Thursday, March 31, 2016

A Whole Lotta Supers Going On

What the heck happened to the month of March?!?

Seriously, this month just ran away from me like the Reverse-Flash running from Barry Allen. Like The Hand trying to skip out on a fight with Daredevil, and Elektra.

March came in all mild-mannered, and than changed it's clothes in a broom closet to take off faster than a speeding bullet!

Can you tell I have Superheroes on the brain?

What an amazing month it's been to be a Superhero fan, am I right? There has been a veritable butt load of Superhero TV shows, and events, movies, and gaming goodness. It hasn't all been astounding, but just the sheer volume, and scale of it is staggering.

I've been getting in on the four-color fun personally by running a lot of Superhero RPG awesomeness myself, and I couldn't be happier. Well, I guess I could always be happier [as I always think I can do better], but so far so good. Even great if I may be so brave, and bold!

A lot to discuss...Where to begin?

Gaming!

Masked Age '66!

I have run two sessions (Issues) now of The Masked Age '66 for Dan's Group, and it looks like we're going full on campaign mode with this one for sure.

The premise is 'Silver Age with a Twist', as the heroes, villains, and NPCs are modeled after the comic books of the mid-to-late 60s while simultaneously dealing with the real world issues of that turbulent time. We are definitely not going into 'Watchmen' territory here, but we won't be ignoring the political, social, and cultural elements that defined the era.

The system is a Japanese fan-made RPG my friend found at a convention over there not long ago called 'The Masked Age' (actually Masuku no Jikan, or 'The Time of the Masks'). See more about it in my previous post.

I am loving our team! We have..






Aegis (Experiment Paragon Epitome) played by Leo. A dove/Anti-Vietnam War Superman analog. He is quite political, and an avid supporter of Robert Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He is a legacy character, being the son of the Golden Age superhero Major Victory. He possesses the classic Epitome power set: Flight, Invulnerability, Super Strength, Super Senses, and Laser Vision.

Drifter (Cosmic Crusader Magician) played by Dan. A member of a mysterious group of interstellar, and interdimensional travelers, Drifter has decided to remain on Earth for a while. He is haunted by the knowledge of lost memories (that is, he is aware he has amnesia, and that the condition may be self-inflicted). These are memories of something terrible that happened, or that he did. Drifter can open portals, and gates to travel, attack enemies, or defend himself. With the help of a focus - such as a car, motorcycle, or other vehicle - he can teleport anywhere on Earth. Drifter is in with the scene man. He is hip, happening, and in the now daddy-o. A cosmic 'street level' hero, he is known and well liked by the lost, the looking, and the disenfranchised across the highways, and byways of the world. Far out brother.

Mummy Queen (Supernatural Obliged Adept) played by Alex. The spirit of a murdered, and mummified queen of Ancient who possesses, and transforms her host, a mousy Egyptologist working for New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art. Mummy Queen is played with the no quarter taken, no quarter given arrogance of Namor, The Sub-mariner, or the mighty Thor. At the same time, she has a nobility, and a sense of compassion that reminds me of the classic Wonder Woman. She can stretch, and manipulate her mummy bandages in order to snare, entangle, whip, or throw objects, and opponents. Mummy Queen also possesses enhanced strength, and the ability to make dramatic entrances, and exists.

Titan (Cosmic Obliged Gestalt - Metamorph/Epitome) played by Arthur. A Human agent of the Council of Galactic Order, it is Titan's job to protect the Earth from alien invasion, especially of the gigantic, Japanese movie monster kind. As such, Titan is able to grow to enormous size, as well as shrink down to just a few inches. At any height, he can fly, has Super Strength, and Invulnerability. He also possesses an Energy Blast that he fires from his hands, or the faceplate of his helmet. My favorite power is his 'Kaiju Sense' which alerts him when monsters are present, or about to attack.

Robogirl (Technology Genius Gestalt - Epitome/Magician) play by Erick. A young, Japanese woman who came to the United States to make her fortune, she is both an engineering savant, and a wealthy if reclusive CEO. She wears a suit of powered armor that gives her Flight, Super Strength, Armored Protection, and Blasts, but her real power is her unparalleled mechanical genius. She can build, modify, and analyze advanced technology in moments. Her political and social views, especially on the subject of military conflict, differ greatly from some of her teammates (notably Aegis, and Drifter). In addition, her background involves her parents adding the Nazis in World War II by building many of the diabolical super-weapons they used to battle the Golden Age heroes (such as Aegis' Dad!). The player noted that although she is called Robogirl, her 'comic book series' is called Robogirl Z.

