ars ludi

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

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!

Don’t Forget Gollum

Garth Rose just read the playtest draft of Microscope Chronicle:

I can easily imagine doing a Chronicle on the One Ring. ;) Anchor characters: Sauron, Celebrimbor, Isildur, Bilbo, Frodo (or maybe Sam).

Exactly.

The Second Spawn: Microscope Chronicle

I have received a glorious wealth of feedback from Union playtesters all over. I am giddy with delight.

Now it’s time for the second Microscope spin-off, Chronicle. Both are going to be included in the Microscope Explorer book, but you already knew that.

What is Chronicle? It’s a laser-focused version of Microscope. Instead of a broad scope, you explore the history of a single thing. You could play a struggling colony, that spooky old house on the hill, a radical art movement, or a fabled sword that unites the land…

Chronicle is much less of a departure than Union but it substantially alters the flavor of the game. It’s designed to create a more intimate and personal history and also keep the focus of play a lot tighter. “Wait” you exclaim, “it sounds like I could play any Kingdom as a Chronicle?!?” Why yes, you could. You could explore exactly the same idea but you would have a totally different experience at the table. It just depends what style of play you are in the mood for. Dibs on Starfall.

Is it time for playtesting? Oh yes it is. If you want in, email chronicle-playtest + lamemage.com or leave a comment here with your address in the hidden email field. You have to know how to play Microscope to playtest Chronicle, and as always, only volunteer if you’re going to play and send feedback.

Most Intellectual RPG

…for pure literal discourse into the possibilities of things that could be, there’s very little out there that even comes close to the level of focus that Microscope presents…

The Ghost without a Shell

I’m sold!

Tooth of Shirat

“…yet the most deadly wound Shirat inflicted was not with the blade that he crafted and which bore his name, but in the seemingly merciful act of saving the life of the Overlord who enslaved him. For in saving the Overlord’s life, the slave-smith destroyed the man the Overlord was…”

Just played Microscope Chronicle with Pat, Feiya and Ed. It’s the second spawn that’s going in the book.

I could easily see it turning out to be a lot of people’s preferred flavor of Microscope.

Color me pleased.

Microscope Explorer

I was walking around Go Play NW telling people what I was working on. Then they would say they were surprised they hadn’t heard of it and I had to respond “oh, that’s because I haven’t announced it yet.”

So let me fix that right now:

Microscope Explorer is a supplement that explores (ehh? get it?) different facets of Microscope. Seeds to get play started quickly? Check. Tools to hone your history? Check. Rules variants and other twists? Check.

It’s also going to include a few “spawn of Microscope” games, systems that use the principles of Microscope but are different enough that they really are whole new games. Union is the first and I love it already. Other spawn are still squirreled away in the lab, electrodes stuck to their metaphorical brains. They’ll be emerging soon, stompy monster-style.

I’ve been working on Explorer for a while, trying to decide exactly what I want to put in, what ratio of different ingredients will be the most useful to the people who actually play Microscope. I’m trying to give very honest insights into the game but also make it a tool that will take your Microscope sessions up to 11, as the kids say.

More details later. And if you’re wondering, no this is not the project sneak-previewed in the Kingdom kickstarter. That’s something else entirely.