Thursday, April 30, 2015

Good rules

Ron Edwards writes a lot. Sometimes, amidst heaps and heaps of words, he comes up with the best, most straightforward statements of role-playing truths. Here's one:
That by the way is a lesson my fellow role-players seem reluctant to grasp: that good rules are not there to prevent bad play but to enable good play, and that sometimes, the decisions of the moment may not be all that great – just as in any art form […]
(from this post about superpowers in Champions 1st-3rd edition, in Ron's Doctor Xaos comics madness blog.)

Well put! I'm quoting this because I think it's hugely important:

Good rules are not there to prevent bad play but to enable good play.


And my own experience agrees with Ron's here: far too often, "role-players" don't seem to get this point, and trite arguments about how you can "fix" a game/behavior/player by keeping them in check with rules come up over and over and over. F'rex, by far the most common piece of feedback you get from playtesters is: "Hey, I noticed that one (not me!) could possibly ruin the game by doing this and that, and the rules-as-written won't stop them from doing so." Except that's not what I design rule-sets for (and not only 'cause, frankly, no rules tome will ever be thick enough to list all the "don't"s for a role-playing game)…

Remember: the purpose of good rules it to enable good play.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Awkward: released

After a long time on the writing desk, I finally released version 1.0 of Awkward [DOWNLOAD IT FROM PATREON], my "New Wave of Italian Freeform" role-playing game of family comedy and misunderstood relationships. It's now yours to play and share with your friends.
In case you spot mistakes or typos, please report them to me, so that I can fix them in an updated document. Your help is very much appreciated!


What’s This About?

Present time, real world, just a regular evening.
There are two characters who are good friends, but – for whatever reason – can’t often spend time together. You’ll give them a name when you play, but in these rules we just reference them as ‘X’ and ‘Y’.
X and Y are both adults, currently single, and they are or at least appear to be (according to the society at large, no matter how they feel themselves) of different genders. There’s no romance going on between them: they’re just good friends.
There are two more characters to this story: X’s parents, whom Y is just about to meet for the first time. For whatever reason (the details are left for the players to establish), both friends are going to spend the night – or possibly multiple nights – at X’s parents’ house. This game is all about the awkwardness of that first evening together, when Y has just arrived and is getting to know X’s family.
It’s awkward because of course the parents are incorrectly assuming that X and Y are actually a couple!