23 thoughts on “Hey everyone.”

  1. Steve Dempsey I haven’t heard of Theatrix… I’ll have to look it up.

    Yochai Gal, I have a small e-book coming out on DriveThru soon (PWYW) and the fourth issue of Session Zero will come out hopefully by the end of the year. I have one final section I’m working on right now with a couple people play-testing. I hope to start layout at the beginning of next month 🙂

  2. A question: which sheet is the “one sheet” here? Not a joke honestly curious!

    Edit: Nevermind I can see that you explain in the PDF to print it back-to-back. I’m dumb. Carry on.

  3. I really like the detail about Wizards having spellbooks mostly for practicing “safe” magic…. Without, they can still cast from memory but it’s more dangerous! Very cool idea.

  4. Thanks Yochai Gal! That’s totally just a sample of how you can craft details for your own Wizard. You could say that Wizards can only cast spells by spending HP as “mana” (if you wanted to). It’s your world, your details!

    That’s really the point. My friend wanted to be able to play a game without everyone spending time or money on any books. The 5e Wizard is 8 pages long! This example is only a few lines.

  5. Brian Holland​​​ oh I know, I just love little ideas like that.

    Obviously the freedom built by using Details is KEY. The rules are remarkably easy to read, too!

    Does someone keep track of the details as they come up? If the GM gives a player +2 to a fight because they’re a Warrior, who tracks it for later use? The Player (or Character, right?), the GM, or some shared list?

    Edit: You should totally make a G+ community for people to share stories, details and features for inspiration!

  6. Yochai Gal that particular case (Fighter = + 2 when fighting) should be covered in the “…work with the GM to define…” portion of Session Zero, and recorded on your “character sheet” at that time.

    But further details (details that come up in play) should be recorded by the GM AND any characters to whom it applies.

    Do you think that’s something that I need to explicitly state? I already have a small list of typos and word corrections to fix, so it wouldn’t be a problem to add that at the same time.

  7. I figured the character would record the feature – bad example. But a sort of… Master list of details might help. Of course a GM would do that anyways, right?

    I don’t think you need to add it.

    A minor edit (if I’m not mistaken):

    “Define the “hook” – why the characters are engaging in this situation?”

    Shouldn’t that be “why are the characters?” Minus the second and?

  8. I just saw your edit Yochai Gal… I honestly didn’t think very many people would be interested in it. When I created the first draft I was only making it for a friend and thought “This is a cool thing I made, I’ll post it” and LOTS of people showed interest. So I spent some time refining and testing it and this is what came out of that. If I think enough people are interested in it I’ll consider starting a community. I’m glad that I’ve already gotten some good feedback. I’m still waiting for the “that’s crap” comments LOL

  9. The GM should record all those details, but nothing in the rules says they should. I’ll look for a way to add it.

    What I was going for there was “Define the “hook” – the reason why the characters are engaging in this situation.” I’ll update that too! Thanks!

  10. I like this. The only thing I would suggest approaching it from a new player perspective is how details (specifically, how many details) wear down opposition.

    Someone with experience can say, “Hey, we’ll let three details accrue THEN allow you to defeat the opponent.” I’m hesitant to say, “Use hit points,” but that’s kind of what I think some new players may need. Like, “A character usually takes two details before being overcome. A strong opponent may need three or four.”

    Overall, a nice micro-RPG that simplifies how everything in PbtA games work. 🙂

  11. Thanks James Carr, that’s a good idea. A small section of “New players consider this…” with your suggestion, followed by a “…but as you become more familiar with the game remember to always serve the narrative” with examples from Lord of the Rings:

    In the battle of Helms Deep Legolas mows down Urak’s left and right until he can’t kill that one carrying the torch who breaches the wall (when it was narratively important).

    During the Battle of Pelanor Fields, the Oliphants are peppered with arrows and spears and nearly unstoppable, but Legolas climbs one and brings it down with a single shot between the eyes (again, when it was important to the narrative).

    I agree that what you’re suggesting may be necessary for new players, but maybe only long enough for them to “get” the whole narrative thing. Thoughts?

