Posts Tagged ‘Meta’

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August begins, July passes

31 July, 2020

August, named after the Roman first citizen (or Emperor if you prefer) Augustus Caesar, will be a month of personalities from the Sea of Stars (and possibly other places).  If there is someone -or something– in particular you would like to see, write a comment or otherwise let me know.

I am really missing GenCon, I know GenCon Online is going on but it is just not the same though I wish it well and hope that everyone has a great time.  Honestly, missing face to face gaming and interaction overall.

July, 2020, saw the following posts published in the journal:

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Game Theory – Charming Morals (or the Morality of the Charm)

19 May, 2020

Is it charming?My, it has been a while since I did one of these.  I was reading a discussion on social media where it called out the original designers of D&D as essentially bad people for having included charm spells in D&D.  That seemed . . . well wrong to me. As I believe charms were included as part of the long tradition of such magics in myths, tales and legends not for any other reason.

Thus this discussion which is focused on the GM’s use of charm magic:

To start with, Charm spells and their variants (love potions, suggestion, dominate, and so many more) are troubling, deeply so in fact because they take away one of the primary aspects that make playing roleplaying games fun:

Agency/Autonomy, when your character is under the effects of such a spell, you (the player) are not getting to play the character you signed up for.  You are being forced to act against your will and it is just not enjoyable.  This is an extremely important point, such effects basically steal the character from the player for the duration and is very likely a “you do not have fun” moment for the player.  Do not do that, it is rude and will stress the social bonds of the group.

Now, some people will say, well just get rid of Charms all together.  This is an option but using magic to subvert peoples’ control / emotions / will has a long tradition in myths and legends and is a good indication that anyone doing so is evil.  Arguably, fear of such control is one of the reasons people have historically been so afraid of the idea of magic, if it can make you do things you do not want to do or want to do something so much that you violate laws and morality, it is something deeply terrifying.  Again, depending on your group, these may not be subjects they people wish to explore but they can be interesting and terrifying to encounter in a game setting.

Now, there are still ways to use Charm effects successfully in a game, but you need to warn the players and get them onboard first. For example:

The Big Bad has enacted a powerful ritual that gives them control over the Royal army, the characters are part of the army so . . . If the players agree, they get caught up in the spell.  Montage of autocratic control over the land and then the character end up somewhere that breaks them from the spell.  Now, they have to try an free their home from the Big Bad, possibly while being concerned with the safety of their former comrades, possibly (if people want to) grappling with the terrible things they did while controlled.

Or:

The Evil Noble wants to get the Royal to marry them and slips them a love potion . . . it works!  And the characters have to free the Royal from the induced false love before something terrible happens.  Or, the comedy approach, thing go wrong and one of player characters now has a Royal in love with them or has fallen in love with the Evil Noble (or both!).  The humor version requires a light touch on everyone’s behalf though.

Some players will still not be be willing to let their characters be charmed (or love potioned).  Do not force them, it is impolite and not being a good friend.  But others will enjoy the chance to try something different with their character.

As always, communication is king.  Talk to your players to learn what they want to see and try in your game and what they definitely do not want.

Notes: Another in my occasional discussion of game theory.

Image A strange portrait from “Spring-heel’d Jack: the Terror of London. A romance of the nineteenth century. From the The British LibraryPublic Domain Mark.

 

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Into February, Goodbye January

31 January, 2020

Pray for good fortuneJanuary is quickly ending as the year moves ever onward.

Our month of February gets its name from Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa performed at this time of year.  The Romans considered February an ill-omened month which is why it is only twenty-eight days long, or twenty-nine is a leap year like 2020.  For this month, we again return to the theme of curses, cursed items, ill-fortune and, perhaps, defense against such terrible things.  As usual, suggestions, comments and ideas are welcome.

What was published on the journal in January, 2020, was:

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August and GenCon begin, Goodbye July

31 July, 2019

Yes, I am rather famousAugust (named after that very unhumble Roman first citizen Augustus Caesar) will be a month of personalities from the Sea of Stars (and possibly other places).  If there is someone -or something– in particular you would like to see, write a comment or otherwise let me know.

I will be off at GenCon from the end of July to early August but page updates should continue during that time (and this is where you can find me at GenCon).  If you have not commented before, your comments may have to wait to be approved once I get back (sorry).

July, 2019, saw the following posts published on the journal:

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Sean’s GenCon Advice 2019

11 July, 2019

GenCon!GenCon is about three weeks away (where did the year go?), so, I thought I would (again) share my hard-earned experience and try and help out people who are going as I do every year.

Preparation:

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Questions about the Sea of Stars? Ask away!

27 June, 2019
Debate and discussionAsk me anything about the Sea of Stars campaign world, if I do not have an answer I will like come up with one as a new addition to my world.  There are a very few secrets that I wish to keep hidden from players and questions relating to those will be noted and answered as much as can be without spoiling the eventual reveal.
 
