I’m going to be on a stack of panels at Norwescon. To wit:
System Matters: The Right RPG for the Job (Fri 1-2 pm)
Like the invisible hand of fate, the rules you use weigh on every aspect of your game sometimes in ways you aren’t even aware of. Are you using the right tool for the job, or do you always use the same hammer for every task? You may be sabotaging your game before you even sit down at the table.
John Harper, Ben Robbins, Chris Pramas, Aveloc Twiceborn, Ryan Macklin
GM-less Role Playing Games (Sat 1-2 pm)
Or “Oh my god who’s running this game?!?” Good GMs are awesome but you don’t need a GM to play an awesome game. Explore games designed to play with no GM, like Fiasco, Shock and Microscope. Whether you’ve never played a GM-less game before or you’re already an expert, come examine what makes them tick and stretch your gaming muscles. Microscope creator Ben Robbins gives an introduction to GM-less Role-Playing games.
D&D vs Story Games (Sat 2-3 pm)
D&D and Pathfinder may be the most well-known role-playing games, but indie games like Fiasco and Polaris are becoming more popular. Can these two genres co-exist in the same room together? What do they have in common, and what are the benefits and limitations of each style of play? Is it possible to like both? Industry experts and indie creators discuss the differences between traditional tabletop role-playing games, GM-less story games, and everything in between.
Ashley Cook, Ben Robbins, Erik Mona, John Harper, Jonathan Tweet, Ryan Macklin
Women in Gaming Communities (Sat 6-7 pm)
Gender inequality among gamers continues to be a frequent topic. Women and girl gamers often feel unwelcome in the boys club, and gamers can be clueless or dismissive of gender inequality. What are some successful ways to get women into gaming? What are some things to avoid? How can event organizers and game designers make women that show up more comfortable?
Lillian Cohen-Moore, Ashley Cook, Ben Robbins, Gwen Yeh, Mickey Schulz
Apocalypse World: The New Rosetta Stone of GMing? (Sat 7-8 pm)
Hidden in between the crowbars, shotguns and radioactive mutants, Vincent Baker (Dogs in the Vineyard, In A Wicked Age) snuck in a doctoral thesis dissecting the fundamental nature of what GMs have been doing since the dawn of RPGs. Forget vague gaming advice: this is step-by-step method. Learn how you can take the lessons of Apocalypse World and calmly whoop ass and bring fun in any game you run.
Ben Robbins, John Harper, Ogre Whiteside
Running a Sandbox RPG (Sat 8-9 pm)
Sandbox RPGs put the players in the driver’s seat. Hop off the railroad and go where you want, do what you want. But GMing a good sandbox requires iron discipline and a solemn oath to follow a very different set of rules than most RPGs. Learn the dark secrets of running a successful sandbox game and not falling back into dangerously “normal” GMing habits.
Erik Scott de Bie, Ben Robbins, Clinton J. Boomer, Erik Mona, John Harper
And no, your eyes do not deceive you: there’s a lot more indie gaming content in the role-playing games track this year. Will it be awesome? Come and find out.
For bonus points guess which of these panel descriptions I wrote. Difficulty level: T1 Village of Hommlet.