Our initial plot deals with the team members assembling all together for the first time (though some of them knew each other prior to the start of the campaign) in order to thwart a plot by The Scarab Society, a mystic cult that has existed since the very beginnings of the kingdoms of the Nile. They are the Arch-Nemesis of Mummy Queen, and responsible for her mortal death.

I hope to have more soon, as we are due to run the third issue, and the end of the story arc tomorrow night!


Kapow! The Freedom Force of Earth-F-Omega!

The regular GM of the Google Hangouts group I'm a part of had to take a night off for some family stuff, so I returned the group to the alternate world of Earth-F-Omega, and their PCs in the new, and revitalized Freedom Force.

This is my second time using this particular Supers setting, which is why I say 'returned'. You see, the last time I ran Kapow!, it was also in this particular setting, which is basically a variant on the Freedom City universe of the Mutants & Masterminds RPG. That previous time I was also filling in, but only so our regular GM could recharge, and play for a change.

After dealing with his personal obligations our GM, Keith, was able to join in with his character from last time. As the story wasn't really finished in the one session, we decided to continue with me as GM until such time as the story is complete. I ran last week, this week, and we should be finished next week. Keith will then return for a one night adventure before he heads off on vacation (have fun Keith!).

While Keith is away from two weeks, we're going to...no wait...I'll save that for next month.

Trust me...it's going to be interesting.


Cosmic Handbook for Mutants and Masterminds 3rd Edition!

I've been waiting at least two editions for this book, and I finally got it as a belated birthday present from a good friend of mine.

A sourcebook/supplement on all things cosmic, from Alien Empires to Existential Entities, is right in this fantastically illustrated, and put together tome. I highly recommend it to any fan of Superhero adventures across Time, and Space.

Excellent.


OK, other stuff...


Film and Television!


Supergirl and The Flash!





This past Monday on the CBS live-action television series Supergirl (a series I am quite enjoying by the way), The Flash guest-starred! That's right, Grant Gustin appeared on Supergirl as The Flash/Barry Allen from HIS OWN TV SERIES! Wow! I don't know about you, but to me this is monumental.

This is a crossover, not just from one program to another, but a crossover across networks. A hero from Earth-CW has traveled to Earth-CBS! THIS IS INCREDIBLE! For an old school DC Comics fan like me, this is a dream come true.

Why?

Because the episode was charming, fun, action-packed, and very much like an old school comic book in many ways. At the same time, it was a modern, prime-time TV show, applicable to and enjoyable by a much wider audience. This is what happens when you get it.

The makers of Flash, and Supergirl - They get it.

Unlike...

Batman vs. Superman

I don't really want to talk about this...um...film. But...

If you saw it, and enjoyed it, good for you. I'm glad. Honest.

I found it completely awful. I can't really tell you what the plot was, what the director, and writer were thinking, or why they made the choices they did. For me, the movie failed on all fronts. Most of all, it failed its two lead characters.

In all the ways I enjoyed Supergirl AND Flash, I hated Batman VERSUS Superman. The basic differences in approach aside, the main issue was the characters not acting to their established natures. While Supergirl acted like Supergirl, and Flash acted like Flash, Batman and Superman were barely recognizable in their movie.

You could excuse it by saying, "These are alternate versions of the characters you know". That would be fine if you had established this universe properly. Even better, if you had developed a film universe with the characters as they'd always been, depicted in the base forms essentially. Then a variation like this would be an interesting contrast. But no.

Daredevil - Season 2

Great! Extremely well done series. I did have some minor issues with the second half of Season 2 once Elektra is introduced, but overall I think the whole thing was pretty spectacular. Looking forward to a Season 3, and of course the upcoming Luke Cage Season 1.

There are other things of a Superheroic nature I would like to talk about, but right now it's getting late here in the Big Apple, and I need to get some sleep.

Rest easy citizens,

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Barking Alien







Monday, March 21, 2016

Route 66

The cold I worked so hard to rid myself of back in February has returned, causing me to once more do the thing I detest above all other things - slow down. It's definitely the same cold to. I'd recognize it's foul stench anywhere. Like a comic book supervillain it has become my nemesis, rearing it's head periodically to threaten the sanctity of our fair city. OK, well, the sanctity of my vein attempts to get a good night's sleep and blog regularly.

