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Todd Crapper (The Warden)
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I am the Warden!! Tabletop game designer/publisher, creator of the ENnie winning Killshot and ScreenPlay. This is my brain on Google.
I am the Warden!! Tabletop game designer/publisher, creator of the ENnie winning Killshot and ScreenPlay. This is my brain on Google.

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Ok, now for the reason why I logged into G+ today. There's still some tweaks here and there to make it perfect-ish (there is no such thing as perfect) but this final cover wrap for the softcover of #HighPlainsSamurai is looking fucking sweat, if I do say so myself.
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Copies of ScreenPlay on sale at Origins this past weekend. Photo by +Jason Pitre with his new cosmopolitan RPG, Sig: Manual of the Primes.
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I worked with +Douglas Cole on the previous version of this adventure for 5e. Knowing how much of a GURPS geek he is, this is very cool to see.
Gaming Ballistic is THRILLED to be the first third-party vendor to be granted a license to produce material for the Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (Powered by GURPS) from Steve Jackson Games.

This product directly supports the excellent DFRPG Boxed Set. It provides a mini-setting and adventure, in full color, bookmarked and layered for the PDF, and with a print copy available for backers who wish a high-quality tangible reward.
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Third Eye Games is offering a new corebook bundle called... Sins of the AMP Apocalypse Bundle for only $25!!!! Check it out! http://www.drivethrurpg.com/product/244642/Sins-of-the-AMP-Apocalypse-BUNDLE?affiliate_id=236495
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One Kickstarter down, another one launches. Secrets of the Nethercity is a "kilodungeon" for ACKS and will create the first full-colour book in the line. If funded (which does seem like a given, so it's really about making this adventure bigger and better), I'll be working on the layout and showing all you conquerors how sexy this game can look.
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Of all the Five Cities, only Khar'tep has been shielded from the radioactive energies seeping out the Wastes. This is thanks to the mountain itself, whom the clans refer to as the Great Mother. They believe she is a guardian charged by the Elemental Spirits with protecting the people of the mountains but she is a harsh parent indeed. It's all on today's latest update to the Atlas (which borrows some material from the upcoming HPS core rulebook).
Today on the Atlas of the One Land, we explore the northern mountain ranges of Khar'tep, otherwise known as the Great Mother.

"All those under Khar’s rule believe the mountains are a living guardian chosen by the Elemental Spirits to protect its people, a guardian who now holds back the dark energies seeping out of the Wastes. They call this mountain the Great Mother and all life is dedicated to her protection and blessings."
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Does YOUR game do all these things? Do you feel you game NEEDS all these things?
Design Framework - The Four Structures

Every failure has made me a better designer. Seeing the fail states if games, either in playtesting or after publication, has shown me a dozen different areas where I can hone my craft. Recently I decided to step back and look at the broader patterns which highlighted four different core design structures that need to be carefully tended in order to produce a compelling outcomes.

Every game can be viewed as a combination of four distinct structures, and the balance of effort among these areas will vary greatly depending on the nature of the project. How you combine these elements is an important decision for any designer and it's worth your attention. Two of these structures (System and Setting) are well trod territory, but I rarely see mention other two (Situation and Subtext) and wanted to share my framework more broadly.

System consists of the rules and procedures of play. This is all about how you play the game, and how the person at the table will interact with the fiction you create. Rules mechanics and resolution systems all fall into this structure. A weak system tends to result in a game experience that depends on the personal competences of the participants in order to create a compelling play experience. The expression of a game “so good that we never touched the dice” dice stems from weak systems.

Setting consists of the fictional context for play. A setting can be as broad as a galaxy, or as small as a tiny pub where everyone knows your name. Setting often represents and existing genre of fiction, but there is plenty of room for innovation in this realm. A weak setting feels bland and generic. There is no flavour to play, and the narrative is shallow. Indistinct character personalities and lack of immersion into your roles are symptoms of weak settings.

