Rowyn (rowyn) wrote,

RPG Methods

It's been over a month since I've been the GM for a game. Of course, my head has been pondering new game concepts the whole time. Actually, I've been pondering new game concepts for years, it's just that I haven't allowed myself to seriously consider running any of them until now.

This post is just ideas for the medium in which the game would be played. For the past several years, I've run all of my RPG online via MUCKs. For various reasons I don't want to GM my next game on a MUCK* (mostly because I don't like preparing for a game scheduled for X hours on Y date.) So I've been thinking about alternative formats in my head. Some mediums are better suited to some game ideas than others, obviously, but it's still theoretically independent of the game setting, characters, plot, etc. Later, I'll make a separate post with some of my theme/setting ideas.

[ * Note to my Sinai friends: I am willing to play in a MUCK game, I'm just not interested in GMing there at present. ]

* PBEM/Yahoo Groups (or Google Groups, or similar): This is the format that bard_bloom's excellent +Terrible Butterflies+ game is played in. I've greatly enjoyed that game (as I'm sure you're tired of hearing by now) and think that the medium is well-suited to my quirks. I'd use Google or Yahoo Groups because they make for a convenient distribution/archive system. It plays basically the same as a PBEM, but with the option of accessing the game via a forum instead of email. (Or vice versa. Or both. It works fine whether you want to access it via the web forum or via email.) I haven't looked at Google Groups in a while; when I last saw it had some advantages (mainly in group organization) over Yahoo Groups, but Yahoo had more additional features, including convenient file and image storage locations.

The next two are kind of RPG-hybrid ideas, crossing traditional RP with other structures.

* LiveJournal: "Journals from Another World". This would use LJ and each participant would make an IC journal for it. This is inspired by things like the "Rabbit Hole Day" and "Zombie Attack" LJ events, and by sythyry. But I want to structure it in such a way as to encourage interaction between participants, so that there's a lot of cross-referencing and cross-chatter. I want more of a 'game' feel and less of a 'this is a story I'm writing by myself in a shared-world setting'. I haven't thought of a really good way to accomplish that part yet. One possible mechanism to keep the game active is to have a GM with a "Breaking News" journal. The "Breaking News" journal would describe events that might affect the particpants, and the participants would put up posts decribing their fictional lives and how they were dealing with fallout from the news.

* LiveJournal: "Wimpy Gods". And I'd like to apologize for that crummy name. ;) Unlike the "Journals from Another World" idea, this one would take place in a single journal/community. I outlined this in some detail on Unfinished Tales a year or two back, but to summarize briefly: the premise is that the players/readers take the parts of "gods" with extremely limited ability to affect the mortal realm. The story would revolve around mortal characters and be written by the GM in posts to the game's LJ. The players could interact with each other (as gods) and leave comments (or send emails) in order to exert their limited abilities to influence how the story turns out. This was inspired by Bujold's Chalion books, and by the tendency in much fantasy to have real gods who, for inexplicable and presumed ineffable reasons, will nudge the story along but not use their god-like powers to just fix the freakin' problem. In this case, as with the Chalion books, the gods' reason for not intervening more often would simply be that they can't. "No, really. I just don't have the kind of power you think I should. Sorry." This was also inspired by the mechanism haikujaguar uses in the godkin journal, where the readers get some influence over the story via voting.

Poll #1099770 Gaming Format

If I ran the game, which of the following formats would interest you?

PBEM/Forum game
LiveJournal: "Journals from Another World"
LiveJournal: "Wimpy Gods"
Something else (elaborate in comments)

Which of the following options do you like best?

PBEM/Forum game
LiveJournal: "Journals from Another World"
LiveJournal: "Wimpy Gods"
Something else (elaborate in comments)
No preference
Tags: gaming

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