While I continue to fight the good fight against this uncommon cold (Hmmm. Good supervillain name), I want to try and catch up on posting. I have half a dozen post drafts waiting to be finished, and I'm really excited to get them out there before month's end.

So let's get started...


One of my three regular gaming groups* is Dan's Group, so called because we always meet at the apartment of my friend Dan.

Of all the group's I games with, Dan's Group has been the toughest to 'sell' on the idea of a long term game. The main reasons for this are:

A) the group's make up initially fluctuated a lot
B) Interest, and availability for a one-shot is easy to come by. Commitment not so much.
C) Some members of the group actively didn't care for long term campaigns.

Luckily for me, someone who really likes this group, and really wants to run long term games these days, a few things changed.

The group doesn't fluctuate so much anymore. Meeting regularly on the more than occasional Friday night, it's generally the same 5-6 guys who show up.

As for commitment, barring family responsibilities, the periodic plans-you-can't-get-out-of, and the like, you can pretty guarantee these 5-6 people are going to be there.

Last, and perhaps most importantly, the desire to run/play a longer term, continuing campaign was made possible by a few prior attempts that were positive. My running a couple of successful Star Trek RPG mini-campaigns with them surely helped. My friend Alex's current Harry Potter/Wizarding World campaign is going very well, and the group definitely wants to come back for more after each session (myself included! I love my character. Me!).

It was a not-quite-successful, but full of potential Supers mini-campaign using Marvel Heroic that got the ball rolling for the possibility of a Supers game with a bit more staying power.

Two weeks ago I ran the first session of a Japanese doujinshi (fan-made), small-press table-top RPG that a friend of mine picked up the last time he was in Japan. The game in question is called Masuku No Jikan, or literally translated, 'Time of the Masks'. I decided to call our campaign (for now) 'The Masked Age'.

The Masked Age is a largely rules-light RPG in the genre of Western-style Superheroes. You don't play Japanese Anime/Manga style characters, but rather the mask, cape, and bright emblem bearing heroes from the good old U.S. of A (and other Western nations with Superhero comic books)!

As such the game has an interesting view of the tropes of Western comics, and makes a point to bring them to the forefront. For example, characters are built by creating a template out of Origin (What Genre of Superhero You Are - Kind of), Drive (Why Does Your Hero Do What They Do), and finally Power Source (Which is Really Power-Set).

So for example:

Batman is a Self-Made Crusader Exemplar.

Superman is an Alien Paragon Epitome.

Spiderman is a Science Crusader Totem.

Captain America is an Experiment Patriot Adept.

The descriptions of these components are both pretty clear, and cast a wide net; you could easily find the proper descriptors to build any known hero, but there are also a number of different ways to translate certain characters. This is a great system for quick and dirty Superhero construction, since you can say, "I want powers like Wolverine, but I have this idea that he's been empowered by the trickster Coyote god. The Coyote god has it in for a bunch of evil spirits currently wrecking havoc in the world in Human form. He's the Coyote god's agent on the mortal plane basically."

Ok. Supernatural Origin (Coyote god). His drive is Obliged (He has a patron, the Coyote god, who tells him what to do), and he kinda has to listen). His powers are best done with Totem (Pick an animal - have powers based on said animal - fits Wolverine with his Claws, Feral Senses, Healing, etc. pretty perfectly).

The Drive component is really cool because the characters have Tensions, two of which come from your Drive, and three that you pick. By dealing with your Tensions, you gain Resolve, which can be used to perform feats above, and beyond your regular superhuman abilities. Think of Resolve Feats as Power Stunt in old school Marvel Super Heroes, or Plot Point maneuvers in Marvel Heroic. In some cases they are actually better, but a tad more costly.

The best part is how you deal with your Tensions. Using my favorite Superhero Green Lantern, you've a Cosmic Obliged Magician (Space Character, Patron in the Guardians of the Universe, single Power Source that has set parameters, and requirements but can otherwise do almost anything).

So GL has to deal with the Guardians, those short, big headed, blue skinned know-it-alls from the center of the universe. Each time Green Lantern heeds their call, and does a mission on behalf of them, he gains a Resolve Point. He also gains one, and possibly two (up to the GM) for arguing with them, and playing up the differences between the ultimate authority of the Guardians, and Hal 'Highball' Jordan, who has a real problem with authority.