  12. Brian Holland I like that idea. “Serving the narrative,” I think, is a pretty advanced concept. Training wheels would be nice for new GMs and players.

    Using Helm’s Deep as an example, instead of feeling narratively railroaded or giving the Uruk plot armor, the added detail of being larger or more aggressive implies he takes more damage. Newer GMs may not be accustomed to that, possibly coming from a hit point based system where all Uruks would have the same level of hit points unless they “tell” instead of “narrate” that this Uruk is somehow elite or special.

  13. James Carr I think you’re right. As I was working on this I really only had experienced players in mind who wanted to do without the crunch (because they’d experienced the crunch), but it may be daunting for new players to grasp. I’m going to chew on this and work on an “If you’re new to role-playing…” section. Thanks!

  14. Good timing James Carr, I’ve been working on this in bits and pieces today between callas and meetings, and this is how I think I want to address it. I’d like your (and anyone else’s) opinion on it. It will be found on the back cover of the document (that final page was originally just a filler back-cover to bring the page count to a multiple of 4, allowing anyone who wishes to print the entire document as a “booklet”, but it would be a great place to put this information). This might not exactly cover it, but it’s just a first draft…

    Final thoughts – “Serving the narrative”

    It can be daunting for some game masters or players to grasp the nuances of “serving the narrative”. In a game that’s designed to “tell a cool story without a bunch of fiddly stuff to worry about”, narrative positioning via Details is what will drive your chase scene or combat, not “skill checks” or “points of damage”. Serving the narrative means doing what’s best for the fiction, even when doing so is not optimal for your character. When you slash that orc across the chest with your longsword you don’t “deal 8 damage”, you “cut a gaping wound that staggers the orc, causing it to drop its sword and clutch at the bleeding gash”. It serves the narrative for you to narrate the “gaping wound” rather than narrating “I cut the orcs head off” because the struggle provides a more interesting narrative than the instant kill.

    However, If it makes for a great story to allow the characters to mow through a dozen orcs easily before getting to that ONE that matters (see The Battle of Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), then that’s serving the narrative as well. But when they do get to that ONE that matters, make sure the players understand why they can’t mow this one down as easily as the others.

    You should have already set the stage for this “special” orc by narrating his “greater strength or skill and armor”. After doing so, if you need to spell out for your players what that means for the narrative, you have a built in point to speak to them out of character and let them know “that orc takes three Successes to kill” in the “Tell the player requirements (if any) and ask if they want to continue” node.

    “I want to cut the last orc’s head off.”

    “That orc takes three Successes to kill normally. You can try, but because he’s better armored and stronger you’ll have to make the roll at – 1 instead of your normal + 2 for being a fighter. Do you still want to attack?”

    “Yes, I want his head!” (- 1, and the player knows that success can include instant death) or “Yeah, but I’ll just go for a wound” (+ 2, and the player knows that success cannot include instant death) OR “No, I want to wait until Gregor can get over here to help me” (Narrate Cost of Delay).

    Some players may be able to intuit that the “special” orc will be more difficult to kill than the others and you won’t need to place a “gage” on his health. If you do need that gage though, it fits perfectly in the “Tell the player requirements…” node. Serving the narrative in this case means that, although you rolled a 10+ after the – 1 penalty, you should be narrating a harrowing duel, maybe even including injury to yourself, because that’s an interesting narrative!

  15. I like that a lot. It keeps the flowing nature of your document but adds just enough of a guide to open it up for people not used to narrative gaming. Especially the part that addresses hit points vs. narrative/goal.

  16. Do you think the example needs to be any more explicit? I intentionally didn’t use the word “new” when talking about the GM or players because I feel it’s important for everyone to read it, not only the “new” gamers. I’ll tweak this a bit tonight and tomorrow and add it to the document. I have a small list of corrections and I’ll be able push out version 1.1 by the end of the week.

  17. Brian Holland I think it’s fine as is. 1. It addresses hit points for those coming from other games. 2. It offers an example of a player really wanting an outcome and compromising with a penalty.

  18. After chewing on this a while longer last night I think it really belongs in the “unpacking the terminology” section. So I’ll push some things around a bit and put it there.

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