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Showing posts from January, 2019

Ars Arcana Blog: Forking Paths in RPGs

Forking Paths in RPGs Ars Arcana 2.3 Travis Joseph Rodgers Roleplaying Games offer the possibility of solitude and solidarity. This might sound paradoxical. On one hand, however, RPGs afford something sometimes pejoratively called escapism. In an RPG, the players get away from things, or at least screen off things for a time being. The etymology of solitude is instructive: in its most extreme form, an RPG offers an escape for one. At the same time, RPGs offer solidarity: a shared, kindred experience. One of the ways this was accomplished in the past was by a sort of transgressive move: the adventure books and games in which individuals separately explored a foreign world then traded the books and experienced the world the other individual had experienced, though with some individual differences. I’ll call these Forking Paths, for the Borges story (strong recommend), and I’ll explain what they are and what value they still possess. Forking Paths In Jorge Luis Borges’s “The

Ars Arcana Blog: Generics and Adapting Modules

On the Value of Generics Ars Arcana 2.2 Travis Joseph Rodgers   Scenario 1: Someone has been captured. Version 1: A group of brigands are holding the Lord's child, asking for the release of one of their members. Version 2: Armed mercs stormed the local university, kidnapped a Senator's son, and are holding him as collateral, asking for the return of their seized funds. Scenario 2: Workplace Hazard The bots that patrol the nuclear facility have begun targeting workers for extermination. Victims of a recent trauma have risen from their slabs to attack the morgue workers. Adaptability The principal value of a generic approach to game design is its tremendous adaptability. By changing the setting, the technology level, and the flavor, you can very quickly adapt adventures - yes, even good ones - to different games. I here do two main things: explore why you might want to do this and then consider how you might do it. Why Adapt a Module? I sugges