Not to put too fine a point on it, but one of the coolest parts of the Marvel Heroic RPG was also one of it's biggest letdowns.

Milestones in that game are experience point rewards for role-playing certain actions specific to a given character. If, for example, Captain America assembled, or disbanded a team of heroes while denoted them as 'The Avengers', he would get 10 XP.

Problem is (1) you can only do each one once, or perhaps a limited number of times a session (I forget), and (2) you can't really do much with XP in the system. That's right - they created a really cool way to gain XP, but didn't create any real rules for improving your character. In fact, a conscious decision was made to create a game where improving your character  is not really a concern at all. After all, comic book characters don't change much, right?

However there is further silliness going on here. Plot Points, not XP, are the true currency of the game. So why don't Milestones just give you more of those?

In The Masked Age, if Captain America, who represents 'The American Way', feels a government official is playing politics instead of doing the right thing for the American people, the hero gets a direct, immediately applicable reward for airing his philosophical grievances in the form of Resolve.

Whew. Sorry. A combination of a pet peeve from one game, and an idea I'm really fond of from another crossed paths. Glad I got that out of my system.

So...

There is a ton more I can say about this game, and I will in upcoming posts, but the main thing I wanted to talk about is something I haven't even gotten to.

How the game went.

It went well. Really well. So well I have since run a second session, with due to be run this coming weekend! The first two are part of the opening story-arc for what we've decided will [definitely] become an ongoing campaign. With one member missing this week (one who is key to the current arc) we're going to do a side story under the premise that the adventure will take place in the one of the team members own titles, as opposed to the team book.

Heheh. I love stuff like that.

Stay tuned for more about the game rules, and the campaign (including the PCs, villains, and plots).


Coming up...hopefully soon...

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Barking Alien


*I probably need to do a State of Gaming Address to update everyone on my current gaming status. Suffice to say, I've been playing in an online, Google Hangouts Supers RPG once a week, running, and/or playing with Dan's Group roughly once a week (week take turns GMing different campaigns), and I am still playing to run something once a month with The Barking Alien Gaming Group.

If I don't pass out first of course.

Laters.







Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In The Works

Whoah. I got a lot to talk about.

I'm not going to dump it all into this one post, but suffice to say there are some interesting games on my horizon. Let's cross our fingers, and hope they work out.

Coming down the pipeline we've got...


The Masked Age '66

Bell-Bottoms, Tie Dye, The Beatles, Vietnam, Gemni 8, Luna 10, Star Trek, The Monkees, Capes, Masks, and Superpowers!

Using a dojinshi (self-published small press) Japanese tabletop RPG about Western-style Superheroes, I am going to run a campaign for 'Dan's Group' set in New York City, NY with an in universe starting date of March 11, 1966!

The premise will start out as a classically Silver Age Superhero romp, with spandex clad villains, and crazy capers, and then slowly introduce the trials, tribulations, and turmoil of the late 60's.

I'm really looking forward to this, and already think the [PC] characters are fantastic. They lend themselves easily to both action packed comic book adventures, and the possibilities of deeper pathos.


Next...


I have two ideas for my next RPG project with my Barking Alien Gaming Group. Before I talk about them, I need to update you all a little on what's been going on with them.

As it stands, I haven't run anything for them, or with them, in over a month. I ran a one-shot/test game of Star Wars Traveller*, and while it went over pretty well, and I definitely felt the system worked, it didn't really inspire me the way I was hoping it would.

I could fall back on regular Traveller again, and honestly a part of me is tempted to do so, another, stronger part of me wants to do something different.

Different, as readers of this blog may know by now, is difficult with the Barking Alien Group. Everything is, well, a little harder to run than I feel it should be. Many, many times I've assumed that it's me, but I know it's not only me. As a matter of fact, one of the players let me know quite clearly, it definitely isn't just me.

Anyway...I've taken enough time off from the group and I really want to get back to a regular game with them so I've come up with two concepts...


Wares Blade

You want different from Traveller? I got different from Traveller!

Wares Blade, the Japanese TRPG set in a world of Medieval Fantasy and Giant Robots is a favorite of mine that I have not run in a long time. I'd love to get an ongoing campaign of Wares Blade going, and I think the group is a good fit as many of them are into Anime/Manga (though not necessarily Mecha Anime/Manga)**.


