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Rob Donoghue
Works at Evil Hat Productions
Attended UVM
Lives in Maryland
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Rob Donoghue

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I've been waiting for this one. The ever-clever +Emily Dresner-Thornber and I did a panel on the applicability of agile methodologies to RPGs and it was a giant pile of fun, and the recording has come to light!
Agile Design and Publishing RPG Design Panelcast sml. Recorded at Metatopia 2015. Presented by Rob Donoghue and Emily Dresner. Join our panelists for a discussion of how nerdy business concepts such as Agile software development to can be applied to your gaming experience.
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Sorry for the delay in getting that out!  
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Rob Donoghue

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What I've been up to lately:

I've been quiet on the G+'s lately for no obvious reason I can point to, just happened. Anyhow, I've been having a ton of fun lately writing new hacks and working on The Forgotten larp release.

For my Patreon (https://www.patreon.com/medeiros), I've written and playtested a new Wild West pbta hack that uses playing cards and poker chips. It's worked out really well and I can't wait to play and run more of it.

For fun, I wrote both a Battlestar Galactica and straight-up Dresden Files pbta hack. They both use a new Battle rules mechanic I designed for The Watch that I'm very excited about. I've used this mechanic in my Wild West game too and it's been fabulous for doing big fights quickly and dramatically.

You can find those here:
Battlestar World: https://www.dropbox.com/s/4xe36pznj5c7tlf/Battlestar%20World.pdf?dl=0
The Dresden World: https://www.dropbox.com/s/ib7pg1g9lx9p6o1/Dresden%20World.pdf?dl=0

Hopefully within the next couple months I'll have an official Northfire Games website up with all these hacks and links available.

The cards for the Forgotten larp are in final design and then I'll be ordering a proof deck to make sure it's perfect. Things are definitely on track there and I'm excited to get it to backers in May or June at the latest.

I've wrapped up the first playtest campaign of The Watch with one of my home groups and we're starting a Ravenloft next which is exciting.

And that's been about it. Thanks for reading this far.
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For years, gamers have wondered why two of the biggest fantasy brands in the world, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, couldn't come together, especially since they're both made in the same building.
For years, gamers have wondered why two of the biggest fantasy brands in the world, Magic: the Gathering and Dungeons & Dragons, couldn’t come together, especially since they’re bot…
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Wow, I just read this:
http://magic.wizards.com/en/articles/archive/feature/plane-shift-zendikar-2016-04-27

And, as hopeful as I was when I saw the title, I am equally as disheartened that they missed the whole point I would want to play in (any) of the M:tG worlds.

"All you really need is races for the characters, monsters for them to face, and some ideas to build a campaign."
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1) No matter what I think of this, it's going to make a quintajillion dollars. 
2) That helps, because enough stretch goals, and the digital GM tier becomes worth the money rather than expensive crapshoot. 
The gonzo Megaversal adventure of Rifts® teams up with the genre-spanning easy-prep award-winning Savage Worlds system!
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Too bad the art for the original was awesome. It was such an amazing setting with such a horrible and unbalanced system. So glad for this.
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Whoah. 
"At this point we're not planning to charge for it," vows Opera.
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Yeah, with all the pushing being done by Google, Firefox, and others to secure the server-side of the connection, it would be cool if there was as much effort being put into the client-side as well.
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Rob Donoghue

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"I can lead a minimal existence with nothing more than several thousand dollars worth of apple products, two thousand dollars worth of luggage, a four thousand dollar bike and a million dollar apartment in New York City.  But its a really small apartment!"
A thrice-weekly webcomic written and illustrated by Reza Farazmand. New comics every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
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Ah, a worldly travel blogger, it seems
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Rob Donoghue

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"The problems began with the Horror on the Orient Express Kickstarter. The previous management only charged international backers $20 to ship a ten pound game. The actual cost of shipping was vastly higher, sometimes as much as $150 for backers in Japan."
How does a half-million dollar Kickstarter fail? And why would another company step in and spend six figures to raise it from the dead? Chaosium, Inc. is one of the grand old ladies of the role-playing game industry. The company was founded in 1975 by gaming mastermind Greg Stafford, creator of the world of Glorantha and the Pendragon RPG. The company went on publish the seminal horror RPG, Call of Cthulhu which is based on the works of HP Lovecr...
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I have only read one book on this list (Epstein's "Crafty TW Writing) but that one book is far and away one of my favorites, so I'm now curios about the rest of the list.

