world

Strange Sunday – highlighting the special

special rpg needs

Yesterday, my group and I played a one-shot-turned-into-a-two-shot of Dungeon World, using our Industrial Revolution Roman Empire with space dragons idea. Dungeon World is a pretty awesome game, and judging by the tweets I unleashed during play, I enjoyed it more than I can actually describe. However, on my way back home yesterday night, I thought about how this really special background we had made up didn’t feel all that special. Sure, the player characters had stumbled upon steam-powered mining operations in the Alps while serving a toga-wearing Roman named Maximus Gracchus, and they even fought a dragon, but it didn’t feel like anything but your standard fantasy world. Is that typical?

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Pandaria, at last!

Pandaria, at last!

Just a quick picture for today. My trusty warrior has finally made it into the Jade Forest, where he met this gentle innkeeper. I’m curious to see what Pandaria holds in store for me, so I’ll keep you updated!

Love the people, not the game

“The Guild” by Irrel

A week ago, I wrote about my return to Azeroth. Currently, my brave little panda is having some aquatic adventures, and as I kill sea monsters and gather crab meat, I wonder what called me back to World of Warcraft. Many things have changed, but the two expansions that I’ve skipped didn’t add anything entirely new to the game. Also, there are several other MMO’s out there that are just as fun (and more up-to-date) than WoW (like my beloved The Secret World). So what makes me put so much time in this old love of mine? Well, it’s the people.

MMORPG’s are a social experience (or at least they should be). In fact, every game is a social experience. You can’t play Monopoly all by yourself, and neither can you have much fun playing football without two teams. While one half of the joy we experience during game comes from the quality of it, the other half comes from the people we play it with. The greatest MMORPG in the world could hit shelves tomorrow, but I wouldn’t linger long in it if I had no one to share my excitement with.

One reason I left Azeroth behind me after the Cataclysm was because of boredom, but that boredom was born from a lack of fellow players. My guild, in which I had experienced two expansions, had started to fall apart, and we all followed our own paths. Some of us had left WoW, others were busy leveling new characters, and the rest had moved on to other guilds. The social unit that I had called “home” was no more, and so there was no guild chat in which we could tell lame jokes and no Ventrilo on which we could annoy each other with our bad taste in music. Most of these people were more than pixels to me; I knew them in real life. I knew what they looked like, and I recognised the timbre of their voices. This knowledge made their characters come to life, and thus, I travelled across Azeroth with real, organic beings, with whom I shared victory and defeat. In a way, we were a digital band of brothers.

Now, I have a new group of people who are exactly that. The people who dragged me back into a world I had almost forgotten are also the people I would have a beer or go to the movies with. Sometimes they’re silly, sometimes they’re childish, but they are always there with me in the game. It’s a feature no game has, but that you add yourself: friends and buddies, journeying with you into new adventures.

So, be thankful for all the gaming buddies you have. Next time you rage about their low damage output or their annoying habits, be grateful for the fact that they add something to your gaming experience. Because no matter how awesome a game can be, nothing is as demotivating as a silent, lonely guild chat.

I’m the Chindividual, and I salute all gaming friends out there!

TSWoD – The secrets of the secret societies

Yeah, try saying that ten times! Anyway, welcome to another installment of The Secret World of Darkness. Today, we’ll take a look at the factions of the secret world and how to represent them best with the World of Darkness rules. We’ll be adding another WoD book to the material used, so if you want to find out what you’ll need to get from your library to bring Funcom’s world to your table, read on!

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Why Dungeon World fascinates me

My winter vacation is coming to an end, and next to spending some more time with my girlfriend and playing video games, I’m also using my loads of free time to read through new tabletop role-playing games. Next to Fiasco (which I praised a few days ago), another title has caught my attention due to the amount of discussion about it in the blogosphere: Dungeon World.

If you have been so unfortunate to have not heard of this game, Dungeon World takes the well-known dungeoncrawling genre, and adds a layer of storytelling and narrative gameplay. The GM plays a rather small role in the entire campaign, being there to pose challenges to the party and to interpret their rolls. The GM himself never rolls a die (except for damage) and is only there to guide and navigate the story. This basic premise intrigued me, and now that I’m done reading the rulebook, I am more than intrigued. I am fascinated.

"The World" by Tony Dowler

“The World” by Tony Dowler

You see, Dungeon World puts emphasis on the conversation between players and the GM. It’s an old concept, one that every one of us has used at the table: the GM describes a scene, sets the mood with the right words and when everyone has an idea of what’s going on, the classic question “What do you do?” is posed. It’s nothing special, but Dungeon World puts this whole conversation into the spotlights. It makes the whole back-and-forth between descriptions given by the players and the GM the essence of the game, instead of focusing on dozens of little rules that might disturb the flow of gameplay. Just keep on telling an epic story in a fascinating world full of adventures, and worry about the rules later!

Talking about a fascinating world, Dungeon World does not expect you to come up with a fleshed-out campaign setting before starting your first game. Instead, it expects you to start your first sessions with almost no preparation whatsoever, and to just use what the players throw at you. This premise is awesome: right after character creation (which also focuses on “bonds” and relationships between the party members, so that no mysterious guy has to recruit them in a pub) the players and their heroes dive into some cool scenario and fight their way out. Use what’s on their sheet, instead of what’s behind your screen. In a way, Dungeon World is the game for the lazy GM: just go with what your players want, as long as you keep the action flowing!

It makes me happy to see game that takes the old and somewhat boring dungeoncrawler concept, and makes it so enchanting by adding this layer of storytelling. Really, you should visit the author’s homepage or head right to your digital friendly gaming store to buy it, and see what little gem they created. I will probably prod my group into playing this soon, and you will hear about it here. Have fun plundering dragon hoards!

World of Warcraft – it will never let me go

bokuzen northrendWhen Funcom announced that The Secret World would go B2P, I rejoiced and did my happy dance. Not just because I like to do silly dances, but also because I’m a Scrooge McDuck and like to keep as many Euros for myself as possible. The fact that I can keep enjoying TSW without paying a fee meant that I could dabble in other MMORPG’s, possibly even one that might require a subscription fee. That was when World of Warcraft reared its not-so-ugly head.

You see, WoW and I have a long history. I started playing the game-changing MMO one month after its release, and took only short breaks from it until Cataclysm. The world-shattering expansion also shattered my last shreds of interest , and so I said goodbye to it for quite a while. Then, Mists of Pandaria was released, and a month after its (surprisingly positively received) launch, I bought the expansion and started playing a new toon, together with some returning and veteran friends. To my surprise, I found the changes made to the game really enjoyable. The new talent system is limited, but now I have the feeling that choosing a specialisation and a talent actually matters. The Pandaren are less whimsical than I had expected, and the Monk is actually a really fun class to play. Damn you, WoW, for being fun again!

So, for the last months, I’ve been playing WoW on and off again on multiple characters. I hit 70 with my Pandaren Warrior today, and I’m working my way back to the level cap together with a group of friends. It doesn’t feel as great and fantastic as it did “back in the days”, but I have fun rediscovering a world I thought I knew so well.

Azeroth, I’m back!

TSWoD – More Anima, more rule hacks and more Fiddles!

Another day, another post about The Secret World of Darkness. In today’s installment, we will take another look at what Anima has to offer for a character, look at some notes about conflicting rules and expand Fiddles’ character sheet. Here we go!

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