For this week’s link posts, we look at cool stuff for sale at DriveThruRPG, what we can learn from video games, and the practice of Zen gaming.
DriveThruRPG Christmas in July Sale!
Over the last few years, I’ve bought dozens of products from DriveThruRPG (and probably read about half of them!) I love their insane sales–such as their currently running Christmas in July 25% off sale. What I don’t love is sifting through the amount of utter crap on their site to find the gems in the rough. Here are my arbitrary 6 top picks:
- Call of Cthulhu from Chaosium
- Ulitmate Dice Tower from Fat Dragon Games
- Castle Falkenstein from R. Talsorian Games
- 30d30: Charts & Tables That Make the Most of Your Biggest Die from Asparagus Jumpsuit
- Coretex System Roleplaying Game from Margaret Weis Productions
- Duty and Honor from Omnihedron Games
Learning from Videogames: The Boss Fight
Though co-author BryanMD shudders when anyone suggests a video game can be called an RPG, Jerry at Kobold Quarterly reviews what tabletop gamers can learn from video games in terms of how to stage the fight against the BBEG.
I will admit to trying to steal some of the style of games like Final Fantasy in my BigBad fights–but don’t feel like I always pull it off well. The only time I recall enjoying it tremendously was a fantasy/WWII mashup Fate game, where the final battle started with a fight against pseudo-Nazis on an airstrip littered with moving prop planes, and ended with the crashing of a zeppelin into a dragon. Yeah. That was fun.
But my best experience of a video game-style ending was, ironically, in a recent game of BryanMD’s! He’s described here the staging of the battle–a fight against an angel, surrounded by a herd (flock?) of nightmare-like horses who were attempting to kidnap the man we were trying to rescue.
Gaming with awareness and clear intent is a value of mine that I seldom remember. I can say, however, the my best moments of GMing exist in a state of mindless mindfulness. I’ve blogged many times on these topics here.
I’ve been reading the “Zen and the Art of Dungeon Mastering” series at Critical Hits with an interested eye. I appreciate that, despite the title, The Chatty DM focuses this week’s article on player zen–specifically, being aware of intent in action.
This did bring up a philosophical conundrum in my mind: is macrocosmic action the sum of many microcosmic expressions of intent, or are there macro- and micro-intents? In other words, do players/characters have intents for campaigns, arcs, sessions, encounters, and turns? Or is intent something that exists at the turn level, and the other larger pieces are collections of action absorbed and intent expressed?
Or is it just a game?
I’m sure the answer is “yes;” I simply don’t understand how yet.
- Zen and the Art of Dungeon Mastering: What is your Intent with My Dungeon? from Critical Hits
- Zen GMing series from Intwischa