Wednesday, August 5, 2020

(hopefully) Simple and (possibly) Universal Player Advice

As a short, sweet follow-up to yesterday's post on pared-down and generic referee advice, here are seven short maxims for players in any adventure game. Regardless of genre, these ought to prove helpful for framing the expectations of your game and either softening the crunch of tenured veterans or quickly bringing new players up to speed.

Stepan Alekseev, "50"

Agency: Attributes and related saves do not define your character. They are tools. Don’t ask what your character would do, ask what you would do. Be creative with your intuition, items, and connections. 

Teamwork: Seek consensus from the other players before barreling forward. Stay on the same page about goals and limits, respecting each other and accomplishing more as a group than individuals. 

Exploration: Asking questions and listening to detail is more useful than any numbers, items, or skills you have. Take the referee’s description without suspicion, but don’t shy away from seeking more information. There is no single correct way forward. 

Talking: Treat NPCs as if they were real people, and rely on your curiosity to safely gain information and solve problems. You'll find that most people are interesting, and will want to talk things through before getting violent. 

Planning: Think of ways to avoid your obstacles through reconnaissance, subtlety, and fact-finding. Do some research and ask around about your objectives. 

Ambition: Set goals and use your meager means to take steps forward. Expect nothing. Earn your reputation. Keep things moving forward and play to see what happens. Pull the lever.

Violence: Fighting is a choice, and rarely a wise one; consider whether violence is the best way to achieve your goals. Try to stack the odds in your favor, and retreat when things seem unfavorable.

Monday, August 3, 2020

(hopefully) Simple and (possibly) Universal Referee Advice

While pumping out more copy for Weird North (Into the Odd/Electric Bastionland hack for the Sword & Sorcery genre), I've tried to keep my referee advice as succinct and helpful as possible. Adages, not block text. Suggestions, not a manual. Common sense, not overwrought pedantics. Hat tip to Chris McDowall for spearheading many of these concepts for the thick-skulled and slow-brained, like me.

I adore Stepan Alekseev's art. That is all.