Tagging +John Rogers because I'd be super curious to hear if he has thoughts on this list
Former MGM executive Stephanie Palmer shares the best TV writing books that TV writers and screenwriters should know.
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Havent read most of these. When I restart the blog next month, I will start reading for new reviews. Gervich's book on the business is strong if becoming a bit dated.
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!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

!

!!!!!!!!!!!!

also

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Announcing Plane Shift: Zendikar
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On Nixilis 
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So, this is a fun read, but the most important lesson here is the one that goes unsaid.  In both of the examples given, the attributes he describes makes the "good" maps understandable and the "bad" maps nonsensical, then he presents the "Wardley" map as similarly "good" contrasted with an equally terrible bad.  There's some real sleight of hand here because the "bad" maps are really consciously bad, with only arbitrary overlap of data rather than providing different ways to show the same information, but that's the obvious trick. The real twist is more interesting. 

The thing is, I do not think there is any deception of intent here, but I point out that the Wardley map is his own creation, and to him is it as intuitive as a chessboard or a geographical map. As a reader, especially one exposed to it for the first time, I suspect that it is not (I know I find it awkward, and I've read up on it more than a little).  In fact, it's probably so unclear to a new reader that comparing it to a chessboard may seem nonsensical. 

This is a challenge that anyone who writes games faces.  Things you know well feel intuitive, and it can be easy to overlook that they are not, especially when their benefits are so obvious to you.  I am not finding fault with the Wardley map itself, but holding it up as an example of what to look for in your own writing, and ruthlessly root out.

It's hard. It takes some thought, yes, but it also takes humility.  And even with both, it's easy to miss.  This is a big part of why you need to listen to playtesters and find another pair of eyes to read your words. 
When you start playing chess, you quickly discover there's a lot of learning to be done from the rules, to the gameplay to even your competitors behaviour. What is absolutely central to this learning is the board itself. When...
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I did a creative writing course... nearly 20 years ago (yikes) and one of the things I remember from that is the tutor drawing a head on the board and writing 'STORY' with the first two letters inside the head.

"This is what you see," he said. He covered up the S and T with his hand. "This is what everyone else sees."

I forget where it went after that, but the image stuck with me.
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Tinker with a real neural network right here in your browser.
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This is really captivating. I've built pretty stable net that's staying constant for long times and then suddenly making flurries of tweaks before settling down again. For a while. 
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Undoubtedly the big food industry news this week concerned the decision by Mars to label a number of their products as being only suitable for consumption occasionally due to high levels of fat, salt or sugar. It was an interesting and unexpected move and one that generated a great deal of PR for the brands concerned, namely Dolmio and Uncle Ben’s. Feedback seemed generally positive and I have to admit that I admire them for taking something of a...
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Reminds me of the time someone tried to tell me that home schooling was the future of education.
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Collections Rob is following
Education
  • UVM
  • EJHS
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Robert
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Introduction
Systems Analyst and Game Designer in the wilds of suburban Maryland
Work
Occupation
Senior Systems Analys/Game Designert
Employment
  • Evil Hat Productions
    co-President, present
  • Optimo-IT
    Sr, Systems Analyst, 2011 - present
  • Merchant Link
    Analyst, 2010 - 2012
  • Abovenet
  • MFN
  • Sitesmith
  • ICG
  • U.S. Senate
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Currently
Maryland
Previously
Vermont - California - DC
The place tends to be very busy, and it is not uncommon to go in with an appointment and then be left hanging until someone gets to you, eventually. I don't know if it's a result of poor communication or mismanagement, but most often you will see one of the better techs juggling two or three (or more) customers in order to keep things moving as best they can. The only redeeming feature is that the techs (sorry, Geniuses) themselves are quite competent once you get to them. However, the store is *atrocious* at communication. If there is a problem with work you have given them, it is going to be on you to follow up on it, and you'll probably need to go to the store to do so because you cannot reach them by phone (the phone # for the store goes to an apple switchboard, and if you can convince it to call the store, it will ring for 3 minutes then hang up on you). If you have a problem they can fix in the store, and you have the time to wait for an appointment opening (and the time to wait for your appointment to be served) then this is a fine option. If it's going to require any more than that, strongly consider contacting apple directly - the process may be more bureaucratic, but it is also rather more reliable.
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