Friday, May 25, 2018

A Plethora of Planescape

There hasn't been much in the way of support for the Planescape setting since 2e AD&D. It feels like WotC keeps teasing the return of the setting for 5e with things like including Shemeshka's preface in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes, but nothing substantial has yet to materialize. That's okay; as always, it's the fans who have kept the fires burning. Here's some excellent Planescape-related content I've found:

A Planescape comic by don Fuflon (Alexy Shatohin) and Deusuum (Alexander Palkin)

Interactive map of Sigil, City of Doors

Trapped in the Birdcage
A streamed 5e Planescape game run by Holly Conrad

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Don't Hate the Flayer, Hate the Game: Playstyle Preferences

Preferences: everybody has them, and it's okay to talk about them as long as you aren't asserting them as objective truths or the One True Way to play D&D.

These are some of mine.

There are two playstyles I really don't enjoy. The first is what I call Old School Avoidance, where the goal is to avoid or bypass as many encounters as possible. I play in people's games because I want to interact with the weird stuff they've dredged out of their imaginations; avoiding monsters, strange objects, and potentially dangerous locations makes it feel like the point of the game is to play the game as little as possible, and that's the opposite of fun for me. This goes double if your game has a mechanic where you can roll to bypass an encounter; that feels like pressing X to skip the game play to get to the next cut scene.

The second is one I call Small Business Owners, where some of the players want to take over a business, run an inn, or just sit around in a castle they've taken over instead of adventuring. Again, this feels like a playstyle that wants to avoid interacting with any of the imaginative stuff in the game in favor of safety and mundane middle-class life. I can understand getting attached to your character or wanting to play out their self-interest, but I also think games are more fun if you drive your character like a stolen car. If you ain't come to dance, why'd you put your shoes on? If you try to play this way in one of my games I will inevitably sink your barge.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

How Thief's Stealth System Almost Didn't Work

Pretty interesting little video about how a crucial aspect of Thief's gameplay almost didn't come to fruition--and a pretty good argument for sticking with iterative design. The solution to their gameplay problem--adding more mechanical clarity for the player--is also a solid take-away worth thinking about.