Descriptive vs Statistic – An Evolution in RPGs

The current cover art for three descriptive roleplaying games: Bluebeard's Bride, Fiasco, and Fate Accelerated Last week, when I posted the interview with Whitney Beltrán, I had to cut out a lot of material. The transcript of our conversation was over 5,000 words long. I usually try to post articles of around one thousand words. Generally, I keep a thousand five hundred as an upper limit. Even cutting out entire sections of the conversation, it was hard to get the article down to two thousand words. This is especially disappointing to me, as there were some really interesting topics that I had to remove entirely. The interview I posted absolutely stands on its own. It does a great job of communicating the important aspects of the game. But one of the topics I had to eliminate was a discussion of the evolution of roleplaying games. In particular, we discussed how roleplaying games are becoming less statistics-based, and more descriptive. Continue Reading →

Bluebeard’s Bride: An Interview with Whitney Beltrán

The cover art for Bluebeard's Bride. Bluebeard himself holds his wife in an awkward embrace, as she holds a ring of keys and hesitates, unsure of her husband.About a week ago, I received an email from Whitney Beltrán, one of the creators of a game called Bluebeard’s Bride. I agreed to do an interview with her. We sat down over Skype, and I am pleased to share a condensed version of our conversation. We started with the usual pleasantries, before I described PinkFae’s mission.

Whitney Beltrán – That’s a pretty fascinating intersectionality. Because Bluebeard’s Bride is specifically a feminine experience, whether you are a man or a woman or somewhere in between. It would be really interesting to see what trans men or trans women think of this. Would they react any differently than anyone else? Probably not, but would there be special purviews where they would identify with things more strongly or less strongly? It’s a whole separate bag, that I am not super qualified to talk about, because I am not trans. But I would be interested to explore.

PinkFae – Where did you get the idea for this game in the first place? Continue Reading →

GMing (Part 4): Preparing a Game Session

A line drawing, coloured, of a swan standing on a large stone telling a story to two other birds standing nearby. In the background is a castle near some farmland and some clouds. This image is meant to be symbolic of a GM leading a game session.

A swan telling a story. Much like the GM tells a story to the players in a game session, often of fantastical tales, such as a swan telling stories.

I have one more post to write on Gen Con. But we’ve been hearing about Gen Con for months now. Let’s take a break before we finish it up. It’s been a long time since we’ve had any installments on the Analysis of GMing series. Let’s get another one of those in! This time, we’ll talk about planning a game session.

So you’ve chosen a game, gathered a group of players, and have a design for the overall campaign. It’s time to start getting into the nitty-gritty. Before you meet up with your players for that first session, you need to know what’s going to happen in that session. So let’s take a look at that. Continue Reading →

ZOE (Zombie Orpheus Entertainment) – A Great Little Company

The ZOE logo: a white circle with five hands rising up from the bottom in silhouette, as if they were the hands of zombies erupting up out of the ground. A short arc, about a quarter the circumference of the white circle, concentric with the white circle, runs along the bottom edge of the circle, bisecting three dots. This logo is white on a background of dark blue fading to black in gradient, is the inverse of the normal colours: a black logo on a white background.One of the booths I stopped at whilst I was at Gen Con was the Zombie Orpheus Entertainment booth. I knew I wanted to see what they had, because I’d enjoyed Dark Dungeons so much. ZOE was the company that had produced that particular film. So I stopped by and talked to one of the representatives for a moment, This is what they had to say.

Before we hear about their projects

Here’s a little background on ZOE. Back around the turn of the century, a group of friends from Washington released a couple of low-budget indie horror films called Demon Hunters. They later formed a company called Dead Gentlemen Productions, and subsequently created a humorous short film called The Gamers. This film was wildly popular, so they made a sequel: The Gamers 2: Dorkness Rising. Despite the popularity of the sequel, the company had issues with distribution, and most of the members decided to take a hiatus to deal with feelings of burnout.

But one of the members from Dead Gentlemen decided to keep working on films. So, with a new vision of how the company should be run, he formed Zombie Orpheus Entertainment. A big part of his vision was to make ZOE a fan-driven venture. He hoped that this would help alleviate the issues they’d had that caused burnout for Dead Gentlemen. Continue Reading →

MetaArcade: A New Frontier in Roleplaying Games

The MetaArcade Logo: The word MetaArcade in stylized letters, the first four in blue and the rest in red.One of the more interesting things that I got to see at Gen Con was the MetaArcade booth. They’re working on an interesting new concept: digital roleplaying. That sounds like computer or console-based RPGs, like the Final Fantasy series or Secret of Mana. But it’s not. Here, let me explain. In order to explain, we’ll need to go back in time to 1975, in Phoenix, Arizona. Continue Reading →

Diversity Panel at Gen Con 2016: A Review

The official illustration of Shardra, the first trans character in Pathfinder, an excellent representation of diversity in gaming. She is a dwarven female in elaborate shaman clothing, holding a large mace, with a fantastical lizard-like creature on her shoulder.One of the panels I attended at Gen Con was ‘Diversity in Gaming.’ I expected it to be about ensuring an inclusive environment for all people in the games industry. Instead, it was three staffers from Paizo, the company that publishes the Pathfinder roleplaying game, discussing their company’s policies on inclusiveness.

Not what I expected, but still worthwhile. Continue Reading →