Archive for August, 2010


One of the things I used to develop plots for the Spirit of the Century game I ran was to steal liberally from news stories.

The second plot I ran was based on a news article describing a group of Russian climbers in the Himalayas that had mysteriously gone missing. It went on to involve the polar bear god, Moscow, Siberia, and huge glowing crystals.

The first plot, on the other hand, was based on an article about feet washing up on the Vancouver coastline. At the time there had been seven feet found. I called that story “The Nine-Foot Man” – so tragic as it is to be finding severed feet, imagine my amusement when I ran across this article today…

One of the things that frustrates me to no end is the rate of attrition when it comes to gaming over email or forum.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I’ve definitely been guilty of it myself! I’m terrible when it comes to keeping up with forum games that aren’t on my “home” forum. I don’t mean to do it, but I’ll start forgetting to check, or Real Life happens, and the next thing I know, it will have been a month and a half of me not posting, and I’m thoroughly embarrassed by the whole thing.

In a real life gaming group, you know these people. You can call them, or see them every day or every week, and if they need to leave the game, they usually manage to convey that to someone. There’s some sense of accountability to the group.

Over email or forum play, you could be getting anyone*, and often the only way you have to contact them is via email or PM. You might not even be able to get a “read receipt” on your message. And there’s absolutely NO guarantee that they will ever respond to you again, ever – or if they do, it may not be in relation to the current game, but to some other game somewhere else and months later.

It’s on my mind right now because of the game I picked up and ran with. We started with 14 players. As of Monday night, I had 7 posts out of the 8-9 players that I expected to post. What happened to the rest?! (Well, okay, I know what happened to them: two gracefully resigned due to RL, one disappeared but I was able to contact to learn he was resigning, and the others just kind of… wandered off without saying a word.) There’s nothing I can do about it at this point except recruit new players or let the game continue until it reaches a natural end.

But it’s so annoying.

* And good grief, have I ever gotten “anyone” a few times…

Power Words always seemed to me to be the redheaded stepchild – if you will – of the other powers.

It’s as powerful as any other power (wtf, Wujick?) for a second or two.

It comes from the user and the user only.

It can’t be countered off the cuff, but it can be countered by any other power.

It has to be instant.

It’s… kind of crappy and ill-fitting, to tell the truth.

Look, I can see where the rationale for the power came from – I could probably quote you Corwin’s line, in fact – and I respect the fact that there is a rationale that comes from canon (which is more than can be said for some things in the ADRPG), but still. It’s basically cantrips from early D&D, or Harry Potter magic if you want to go with something more recent, and making it a separate power from sorcery and conjuration seems a bit silly. A separate level of power, I can see – but its own power? Really?

And advancement is “you learn another Word.” Right.

And I really, truly hate the sample words. Not what they do, but the samples of what the character might say. “NOGTZ!” “POLRZ!” Really? Really?! I’m all for encouraging RP, but – really?