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tony dowler
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Who doesn’t belong in your city? Are they a race of foreigners despised because they’re different, or because of long-standing historical grudges and past wars? Does a tribe of cyborgs and androids dwell in your city, blatantly tramping its magical heritage and fantasy pedigree? Maybe there’s a whole district of hostages—prominent citizens and family members kept as insurance against invasion or war? Someone foreign, unwanted, unwelcome, or just plain wrong. That’s who lives in the terraces. Now all you have to decide is how they live.

Moves and Situations

A strong door—meant to keep people out or meant to keep people in.

A despised foreigner, oblivious to the hatred directed at her by people on the street.

An eldritch practice, unknown in these parts, but taught by a resident of the Terraces.

More on my Patreon: http://patreon.com/tonydowler
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up to about 3'4" I'd say
drum lick
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Big Long Blood Red Sands AP Post Ahead!

Faction setup and pre-game account is here: https://plus.google.com/+tonydowler/posts/X25nKue6hFw

This game was now months ago, and the memory is far from clear, but I thought I should do my best to write it up anyway, since I know there’s a lot of interest in BRS and few AP accounts on the web. I’m going to talk a lot about what we did do and what we could have done because I think it’s important to point out how you can and can’t play out your options in BRS.

Our goal was to try the game out and get a feel for it, so we won’t be continuing a full campaign of it. I might facilitate this in a double slot at Go Play NW this year if there’s interest.

Our factions assembled for combat in the swamplands:
·        Me as the riders of justice
·        Phil as the soul-stealing wizard
·        Twyla as the prince in his tower atop the back of his giant
·        Brandon as the lizard-riding avengers
·        Dylan as the hero

Twyla had the right of first turn as chronicler. Her faction’s goal was to gather slaves, unspecified as to how to do that. So she narrated a scene at a village near a battlefield in the swamps with her giant and her minions gathering up villagers to serve as slaves to the prince’s cause with my faction present and observing.

This scene sets up the Prince to achieve his goal right out the gate, so of course everyone jumped in to stop her…. Except we had no way to do that. This is a weird thing with BRS. When a player is acting as the chronicler, other players have no real opportunity to interfere unless they are specifically targeted with pain.

We were honestly not sure if this was a feature or a bug. During setup, when you add a goal to a faction, you can detail that goal. When the goal of gather slaves was set for the Prince’s faction, we could have specified “gather slaves from…” and make another faction the target. In failing to do this, we gave the Prince a huge head start.

We could also have challenged Twyla’s chronicle on the grounds that it wasn’t justified in the fiction, but everyone seemed to agree it was OK.

With no way to stop the Prince, a few players maneuvered to bring their components into the scene. Dylan narrated his hero being gathered up among the slaves. Brandon narrated his primary character infiltrating the fortress on the giant’s back using his gecko-toed riding lizard. Twyla accepted both characters’ presence, which turned out to be an important point later. I don’t recall the details now, but I believe Twyla actually accepted the weakness “infiltrated by the hero” onto her faction sheet.

Having achieved her goal, Twyla passed. With the Prince having already achieved his goal, it became important for us to find a way to stop her using our own turns as chronicler.

As hero, Dylan had next option to chronicle, which he chose to do. Dylan described his hero busting his way into the throne room to confront the Prince face to face. Twyla had previously established that the Prince never takes personal part in operations, keeping his face hidden, so she offered dice to Dylan to not be present in the scene. Dylan called on the “infiltrated” weakness, forcing the Prince to be present. Brandon’s character also entered the scene, since his presence in the fortress had already been established.

We found this method of constraining the fiction through the mechanics of BRS very counter-intuitive, but also exciting. I think with a bit of play it could become quite natural. It’s one of the parts of the game that I like best.

At thing point, I believe Dylan chronicled his hero decapitating the Prince, at which point Twyla chose to go to a clash.

There’s probably a lot more maneuvering that could have been done here, and pushing for a clash right off the bat may not be the best tactical choice, but we all wanted to see the clash in action.
Here the game almost broke down over negotiating the terms of the clash. I think bidding stakes is an easy place to get lost in BRS. I would recommend negotiating stakes in a freeform manner and use the procedure in the rules only if negotiation breaks down. Here we found, as elsewhere in BRS, when we really stuck to the fiction, things worked. When we ignored the fiction, things broke down.