Space Opera Adventure / Comedy

I have a really fun idea I'm having trouble locking down.

I am seeing a game heavily inspired by the French comic book krrpk, the Anime Space Dandy, and the games Hunter Planet, Star Frontiers, Starships and Spacemen, and Teenagers from Outer Space.

I'm thinking of a group of space adventurers who perform some sort of job (maybe explorers, maybe salvage, maybe they're Galactic Patrol) with a slight tongue-in-cheek nature to the whole thing. Kind of like my old Galaxy Quest game, but not exactly.

I can see it clearly, but I'm having a little trouble putting it into a pitch. I think once I can explain what the PCs will be doing, I will have a better idea of how to 'sell it'.


OK, off to work. Expect to see more on these, and other subjects very soon.

Ta-ta for now!

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Barking Alien


* More Star Wars Traveller posts are going to be dropping out of hyperspace in the very near future. I am also hoping to incorporate material from the upcoming Rogue One film when more information on it is released.

** Which in my opinion is un-Japanese the way not liking Superheroes is un-American. That's the most political any post of mine will ever be







Saturday, March 5, 2016

Fall Back, I've Got You

The always amazing Play On Target Podcast did an episode about 'Building Trust'.

It's premise focused mainly on creating a feeling of trust between the players and each other,  and between the players, and the GM in a role-playing game situation. They discuss the development of the social contract we all need to have in this hobby to make it work. They address communal, collaborative development of the setting, the characters, the elements, and style of play everyone wants to focus on.

It is an excellent analysis of the subject, and as with all of the Play On Target episodes, well worth your time to listen to.
 
 
 
***
 
 
My initial gut reaction to this podcast was to write a frustration venting, snarky post full of shouting with capital letters, bold faced type, and to generally come off as a complete , and total a-hole.
 
 
Why you may ask?
 
 
Because without thinking about it more deeply, I felt a lot of what they were saying wasn't about trust, it was about coddling. It was about concessions, and the negative aspects of compromise.
 
Keep that word compromise in the forefront of your thoughts. It'll come up later in the post.
I have decided instead to try and convey my feelings on the subject in a way that won't hurt the feelings of any particular players out there reading this, especially if said players should be, ya'know, mine.
 
That said, I intend to be completely honest about my feelings on the subject, and to make clear my disappointment in the way it is generally perceived by most gamers these days.
 
My players need to hear (OK, read) this, but moreover that need to understand it.
 
Here goes nothing...
 
 
***


What made my best games great was very often my getting some kind of crazy idea, telling my group I wanted to run that idea, everyone saying, "AWESOME!", and then we would have a great game.

What some of my worst games have in common is catering far too much to too many voices.

There are those who said they wanted one thing when they really wanted (or where thinking of) another thing. There are those who were interested in the game idea in their head, and not the one the group was participating in as a group. Sometimes there is a great deal of meta-thinking going on, trying to rationalize how the player can best help the GM make a good game, without knowing exactly what the GM is going for, or planning on.

In the end, all this boils down to a group that simply does not trust that the GM (in this case me) is going to run a great game.

The Play On Target podcast does an excellent job, as I noted in the introduction, of setting up ways in which to build player trust. They detail what aspects and approaches help, and hinder, player trust in a GM.

However...Why do you simply not go in trusting the GM? How does innate player paranoia assist the endeavor of running a good game in any way, shape, or form? Why do I have to build your trust as a GM? Have I burned you in the past? Have I run a ton of rotten games? No.

Are GM's assumed to be guilty? Do we need to prove ourselves innocent first?

As an example...

When the podcast begins, the guys mention the dynamic of starting a game one way, and then revealing it is in truth something very different, and how that can ruin  trust, and really break up a game.

This is one way to view trust.

Another way, the way my old groups all worked for many years, was that the players were my friends who trusted that I was going somewhere with the twist. The trust, the pretty much automatic, deep buy-in, was so strong, I could've pulled off turning a D&D game into a Star Frontiers game, and have everyone freaking thank me at the end.

Other examples of why I felt the podcast's approach to the subject painted a somewhat inaccurate picture of the way trust in gaming should work:

I think it's Andrew who mentions you should make characters together, as a group. A decent idea, but one I rarely find necessary. It can certainly help create a more balanced, and compatible team, but his reasoning is...

"So some guy doesn't show up with three 18s."