Situation consist of the inciting incidents and the purpose of play. This is all about why you are playing the game, why your characters matter in the setting, and why the system will help them shape the narrative. A weak situation feels aimless and undirected. The participants have no strong direction or guidance in how they should be acting or what they should be doing. If the players are purely reactive to the GM's plot or the fiction feels "on the rails" it's a sign that the situation isn't giving motivation.

Subtext consists of the deeper meaning and symbols associated with the game. Every game is a reflection of the real world in some way, and the subtext is all about intentionally crafting the messages and politics encoded in play. A weak subtext feels unintentional or unimportant. The participants are driven to achieve their practical goals, but those goals don't align with the player's personalities or passions. If a game that feels uncomfortable to play, or seems to accidentally perpetuate harmful philosophies, it might be a sign that the subtext is unintentional in nature.

An example in action. My first game was titled the Spark Roleplaying Game and it was a mixed bag. The system was fairly robust and moderately well implemented in hindsight. It didn’t have a single cohesive setting, but did give some amazing tools for creating your own settings at the table as a group. The lack of a singular setting led to very weak situations and only allowed for the simplest of subtext. The game had all of the basic functionality necessary to play, but that game itself wasn’t compelling enough to stand out from the crowd.

My more recent game designs (Circles of Power and After the War) have done dramatically better in part due to the fact that I have very intentionally done some heavy design work with regards to the situation and the subtext of play. A game about wizards might be fun in it's own right based on the system, but anchoring it on the situation of revolutionaries from marginalized communities has made it sing.


The 8 Structural Questions.
Consider answering these questions to explore how these different structures fit into your own game projects.

1. What does your system encourage players to do at the table?

2. What is the most important mechanic, rule or procedure in the system, and why is it key?

3. What about your setting is mundane, relatable and human?

4. What about your setting is wondrous, fantastic, and exciting?

5. What is the situation that encourages the players to interact with each other in play?

6. What is the situation that encourages the players to interact with the setting in interesting ways?

7. What kinds of player behaviors are encouraged by the combination of system, setting and situation?

8. What is are implications, morally or politically, of those behaviors?



Do you think this framework could be of value for your own designs? Am I missing something in my presentation, or does it run contrary to your experiences? Let me know in the comments and share freely.
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And there's only hours left to back it. Once you do, you'll end up receiving a legion of sourcebooks to create perhaps the most in-depth world of Part-Time Gods we can possible create for you and your Pantheon.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eloylasanta/part-time-gods-second-edition-tabletop-rpg
I'm currently having my most successful Kickstarter yet, an it's still got 12 hours to go. It's for Part-Time Gods Second Edition, a game I've spent the last, say, 2 years working on in some shape or form. From concept to reworking mechanics to figuring out new approaches to hiring freelancers and everything. I had the pleasure of sending the finished manuscript to editing, which is an amazing feeling. Not only is the funding a record for Third Eye Games, but we'll also be able to deliver on it quickly and efficiently for all the backers.

On top of that, the level of funding we've unlocked, has given us funding for another 4 books in the line as well. I'm blown away!
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Only 3 more days to become a god! And because of stretch goals, we're elevating many puny mortals to full-time as well as part-time godhood.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/eloylasanta/part-time-gods-second-edition-tabletop-rpg
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It's only been 5.5 years in the making but the core rulebook is FINALLY in layout. At this rate, proofs should be ordered within a couple of weeks and backers will be able to arrange shipping and pre-order any extra goodies on BackerKit. (Fingers crossed, considering I had to switch printers over the past month.)
Solid first day's layout for HPS, a little over 7.5 hours over the course of the day and night. Barely paid any attention to tonight's MMP (except when they talked about a possible trip to Ottawa in the near future). There's 49 pages done with the current template (little more than 1/3rd of the book). It's similar to Legends but different. #HighPlainsSamurai #500in30
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6/6/18
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