ars ludi

if you asked Ben's brain about gaming, this is what it would say

Fleeing From Goblins, West Marches-style

In Ben’s original West Marches campaign, he arranged the adventure-filled regions of his wilderness in order of challenge, more or less. The further you were from town, the more likely you were to be in an extremely dangerous place…

Ben tells an anecdote about his players fleeing from goblins for days, ultimately having to run so far they fled into a vermin-filled swamp. He also talks about the barrow wights in the otherwise pleasant Wil Wood – dangerous, but easily avoided, an in fact not that easy to find.

These got me thinking about non-mechanical difficulty levels for monstrous threats in general.

Some very cool ideas from Michael Prescott about determining a monster’s challenge by its behaviors, like how much they’ll pursue, how organized they are, etc. I think it has a ton of potential. Check it out.

“Bring me the finest gamers in town! Bring them on a platter!”

Meaty, behind-the-scenes documentary examining how our dark and epic Salem Fiasco game was translated into a movie, The Devil Walks in Salem:

[ direct link ]

Tons of fantastic moments with Caroline Hobbs, Jerome Virnich and Pat Kemp talking about our session and story games in general. Some great examination of the wheels-within-wheels that make a game go. Oh, and I talk a bunch too.

Thanks to Elke Hautala for putting the documentary together and Peter Adkison, the man with the plan, for making the whole Salem project happen!

Microscope? Reddit.

The Microscope areas on G+ and RPGGeek are already pretty active, but now there’s a shiny new spot to talk about it on Reddit:

/r/MicroscopeRPG/ on Reddit

Microscope has popped up on reddit before, but this is the first time it’s had its own subreddit. Relish it, crewcut!

Microscope Chronicle Playtest Closing

Hearken, ye gamers! The playtest of Microscope Chronicle is closing September 30. If you’re on the team you should have already gotten an email with instructions and whatnot. I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback already, because playtesters rock.

I predicted a while back that Chronicle might turn out to be the people’s choice for one-shot Microscope games, particularly sitting down with strangers, playing at cons, things like that. Will it? Time will tell. In the meantime there is still one more Microscope spawn to come…

Watch the Unwatchable Foreign Film

Jackson Tegu has been working on a hack of Microscope called Kaleidoscope:

Gather 3-5 players, set aside 2 hours, and make up an unwatchable “foreign” film using a pile of index cards and your crazy brains!

Use this step-by-step guide to guffaw your group through non-chronologically remembering a wildly bizarre movie that you apparently just watched together! On each player’s turn they write a part or moment into the movie (oh, I mean remember a part or moment of the movie they saw, pardon me) and insert it anywhere into the timeline you’re collaboratively creating!

Kaleidoscope, a thorough stand-alone hack of Ben Robbin’s celebrated Microscope: a fractal role-playing game of epic histories, has been simmering on my back-burner for a couple of years, and I want to share the laughs!

You can buy it right now.

Actual Play Roundup: The 53rd Focus

Tons of great Microscope game reports recently. I can’t even keep up. Here’s just a handful:

You can also get your fix in the game reports section of the Microscope RPG G+ group, or the session reports forum of RPG Geek. Are there other secret stashes of Microscope game reports that I know nothing about? Hook me up! And if you’ve got a post I missed, the comment box awaits you!