Showing posts from May, 2014

[Trollbabe] Why trollbabes aren't dogs

This is a post about Ron Edward's RPG Trollbabe (2002) and Vincent Baker's RPG Dogs in the Vineyard (2004). I'm not completely sure which of the two I played first, though I think it was Dogs . It has definitely been the case that I've seen and played Trollbabe in the past as if it was a somewhat simpler version of Dogs , though of course set in a rather different setting. Why would you think the two games are closely related? Well, Trollbabe is acknowledged as an important influence in the text of Dogs . But looking at the games themselves, we can see three very important similarities: The protagonists of both games are outsiders who come to a community in trouble, will influence that community throughout what is probably a single play session, and will then leave for a new "adventure". In both games, the GM prepares by thinking up something that is at stake or going wrong in the community, and preparing a couple of characters that have views about th

Item weights in DCSS

In Dungeon Crawl Stone Soup -- one of the best current roguelikes --  there is a discussion going on about the removal of item weights. Even if you have never played DCSS, you probably know what they're talking about, because this has been a feature in D&D and all kinds of RPGs for a very long time. A player has a certain limited weight she can carry, depending on her strength; and item weights are needed to calculate whether that limit has been reached. So, does this mechanic add anything to the game? Here are my two cents, which I just posted to the crawl developers mailing list: Inventory management is not a very interesting part of Crawl strategy, nor is Crawl the kind of game where it could become interesting with just a few tweaks. Inventory management is interesting when it forces you to make tough choices. There are basically two ways to achieve this. One is to make sure that items are not retrievable once discarded. This can be done in several ways, for instance by

[Trollbabe] Using a map

Last weekend, I finally got to play a game of the second edition of Ron Edward's Trollbabe . I played the original version several times, but never with huge success. This new edition, though, was something I really wanted to try. What we usually think of as "the system" hasn't changed a lot; but what has changed is that Ron now gives a lot of detailed description of how to actually play the game. For a moment, I was tempted to call the new stuff "GM advice". But it's not advice . It's rules, it's system. It may not be about rolling dice and writing things on character sheets, but it is about things like: Who gets to start scenes. What information you can and can't add to a scene once a conflict has been declared. Who gets to declare a conflict. What the maximum stakes for a conflict are. How you prepare a scenario. How you share narrative control over NPCs. What arc the narrative development of an adventure follows. In other wor