To whoever originated this exercise, well done!

Some of the answers will probably include links to previous posts, as I have done quite a bit of world building here.

Notes: Image The three estates from BL Arundel 71, f. 39v, Charles Soillot. From The British Library. Public Domain Mark.

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Campaign Stat Block – Star Signs (Shadowrun)

20 April, 2019

Inspired by the Planejammer ChroniclesCampaign Stat Block for framing a campaign, I made my own (comments welcome).  I have not done one of these for a while I thought I would adapt it for my upcoming Shadowrun sub-campaign.

Shadowrun – Star Signs

Start with a bangA group of runners new to the Seattle shadows have been brought together by the fixer, Star, to help them gather pieces of a puzzle involving the megacorps.  They will help you find your place in the shadows in exchange for help with their goal.

Setting: This will be set in the Shadowrun version of Seattle, starting in 2074.
•    Continuity: Episodic with arcs.
•    Rating: PG in general, some unpleasant situation may be touched upon but will not be the focus of the campaign.
•    Style: Adventure, investigation and crime with occasion social situations.
•    Tone: Action-adventure.

Rules: Shadowrun 5.

Characters: All Core metatypes, magic traditions and upgrades are available, if you want something from outside of core, let us talk first.  A zodiac/astrology theme is suggested for street names but not required.
•    Character History: A paragraph or two about who your character is and where they are from.  Characters will have worked together, at least a run or two, before the first game so I would like some PbtA style ties between all the characters.
•    Starting Power Level: Street Level, if you want to play a decker, rigger or street samurai, we will work out some extra equipment or ware for you.

Where do we Play?: Tyche’s Games, Thursday, 6-9ish PM.
•    Down Times: Players are welcome to have their character undertake tasks between games, communication via written note or email for such so it does not slow down our limited face to face gaming time.
•    Social Contract: Usual for our group.

Notes: Photo “Happy New Year from Seattle, Washington’s Space Needle, USA – pink and white” by Wonderlane is licensed under CC by 2.0.

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RPG Blog Carnival – Making Magic Wondrous

1 February, 2019

More magicIn February, 2019, the Sea of Stars once again hosts the RPG Blog Carnival!  We hope you will join in.

Magic is the defining characteristic of fantasy settings, it is even one of the primary way we use to define fantasy settings: the Low Magic (magic is rare and dangerous) to High Magic (magic is everywhere) spectrum.  But too often, magic just becomes another game mechanic and it loses the wonder and, well, magic of it all.

For this month’s RPG Blog Carnival, we will be looking at how to bring the wonder back into magic and the fantastical into fantasy games.  All ideas and contributions are welcome.

Some suggestions on themes to explore:

  • How magic works in your game world and ways to describe it.
  • The origin of magic in your world and how that shapes its form and function.
  • How the magic of gods and wizards differs or does not.
  • Do the different cultures in your world have different magical traditions?  If so, how does that express itself in play and description?
  • Is magic new or old?  Traditional or innovative?  Constrained or disruptive?
  • How do you make magic items more interesting than just their mechanics?

As to that last question, I devoted an article to it back when the journal was just starting up, Putting the Wonder Back into Wondrous Items. (And more recently, it has been discussed on RPGNet thread, Making Magic Items more Unique)  So it seems a topic of continued interest.

Expect more on other magical subjects here through out the month and please share links to your thoughts and posts in the comments section, let us get some ideas and discussion flowing!

Have a magical February!

Notes: The Sea of Stars previously hosted the RPG Blog Carnival in May, 2017 with the Theme of Occult Mysteries and Magic.

Photo “The Magic Flute @ BAM” by Global X is licensed under CC by 2.0

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February next with a look back to January

31 January, 2019

Seeking a purification?January is ending as the year moves ever onward.  Hopefully things will warm up soon as it is quite cold here and, I am told, across much of the US.

Our month of February gets its name from Latin term februum, which means purification, via the purification ritual Februa performed at this time of year.  The Romans considered February an ill-omened month which is why it is only twenty-eight days long.  For this month we return to the theme of curses, cursed items, ill-fortune and, perhaps, defense against such terrible things.  As usual, suggestions, comments and ideas are welcome.

The Sea of Stars will also be hosting the RPG Blog Carnival for February on the theme of Making Magic Wondrous.  Please join in!

What was published on the journal in January, 2019, was:

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July ends as August and GenCon begin!

31 July, 2018

Augustus Caesar wants you to know is greatly humbled by you naming a month after him

August (named after the  very unhumble Roman first citizen Augustus Caesar) will be a month of personalities from the Sea of Stars (and possibly other places).  If there is someone -or something– in particular you would like to see, write a comment or otherwise let me know.

I will be off to GenCon from the end of July to early August but page updates should continue during that time (and this is where you can find me at GenCon).  If you have not commented before, your comments may have to wait to be approved once I get back (sorry).

July saw the following posts published on the journal:

Read the rest of this entry ?

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