WTF?! Why are you even playing with that guy?! If that's a concern, you have bigger issues. That guy isn't playing the game you want to be playing. Dump him.

Lowell complains that sometimes he'll work out a great background for his character, but the GM didn't bring in his back story.

Maybe he wants to, but it's tricky. You're not the only player at the table. I desperately want to add elements of the PCs back stories into the campaign, as that is honestly how I develop a good portion of the game.

However, I'm used to having 6-8 players on average. Each back story can't be too complex, or involved initially, or it becomes very difficult to fit into the game, and harder to merge with other characters' stories. It's also really tedious to read through.

Be concise people. Keep it concise. Movie pitch here.

Now I'm not saying Lowell does this, but maybe if you want the GM to use your back story, don't write a character background whose page count rivals ROOTS! Your GM is running a game, not applying for a job as a library archivist.

Do you know how long it took me to read the first three books in the Dune series, by Frank Herbert? I was 14. I had ample free time, and I was an avid reader. It still took forever. Now, I run a business, I teach on the weekends, I'm trying to date, and I have at times two games to put together. I don't have that kind of time anymore.

DON'T MAKE YOUR BACKSTORY A DUNE BOOK, because with an average group size of 5 players, you're asking your GM to read FIVE DUNE BOOKS before he runs the first adventure! That's not including him/her reading the rules, making any modifications, creating the adventure, designing NPCs, getting artwork, or maps, etc.. DON'T DO THAT!

Lowell makes a point of backing up another player's action, in the hopes that the same player will back up your actions later.

If you don't know that player, and his/her character isn't a close friend of your character...dude...don't do that. Don't back someone up expecting them to return the favor. Do it because it's what you want to do. Do it because that's your character.

Sure, be a team player. Don't be a dick. It would be super awesome if everyone was that person, and in some groups everyone is. Just don't expect everyone at the table is seeing the same dynamic you're seeing for the same reasons. It's unrealistic.

Sam talks about secrets...and I've heard opinions of the subject of PC secrets before, recently from a good friend of mine. I couldn't disagree more.

If a player's PC has a secret, and you don't know about, that's because it's not your character. Sorry. If you notice them acting strangely, maybe have your character go ask the other player's character what's up. Organic baby. It's really inorganic to know everyone's deal when you shouldn't, or wouldn't. That doesn't work. Very few people, IN THE ENTIRE HOBBY, do a decent job of separating player knowledge, and character knowledge.

Add to this the amount of meta-thinking the millennial gamers do. It's all Google the info, read the sourcebook, get the video game strategy guide, read the spoilers for the movie. No one knows how to handle not knowing things any more.

Why? Because not knowing means you have to find something out. Finding things out is just too much effort I guess.

It's a freaking mystery! FIGURE IT THE *BLEEP* OUT! Investigate, ask questions, watch, learn, and do in IN GAME. Have your characters interact with each other. Stop playing table-top RPGs like single player video games, or MMOs where you level solo on Player vs. Environment servers. STOP! By Highfather's Beard I'm so sick of that.

Counting to ten...happy place...OK. Where was I? Ah yes, next...

On Player Versus Player

One of the other things the guys mention is the idea that some campaigns are run 'Playing to see what happens'.

Yes. THIS! All my campaigns are played 'Playing to see what happens'. They may be trying to emulate a comic book, or an episode of Star Trek, or the feel of an Anime/Manga romantic comedy, but they are all being played to see where things go. I have no idea how it'll end. I've made no plans to do anything in particular to anyone. The outcome of the game is as big a mystery to me, the GM, as it is to you the player.

So if trust is an issue, who exactly do you lack trust in? Me to make the game satisfying, or yourself to have the curiosity to see where it goes, and the patience to wait for the pay off?

In conclusion, I think everything the Play On Target guys said in their podcast was right on the money. It's a collection of great ideas, and logical approaches to the situation of trust between gamers on both sides of the table.

It is also all wholly unnecessary if you trust in one another going in, until there is a reason to feel other wise.

Each GM is different, each players is different, each game is different. If you go into any game, with anyone, without belief in the idea that everyone there is trying to make sure everyone else is having fun, then go home. You are likely the cause of the issue. You are likely the person who doesn't understand what I just wrote.

Have a little faith.


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I almost forgot - for another interesting take on the subject, check out this entry from the blog Improved Initiative.

Interesting stuff.