So Twyla and Dylan settled on the following stakes: the hero loses his trait that represents his desire to atone for once serving the Witch King. The Prince loses his sorcerous bloodline, the thing that ties him to the Witch King.

Brandon’s lizard rider, being present in the scene, opted to join the fight on the hero’s side, which essentially gave Dylan the ability to use him as a meat shield in the fight.

It’s now quite a while since we played, so I can’t narrate the clash blow-for-blow, but I can give my general observations.
In the clash you roll dice that are tied to your traits. You then advance these dice to attack or defend, with higher numbers being better. Dice can also be damaged and destroyed, in which case you could lose them from your character sheet. In addition, each die has an aspect, which gives it some kind of special ability. Some of the special abilities modify what happens to other dice in the clash, like saving a die from being wounded, or stealing a die, and so on. This gets complicated really quickly.

That said, there’s definitely an aspect of mastery here. The rules will become more familiar with time, and it’s an interesting game to try and win on its own. It’s easy to lose the fiction in that, which can take away from the role play.

At that point we were low on time, so we decided to call it and have a bit of a debrief. Our goal was just to play the game once and learn from it, so we won’t be continuing this adventure, unfortunately. We were all really interested in our factions and eager to learn how it would turn out. However, we were daunted by the procedural complexity. With our group, the biggest challenge was keeping the rules aligned to the fiction. This is a game I might facilitate again if I can assemble a group that’s up for it, possibly in a double-slot at the next Go Play NW.

My strongest impression of this game is that describing it as hard-core head-to-head competitive roleplaying is a bit misleading. BRS has a different social contract that most RPGs, and it does enable the players to go aggressively head-to-head in ways that no other RPG I’ve played does. That alone makes it interesting to me. However, it’s still an RPG, and I don’t advise you to abandon fiction the way you would in, say, a board game. It requires just as much commitment to role-playing as any game I’ve played. I don’t think I’m done learning new things from BRS.
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Yep, IMO this social contract is a bit of a failure in the premise of "competitive" for me. In a competitive wargame or boardgame you do not have to pull/adapt your punches to both/all have fun. (You make the move that makes you win. They try to counter/avoid it or win faster than you and have fun doing it.) The social contract of BRS may be a creative challenge for some but on the back of Tony's 1st post I read the game (had it from epimas) and I was less enthusiastic than before due to this issue. To be fair the game text calls this out.
The reason I care about this is that I have a specific player who likes RPGs and winning. (And most of the group like competitive games as well as RPGs.) His behavior can cause (minor) issues in some games for us. I though BRS might be a good fit for channeling this competitive streak but I think he would trample this social contract. Oh well.
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I just created a community for How to Host a Dungeon, especially discussion of a new edition! There's a playtest draft of V2 of the game linked in the forum as well.
How to Host a Dungeon V2
A solo game of dungeon creation.
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General discussion  - 
 
Welcome to the playtest community! You can find the latest playtest rules under About this Community at the top right of the page.
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Note, I had to click "Go back to classic Google+" to find the doc. The new g+ community stream doesn't show the about section.
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Go Play NW. Go Play NW is an annual RPG weekend where people come together to play indie, role-playing, story, board/card, and games. Meet new people. Play new games. Go Play NW 2015 is coming June 26-28 at Seattle University. REGISTER NOW! Find us on Twitter, Facebook, ...
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Yes, this is the final date!
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tony dowler
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Tips, tricks, & best practices  - 
 
+Miska Fredman asked about changing your rewards for an existing Patreon campaign, so here are my experiences.
After a year on Patreon, I started to experience some problems with my campaign. Fulfillment was becoming a bit of a logistical nightmare. I also didn’t know how much patrons liked or cared about the rewards they were getting. I didn’t know if the rewards were serving my patrons well or not.

My Patreon is focused on my map art. My creations are very eclectic and don’t fit a set pattern. This creates challenges on the reward side. My main rewards are postcards (at the $5 level), and then a varying assortment of hand-made objects and prints at the higher levels.
So I took a short break from creating and made a survey which I sent to all my patrons. I learned some very useful facts from this:
Most of my patrons wanted to support me first. The reward was secondary.

