczynski 
 
 

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Interview: FATAL RPG Primary Contributor, Part One (audio)


Hi all, I just wanted to share this link to an interview with James Hausler, who is all but in name a co-author of the second edition of Byron Hall's FATAL RPG. The audio is scratchy because I'm an idiot, but it's interesting to hear different takes and some surprisingly reasonable answers to some questions. This is part one of a nearly four hour interview, so I'll probably have to break it up into 6-10 "episodes". Thanks for your time.


MP3 Audio Files of the Interview (Twelve Parts Total):
Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Parts Seven-Nine (one file, 38 MB, 41 minutes, added Feb 21, 2014)
Parts Ten-Twelve (one file, 48 MB, 51 minutes, added Feb 21, 2014)


More Info:

I originally did a 14 part video review of FATAL, and THAT plan is probably what needed the most questioning. My plan was just to go through the entire book and thoroughly examine it to see if it was completely without merit.

Mr. Hausler watched at least some of those videos and contacted me on Youtube/Facebook and just basically wanted to clarify a few things - it quickly became apparent that what he had to say was potentially much longer than a couple of comments, so we both decided to just do an interview so it was done. He obviously had a lot he wanted to vent, I more suffered from track-wreck syndrome, though also was curious to see, again, if there could possibly be any actually valid points or reasons for how things were done.

Basically, Mr. Hausler wanted to set things straight that FATAL 1e was NOT 2e, which he felt was more significantly influenced by him and is far and away the superior product, and should be considered two entirely different games. Your mileage may vary on whether or not there is any validity in that idea. The interview was done in two days/parts of roughly 3 hours each - the first 3 hour interview was really crappy audio, but luckily (well, if you consider anything about FATAL positive) I learned from that and the second 3 hours is quite clear, and I managed to trim out 2 hours worth of "um..." from both of us.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

JP's Gem Generator 1.0

Do you need a completely random gemstone for your tabletop role playing game (fantasy or any other setting), including cut, quality and carat? Or just guides on those elements to come up with your own? Download the totally free Gem Generator PDF, which just requires a few six-sided dice rolls!

[Download JP's Gem Generator 1.0]