Most patrons did want to receive a rewards, but they were willing to leave the exact reward up to me.
Few of them were that interested in art prints (my main high-value reward). Many of them were interested in games and content that could be used in games.
This information helped me make the right changes to my Patreon to make it work for me better.

First, I switched to “quarterly” shipping (by quarterly I mean every three creations, rather than every three months). This reduces my shipping costs and greatly reduces logistics. Printing three months of postcards or shipping labels isn’t that much harder than printing one, and I can spread the effort out over a few weekends so I’m not rushing like mad  and putting pressure on my family when I fulfill. I also asked about this on my survey and talked about it on my feed so my patrons weren’t surprised.

Second, I changed up the rewards to be more flexible. Where in the past I might be required to send out an art print that the patron may or may not want, I deliver what I think is appropriate. Increasingly this means a home-bound book of gaming content—monsters, encounters, adventures, etc. It has also been, at times, stickers, maps, or T-shirts. Also, the patron doesn’t end up with a big stack of art they can’t hang anywhere.

I’ve also tried to improve quality and reduce quantity.
Delivering quarterly means I can focus on getting at least one really cool thing in each package for my higher level patrons instead of three sort-of-OK things in three separate packages.
When I switched, I kept the levels the same. This meant that people were now getting something slightly different than what they signed up for! I tried to keep the rewards pretty similar, but I couldn’t avoid some changes. I communicated this as clearly as possible. As far as I know, nobody was angry or surprised by the switch.
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tony dowler

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Go Play NW 2016!
 
Registration's now open! Check out our site for more information.
Go Play NW. Go Play NW is an annual RPG weekend where people come together to play indie, role-playing, story, board/card, and games. Meet new people. Play new games. Go Play NW 2016 is coming July 8-10 at Seattle University. Register now! Find us on Twitter, Facebook, ...
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General discussion  - 
 
How do you prefer to play How to Host a Dungeon?
31 votes  -  votes visible to Public
Pen and paper
90%
Photoshop
3%
PowerPoint
0%
Other (tell us what it is)
6%
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Thanks for the input, everybody. I'm surprised that so many people prefer pen and paper! I'm the same, so I guess I shouldn't be surprised. I'm curious, if you prefer pen and paper, is that what you usually use? Or do you use electronic tools too?
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Rules and mechanics  - 
 
A burning question about How to Host a Dungeon: how do you keep track of all that information on the map? When you play, do you suffer from information overload? How do you deal with it? I'm looking for useful techniques and ides for rules changes to make the game easier to play and manage without sacrificing too much in the way of depth.
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I am totally firing up Photoshop on my Surface tonight to see what I have to say about this.
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Word help!

This is driving me nuts. I'm writing some rules for a group of monsters encountering another group of monsters in a megadungon. I need to talk about the group that's doing the encountering and the group that's being encountered.

"Active" and "Passive" are clear but not descriptive of the setting. "Attacker" and "Defender" are OK, except that an encounter isn't necessarily and attack.

Can anyone recommend some better words to use here?
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OK, because context is good, and also because more brains is good, I've set up a playtest community for the new version of How to Host a Dungeon. There's a playable version of the new edition (not terribly different fro the old) for you to peruse as well.

https://plus.google.com/communities/105103134621012592445
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Assemble the moot!

Scheduling is a bit trickier for me now, as I'm commuting to Redmond 4(?) days a week. Nevertheless! A Wednesday is best for me, as that's my West-side day right now. Who's in?

Also, anyone I should also be inviting?
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Arrived!
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How to Host a Dungeon second edition idea thread!

I'm making a new edition of How to Host a Dungeon. I've held off for a long time because there's so much I could do with it!

I need your ideas--rules tweaks, new civilizations, Kickstarter add-ons, new directions to take the game. Go!
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If we're already mutually circles, I just sent you an invitation to join the How to Host a Dungeon V2 community on G+. If we're not mutually circled, here's the link:
https://plus.google.com/communities/105103134621012592445
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Beat Stone Soup Dungeon Crawl, NaMo of Cheribriados.
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